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Covid-19: Everything you need to know about travel between France and the USA

The majority of Covid-related restrictions between France and the USA have now been lifted, so if you have a trip planned, here's what you need to know.

Covid-19: Everything you need to know about travel between France and the USA
The US has reopened its borders to vaccinated travellers. Photo: Kenzo Tribaullard/AFP

America has reopened travel from Europe for all purposes, including tourism, and the USA is on France’s ‘green list’ for travel – meaning that tourism between the two countries is now once again a viable option.

From France to the US

Non-US citizens are able to travel from France for any reason – including holidays –  but only if they are fully vaccinated.

However a negative test is required on arrival for all travellers, vaccinated or not.

The US counts as vaccinated those who are:

  • Vaccinated with a WHO approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca)
  • 14 days after the final dose
  • The US does not give mixed dose vaccines (eg one AstraZeneca and one Pfizer) but it will accept this combination as fully vaccinated.
  • However it will not accept a single vaccine dose after catching Covid

US citizens, permanent residents and those travelling to the US on an immigrant visa are not required to show proof of vaccination.

Find the full details here.

Testing – All travellers over the age of two – US citizens included – must show a negative Covid test before boarding, taken no more than 1 day before your day of travel. The French pharmacy-administered antigen tests are accepted for travel, as well as PCR tests.  

From the US to France

The US is now on France’s ‘green list’ for travel, which has the lightest level of restrictions.

If you are fully vaccinated – you need only to provide proof of vaccination, a negative Covid test is not needed. The health declaration is also no longer needed. CDC vaccine certificates are accepted at the border as proof of vaccination.

France counts as fully vaccinated those who:

  • Are vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson)
  • Are 7 days after their final dose, or 28 days in the case of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines
  • OR Have had a single vaccine dose after previously recovering from Covid. Travellers must be 7 days after their dose
  • Have had a booster shot if more than 9 months has passed since the final dose of your vaccine. If you have had a booster shot there is no need for a second one, even if more than 9 months has passed since your booster
  • Mixed dose vaccines are accepted 

If you are not vaccinated – you need to show a negative Covid test on boarding, taken within 72 hours if a PCR test or 48 hours if an antigen test. Travellers must also fill in a declaration stating that they do not have Covid symptoms and have not been in contact with Covid patients – find the form here.

Once in France there is no need to quarantine. 

In France

France has lifted many of its health rules, but masks are still required on all public transport (including taxis and VTC) and in transport hubs such as train stations and airports. Masks are also required when entering any healthcare facility.

Masks are no longer required in shops or bars, although private businesses have the right to require customers to wear one as a condition of entry.

There are no exemptions to the mask rule and failure to comply can lead to a €135 fine.

The vaccine pass is no longer required, unless you are visiting an establishment with high-risk residents such as a nursing home.

Member comments

  1. going to USA via UK. Leave France on Monday by car and fly from Heathrow Wednesday. Looks like i need a day 2 test and an antigen test at least 3 days before flight. Can i get antigen test in France on monday or do i need to pay for one in uk. Don’t understand why can’t just book 1 test for arrival and departure

  2. larry maloney
    CORRECTION/Amplification … If you enter the USA via the boarder between Mexico and USA there are NO requirements of any kind.

  3. “If you are fully vaccinated the test must be taken within 72 hours of travel, non-vaccinated people must have a test taken within 24 hours of travel.”

    This is incorrect – every traveler to the US 2+ years of age needs a negative test taken one day prior to boarding, regardless of vaccination status.

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‘A European exception’: How tourists are flocking back to France after Covid

France is looking forward to a strong summer for tourism as homegrown holidaymaker numbers are boosted by the return of international travellers after two years of Covid-19.

'A European exception': How tourists are flocking back to France after Covid

In February, revenue from international tourism in France “came close to those of 2019”, according to tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.

At €2.7 billion, revenues for the month were up €1.5 billion compared to last year – still down eight percent compared to 2019, before the pandemic, when France’s tourism sector represented 7.4 percent of GDP and 9.5 percent of jobs.

According to Lemoyne, France is “very well positioned” as the “number one destination for travel in Europe for Americans, Belgians, Italians and Spaniards”.

The French, for their part, are “a European exception”, the minister said, pointing out that 60 percent plan to remain in their own country over the holidays.

“With a domestic base that will remain very strong and the return of international customers, this means that we are in for a summer season that can be very, very dynamic,” he said.

But Didier Arino, director of the Protourisme consultancy, warned there could be trouble ahead.

“It is not the market that is going to be problematic, it is the cost of production of tourist stays, competitiveness, the suitability between the prices of products and purchasing power,” he said.

“The players are all increasing their prices, and right now it is going well because people want to enjoy themselves. But we are reaching the limit of what is acceptable for many customers.”

Globally, international tourist arrivals worldwide have more than doubled, up 130 percent in January 2022 on the same period last year, according to the latest UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) figures. 

In Europe, tourists are heading to France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Iceland, but still not in the same numbers as before Covid.

Worldwide, there have been 18 million additional visitors, the UNWTO said, “equivalent to the total increase recorded over the whole of 2021”.

In 2019, global tourism revenues reached $1.48 trillion. That figure dropped by almost two thirds due to the pandemic the following year.

But UNWTO also highlighted how the Omicron Covid variant put the brakes on the rise, with international arrivals in January 2022 still 67 percent lower than before the pandemic.

Larry Cuculic, general manager of the Best Western hotel company, is optimistic. “I travelled earlier this week and I can tell you that the airports, the international terminals in the US are very crowded and there is a demand or an interest in travelling to Europe, because for several years we couldn’t do that,” he told AFP. “We miss going to Paris, Rome and Berlin.”

Travel by Chinese tourists, the world’s biggest spenders before the pandemic, is also severely affected by China’s zero-Covid policy. But travel analyst ForwardKeys has indicated that the second quarter of 2022 still looks “more promising for international travel in the world than the first quarter”.