How UK families can get French health pass for October half-term break
Children over 12 years and two months who are visiting France will need to show a Covid health pass even if unvaccinated
Children aged 12 to 17 in France have been able to get vaccinated since June, but in the UK under-15s are not yet eligible Pic: Halfpoint / Shutterstock
All children in France who are older than 12 years and two months will from September 30 have to show a health pass in order to access a range of public spaces and services.
This includes restaurants, cafés, bars, museums, hotels with shared spaces and theme parks such as Disneyland Paris.
A health pass normally takes the form of a paper or digital QR code showing:
Proof that the individual had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least seven days before
Proof of a negative result from a PCR or antigen test taken within the last 72 hours
Proof that the individual tested positive for coronavirus 11 days to six months before entering the space.
Adolescents in France aged between 12 and 17 have been eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines since June, but the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said that it does not recommend that 12 to 15-year-olds be vaccinated.
This could pose a problem for UK families with children over 12 who are planning on visiting France during the October half-term – which falls in the week of October 26 – as they will all be required to show a health pass.
This means that children who are not vaccinated may need to take a Covid test every 72 hours to be able to enter the public spaces and services that require a health pass.
Is there a solution to the health pass issue?
British families with children aged between 12 and 15 will not be able to use proof of vaccination for their health pass unless their child has a medical condition that has made them eligible for the vaccine.
Another option is for the child to take a PCR or antigen test every 72 hours, so adding to the cost of the holiday.
Antigen tests are the cheapest option – normally costing around €25-€35 – and are readily available from most pharmacies, as well as in airports and at the entrance of some cultural attractions and theme parks.
The result of this test can be used continuously until the end of the 72-hour timeframe.
You can find testing sites near you using this Lieux de dépistage map.
Positive Covid test results also carry a QR code, so people tested in France can use this as proof of having recovered from the virus.
However, in the UK positive test results do not generally come with a QR code that can be scanned into the TousAntiCovid app.
In the advice issued to residents of non-EU countries, the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs also states that the service charged with generating health pass QR codes based on foreign vaccination documents cannot convert certificates of recovery.
How do I access my health pass?
Travellers who are fully vaccinated will be able to access their vaccination certificates through the NHS app. This generates a QR code that can be sent to your email address and printed off.
To convert your certificate into a French health pass, you should download the national TousAntiCovid app and scan your QR code, which once uploaded will constitute a valid pass.
The vaccines accepted as part of the health pass are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
If you are using test results to create your health pass, the test centre will generally email you with a certificate containing your results. This will also contain a QR code which can be converted to a health pass in the TousAntiCovid app.
What are France’s entry requirements for unvaccinated children?
Travelling to France from the UK
The UK is currently on France’s amber list, meaning that unvaccinated adults arriving in the country must present an essential reason for travel, which does not include holidays.
However, children aged 12 years and over who are not vaccinated but who are travelling with a fully vaccinated adult do not need to provide an essential reason for travel or self-isolate on arrival.
They are nonetheless required to present a negative PCR or antigen test result, while children aged 11 and under are not.
Unvaccinated children aged 12 and over and who are travelling alone are subject to the same conditions as unvaccinated adults.
In general, fully vaccinated travellers do not need an essential reason to travel, do not need to self-isolate and so do not need to present evidence of a negative test result.
Full details of the entry requirements can be found on the French government website, where an English translation of the instructions is also available.
Returning to the UK from France
Before their return to the UK, all travellers must complete a passenger locator form, carry out a PCR or antigen test and book a further PCR test for after their arrival.
Unvaccinated adults are generally required to quarantine for 10 days, but children do not. Children younger than four do not have to take any Covid tests, while five to 10-year-olds only have to take a day two test.
11 to 17-year olds must take both a pre-departure and a day two test.
Further details are available on the UK government website.