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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Can unvaccinated children travel to France?

Travel to France for countries on the red or orange lists - which includes the UK and USA - is generally only possible for fully vaccinated travellers, but what is the situation for families whose children are not yet double-dosed?

Reader question: Can unvaccinated children travel to France?
Family holidays in France may depend on vaccination. Photo: Laurent Dard/AFP

Question: I was thrilled to learn that France is again allowing travel from the UK. My husband and I are both fully vaccinated but our daughters – 13 and 15 – have only had a single vaccine dose, are they allowed to enter France?

For any country on the orange or red list for travel to France – which includes the UK, USA and Canada – there are different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers. While vaccinated people can travel for any reason including holidays, unvaccinated travellers must provide proof that their trip is essential.

But what about children?

Under 12s

France’s rules on vaccination and testing refer only to children aged 12 and over. Under 12s do not need to take a Covid test or provide proof of vaccination when entering France.

Over 12s

Children aged 12 and over are required to present a negative Covid test at the border (taken within 24 or 48 hours depending on where you are travelling from).

They are also required to complete paperwork including declarations of health and must be fully vaccinated.

The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ is the same as for adults – seven days after receiving two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna or 28 days after a single dose of Janssen. A single dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna is not sufficient and these people will be counted as unvaccinated.

However, there is an exception for unvaccinated children over 12 who are travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians.

In this case, says the French Interior Ministry: “The measures applied to vaccinated adults are extended under the same conditions to accompanying minors, whether they are vaccinated or not.”

So in other words, if the parents are fully vaccinated, the children can travel with them under the same rules and do not need to provide proof that their trip is essential.

They will, however, still need a negative Covid test and a health declaration.

Any under-18s travelling on their own will need to provide proof of either full vaccination or an essential reason in order to enter France.

Health pass

However, once you are in France, you will need a health pass to take part in many everyday activities and those are required for all children aged 12 years and two months or older.

The health pass required either proof of vaccination, proof of recent recovery from Covid or a negative Covid test taken within the previous 24 hours.

The health pass is shortly – exact date is still to be confirmed by January 21st is seen as likely – to become a vaccine pass. Once this change goes through, only proof of vaccination will be accepted.

However the vaccine pass is required only for people aged 16 and over. Children aged between 12 and 15 can continue to use the health pass, which also accepts a recent negative Covid test.

The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ again requires two shots of the double-dose vaccine, a single dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna is not sufficient. Over 18s may also need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated.

Over 12s who cannot prove they are fully vaccinated will need to either take a Covid test every 24 hours – at the cost of €22 for an antigen test or €44 for a PCR test for non residents, home-test kits and Lateral Flow Test kits are not accepted for the health pass – or avoid health pass venues.

These venues include cafés, restaurants, gyms, leisure centres, cinemas, theatres, tourist sites, museums, ski lifts and long-distance trains.

READ ALSO What will change when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

Member comments

  1. Does that mean that when France moves to a vaccine pass, 12-15 years old that are not doubly vaccinated w/2 weeks to make this valid, will not be able to get on lifts as it happens now in Italy? That will affect a lot the half term families trying to go to France, as many had only one shot of the vaccine!

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For members

MONEY

Reader Question: Why did my French electricity bill increase by more than 4%?

The French government has capped electricity prices rises at four percent - but as with many French rules, there are certain exceptions.

Reader Question: Why did my French electricity bill increase by more than 4%?

Question: I read in the media that electricity prices in France are capped at four percent, but I just got a letter from EDF telling me that my bill is going up by almost 20 percent – is this a mistake?

The French government’s bouclier tarifaire (tariff shield), froze gas prices at 2021 levels and capped electricity price hikes to four percent – it remain in place until at least the end of 2022.

However, there are some customers who will see increases to their bills of more than that – here’s why: 

The regulated tariff rate

The French government involvement in price-setting doesn’t just happen during periods of energy crisis, normally regulated tariff prices are updated twice a year: usually on February 1st and August 1st.

Typically, this value is calculated by the CRE (commission de régulation de l’énergie) and it is based on several different factors, which are explained on this government website. These tariffs proposed by the CRE are then subject to approval by the ministers in charge of energy and the economy.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why are French energy prices capped?

These affect the state-owned Engie (formerly Gaz de France), the mostly state-owned EDF and some local distribution companies. Around 70 percent of people in France get their electricity from EDF but other suppliers do exist in the market.

These alternative suppliers, like Direct-Énergie, Total Spring or Antargaz, are free to charge more – but don’t usually charge much above the EDF rates for obvious commercial reasons.

Basic rate

The government-set limit in price rises refers only to the basic rate (option base) for electricity.

This plan represents over 80 percent of the 32 million households connected to the electricity grid in France. So, there is a good chance you might be subscribed to this without even realising it. 

If you are on the basic tariff rate, your bill will not increase by more than four percent this year.

Other tariff options

However, other options for electricity bills do exist, including off-peak rates, green deals and fixed energy prices for a certain period.

Typically people who sign up for these will have been paying less for their electricity in the preceding months than those on the base rate.

However, there are certain special deals that are not covered by the four percent cap, and some users will find that their deal period has come to an end, they are then shifted onto the base rate – which is likely to represent a price increase for them of more than four percent.

It’s little consolation when faced with rising bills, but you will likely have been paying significantly less than customers who have been in the base rate for the past few years.

READ MORE: French government to continue energy price freeze until at least 2023

Kilowatt price

Because most electricity price plans are bafflingly complicated, the easiest way to compare is to look at the price per kilowatt-hour.

Your electricity bill consists of a fixed part, the monthly subscription (abonnement) and the variable part, which depends on the quantity of electricity consumed (in euro per kilowatt-hour, kWh). The latter part is what is concerned by the tariff shield of four percent.

Here is an example of what that might look like:

The mid-August base rate price per kilowatt-hour is €0.1740/ kWh, so if you’re with EDF they cannot charge you more than this rate.

Other EDF plans charge significantly less than that – for example the Vert Electrique Weekend deal has been charging €0.1080/kWh on weekends and €0.1434/kWh on weekdays. 

Bill rises

With the tariff shield, the average resident customer on the base rate will see a €38 rise on their bill this year, while professional customers will see an average of €60 rise. 

Without the tariff shield, electricity prices per residential (non-business) customer would likely have increased an average of €330 a year, according to the CRE.

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