For members


What visitors can do if their French health pass doesn’t arrive in time

As travel rules around the world are relaxed, tourists and visitors are returning to France. But for those travelling from outside Europe one hurdle remains - converting vaccination certificates into a French health passport.

What to do if you're still waiting for the vital French health pass code?
What to do if you're still waiting for the vital French health pass code? Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Fully vaccinated visitors to France can show their own country’s vaccine certificate at the border, but once in the country they will need the pass sanitaire (health passport) to visit venues including cafés, bars, restaurants, tourist sites and long-distance train travel.

EXPLAINED How the French health pass works

For European visitors this is relatively simple – people vaccinated in the EU can use the EU digital health passport while the UK’s NHS app is compatible with the French pass – full details on how to use that here.

But for non-British or EU visitors such as Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians things are more complicated and they need to register in advance to swap their vaccination certificate for a QR code that will work with the French health passport.

This can be done online – click here for full details on how to make the swap and who is eligible.

But does the online system actually work?

Readers of The Local have provided quite mixed feedback on this – some got their code within a couple of days, others waited several weeks for it to arrive.

Added to this is confusion surrounding the issue because the system for getting a French code has changed several times. The online portal now appears to be here to stay, but is currently warning people of a wait of up to 25 days before they receive their code.

The Local advises people who have pre-planned trips to make their application one month in advance of travel. Once you have received the code there is no expiry date, and it can be used for multiple trips to France.

What if I’m still waiting?

We have received many questions from readers who are still waiting for their code by the time they arrive in France, and there are several options if you are in this situation.

Home vaccination cards – Non-EU vaccination card is not officially accepted in France, however some visitors have reported that bars and cafés have accepted their vaccination certificates from home as proof of vaccination. This seems to be particularly common for the American CDC certificate. We should stress that this is not official, so staff are not obliged to accept the card, but if you’re still waiting for your French code this is worth a try.

Pharmacy swap – before the online portal was created, swapping non-French vaccination certificates was done at pharmacies, and some still offer this service. Again, we should stress that this is not official policy, not all pharmacies offer this and they are not obliged to do so, but readers have reported that some pharmacies still do this, so if you are still waiting for your code this too is worth a try.

Testing – the health passport has options to show either a certificate of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test. So if you are still waiting for your code, the other option is to get a test. Testing is very easy to access in France, almost all pharmacies offer Covid tests which are done on a walk-in basis without the need for an appointment and in larger towns and tourist sites there are also many pop-up testing centres. The rapid-result antigen tests are valid for the health passport and for non-residents cost €29. The test result is valid for 72 hours.


French vocab

Le pass sanitaire – the health passport

TousAntiCovid – the name of the French app which hosts the passport

Une attestation de vaccination – a vaccination certificate

Un code QR – a QR code (pronounced code coo aire)

Dépistage Covid/Un test Covid – Covid testing/a Covid test 

Bonjour, Pouvez-vous échanger mon attestation de vaccination américaine contre un QR code pour le pass sanitaire ? – Hello, can you exchange my American vaccination certificate for a QR code for the health passport?

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For members


Which French airports will be hit by cancellations during Tuesday’s strike?

Tuesday marks the latest pension strike in France and flight cancellations and delays should be expected as air traffic controllers walk out. Here's which airports will be affected and when.

Which French airports will be hit by cancellations during Tuesday's strike?

Tuesday, June 6th, is the latest one-day strike in the ongoing battle over French pension reform.

Although the strike will hit several sectors including public transport and schools, the worst affected services will be flights.

Find the full list of Tuesday strikes HERE


Although the strike only lasts for 24 hours, France’s civil aviation authority said to expect that flight disruption would run from the evening of Monday, June 5th until 6am on Wednesday, June 7th.

It’s also possible that some flights will experience knock-on disruption later in the week if, for example, planes end up in the wrong place after the strike.


The disruption will be concentrated on certain airports.

The Direction générale de l’aviation civile (DGAC) has requested that airlines cancel 33 percent of flights in and out of Paris Orly airport.

It has also requested that 20 percent of flights in and out of the following airports be cancelled;

  • Lyon
  • Marseille
  • Nice
  • Toulouse
  • Bordeaux
  • Nantes

Other airports – including Paris Charles de Gaulle airport – should be unaffected by the air traffic controllers’ strike.

The choice of which flights to cancel is left up to airlines, and most airlines try to protect long-haul flights to minimise disruption.

Anyone with a flight booked is advised to contact their airline.


Flights which are merely passing over French airspace – known as overflights – may also be affected by the air traffic control strike.

Around half of all flights in French airspace at any one time are passing over the country, rather than taking off or landing in France, but are still controlled by French air traffic control.

If you have a flight passing over France on Tuesday, it may be delayed or have to take a longer route to avoid France. There could also be some cancellations – again, passengers are advised to contact their airlines.

Other disruption

The flight cancellations are caused by air traffic controllers striking.

So far, other airport staff such as baggage handlers and security staff have not indicated that they will be taking strike action on Tuesday, so most airports should be functioning as normal.

However, previous pension strike days have seen some ‘surprise’ actions such as blockades at Paris airports. 

Rail services are also expected to be lightly disrupted on Tuesday, although most city public transport is expected to run as normal – the advice is to leave plenty of time for your journey to and from the airport. Taxi drivers will not strike. 

Towns and cities across France will see marches and demonstrations on Tuesday. 

You can find the latest strike announcements in our strike section HERE.