France-US travel: What is known about the plan for November reopening?
The US is dropping its Covid-related travel ban for fully vaccinated people from the EU in early November. We give details on which vaccines will be accepted, the rules for children and other requirements
The US is dropping its Covid-related travel ban for fully vaccinated people from the EU in early November Pic: Fotinia / Shutterstock
[Article updated on September 21 at 16:40]
The US is set to drop its travel ban on fully vaccinated travellers from the EU, the UK and several other countries in ‘early November’, over one and a half years after it began.
No exact date has yet been set and many details are still being worked out but here are details of what is known.
Proof of vaccination
It is not yet been clarified how travellers from France will be able to prove their vaccination status to travel authorities or US border agents.
The process for travellers to demonstrate this will be unveiled by early November, according to the Washington Post, citing comments by White House spokesman Kevin Munoz.
Covid vaccination certificates issued in France have a QR code on them which is compatible with an EU-wide verification system. The US is not a part of this system and its own vaccination cards are paper based without QR codes.
Another question about the rules is whether the US will accept travellers vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.
Around 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in France. The vast majority of people in France have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is approved by the FDA.
The White House Covid response coordinator Jeff Zients has said that it will be up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to decide which vaccines will be accepted.
A spokesperson for the CDC did state on Monday (September 20) that the organisation considers a person to be fully vaccinated with any FDA-authorised vaccine and any vaccine authorised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for emergency use by the WHO, but this is not official confirmation that the US will accept travellers vaccinated with this vaccine.
Thierry Breton, European commissioner for internal market, said he had spoken to Mr Zients about the AstraZeneca vaccine and was told the CDC would make the decision, but that he sounded “positive and optimistic”.
Tests, contact details, quarantine and children
The US requires that all air passengers arriving from abroad get a PCR Covid test no more than three days before their flight departs and present a negative result to the airline before boarding the flight.
Mr Zients has said that travellers to the US will have to provide contact information to airlines. This could involve giving a phone number and/or email address, and providing information on where the traveller will be staying during their time in the US.
Fully vaccinated travellers to the US will not need to quarantine on arrival.
Tourists from France who are not fully vaccinated against Covid will remain barred from travel to the US.
Children under 12 are likely to be exempt from needing to be vaccinated under the new rules.
Return to France
The US is now on France’s amber travel list.
However, there are no restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers entering France from any country. It means that as any tourist from France who travels to the US must be vaccinated under the new rules and they will not face any restrictions on returning to France.