How will foreign visitors to France use health pass to go to a cafe?

At present British and other non-EU QR codes on certificates are not compatible with France’s TousAntiCovid application 

14 July 2021
By Liv Rowland

Questions remain over how foreign non-EU visitors to France can prove their health status under France’s pass sanitaire scheme, which will from August be required to go to restaurants and cafes and for long-distance trains and coaches and many other activities in France. 

It will also be needed to access cultural venues such as cinemas and concerts from Wednesday next week (July 21).

The Connexion has identified no information on this from the UK’s foreign office travel advice for France or the American embassy in Paris, which simply states that access to some spaces in France “may be subject to… presentation of a health pass”. 

France’s tourism minister has stated on Twitter that he is looking into the issue, especially on behalf of French people living abroad, and The Connexion has asked the French Health and Foreign Affairs Ministries if it is able to confirm if the same proofs that travellers use to enter the country will be widely accepted for other purposes within France as well.

Yesterday however the French Consulate in London published information stating that an NHS vaccination certificate would be acceptable as a pass sanitaire. 

The consulate states on its website that proof of vaccination, whether on a paper NHS certificate or stored on the NHS App is acceptable but tweet from the consulate suggested that travellers should ideally print off a paper certificate as opposed to relying only on digital proof. 

The consulate states that Scottish certificates, which can be requested online will also be acceptable.

At present British and other non-EU QR codes on certificates are not compatible with France’s TousAntiCovid application or with the EU Digital Covid Certificate scheme, with which it is linked.

EU sources say technical talks are progressing well on potential compatibility between the NHS App and the EU scheme. Discussions are also continuing with the US although this is thought to be more complex as the US itself has no standardised country-wide scheme.

At present travellers from countries listed by France as ‘amber’, such as the UK, may only enter with proof of full vaccination, unless they can show an essential reason for the trip, not including tourism or visiting second homes.

Many British visitors will therefore at present already have vaccination proof in order to enter the country, and this same proof should therefore be acceptable as a pass sanitaire for events and travel in France – assuming that there is widespread communication with those responsible for venues that will be checking them.

In the absence of vaccination proof, a negative PCR or antigen test from the previous 48 hours could be used, and considering the short time-frame many travellers will have to undertake these in France. A €29 antigen test at a pharmacy would in this case be the quickest option.

Senators for the French abroad Olivier Cadic, who lives in the UK, and Robert del Picchia wrote to President Macron this week asking for solutions for those French abroad who wish to visit but have had vaccinations not recognised in France.

However they also said in their letter that “those who have been able to be vaccinated by an approved product… do not have the QR code that would allow their vaccination to be recognised as TousAntiCovid doesn’t account for vaccinations not done in France”.

QR codes from other EU/EEA countries should now be compatible due to the EU Digital Covid Certificate scheme.

Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said on Twitter yesterday work was underway on compatibility for those coming in from non-EU areas, with specific focus on the French abroad.

It is intended that entry to cafes and restaurants will be subject to the pass sanitaire from the start of August, however the director of the large Café de Turin seafood venue in Nice, Plamen Gaybarski told The Connexion this morning (July 14) they have so far had no practical information on how they will check entitlement.

“I believe a specific law will have to be voted on it, we’ll see what happens when more details are released – will it just be for those coming inside, or for people on the terrace as well? We’ll have to wait and see when it’s confirmed.

“We’ve no information, we don’t know about which certificates would be acceptable.”

Read more

Tourists in France must pay for Covid tests unless medically exempt 

Rules for travel to and from France 

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