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More answers about the French health pass and trusted traveler programs

Jan. 08, 2022
5 min read
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For this first column of 2022, we are revisiting two of the most question-provoking conversations I've covered since starting this column last year — France's digital health pass and, you guessed it, expedited security programs, which TPG readers seriously cannot get enough of.

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Here are this week’s top five questions:

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1. What are the entry requirements for children traveling to France and do they need a health pass?

Children under 12 are exempt from testing, vaccination and booster requirements and those ages 11 through 17 hold the same vaccination status as their parents or guardians accompanying them as it relates to entry rules.

For example, a 13-year-old traveling with their vaccinated parent(s) would be treated as if they are vaccinated and therefore expected to show results of negative PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure for France. However, solo travelers in this age group must adhere to the same rules as adult travelers.

A pharmacy collects a sample from a member of the public for a COVID-19 antigen test in Paris on Jan. 6. (Photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

2. Are health passes predating the booster mandate still sufficient for use in France?

In case you missed it, French officials have announced that all travelers over 18 must show proof of a COVID-19 booster shot to retain an active health pass starting Jan. 15. Your pass must indicate receipt of a booster within five to seven months after your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

This creates a potential problem for those who had previously obtained health passes prior to Jan. 15 deadline. In this case, those travelers who received a health pass prior to getting boosted must secure a new pass upon arrival in France in order to enjoy the restaurants, bars, museums and other public businesses requiring such for entry through at least this summer.

As a reminder, you can buy a health pass for $40 at local French pharmacies by showing proof of vaccination. Read more about traveling to France here.

People wait outside a pharmacy to receive COVID-19 antigen tests in Paris on Jan. 6. (Photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

3. Why do some Sentri enrollment centers not have any available appointments?

After submitting an online application for Sentri, the trusted traveler program that allows expedited passage into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico and also access to TSA PreCheck, approved applicants will be prompted to schedule and attend an in-person interview at locations throughout Arizona, California and Texas.

As noted by a TPG reader, some of these locations currently have zero availability for upcoming appointments, which I can reasonably conclude is due to the COVID-19-induced workforce shortage.

If you are having trouble scheduling an appointment for any TTP, continue checking for any open availability, including last-minute cancellations that are released in real time.

(Screenshot courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security)

4. If I have Global Entry, can I use a Sentri lane at the US-Mexico border?

"Global Entry members who wish to drive their vehicle in the SENTRI lanes, must register their vehicle with CBP and schedule an appointment at a SENTRI enrollment center to conduct a 7-point vehicle inspection," says U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Cars stand in line at the Paso del Norte International Bridge at the Mexico-U.S. border on Nov. 7. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

5. Does every person in a vehicle need to be a Sentri member to use a Sentri lane?

Unfortunately, every person traveling in a registered vehicle must be a Sentri member in order to use Sentri lanes at U.S. borders. That means each member of a family needs their own individual Sentri card. The good news is that you can register more than one person with your initial application. The price according to Sentri is "$25.00 per person or maximum of $50.00 for husband, wife and minor child."

For example, a family traveling together would only be able to use the individual SENTRI lanes at a border crossing if every person in the car was registered.

"You can register up to 4 vehicles for use in a SENTRI lane, and you can have up 8 SENTRI members registered to a vehicle," per CBP.

Cars stand in line at the Paso del Norte International Bridge at the Mexico-U.S. border on Nov. 7. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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

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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