Can I travel to France from the United States?
This article was last updated on December 1, 2021.
If you are vaccinated and plan to travel to France during the holiday season, you are in luck.
In light of the recently discovered variant of the Omicron coronavirus, the French Republic has not put in place new travel restrictions for vaccinated visitors from the United States, at least for now.
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 may be more contagious than the other variants. As a result, France has suspended flights from seven African countries: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Flights will resume from these countries from Saturday December 4, but only for travelers who have French or European nationality or permanent residence, or are diplomats. Travel for tourism, family visits or studies from these countries are totally suspended. Malawi, Zambia and Mauritius will also be subject to the new rules from December 4.
Travelers from the United States are still welcome in France, but only if they are vaccinated.
Conditions for entering France from the United States
If you are vaccinated: You will be required to present a negative Covid-19 antigen PCR or rapid test carried out within 48 hours of departure. The government previously allowed sufficient proof of vaccination, but now a negative test will also be required, according to information released on Wednesday. The new rule would come into effect from Saturday, December 4.
For those traveling before December 4, only proof of being fully vaccinated is required. The French government’s definition of being fully vaccinated means:
- It has been at least seven days since you received your second injection of the two-shot vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Vaxevria and Covishield), four weeks after the single-shot vaccines (Johnson & Johnson) or
- It has been at least seven days since you received a dose of a vaccine if you had previously had Covid-19 (it is not immediately clear if there is a limit to how long you have contracted Covid-19 for. that this rule applies). As of December 15, people 65 years of age and older who have been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine must provide proof of a booster vaccination. You will also need to provide this sworn statement attesting 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 trip to France.
If you are not vaccinated: France currently has classified the United States as an “amber” country, which means that there is an active circulation of the virus. If you are not vaccinated, you will only be able to enter France if you have “a compelling reason”. These reasons include:
- Be married to a French citizen or French resident
- Long-stay visa holders
- Health professionals;
- Students enrolled in French educational establishments
- Land, sea and air transport workers or providers of transport services
- You have been transiting through France for less than 24 hours to an international destination
If you fall into one of these categories, you will need to complete this travel certificate. You will also need to present a negative PCR test carried out less than 72 hours before your departure, or a negative antigen test carried out less than 48 hours before your departure.
A sworn statement attesting 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 trip to France is also required.
If you are not vaccinated but have already 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 of presenting a certificate of recovery dated more than 11 days and less than six months before the date of travel.
However, you may be subject to a random test upon arrival in France and you must self-isolate for seven days.
It is important to keep in mind that the current situation is changing and that new restrictions could be put in place by the French government at any time. Check the France Diplomatie website for the most recent information.
How to get the French Health Pass
France currently requires everyone, including visitors and foreign residents, to provide a sanitary pass (sanitary pass in French) to access certain events and places to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
If you are a tourist, you might think that you won’t need this pass, but without it you won’t be able to eat in restaurants (including their terraces), go to the movies, attend festivals and concerts, entering museums or taking long-distance transport such as trains.
Failure to present a valid health certificate may result in a fine of 135 euros for the first offense, increased for each offense thereafter.
The health pass consists of a vaccination certificate, a negative test certificate or a recovery certificate in paper and digital format in the TousAntiCovid application.
Visitors can obtain a French health passport by presenting their passport and original vaccination certificate in paper format at an eligible pharmacy. By law, obtaining the health pass cannot cost more than 36 euros. You can get a health subscription once you arrive in France.
Conditions for returning to the United States from France
Entering France is only half the journey; there are also entry requirements for re-entering the United States, even if you are a United States citizen or permanent resident.
U.S. citizens and permanent residents entering the United States must present negative Covid-19 test results to their airline before boarding the plane, regardless of their vaccination status. It will also be checked at customs upon arrival.
- If you are vaccinated: You must present a negative viral test carried out at the latest three days before the departure of the flight and a proof of vaccination. Most French pharmacies accept requests without an appointment for (rapid) Covid-19 antigen tests, the cost of which is capped at 22 euros.
- If you are not vaccinated: You must present a negative test carried out in the day preceding the departure.
- If you are not vaccinated but have already recovered from Covid-19: You can travel with recovery documents from Covid-19 and a letter from a licensed health care provider or public health official stating that you have been authorized to travel.
If you are not a US citizen or have some US immigration status and are not fully immunized, you will not be allowed to fly to the United States.
There are reports that the United States may soon impose more stringent pre- and post-arrival testing requirements – and even self-isolation. The Biden administration is expected to announce the new rules on Thursday, December 2.
It is important to keep in mind that the current situation is changing and that new restrictions could be put in place by the US government at any time. Check the CDC website for the most recent information.
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