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How people vaccinated in the USA can access the French health passport

How people vaccinated in the USA can access the French health passport
Photo: Sebastian Solom Gomis/AFP
France is extending its health passport scheme so it will be required to access a number of everyday venues including cafés, trains and tourist sites - so is it possible to use an American vaccination certificate to access this?

The health passport is required in France to access venues including swimming pools, cinemas and tourist sites and from August 1st will be expanded again to cover venues including bars, cafés, sopping centres and long-distance train or bus travel.

READ ALSO When, where and why you need a health passport in France

If you were vaccinated in France it is pretty simple to load your vaccination certificate onto the health passport app – here’s how.

But what about those vaccinated in the USA, either tourists or French nationals or residents who got their vaccinations while in the US?

People vaccinated in the EU have compatible vaccination certificates, while for those in the UK the NHS app is compatible with the French health passport app.

But for those vaccinated in the USA things are a little more complicated, especially as many states do not issue vaccination certificates with QR codes.

However, it’s not an impossible problem.

For entry into France, showing a US vaccination certificate – either on paper or in a digital format – is sufficient if you are ‘fully vaccinated’. In travel terms that means you have had a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson) are at least two weeks after your second dose (or four weeks if you had the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

The US is currently on France’s green list, meaning that if you are fully vaccinated you won’t need a Covid test.

Once you are in France, you will need to show the health passport – showing either proof of vaccination, a recent negative Covid test or recent recovery from Covid – to access a number of leisure or cultural venues.

Convert your vaccination certificate to a French one

In certain circumstances it is possible to obtain a French vaccination certificate by showing your US one.

First you need a vaccination certificate that conforms to World Health Organisation standards – showing your name plus details of the date of your vaccination and the batch number used. CDC-issued vaccination certificates comply with these rules.

Then you need a French health professional with access to the vaccination database. This can be anywhere that vaccinations are administered, but probably the most practical option is a pharmacy. The majority of French pharmacies are signed up to administer the vaccine and even quite small towns have at least one pharmacy (look out for the green cross).

Upon presentation of your US vaccination certificate, the pharmacist can then log you into the system and print out a French vaccination certificate, complete with QR code that can be scanned into the French app to give you access all areas while you are in France.

Caveats

However, this is new and it’s not clear at present how widespread the service is and whether all health professionals are aware of it.

Several readers of The Local have reported successfully doing this, while others have told us that their local pharmacy was not aware of the option or told them it was not possible. It’s not a compulsory health service, so you may need to visit a couple of places before you find someone who is willing to offer it.

The other issue is a French social security number. The system was initially proposed targeting French citizens or residents who were vaccinated while abroad in the US, so the guidance on this refers to showing your carte vitale health card or social security number, which obviously tourists will not have. The Local has requested clarification on whether the exchange can be done without a French social security number.

Guidance from the US Embassy in France notes: “For people vaccinated in the United States with a CDC card, any willing French doctor or pharmacist can enter the vaccination information in the French system, even for people who do not have a French social security number or carte vitale. This will allow the person to generate a paper or electronic (through the French Tous Anti Covid app) version of the health pass.  

“Since this is a new process, please anticipate that not all pharmacies/doctors are yet accustomed to or aware of this possibility.” 

French media are reporting that  full government text on exchanging vaccine certificates should be presented “at the beginning of August”.

Show your US vaccination certificate at venues

Getting a French vaccination certificate is easier because it means you can simply swipe the app at every venue that requires it. However if this is not possible, it’s not the end of the world.

The French rules contain a provision to allow the presentation of paper certificates for those people who either don’t own a smartphone or don’t want to use the app, so you are within your rights to show this certificate instead, although it may be slower than scanning a QR code.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said there will be a ‘tolerance’ for people who do not have the QR code necessary to use the French app until the issue of foreign vaccination certificates can be fully addressed.

Talks are ongoing between the EU and USA on harmonising the technology to allow various countries’ apps to scan non-EU certificates.


Member comments

  1. Any extra insight on how to do this would be lovely! We are planning to head to Nice in August, but may not if we will be restricted in what we can do.

  2. I’ll be going to France in mid August, first to Normandy and then to our second home in the Luberon. I’m American and am fully vaccinated, with my CDC card.

    I have planned to take a bus or train to Caen when I arrive. It sounds like I’ll need to have electronic health passport in order to get on public transportation. Is there a pharmacy or some other facility at the CDG airport where I might get an electronic documentation? Any suggestions?

  3. My American tourist students could NOT access the Chantilly Château with American vaccination papers. One student in the Tour Eiffel : they wanted iphone code.

  4. I live in Paris, but was vaccinated in the US. I went to a local pharmacy near Place de la République in Paris, and asked if they could provide an attestation with QR code. The pharmacist knew exactly what to do. She only needed the information from my CDC card and asked for my address. I asked, and you do not need a French social security number to receive it.

  5. I checked at my local pharmacy (Aprium, 105, ave Felix Faure). They have heard about this, but after much keyboard tapping, the friendly (English-speaking) lady was not able to find anything official enough in her system to be able to offer a solution. She suggested checking back next week. Meanwhile the word on “the street” is: carry your little white CDC card and your passport (so they know the CDC card matches you).

  6. We tried many pharmacies in Paris today, asking if they could enter our US CDC card into the French system. They all said that it was not possible yet. Several said that they had double-checked this with higher-ups and it was simply not possible. (It may well be possible if you have a French Social Security number.)

    The only alternative at the moment is a 29 Euro 15-minute antigen test done *every 48 hours*. They are available at most pharmacies. Pharmacies near tourist attractions often have long lines or are fully booked, but we found one without a line.

    Reading the news, when the new restrictions was announced, the government said they would have a solution for foreigners that would be available “within a week,” but more than a week has passed.

    1. Here’s the address of the pharmacy I went to today – Pharmacie Beaurepaire, 4 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010. Had no problem getting it, and she said no social security number necessary. I did give her my carte vitale, but she said she did not use my social security number.

      1. I went here this morning and they are apparently willing but the pharmacist will not be in on the weekends.

  7. I have asked three pharmacies about creating a QRCode for my CDC paper certificate. A small one Rue Jacob, Bader on Blvd St-Michel and CityPharma. They all said they could not do it. I presented CDC card for entrance to UGC cinema (6th) and was turned away. The MK2 next door accepted it. I guess I’ll spend the day going from pharmacy to pharmacy in hopes of finding one that can provide the electronic document. Thanks to all for your info.

  8. As of 14h today the big vaccination site at Hôtel de Ville is NOT doing CDC to Pass Sanitaire conversions because they are doing vaccinations and don’t have enough staff to do both. A bunch of us exchanged all our rumors and went to the pharmacy at 1, rue Auber just next to Hotel Intercontinental (Metro Opera). They ARE doing it. Use the queue to the right of the entrance as the other one is for pharmacy customers. It’s 20 euro and they take plastic. Bonne chance!

    1. Just had it done at Rue Auber Sunday 25 July at 17:30. No problems. 20 euro per person.

  9. What about correcting mistakes on *French* vaccination paperwork? Suggestions welcome.
    My teen daughter had her first vaccination in Paris & immediately afterwards I saw on the signed letter that the doctor entered her year of birth wrong. Still at the vaccination centre I asked them to correct the error. They said they could not & told me to deal with it online. But we are new in France, not yet settled in a particular home & not yet registered on amili.fr. The centre also did not provide any document with a QR code & told me likewise to get that via ameli online. Can I legitimately *insist,* when we go for my teen’s 2nd jab, that we be given documentation with a QR code to be sure she can have her pass sanitaire? Or can a pharmacist or another service help us?

  10. I’m in Paris and I just took my USA vaccine documents (i received my vaccination in the USA) to the local pharmacy near where I am staying and within 10 minutes they downloaded the French Health Pass certificate with the bar code that I scanned into the French Health Pass App (Tous AntiCovid) on my iPhone. Voilà and I am ready to go. Just wish things were so simple in the UK.

    1. Gary can you tell us the location of that pharmacy. I also am having trouble finding a pharmacy that can download the French QR code from a US CDC vaccination record. Thank you!

  11. Does anyone know of a pharmacy in Nice that is doing the French vaccine passport for Americans?

  12. Will the pharmacies at CDG give vaccine passports to incoming tourists? I have a long layover at Roissy and would love to get my CDC certificate converted before I get on my train….

  13. Does anyone have a link in French to provide to the pharmacists, I have tried 4 and they all have no idea what I am talking about

  14. Does anyone know of a willing pharmacy in or near 16e arrondissement? We tried 7 or 8 yesterday and all of them said it was not possible or they did not know how. I showed the the article but they said it is not so.

  15. It would be very helpful to continue to note any pharmacies that can enter a USA vaccination certificate into the system. Thanks for all the comments

  16. I have been asked which pharmacy I went to to get my Health Passport. The place I went to is a pharmacy near Rue Saint-Maur called Pharmacy Gardette at Avenue Parmentier and Rue Général Renault. A friend of mine here in France who just also got his in Nice told me that pharmacies were instructed to no longer accept the USA vaccination document for the French Health Passport. I don’t know if that is the case. Perhaps I and my friend were lucky and got ours before the window closed.

  17. Between July 25 – 28th our family was able to enter places like the Louve with the orginal CDC card and an ID

      1. Thanks for confirming you were able to use paper record We arrive on August 2 Hope we can use our paper CDC vaccination card everywhere it is required

  18. If all else fails, you should be able to get the QR code by testing every 2 days. We were able to get a test for our return to the U.S. for 25 euros in a pharmacy that we were passing by and received our results in 30 minutes, enough time to get a quick bite to eat and return for the paperwork. The QR code from a negative test is good for 48 hours. It’s not ideal but it will do and it’s easier to get a test in France for an American than it is for an American in America.

  19. I was able to get an official pass sanitaire on 24 July at the British-American pharmacy at 1 rue Auber next to the Hotel Intercontinental near Opera for €20. They only needed my US passport and my CDC card. I don’t know if they are still doing it.
    Although the official pass sanitaire* is supposedly required (since 21 July) for museums, movie theaters, monuments (Eiffel Tower) and the like, enforcement seems to be spotty. Some people have reported getting admitted with the CDC card only, others have reported being turned away. Your mileage may vary.
    The requirement to have an official pass sanitaire* to enter restaurants (including outdoor terraces) and bars seems to have been delayed from 1 August to 9 August.
    An in-person stop at the official Paris Visitors Bureau at Hôtel de Ville (Paris city hall) is a good resource.
    Hope this helps.
    *Note: A negative PCR or antigen test no more than 48 hours old also works, and there are a couple of more esoteric exceptions as well.

  20. On July 27, I entered a pharmacie in Reims and asked if i could receive a Pass Sanitaire using my American vaccine card. They said yes and while processing asked for my phone number, email and local address, and nothing more, no fee. Ten minutes later they printed a paper pass with a QR code for me, that I used to create a digital pass on the TousAntiCovid app. I’d be surprised if the country reversed that decision in the last couple days. I recommend people try, and try again at another pharmacie if necessary.

  21. I followed these instructions and it worked perfectly. Such a relief! Thanks to the Local team for getting this out there.

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