The saga with the French health pass continues; answering your questions about getting one now

Nov 5, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Just about every question in my inbox this week asked about one thing: the very sought-after French digital health pass that enables tourists and locals alike to seamlessly access public indoor spaces in France during COVID-19. Applications for such abruptly shut down this week, leaving American travelers heading to France scrambling and wondering what to do.

Rest assured, travelers to France can still enjoy their trip as planned, either by heading to a French pharmacy to request their foreign vaccination certificate be transferred to a digital health pass or by securing a temporary pass via a COVID-19 test.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Here are this week’s top five questions:

In This Post

1. What is the French digital health pass?

Since August, the French government has required people in France, visitors and otherwise, to show digital proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to access certain public spaces, both indoors and out, via a pass sanitaire/digital health pass. Thus far, entry to most places — including cafes, bars, restaurants, shopping centers, public transit, cultural sites, museums, theatres, nightclubs, athletic facilities, medical offices and hospitals — has been limited to holders of the digital health pass.

(Photo by Gary Yeowell via Getty Images)

2. Who needs it?

The digital health pass is mandatory for anyone over the age of 12 intending to participate in specific indoor and outdoor activities in France through at least July 2022. After directing travelers to submit requests for the health pass via email, the French government implemented an online application process in August — one for French citizens who were living or vaccinated abroad and one for the rest of us, including non-European foreign nationals and tourists.

On Oct. 20, French President Emmanuel Macron extended use of the pass until the end of next summer, sparking protests across France and elsewhere in Europe.

The online application for French nationals living or vaccinated abroad. (Screenshot courtesy of

3. What happened to it?

As you might expect, there were many tourists outside of Europe eager to get back to France after its closure due to COVID-19, to the tune of 4.5 million health pass applicants. Unsurprisingly, the French government was unable to process applications fast enough to keep up with the speed at which they were coming in and started warning travelers that they couldn’t necessarily guarantee receipt of a health pass ahead of their trip.

As a result, the online application portal for non-French citizens temporarily closed last week. U.S. citizens and other people vaccinated outside of the European Union were no longer allowed to apply. That caused a state of disarray among Americans with upcoming trips to France, who wondered what to do about applications already submitted and ones for future trips.

Florian Philippot of ”Les Patriotes” party in Paris during a demonstration against the health pass on Oct. 19. (Photo by Stephane Rouppert/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

4. How do you get one now?

“As of October 31, the French government has changed the method in which U.S. citizens and other people vaccinated outside the European Union may obtain a French Health Pass,” per the U.S. Embassy in France, and is now directing travelers seeking the pass to designated pharmacies.

Currently, nearly 100 pharmacies across the country (half of which are in Paris) are accepting requests for a certificate of vaccine equivalence for $42. Click here for a detailed map of locations.

“The network is growing quickly and more and more pharmacies will be added to the map,” About France, France’s national tourism development agency, told TPG via email.

French pharmacies have reported long lines of people waiting to get tested, so be sure to factor some time into your schedule that day.

A COVID-19 screening site in front of a pharmacy Montpellier, France, in August. (Photo by Pascal Guyot/AFP via Getty Images)

5. Are there any alternatives?

Travelers who are unable to convert their health pass, including those unvaccinated, may obtain a temporary 72-hour pass by taking a negative COVID-19 test on the ground in France. Just know that you will have to take a new test every 72 hours for the length of your stay.

Additionally, many travelers have had good luck getting into places with their CDC-issued vaccination card, albeit unofficially.

“I had my physical CDC card and it was like a golden ticket,” TPG product manager Zachary Bartholomew said of his recent trip to France. “Everywhere we went just waved us in.”

Even so, a health pass will likely be necessary to enter typical tourist destinations or places attracting large groups.

“French authorities have been accepting the CDC card as acceptable evidence of vaccination for entry into France, but it is not accepted as a French health pass required for domestic travel within France” or to enter the mentioned sites, says the U.S. Embassy in France. “This is strictly a French government procedure.  Despite what some pharmacies have told travelers, the U.S. Embassy has no access to the French system, nor can we assist in this process.”

Clients line up in front of a pharmacy to book a COVID-19 test in Deauville, France, on Aug. 4. (Photo by Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP via Getty Images)

Got a question for next week? Email me at or

Featured photo of French President Emmanuel Macron by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/AFP via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.