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Traveling to France? There are new rules. Here's what you need to know

Jan. 03, 2022
5 min read
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Editor's Note

This is a continually updated story

France is nothing if inconsistent in maintaining its COVID-19 entry protocols, having changed the process for obtaining the requisite digital health pass four times, now requiring a COVID-19 booster shot for visitors, reinstituting mask mandates and, just yesterday, instituting quarantine for unvaccinated visitors from certain countries, including the United States.

For American travelers heading to France soon or planning a trip in the future, here's what to expect as of Jan. 3.

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(Photo by Antonio Borga/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Entry requirements for fully vaccinated travelers

Entry rules to France depend on the country from which you are coming, designated by color, available here. The U.S. is currently a "red list country," and entry requirements are as follows.

Fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. who are age 18 and older may enter the country by showing proof of vaccination, results of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 48 hours prior to departure for France and a sworn statement attesting they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 nor have had contact with any confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Acceptable vaccination proof

Currently, France recognizes vaccines approved by the World Health Organization and European Medicines Agency, specifically Pfizer,  Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Those who have received a full dose of a WHO-licensed vaccine not approved by the EMA require an additional single dose of an EMA-approved mRNA vaccine, either Pfizer or Moderna.

Travelers are considered fully vaccinated 28 days after receiving one dose of a single-dose vaccine, seven days after receiving a two-dose vaccine or seven days after receiving an additional dose of an EMA-approved  mRNA vaccine for those who received a WHO-licensed vaccine not approved by the EMA.

Per the U.S. Embassy in France, the  card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considered "sufficient proof of vaccination for entry."

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Entry requirements for unvaccinated travelers

Currently, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers are only able to enter France if they possess a "compelling reason for travel," including students and those transiting France for less than 24 hours. A full list of pressing grounds for travel to/from "red" countries is available from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but note the majority of exceptions are not applicable to Americans.

Unvaccinated Americans approved for entry must show a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) performed within 48 hours before departure and are also subject to a second test upon arrival. They must quarantine for 10 days, followed by an additional test.

Ahead of travel, unvaccinated travelers must complete a screening form.

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

Rules for children

Testing, vaccination and booster requirements apply to travelers who are 12 and older, and American visitors must show results of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours to enter the country.

"Travelers under age 11 are treated as vaccinated regardless of their vaccination status and do not need to have a COVID test. Travelers ages 11 through 17 are treated as vaccinated if they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent or guardian," says the embassy. "Travelers in this age group traveling independently must meet the rules applicable to adult travelers."

French health pass

A health pass is required to access most indoor public spaces, including restaurants/bars, museums, entertainment venues and sporting facilities. It's also necessary for long-distance travel throughout the country on public transit. A health pass can be obtained for $40 by showing proof of vaccination at a local French pharmacy on a walk-in basis. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers can obtain a temporary 24-hour pass by taking a rapid antigen test at a pharmacy. Temporary pass holders will need to procure a new pass after the 24-hour period.

The French government previously announced they expect use of the "pass sanitaire" to continue through at least July.

As of Jan. 15, all travelers to France age 18 and older must show proof of a COVID-19 booster shot taken within five to seven months after their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to retain an active health pass. Prior to this date, the booster is only required for those 65 and older.

Mask mandate

Face masks remain mandatory for all those in indoor public spaces throughout the country and are required outdoors in Paris as of Dec. 31, 2021, including in markets. Outdoor mask requirements vary throughout France, so consult local authorities before visiting your destination.

Bottom line

People wait to take a COVID-19 test on Jan. 1 in Paris. (Photo by Li Yang/China News Service/Getty Images)

French officials have modified their entry rules based on COVID-19 developments. Consult the U.S. Embassy and French Ministry for the most up-to-date information.

Both the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued Level 4 travel warnings for France, advising Americans to avoid travel to the country.

Other countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Israel, have banned travel for unvaccinated persons, in addition to requiring a COVID-19 booster for vaccinated tourists.

Related: My experience entering Israel as a vaccinated tourist

Featured image by 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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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023