France’s new stoplight system explained — what Americans will need for entry from June 9

Jun 4, 2021

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France has released new protocols for its scheduled and highly anticipated reopening to foreigners on June 9; among them is a stoplight system that dictates procedures foreign travelers must follow, based on where they’re from and whether or not they’re vaccinated, if they wish to enter the country.

Several news outlets have reported conflicting information, but a tweet from the official account for France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs lays it all out pretty simply in the thread following the main post, indicating that U.S. and U.K. citizens can visit if they meet certain conditions.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, travel policies and requirements can change by the hour. Information was up to date at the time of publication, but it is subject to change at any time, without notice.

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How does France’s stoplight system work?

The system uses three colors — green, orange/amber and red, as we’ve seen in other nations — to assign countries a COVID-19 threat level.

Below are the requirements for travelers arriving in France from countries under each of the three designations from June 9.

Red

Vaccinated: Inoculated visitors from red countries must provide results of a PCR or antigen test no more than 48 hours old, provide an essential reason for travel, self-isolate for seven days and take a mandatory antigen test upon arrival.

Unvaccinated: Those who haven’t gotten their shots have the same requirements as vaccinated travelers from red countries, but their isolation time is increased to 10 days, and their compliance is checked by authorities.

The Louvre in Paris
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Orange/Amber

Vaccinated: If you’re vaccinated and coming from an orange/amber country, you will need a PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to departure or an antigen test that’s no more than 48 hours old. Travelers can visit for any reason, such as tourism, provided they meet these other requirements.

Unvaccinated: Unvaccinated arrivals must observe the same testing requirements as vaccinated travelers under the orange/amber category, but they must also provide a “pressing reason” for travel (i.e. essential travel), take additional tests on arrival and self-isolate for seven days.

Related: What is considered essential travel vs. nonessential travel during coronavirus restrictions?

Green

Vaccinated: There are no restrictions if you are vaccinated, and arriving from a country labeled green.

Unvaccinated: If you are not vaccinated, you need a PCR or antigen test within 72hrs before departure.

France is set to reopen June 9 under a traffic light system that rates countries by color in terms of how safe they are. Travelers from the U.S. and U.K. — both designated orange — can enter if they adhere to vaccine and testing conditions. (Photo by Anna Blazhuk/Getty Images)

Which countries are which colors?

Red: Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Turkey and Uruguay

Orange/Amber: all countries that are not listed as red or green

Green: all EU countries, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea

Because the lists of red and green nations are small, that means the majority of the world’s countries — including the U.S., Canada and the U.K. — fall within the orange classification.

We’ve seen similar sweeping designations lately, in both the U.S. and the U.K., with the former issuing “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisories for as many as 80% of the world’s countries.

(Photo by Nikada/Getty Images)

Are other entry requirements in place?

Early reports haven’t been entirely clear. At press time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website hadn’t been adjusted since June 3, but the agency’s tweet promises it will be updated with the new requirements soon, making it a great resource to bookmark for the latest information.

In May, France made the following changes to its restrictions:

  • The country’s nightly curfew pushes back from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (it lifts at 6 a.m. daily);
  • Outdoor restaurant capacity is reduced to 50%. Patrons must be seated and no more than six people per table;
  • At sports stadiums, cultural venues, theaters and movie theaters, every third seat may be occupied and each person must have 8 square meters of personal space. Indoor events shall accommodate no more than 800 people, while outdoor events can welcome 1,000 people; and
  • Shops and markets (covered and outdoors) may resume operation. Indoor stores and covered markets must offer 8 square meters of space per visitor, while outdoor markets can reduce that restriction to 4 square meters.

Featured photo by KTSDESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty Images.

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