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

Jan. 14, 2022
5 min read
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As much as I tried to escape it, I am compelled to continue writing about the French health pass thanks to all of the TPG readers who anticipate traveling to France and don't know what to do with the new COVID-19 booster shot requirement starting this weekend.

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While I usually answer five questions in my weekly column, I received many inquiries asking the same question:

Bonjour Caroline,
Do you have any idea what to do in this situation: My first dose was in January 2021 and my second was in Februrary. I received the booster as soon as it was available in November. This means my booster wasn’t in the 5-7 month period France requires for the pass, which is critical. I’m not sure if you have access to someone for an answer on this, but I thought I’d reach out to you in case you do. I’m considering a trip in early Spring, because 'Paris is always a good idea,' right?!

What is happening on Jan. 15?

As of Jan. 15, 2022, France will be changing the criteria currently used to restrict access to public spaces within the country to only admit those who are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. President Emmanuel Macron had previously said the original rules would be in effect through at least July 2022.

The French health pass, also known as the "pass sanitaire," will soon be referred to as the French vaccine pass or "pass vaccinal," according to Atout France, the official French government tourism agency.

This means that starting Saturday, Jan. 15, all tourists to France that are over 18 will need to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, in addition to proof of a third dose or booster administered within five to seven months after one's final dose of a vaccine accepted by the French government.

"Currently only the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are accepted for entry into France," says the U.S. Embassy in France. "Travelers who have received all required doses of a WHO-licensed vaccine not approved by the European Medicines Agency require an additional single dose of an EMA-approved mRNA vaccine (currently Pfizer or Moderna)."

COVID-19 testing site in Paris on Jan. 12. (Photo by Nathan Laine/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Read more: Protests erupt as France introduces new vaccination requirements

How to get a vaccine pass

"For foreign visitors who already have a Pass Sanitaire (to be known as the Vaccine Pass on Jan. 15), they will need to visit a pharmacy to show proof of a third dose (in addition to their initial vaccination) and have the pharmacy update their pass," confirmed a spokesperson for Atout France, who also said that only vaccinated travelers will be able to obtain the pass.

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As has been the case since October, travelers can still obtain the pass on the ground in France by visiting participating pharmacies and showing a passport and proof of vaccination and booster.

Although unvaccinated travelers had previously been able to get a temporary pass by showing results of a negative COVID-19 test, that is no longer the case.

"Essentially, as it's now a Pass Vaccinal only vaccinated travelers are eligible to obtain one," said Atout France.

Nearly 3,000 pharmacies are currently issuing vaccine passes, including almost 700 in Paris. The French Health Ministry provides a map outlining pharmacies by location throughout the country.

French government officials, including Prime Minister Jean Castex, discuss COVID-19 rules for classrooms on Jan. 13. (Photo by THOMAS COEX/POOL/AFP/Getty Images)

Are those boosted more than seven months prior to visiting france ineligible for the pass?

The short answer is yes, though a booster is not required to enter the country.

"For entry purposes only, for all vaccines approved for use in the United States, a booster dose is not required to be considered fully vaccinated," said the embassy.

Anecdotally, I have heard stories from TPG readers who successfully visited restaurants, bars and museums sans pass by showing their CDC vaccination record.

The Belleville quarter in Paris' 20th district in July 2021. (Photo by Frédéric Soltan/Corbis/Getty Images)

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

What else do I need to visit France at the moment?

Fully vaccinated travelers coming from the U.S. must show results of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours prior to departure for France, in addition to completing an Eos electronic form online.

If you still have questions, we recommend consulting the websites for the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the U.S. Embassy or Atout France. Also, note that many airlines provide answers to COVID-19-related travel questions in specific countries, including Air France.

COVID-19 testing tent in Paris on Jan. 12. (Photo by Nathan Laine/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

While this was a departure from our usual weekly column format, I hope it was just as helpful and I sincerely wish I had better news to report.

For what it's worth, I still think Paris is (sometimes) a good idea depending on how safely you can visit. But that's how I am personally approaching travel right now.

Have a question for next week? Email me at caroline.tanner@thepointsguy.com or tips@thepointsguy.com.

Read more: More answers about the French health pass and trusted traveler programs

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

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  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees