The French health pass keeps changing; here are the latest details on how to use it
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Last week’s sudden change in the way travelers can apply for France’s digital health pass has left many confused, prompting questions about applications that were previously submitted or obtained before the online application portal closed and how and where exactly this pass works.
In case you missed it, applications for the French health pass abruptly closed on Oct. 31, causing quite a stir among Americans headed to France worried about being able to show proof of vaccination to enter indoor spaces. While we still have some looming questions about whether the online application portal will re-open and if this process will get any easier in time, we now have clarification on existing requests for passes, expiry around the pass and how it works throughout Europe.
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Here are this week’s top five questions:
1. Do we know if they plan on fulfilling existing online health pass requests?
According to a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in France, applications for the digital health pass submitted in the previous online portal before Oct. 29 will still be processed.
However, the Embassy notes this is far from a guarantee and still recommends travelers go to a pharmacy upon arrival to get a full pass generated by proof of vaccination or a temporary 72-hour pass via a negative COVID-19 test.
2. Does the health pass expire?
This is an excellent question I received from many TPG readers who had obtained a health pass prior to last week and were left wondering whether it is still valid and if so, can it be used on multiple trips and for how long. In those cases, your previous health pass does not expire as long as it was based on your vaccination status verified at participating local pharmacies throughout France, per the Embassy spokesperson.
However, the 72-hour temporary pass currently available at pharmacies by submitting a negative COVID-19 test does not last beyond the 72-hour period.
“In this case, it expires after 72 hours indeed,” the Embassy said.
3. Is the health pass accepted throughout the EU?
Once you receive a digital health pass in France, you can use it throughout Europe for places requesting proof of vaccination, as it serves as the equivalent of the EU Digital COVID certificate used by people vaccinated in the EU.
Because the European Commission implemented a coordinated effort to show proof of vaccination throughout the EU’s 27 nations, the digital health pass you obtain in France can be used outside of France throughout the rest of Europe.
“It is generated in a DCC digital format recognized throughout the EU and countries that have established a mutual recognition agreement with the EU,” the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs notes here.
“This is the beauty of European integration,” the Embassy said.
4. How do I update my pass with my booster shot info?
On Nov. 9, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that French locals would be required to show proof of a third booster COVID-19 shot in order to continue using their health pass as valid, starting with those who are at least 65.
“To everyone over 65, I want to say: in the face of the virus, you are more at risk. This is why we launched a recall campaign this summer. We have to speed up. From December 15, you will need to justify a reminder for your health pass,” he tweeted.
From this announcement, it seems likely that visitors to France will also need to show proof of a booster shot at some point, though details on that have not yet been released.
5. Is a health pass needed in French territories?
If you are visiting one of the five French overseas territories (St. Barths, St. Martin, St. Pierre and Miquelon, the Wallis and Futuna islands and French Polynesia), you’re subject to any COVID-19 protocols of that specific country.
For example, St. Barth Properties, a local real estate company, lists entry requirements on their website, including that all visitors to the island ages 18 and older (or children between 12 and 18 traveling alone) arriving from the U.S. must show proof of vaccination in addition to a pre-departure COVID-19 test. Entry to St. Barths for non-vaccinated visitors is restricted to those who have a pre-approved compelling reason.
They also note that either a French digital health pass or proof of full vaccination is required for everyone 18 and older to enter most indoor public spaces, including restaurants, bars and hotels, so be sure to cross-check requirements with both France and the territory.
Have a question for next week? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Featured photo of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris attending a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Nov. 10, 2021 by Eliot Blondet/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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