Tourists in France must pay for Covid tests unless medically exempt

Non-residents in France now have to pay for Covid-19 tests taken for travel reasons, but can still get ones for free in certain situations relating to health

8 July 2021
A mobile Covid-19 testing unit in France

Tourists in France are now charged €49 for a PCR test and €29 for rapid antigen tests, unless they have a medical prescription or they are a contact case for Covid-19 Pic: Sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

Covid-19 tests will remain free for foreign tourists in France if they have a medical prescription or if they are identified as a contact case and can present a European Health Insurance Card. 

This update was published in a government ruling on Tuesday (July 6).

France introduced a new rule yesterday meaning that non-residents now have to pay for Covid-19 tests taken in the country for travel reasons. 

Tourists are now charged €49 for a PCR test and €29 for rapid antigen tests. 

France to charge foreign tourists for Covid-19 tests

The government ruling states, though, that tests will be free for non-residents if they have a medical prescription or if they are identified as a Covid-19 contact case and can present a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

The government order says this applies to “persons from a member state of the European Union or party to the agreement on the European Economic Area or from Switzerland”.

This does not include the UK. 

The Connexion is seeking further clarification from the government on if the UK’s Global Health Insurance Cards will also be accepted as part of this ruling. 

It is also not clear yet if Covid-19 contact cases will have to prove they are a contact case in order to get a free test.

French citizens and residents still have access to free Covid-19 tests for travel or health purposes. 

France’s tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said the government decided to introduce paid Covid-19 tests  for tourists as a matter of reciprocity, because France was an exception in “Europe or even the world” in this regard.

He said he did not expect it to negatively affect tourism to France this summer.

“We have set prices that are still very accessible,” he told Franceinfo.

“We remain competitive from that point of view. Before, it was 'Come to us, it's free', now it's 'Come to us, it's cheaper’”. 

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