Can I use my French health pass to travel abroad?

The French health pass is proof of having been vaccinated against Covid-19, having been tested for it or that you have had Covid. The certificates proving this that are issued in France are also recognised around the EU and by the UK

10 August 2021

French Covid vaccination and test certificates are compatible with an EU scheme allowing member states to recognise each other’s certificates Pic: Rarrarorro / Shutterstock

By Thomas Brent

Reader question I live in France and have a health pass - is this what I will use if I want to travel out of France?

It is first necessary to understand what a health pass is, which is a way of showing one of the following:

  • Proof of full vaccination

  • Proof of a negative Covid test taken within the past 72 hours (PCR or rapid antigen)

  • Proof of having been positive with Covid 11 days to six months before entering the space

The countries of the European Union, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City are all part of a common recognition scheme that means that Covid vaccination or test certificates issued in any of these countries can be recognised by all the other countries.

This scheme is called the EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC).

Every country can set its own Covid-related entry requirements. 

Most of these countries will require travellers who want to go between them to present a Covid-19 test and/or proof of vaccination.

For anyone who has been vaccinated in France or who has taken a Covid-19 test in France, they will be able to use this to travel to any of these other countries.

To make sure your Covid-19 vaccination certificate has the latest QR code on it that is compatible with the EU’s scheme, read our article here: How to ensure your French Covid certificates will work for EU travel

EU countries previously agreed on a standard validity period for Covid tests: 72 hours for PCR tests and 48 hours for rapid antigen tests. This may differ depending on the country and it is worth checking the entry requirements for the country you are travelling to before setting off. 

Anyone who has uploaded their French Covid vaccination certificate to the application TousAntiCovid will see that they are able to switch their certificate to ‘border mode’, which it suggests you do when travelling rather than when you are using the health pass within France for entry to venues or to travel on TGVs etc.

This is of course not possible if travelling with a paper version of your vaccination certificate, but it does not matter. 

Travel authorities in countries in the Digital Covid Certificate scheme will simply scan the QR code on your test or vaccination certificate (whether you show it in the app or on paper). 

The DCC scheme was created to cut down on fraud and to avoid the issue of vaccination and test certificates being written in multiple languages. 

Travel to the UK

The UK also accepts Covid test and vaccination certificates that are compatible with the EU’s DCC scheme. 

To qualify, travellers must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised by any of the following bodies:

  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) for Europe

  • Swissmedic for Switzerland

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the US

Your vaccination proof can be in the form of:

  • An EU Digital Covid Certificate (EU DCC) for Europe (digital or paper certificate), showing you’ve had a full course of an EMA or Swissmedic-approved vaccination

  • A CDC card for the US – you’ll also need to show proof of US residency, such as your US passport, visa or Green Card

If you cannot show an EU DCC or CDC card, you must follow the rules for those who are not fully vaccinated.

You must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in the UK. 

Travel to other countries

For travel to other countries, you need to check what the entry requirements are, and if the country is accepting Covid test and vaccination certificates issued in France or the EU. 

Related stories:

France extends health pass: Rules for residents and tourists

Does the UK accept French Covid vaccination certificates?

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