Skip to content

France bans unvaccinated U.S. tourists: Here’s what to expect when you travel to the country

Sept. 10, 2021
11 min read
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.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated as of September 10, 2021, to reflect that France moved the U.S. back to its orange list of countries. Travelers from the U.S. are now subject to stricter entry restrictions. The author traveled to France while the country was on the orange list in June.


As of June 9, 2021, France has reopened its borders to international travelers. Those coming from the U.S. must possess proof of vaccination to the country without mandatory quarantine. As of Sept. 10, unvaccinated U.S. travelers are no longer allowed to enter with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. They are only allowed to enter France for essential reasons as the U.S. has been placed back on France's orange list (more on that below).

I’m a huge fan of France and was ecstatic to hear the reopening news. Naturally, I hopped on one of the first flights to Paris (CDG) that arrived just hours after the new regulations went into effect.

Here, I’ll give you a look at my experience entering France under the new coronavirus entry restrictions.

I’ll start with a quick overview of what Americans need to bring for entry to France and then discuss my travel experience, from checking in at New York-JFK to clearing customs at Paris (CDG).

Let’s get started!

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

Overview of France’s entry requirements (and what to bring)

Vaccinated Americans can now visit France for tourism. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

France implemented a “stoplight” system for tourists entering the country back in June. There are three different colors: green, orange and red. The U.S. is now back on the orange list of countries due to rising coronavirus cases.

Requirements for entering France from the U.S. and other orange countries

You can only enter France from an orange country if you’re vaccinated and sign a sworn declaration that you have no symptoms of COVID-19. Here’s a look at the vaccine requirements:

Sign up for our daily newsletter
  • Proof of your vaccination — the following vaccines are accepted:
  • AstraZeneca
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer

Regardless of where you depart, you must wait a set amount of time after your COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter France. The wait time depends on which vaccine you received:

  • Two weeks after the second injection for two injection vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca)
  • Four weeks after the injection for single injection vaccines (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Seven days after injection for vaccines administered to people who have already had COVID-19, only one dose required

Unvaccinated travelers from orange countries are no longer allowed to visit France for non-essential travel. Those with pressing reasons for travel must provide a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 and 48 hours of boarding your flight, respectively. Additionally, self-isolation for seven days is mandatory.

Unvaccinated travelers from "green" countries are still allowed to enter France but are subject to test requirements. This includes Canada, the Schengen Area and others.

Note that a digital health pass is now required for many activities in France, including dining at restaurants and cafes. This pass proves that a traveler is fully vaccinated or possesses a recent negative COVID test. Check out TPG's full guide to obtaining a French health pass for more information.

Related: What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines in the US

My experience flying Delta to Paris

Every trip from the U.S. to France starts with a flight across the Atlantic. I chose to fly Delta Air Lines from New York-JFK to Paris (CDG). Here’s a quick look at my check-in and in-flight experience.

When I traveled to France, vaccinated travelers were still required to get a pre-departure COVID-19 test. I went to a CVS Minute Clinic in Manhattan roughly 36 hours prior to departing to get a COVID-19 antigen test. This is referred to as a “rapid test” because it provides results within 20 mins of testing. My test came back negative, but I wasn’t surprised as I’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 since early March.

(Screenshot courtesy of MyChart)

Now for a bit of worry. I attempted to check in to my flight 24-hours before departure, as usual. The Delta app stated that I must have a PCR test that was less than 72 hours old in order to fly to France and it didn’t mention an antigen test. While concerning, I chalked this up to outdated app copy, but I was a bit worried as there was no place to get a PCR test in time for my flight.

Again, this wouldn’t have been an issue if I traveled under the current requirements for vaccinated travelers.

The next day, I took a Lyft from my home in Queens to JFK airport. I was booked in Delta Main Cabin but used Delta SkyMiles to upgrade my ticket to Delta One, so I used the SkyPriority lane at check-in to get my boarding pass and check a bag.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

The process was smooth. The woman at the check-in counter asked if I had a PCR test that was less than 72 hours old. I told her I had an antigen test less than 48 hours old. She checked something on the computer, took my passport and then asked to see my antigen test and COVID-19 vaccine card. She confirmed everything was correct and I was on my way.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

After this, I went to the American Express Centurion Lounge and waited for my flight.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

When it was time to board, I walked to my gate and boarded using Delta’s touchless, facial-recognition-powered boarding process. No one at the gate asked about my COVID-19 test.

The flight was remarkably packed for a mid-pandemic transatlantic flight. Delta One was almost full and there were many groups of families in the economy cabin. You could sense the excitement in the air.

The flight mostly went on as normal with food and drink service. Plus, the Delta One Suites on the airline’s A330-900neo were excellent for working and catching a few hours of sleep en route to Paris.

Shortly before arrival, we were given a sworn health declaration to sign and a contact tracing form. The health declaration form would be collected at the border while the flight attendants picked up our contact tracing form before we deplaned.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

The sworn declaration form may not actually be necessary. It laid out old entry rules (mandatory PCR test, seven-day quarantine) and asked you to sign a note saying you have no COVID-19 symptoms and will obey the quarantine. I signed, but border control never asked for my form.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

The contact-tracing form was very straightforward too. It just asked for simple information like your flight number, hotel address and other basics.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Related: Delta becomes first major carrier to launch contact tracing initiative

Experience at the French border

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh / The Points Guy)

I was one of the first off the plane in Paris (CDG) after landing since I was in the first row of Delta One. I walked through a series of hallways until I reached the border control area, where three immigration desks were open. There was already a short line since a couple of other flights had come in at the same time as ours.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

It only took 10 minutes for me to get to the front of the line. Even though I have a European passport, I opted to use my U.S. passport to enter France, so I could better report on my experience in this article.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Thankfully, it was a seamless experience.

I handed the border control agent my passport, CDC-issued COVID-19 vaccine card, sworn declaration and my phone that displayed my negative test results. She looked at the documents, handed me back my sworn declaration and stamped my passport. And that was it: I was in the country.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

This was in stark contrast to Iceland, where I waited for border control agents to discuss whether or not I should be allowed in. Here, there was barely any communication. The friendly border agent just checked my documents and waved me through.

After this, I took a deep breath of relief, collected my bag and requested an Uber to my hotel in Paris. Trust me, the excitement set in quickly.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Checking into my hotel

Also, unlike Iceland, checking into my first hotel in Paris was no different than pre-pandemic times. I was not asked for proof of vaccination or other paperwork, though this may be different now that a health pass is required for many activities. All I had to do was give the front desk clerk my passport and credit card.

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Funny enough, another American was checking in after me. I could tell the hotel staff was equally as excited about today’s reopening. The front desk clerk happily told us we picked the perfect day to visit, as all restaurants are reopening for indoor dining.

Related: 15 things to see and do on your first trip to Paris

Bottom line

Traveling from the U.S. to France is possible under relaxed border rules, and it’s remarkably easy to do. Just wait long enough post-vaccine and you should be good to go.

Because of this simplicity and all that France has to offer, I think we’ll see American tourism to France continue to rebound through the end of the year. I highly recommend you make the trip too — especially now that nightly curfew and other restrictions are lifted.

Feature photo by Nikada/Getty Images

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.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
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

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
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 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more