France’s health pass: the rules for TGVs and other train journeys

Every adult in France must present a health pass (pass sanitaire) before taking a  long-distance train trip - or domestic flight - from today August 9.

9 August 2021

A health pass will now be required on long distance train journeys and domestic flights Pic: Maridav / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

Every adult in France must present a health pass (pass sanitaire) before entering an expanded list of public spaces or boarding long-distance transport from today (August 9). 

French transport minister, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, said this morning that one quarter of the country’s TGV, Intercité and international trains would be subject to pass sanitaire checks.

He added that those carrying a valid health pass and a face mask as well as their train ticket would be able to travel without any problems. 

Note: Proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result will now also be required on domestic as well as international flights. 

Here are key points to remember before you begin a long-distance journey.  

Which train services are affected? 

  • TGV (Inoui and Ouigo) 
  • Intercité trains (day and night)
  • international trains departing from France
  • interregional and international coaches, including Flixbus and Blablacar Bus.

A pass sanitaire will not be required to travel on: 

  • TER (regional) trains
  • Île de France (Transilien) trains 
  • the Paris Métro 
  • the Paris RER 
  • buses or trams.

What is a pass sanitaire? 

The pass sanitaire can take three forms: 

  • Proof that the individual was fully vaccinated at least seven days before
  • Proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR or antigen test taken within the last 72 hours. 
  • A document certifying that the individual has had and recovered from Covid-19 between 11 days and six months before.

Read more: NHS Covid certificates now fully compatible with French health pass

Who will need to show a pass sanitaire? 

Anyone aged 18 or over wishing to travel on a long-distance train must now show a valid health pass. 

Children aged 12 - 17 will also have to use the pass from September 30.

When will your pass sanitaire be checked?

Health pass checks will not be systematic, and could occur just before boarding, travelling on or even once off the train. 

Inspections will happen more regularly in larger stations. 

How will it work? 

If in the station, your health pass will be checked by SNCF teams wearing blue jackets. If already on board, inspections will be carried out by train staff accompanied by security or police officers.

You are encouraged to arrive at the station a little earlier than you would normally, so as to ensure that you reach the platform in good time. 

If your Covid-19 status is checked before you board your train, you might be invited to put on a blue bracelet reflecting the validity of your pass sanitaire and exempting you from further inspections.

Mr Djebbari also suggested that by September, passengers would be able to upload the necessary certification to a new digital system aimed at cutting the time spent queueing in the station. 

What happens if I do not have a pass? 

Passengers found to be travelling without a pass sanitaire but who are already aboard the train will be fined €135. This is also the penalty that you will face if you fail to wear a mask during your journey.

Those stopped before they get onto the train will simply be turned away by station staff. 

What if I cannot travel? 

If you test positive for Covid-19 and are unable to travel, the cost of your ticket will be reimbursed by the SNCF. 

Until next August, all tickets will be exchangeable or refundable up to three days before your planned departure, at no further cost to you. 

Related stories

Read more: Coronavirus: Daily updates on the situation in France

Read more: New test rules for French health pass from August 9

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