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France has a new vaccine pass: Here’s what we know

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 1/27/2022 Caroline Tanner
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France has announced yet another change to its ever-evolving vaccine pass.

I’ve written a lot about France and how its COVID-19 protocols have affected American tourists eagerly seeking entry. As of this week, the rules for the “pass vaccinal” for travelers has changed and is changing once again on Feb. 15, marking the fifth and sixth iterations of the COVID-19 vaccination pass program that initially began as the “pass sanitaire.”

With things shifting so often, things can easily get confusing, so all of the information you need to know is provided below.

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Vaccine pass requirements as of Jan. 24

If you are 16 or older; a tourist or a resident of France; fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and more than seven months have passed from your final dose, a booster shot is required to get a vaccine pass.

“As of the 24th of January 2022, the vaccine pass comes into effect for those 16 years and older and replaces the health pass in places where it was applied,” according to French officials.

The French government’s official COVID-19 app did Tweet an explanation for this transition (translated below):

#COVID19 | Since Monday, the health pass has become a vaccination pass. It consists of the presentation: ✓ of a vaccination certificate* ✓ or a certificate of reinstatement ** More information: http://bit.ly/3rY6v9M

Vaccine pass requirements as of Feb. 15

Additional changes are coming in February, but there is some confusion about the exact terms of the new policy.

Beginning Feb. 15, a booster dose will be required if four months have passed since your final dose, according to the U.S. Embassy. However, there is some conflicting information about whether that means you need to be boosted within four months or if a booster is required after those initial four months. We’ve reached out to Atout France, the official French tourism organization, and the U.S. Embassy to confirm but have yet to hear back.

“These rules apply to everyone, residents and tourists alike,” the U.S. Embassy said in its updated entry requirements online. “There is NO alternative to present a negative [COVID-19] test for the vaccine pass.”

The timing of your vaccine does not matter beyond the aforementioned four-month booster requirement.

“To obtain the Pass Vaccinal, it’s showing proof of a booster that is most important,” said Atout France.

Related: Update: France delays vaccine pass implementation until Monday

Where are vaccine passes required?


Video: Businesses Concerned And Confused Over Mayor's New Vaccine Card Mandate (CBS Chicago)

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The vaccine pass is required at all places where the “pass sanitaire” was required, including bars, nightclubs, cafes, restaurants, malls, athletic facilities, gyms, theaters, cinemas, public transit (air/rail), museums and other cultural sites.

Essentially, if it’s a public place, a vaccine pass is required.

(Screenshot courtesy of French government) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of French government)

Rules for children

Children ages 12-15 remain subject to the rules of the “pass sanitiare,” meaning people in this age group must show proof of vaccination to access most public spaces, but a booster shot is not mandatory.

“Travelers age 12-15 require a health pass everywhere a vaccine pass is required,” according to the Embassy. “Travelers under age 12 do not require a pass” of any kind.

These travelers may obtain a temporary 24-hour health pass by submitting negative results of a PCR or antigen test taken at a pharmacy in France, where rapid tests are available on a walk-in basis.

These test results only serve as a temporary pass, meaning once the 24 hours have elapsed, you must take a new test to earn a new temporary pass.

The option to test for COVID-19 in lieu of the booster only applies to children holding a health pass.

Related: Applications for France’s digital health pass are temporarily closed

Exceptions for non-Americans

While showing proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 can take the place of one’s initial dose of COVID-19 or a booster dose in some cases, this is only applicable if such contraction and recovery occurred in the EU.

“U.S. and other foreign certificates of recovery are not accepted,” per the Embassy.

Where to receive either pass

Those vaccinated in the United States (or elsewhere outside the EU) must go to a designated pharmacy in France with their CDC-issued vaccine card, passport and money to pay a fee of up to $40 or €36.

Bottom line

A vaccine pass showing proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (including booster) is required for all persons in France age 16 and above, even those just visiting. A health pass showing full proof of COVID-19 vaccination (sans booster) is compulsory for anyone ages 12 – 15. Those under 12 do not need either pass.

In addition to either a vaccine or health pass, fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. must show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of departure for France.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated may only enter the country with a “compelling reason for travel” that has been approved by the French government. Additionally, they must present results of a negative test taken within 48 hours before departure and will also be tested again upon arrival followed by a ten-day quarantine.

If you think you can skip out on quarantine, think again — you should expect routine police check-ins at a designated quarantine location previously divulged to French authorities.

Related: You can enter France if you haven’t been boosted, but that might be all you can do

Featured photo of French President Emmanuel Macron on Jan. 25  by LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

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