Can I Travel To France From The US? – Forbes Advisor

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This post was last updated on Dec. 15, 2021.

If you’re vaccinated and planning on heading to France this holiday season, you’re in luck.

In light of the newly-discovered coronavirus variant Omicron, la Republique Française has not implemented fresh travel restrictions for vaccinated visitors coming from the US—for now, at least.

Here’s what you need to know.

Current Travel Restrictions for France

We don’t know much about the Omicron variant yet, but early reports suggest it could be more contagious than other variants. As a result, France has suspended flights from seven countries in Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Flights resumed from these countries starting Dec. 4, but only for travelers who have French or EU citizenship or permanent residency, or are diplomats. Travel for tourism, family visits or study from these countries is fully suspended. Malawi, Zambia and Mauritius also fall under the new rules that took effect Dec. 4.

Travelers from the United States are still welcome to visit France—but only if they’re vaccinated or have a compelling reason. Note, however, that France is classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a Risk Assessment Level 4 for Covid-19, which is considered very high. This means that travelers should avoid travel to France, where possible. The CDC’s travel health risk levels are based on data from the World Health Organization and other official sources, including cumulative new cases over the last 28 days, testing rates and test-to-case ratios.

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Requirements to Enter France from the US

If you’re vaccinated: You’ll have to show a negative PCR or rapid antigen Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of your departure. Previously, the government allowed proof of vaccination to suffice, but now a negative test will also be needed, according to a new rule that went into effect Dec. 4. It is also necessary to attest in a sworn declaration that you have no symptoms of Covid-19 and to your knowledge have not been in contact with a confirmed case in the 14 days prior to your journey to France is also required.

Under this rule, any person traveling to France must present a negative PCR or antigen test within 24 or 48 hours of departure—depending on the country of origin. France has categorized the United States as an “amber” country, meaning there is an active circulation of the virus, and travelers must show a negative test result within 48 hours of departure. The CDC card is accepted as sufficient proof of vaccination for entry into France.

Upon arrival, all vaccinated passengers must also take a systematic antigen or PCR test, though no quarantine measures are currently in place.

If you’re not vaccinated: Because the United States is classified as an “amber” country, US travelers can only enter France if they have “a compelling reason.” Those reasons include:

  • Being married to a French citizen or French resident
  • Long-stay visa holders
  • health professionals;
  • Students enrolled in French education institutions
  • Workers in the land, sea and air transport sector or transport service providers
  • diplomats;
  • You’re transiting through France for less than 24 hours to an international destination

If you fall under one of these categories, you will have to fill out this travel certificate. You’ll also need to present a negative antigen or PCR test taken less than 48 hours prior to your departure.

The same sworn declaration required for vaccinated passengers is also required, and unvaccinated travelers must submit to a systematic antigen or PCR test upon arrival and then self-isolate for seven days, followed by an end-of-period test.

If you’re not vaccinated but previously recovered from Covid-19: You can only travel to France if you have a compelling reason. Instead of presenting a negative Covid-19 test, you have the option to present a certificate of recovery dated more than 11 days and less than six months prior to the date of travel.

However, you may be subject to a random test when you arrive in France—and you must self-isolate for seven days.

It’s important to keep in mind that the current situation is developing, and new restrictions could be put in place by the French government at any time. Refer to the France Diplomacy website for the most up-to-date information.

Related: Best home Covid tests

How to Obtain the French Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire)

France currently requires everyone, including foreign visitors and residents, to provide a health pass (pass sanitaire in French) to access certain events and places to lessons the risk of spreading the virus.

If you’re a tourist, you might think you won’t need this pass—but without it, you won’t be able to eat in restaurants (including their terraces), go to movie theaters, attend festivals and concerts, enter museums or take long-distance transports such as trains.

Failure to provide a valid health pass can result in a fine of 135 euros for the first offense, with increases for each offense thereafter.

The health pass consists of a vaccination certification, a negative test certificate or a recovery certificate in both paper format and digitally in the TousAntiCovid app.

Visitors can obtain a French health pass by providing their passport and original vaccination certificate in paper format at a qualifying pharmacy. By law, it can cost no more than 36 euros to obtain the health pass. You can obtain a health pass once you arrive in France.

Related: When should I use a home Covid test?

Requirements for Returning to the US from France

Entering France is just half of the journey; there are also entry requirements to get back into the US, even if you’re an American citizen or permanent resident. On Dec. 6, new travel restrictions went into effect that require all travelers aged 2 and over flying to the US to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within a day before their flight.

Unlike the previous requirements, which allowed for a longer timetable for vaccinated travelers, this new requirement treats all passengers the same, regardless of vaccination status. As is currently the case, either a PCR or antigen test is accepted as proof of being negative for Covid-19.

The test requirement includes taking it within one calendar day and is not limited to within 24 hours of your departure. This means that passengers can take their test at any time during the day before their flight, no matter what time their flight departs.

Any passenger who recently recovered from Covid-19 may provide documentation of their recovery to sidestep the testing requirement. Accepted documentation of recovery includes a letter from a licensed healthcare provider indicating the passenger is cleared to travel, along with a positive Covid-19 viral test result from within the 90 days prior to the flight’s departure.

There are no new quarantine restrictions at this time.

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