Tourists and visitors will need booster to use French health pass

Strasbourg Christmas market health pass sign
The health pass is required to access a wide range if venues in France. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP
The French health pass - essential to access a wide of range of venues including bars, museums and for long-distance train travel - requires a vaccine booster shot to stay activated. The health ministry has confirmed to us that this rule also applies to tourists and visitors.

France’s health pass has been in place since the summer, but now the country has begun deactivating the passes of people who are eligible for a booster but have not yet had one.

When this policy was first announced in November it referred only to people vaccinated in France.

However this has now been expanded to those who received their vaccines elsewhere and the Health Ministry has confirmed to The Local that everyone – including tourists and visitors to France – will need a booster in order to get a health pass or keep their existing pass activated.

Passes are deactivated if seven months has passed since the person received their second vaccine dose and they have not received a booster shot, although this limit will soon be cut to four months. Deactivations have already begun for people aged 65 and over, and from January 15th will be expanded to those aged between 18 and 65.

READ ALSO Calendar: When will my French health pass deactivate?

So what about those vaccinated outside France – either tourists and visitors or those who received their vaccine in a different country and then moved to France?

The same rules apply, the French health ministry has confirmed.

They told The Local: “Since December 15th 2021, all people aged 65 and over and those vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine must have received a booster dose no more than 7 months after their last injection (2 months for people vaccinated with Janssen), to benefit from a valid health pass.

“Foreigners who are eligible for the booster and have not had it will have to take a test and pay for the test, which is valid for 24 hours, in order to benefit from the health pass.”

It should be noted, however, that the government is debating replacing the health pass with a vaccine pass, which would have no testing for option for those are not considered fully vaccinated, including booster.

The ministry added that the booster requirement “concerns only the domestic health pass and not the border pass.”

“In other words, a booster is not yet required to leave or return to France.”

The majority of EU and Schengen zone countries, as well as the UK, are offering booster shots on a similar timetable to France, and proof of vaccination or a booster shot in an EU/Schengen zone country and the UK can be uploaded directly to the French Tous Anti Covid app, which contains the health pass.

If you are using the app, you will get a warning when your pass is about to deactivate.

Paper certificates of vaccination from these countries are also accepted.

However, those vaccinated outside the EU need to swap their vaccination certificate for a French QR code (known as a certificate of vaccine equivalence) before they can use the health pass – find out how HERE.

These codes will now only be given to people who have also had a booster when eligible.

The Ministry told us: “Since December 15th 2021, people aged 65 and over who completed their initial vaccination schedule more than 7 months ago must provide proof of a booster dose in order to be eligible for the generation of a certificate of vaccine equivalence. This also applies to persons 18 years and older who were vaccinated with Janssen more than 2 months ago.”

For those vaccinated in the UK there is an extra wrinkle – NHS vaccination codes are only valid for 30 days and since the deactivation programme began, the Tous Anti Covid app also deactivates expired NHS codes, meaning that those vaccinated in the UK must download a new NHS code every 30 days and add it to the French app in order to keep their pass working.

If your pass is deactivated, here’s how to reactivate it.


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