Since France introduced its health passport in the summer, travelers entering France from outside the European Union had to convert their vaccine passports into a format compatible with the French system.
France has decided it’s changing the process.
Travelers often had to email online forms, visit pharmacies, and obtain the necessary QR code to operate France’s health passports. It became a convoluted process, and travelers lodged many complaints against the system.
Many travelers were unable to get the QR codes before traveling, leaving them without a French health pass on their holiday. And with the current restrictions, entering France without the health pass is pretty pointless because most activities will be off-limits.
But now the government will introduce another system — which is the fourth system since August — that will force travelers to pay for their code.
The New System
Anyone vaccinated outside of the EU, Schengen zone, or the United Kingdom has to use the new system to use the French health passport.
Without the French health passport, travelers can’t enter cafes, theatres, bars, restaurants, tourist attractions, and use long-distance train travel. Although controversial, France implemented the vaccine passport for all tourists and citizens in August.
However, travelers vaccinated in the EU and the Schengen zone can use either nation’s own vaccination code through the EU digital health pass. England, Wales, and Scotland also have codes compatible with the French system thanks to a separate agreement.
However, American and Canadian tourists have to go through the system.
To apply for the French code, you must be:
- Over the age of 12
- Fully vaccinated with Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Johnson and Johnson vaccines
However, travelers vaccinated with Sinovac or Sinopharm — which applies to many Asian travelers — can get the French health pass if they top up with a Moderna or Pfizer vaccination.
Travelers vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik vaccine or any other vaccines have to receive two doses of Pfizer or Moderna to be accepted as fully vaccinated in France.
How The New System Works
Travelers can now only receive their codes through French pharmacies. Previously, travelers had to apply online or by email in advance to obtain their code.
However, not all pharmacies offer the service, and travelers will have to find participating pharmacies. Most of these pharmacies are in major cities, but travelers can see the interactive map to find the nearest pharmacy to your accommodation.
Once travelers arrive at the pharmacy, they will need to show their passport and their original vaccination certificate from their home nation.
After that, the pharmacies will issue a QR code, which travelers can scan into the French TousAntiCovid app to create their health pass.
If travelers are arriving at the Charles de Gaulle airport, they can use a pharmacy there. But the pharmacy doesn’t operate 24/7.
The previous process was entirely free, but pharmacies can charge up to 36 Euros for the process.
If The New System Doesn’t Work
If France’s new system doesn’t work, travelers can take negative COVID-19 tests because the health pass works with a negative test. Travelers can obtain these tests on a walk-in basis from pharmacies.
The tests cost 22 Euros for an antigen test, and 44 Euros for a PCR test. Thankfully, both tests work with the French health passport.
If travelers have already applied online, the French government has stated they’ll still process existing applications.
But, if the pass hasn’t arrived by the time travelers enter France, they’ll have to use the new system and obtain a QR code from the nearest pharmacy.
Hopefully, this will make the process much easier for travelers visiting France this winter.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com