Traveling to France during Covid-19: what you need to know before you go

Editor’s note – Coronavirus cases are streaming around the world. Health officials warn that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you are fully immunized. Below is information on what to know if you’re still planning to travel, last updated on December 10.

(CNN) – If you plan to to travel in France, here is what you need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

France has some of the toughest Covid-19 restrictions in the world. Although it reopened to visitors in the summer of 2020, the country has been quarantined twice since then. After provisionally reopening after a less restrictive third lockdown, France has seen Covid cases increase steadily, leading to the reintroduction of some restrictions.

What’s on offer

The historic boulevards of Paris, the fashionable sweep of La Croisette in Cannes and the lavender fields and vineyards of Provence. France remains one of the most sustainable tourist destinations in the world.

With delicious food, even better wines, landscapes and cities to satisfy all types of travelers, it never disappoints.

Who can go

On November 26, France suspended flights from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini due to the emergence of Omicron, a new variant of the Covid-19. TThe country reported its first two confirmed cases of the new Omicron variant on December 2, and travel restrictions were further tightened as a result.

France currently has a traffic light system for unvaccinated visitors, which separates countries into categories, while a new “scarlet red” category has been introduced due to the Omicron variant.

Although entry conditions differ depending on whether travelers are fully vaccinated or not, all travelers outside the EU are now required to prove a negative Covid-19 test result (PCR or antigen) before entering France.

To be classified as fully vaccinated, travelers must have received two doses of one of the four vaccines approved by the EU, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. The second dose should have been administered at least two weeks before travel.

After initially stating that travelers administered with Covishield, the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India, would not be considered fully vaccinated, authorities have since announced that they will recognize the vaccine.

Unvaccinated travelers from designated “green” destinations traveling from an EU member state must provide a negative Covid-19 test result no later than 24 hours before departure. Those who are fully vaccinated should provide a negative result taken no more than 48 hours before travel.

Fully vaccinated travelers arriving from destinations designated as “orange” will be required to provide a self-declaration stating that they have no symptoms of Covid and have not been in contact with anyone with a confirmed case of the virus within two weeks of their arrival. travel, provide proof of their vaccination status, and submit a negative PCR or Covid-19 antigen test result taken within 48 hours of departure.

Those who are not fully vaccinated must have a basic reason for the visit and must complete an international travel certificate to confirm the purpose of their trip. In addition, unvaccinated travelers must provide a negative Covid-19 test result no later than 48 hours before departure and spend seven days in mandatory quarantine upon arrival before undergoing another PCR test at the end of this period. ‘isolation.

Fully vaccinated travelers from countries on France’s “red” list must submit a sworn statement and provide a negative Covid-19 PCR or antigen test result taken within 48 hours of departure .

Unvaccinated travelers from designated “red” destinations can only enter if they have a valid reason, and are required to submit a negative Covid-19 test result within 48 hours of departure and enter. Mandatory quarantine “supervised by the security forces” for 10 days.

All travelers from countries on France’s new “scarlet red” list must provide a compelling reason for their visit, submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 48 hours of departure, or a negative test result. negative antigen carried out within 24 hours of departure and enter mandatory quarantine “supervised by security forces” for a period of 10 days. Visitors must also complete a declaration on their honor.

Since November 1, unvaccinated travelers arriving from United Kingdom in Paris on Eurostar will have to pass a Covid-19 test on arrival at Gare du Nord. Those who test positive will be subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine.

The country has also introduced a sanitary pass (“sanitary pass”) which stores digital versions of users’ vaccination certificates, proof of a negative PCR or antigen test, or proof of a recent recovery from Covid ( provided they tested positive more than two weeks ago and less than six months ago). The deadline for test results was reduced from 48 hours to 24 hours on November 29.

From January 15, adults who received their last dose of vaccination before January 15 must present a receipt of a reminder in order to extend their health pass.

The pass, accessible via the French Covid-tracker TousAntiCovid app or as a QR code, has been approved for use for summer travel from July 1.

Paper versions of documents will always be accepted, along with photo identification.

What are the restrictions?

As noted above, a traffic light system is now in place for unvaccinated travelers, with different rules depending on whether the country of origin has been designated green, amber or red.

Since November 12, a number of destinations have been “placed under surveillance,” meaning unvaccinated travelers arriving from one of those countries must provide a test carried out less than 24 hours before arrival.

Currently, fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to enter France without restrictions.

What is the situation of the Covid?

France has been one of the hardest hit countries in Europe, with over 8.1 million cases and 121,153 deaths as of December 10. Cases were skyrocketing earlier in the year, with 117,900 new cases reported on April 11 alone. Although the number dropped significantly in the following weeks, with 2,664 new cases recorded on July 2, they quickly started to rise again, with the country recording more than 100 deaths from Covid-19 for the first time since June 17. August. In October, the number of weekly cases increased for the first time since mid-August, as the number of people hospitalized with the virus increased. There were 323,980 cases in the week to December 10.

More than 110 million doses of vaccination have been administered in the country as of December 10.

France relaunched its test and traceability application in October. AllAntiCovid is available for iPhone and Android devices.

What can visitors expect?

President Macron had cautiously eased restrictions in the country after it was locked down for the third time, and many measures have been lifted. But the discovery of the new variant led to bringing back some.

Domestic travel restrictions were lifted on May 3, meaning residents are allowed to travel back to the country, and the national curfew has been lifted.

Outdoor restaurants, cafes and terraces reopened for outdoor service on May 19, with a maximum of six people per table, and non-essential stores also reopened.

Gyms reopened on June 9, while indoor dining resumed in restaurants and cafes, with establishments operating at 50% capacity indoors.

However, nightclubs have been ordered to close for four weeks from December 9 due to the new variant.

On July 26, the French Parliament approved a bill requiring residents to use the health passport, which stores proof of vaccination, negative PCR tests, or evidence that the user has recently recovered from Covid-19, in order to access terraces of cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theaters and other cultural and leisure activities, as well as trains and planes. This legal obligation now applies to anyone over the age of 12.

The government has since announced its intention to extend the health pass measures until July 2022.

On November 16, two French administrative regions announced outdoor mask warrants for a number of cities due to the increase in Covid-19 cases.

Masks are mandatory outdoors in 12 municipalities of the Ariège department, located in the south of France, until December 15, while the central department of Loir-et-Cher has imposed the wearing of masks outdoors in three of its municipalities, as well as public gatherings.

In the rest of the country, masks are currently only mandatory in crowded places outdoors such as markets and stadiums. However, they are now mandatory in indoor public spaces and on public transport again.

Since November 15, face masks are also compulsory again in primary schools.

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Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley and Tamara Hardingham-Gill contributed to this report

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