France places the United States on the Covid ‘red list’

France has placed the United States on its Covid red list for travel, which imposes extra restrictions for unvaccinated travellers.
France has placed the United States on its Covid red list for travel, which imposes extra restrictions for unvaccinated travellers. (Photo by JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
France has placed the United States on the Covid red list for travel, imposing a ten day quarantine on some travellers from across the Atlantic. Here's what you need to know.

Unvaccinated travellers coming to France from the United States face added restrictions after France placed the country on its red list on Saturday – it was previously categorised as an amber list country. 

France defines red list countries as states where there is “an active circulation of the virus observed with a presence of worrying variants.” 

READ MORE How does France’s Covid traffic light system for travel work?

The United States, like France, is experiencing high levels of Covid-19 infection. American authorities last month urged US citizens not to visit France – this is advisory only, but can affect travel insurance.

The addition of the US to France’s red list means that unvaccinated people must quarantine at an address of their choosing for ten days following their arrival in France. Law enforcement officers will check to ensure that travellers are respecting the rules and issue hefty fines to those that do not. 

Vaccinated travellers do not face any changes. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

Vaccinated travellers 

Fully vaccinated travellers do not need an essential reason to travel. 

They do however need to provide proof of full vaccination (by the standards of their own country); a declaration of honour that they do not have any Covid symptoms and have not been in contact with someone infected with Covid; a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours before your departure. 

For the purposes of travel, 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
  • Have had a single vaccine dose after previously recovering from Covid. Travellers must be 7 days after their dose
  • Mixed dose vaccines (eg one Pfizer and one Moderna dose) are accepted 

Unvaccinated travellers 

If you are not fully vaccinated, you must have an essential reason to travel to France. French citizenship or residency counts as an essential reason as does coming to the country to get married. Tourism does not count as an essential reason for travel, nor family visits or visits from second-home owners. You can read the government’s full list of essential reasons here

You must also show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours before your departure if you are more than 12-years-old; fill in this online form; fill out a declaration of honour stating that you do not have Covid symptoms and are not a contact case, available here; sign a form stating that you will submit to an antigen test, if asked, upon arrival in France; and have some kind of proof of where you will stay during your quarantine period – a hotel booking or a letter of invitation from a friend or family member should suffice. 

READ MORE US advises against travel to France over Covid-19 surge

You will have to isolate for ten days following arrival in France. Upon arrival, border officials will tell you which hours you are allowed to leave quarantine for essential tasks such as food shopping. 

People without a titre de séjour or French/EU/Schengen Zone nationality, whether vaccinated or not, must respect the 90-day rule, which states that visitors can spend 90 days out of every 180 in the EU without applying for a visa or residency. 


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