France Promises Foreign Tourists Access to COVID Health Passes — How to Get One

The passes are now required to visit popular tourist sites, travel across the country by train, and more.

Vaccinated travelers to France from outside the European Union now have a way to obtain the digital health passes required to visit popular tourist sites, travel across the country by train, and even enjoy a coffee and croissant at an idyllic Paris cafe.

France on Monday began requiring use of a QR code-based digital health pass to visit restaurants, bars, and iconic sites including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. The passes are meant to prove a person has either been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested negative for the coronavirus in the previous 72 hours.

U.S. travelers already in France or planning to arrive by Sunday can apply for a French health pass by submitting a copy of their CDC vaccine card, valid passport, and airline tickets to French officials via email. Separate email addresses have been set up for visitors from the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the world.

Visitors will need to have been fully vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca vaccines — all of which are recognized by the European Medicines Agency — to apply. And consider this your official warning: The French government says it will not process incomplete applications or issue health passes for anyone who hasn't been vaccinated, even if they can prove they've recovered from COVID-19.

The French government is currently accepting applications from travelers 18 and older who are already in Europe or plan to arrive by Aug. 15. It's unclear how the process may change for visitors planning trips further ahead.

A woman with a protective mask walks a front Eiffel Tower at the Trocadero place in Paris, France on July 17, 2020.
Mehdi Taamallah/Getty Images

Regardless, U.S. visitors can obtain a temporary digital health pass valid for 72 hours by visiting a local pharmacist for a rapid antigen test. These are widely available on a walk-in basis across Paris.

Some Parisian bars and tourist sites, including the Eiffel Tower, began requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test weeks before the official requirement came into effect. At the time, photographs and original CDC vaccine cards were being accepted with proper identification.

French establishments currently require a digital health pass for anyone 18 or over. That's set to expand to anyone 12 and older at the end of September.

Travel to France does not require use of a digital health pass, but American travelers are required to prove they've been vaccinated against or tested negative for COVID-19 in the previous 72 hours. Most travelers opt to present their CDC vaccination cards to fulfill this requirement, a representative for the airline French Bee told T+L.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 47 U.S. states and 50 countries on six continents. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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