What are the rules for children entering France from an amber country?

Do they need to be vaccinated or take a PCR test? Up to what age are they deemed covered by their parents’ vaccination status?

12 July 2021
A family at an airport wearing Covid masks

The vaccination status of adults travelling to France applies to children under 18 years old travelling with them Pic: Halfpoint / Shutterstock

Reader question: I am fully vaccinated and I want to travel from the UK [an amber country according to French rules] to France with my two children, aged 12 and 15, for a holiday. What are the rules for travelling with children?

To enter France from an amber country the person must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or, if not fully vaccinated, have an essential reason for travelling – mainly related to having the right to live and work in France. 

Read more: 12 reasons unvaccinated people can visit France from an amber country

If you are in an amber country and you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with a vaccine recognised by the EU - AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna - then you can enter France for a holiday.

The vaccination status of the adult is applied to minors - those aged under 18 years old - they are travelling with.

The rules state: “Proof of vaccination is not required for travel by minors accompanying an adult or adults who are in possession of such proof”. 

A minor in France is anyone under the age of 18. It is not related to whether the person is still living at home or is financially dependent on parents or guardians. 

This means that if the accompanying adult is fully vaccinated, then all children under 18 years old are also considered to be fully vaccinated.

However, people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in an amber country still need to present proof of a negative Covid test before departure. This also applies to children over the age of 11, whether they are vaccinated or not.

In the case of our reader who is in an amber country and fully vaccinated, your children will be able to travel to France as you are fully vaccinated, but they will need to take a Covid-19 test before travelling to France as they are over 11 years old.

You can take a PCR test 72 hours before departure or a rapid antigen test 48 hours before departure.

France considers a person fully vaccinated:

  • Two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines

  • Four weeks after receiving the first (and only) dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

  • Two weeks after the first dose of a vaccination for anyone who has already had Covid-19

It should be noted that each country on France’s amber list will have its own travel rules in place. Anyone travelling to France should also check their home country’s rules for returning.

Reader question: We are hoping to travel to France as a family in late July. Both parents have been vaccinated but our 12-year-old daughter is not. She has previously had Covid-19. Will she require a negative test result before entering France or is she exempt as she has had Covid-19?

All travellers entering France from an amber country over 11 years old must present proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure.

This includes people who are fully vaccinated or who have had Covid-19 before.

You can take a PCR test 72 hours before departure or a rapid antigen test 48 hours before departure.

Your daughter is under 18 years old, which means that because the accompanying adults are fully vaccinated, she can enter France with you without an essential reason. 

Reader question: I want to travel to France from the UK with my 18-year-old child to visit our second home. They have only had one vaccine dose but they have also tested positive for Covid-19. Are they able to travel to France without an essential reason?

France considers a person fully vaccinated:

  • Two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines

  • Four weeks after receiving the first (and only) dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

  • Two weeks after the first dose of a vaccination for anyone who has already had Covid-19

Your child must have had Covid-19 between two weeks and six months ago and have a test result proving it. 

So, if your child tested positive between two weeks and six months ago and has a positive Covid-19 test with a date on it to prove it, and has also had one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine accepted by the EU more than two weeks ago, then your child can travel to France without an essential reason.

Vaccines accepted by France:  AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

Reader question: We are planning to go to France in July. My wife and I have been fully vaccinated and our two children, aged 15 and 17, have not been vaccinated.

If we complete all the tests and relevant paperwork, I understand that we can all travel to France under the current rules in France and the UK.

A friend of my daughter’s (unvaccinated, aged 16) will be travelling with us to France and then planning to return to the UK on her own after a few days in France.

Firstly, on the trip to France, will the friend be considered as fully vaccinated even though we are not her parents?

Secondly, when she flies back to the UK on her own, will she need any other paperwork apart from a negative Covid test, the passenger locator form and proof that she has two Covid tests booked for when she is back in the UK?

To answer the first question, France’s official rules state that: “Proof of vaccination is not required for travel by minors accompanying an adult or adults who are in possession of such proof”.

So, that would mean that the friend of your daughter would be covered by you and your wife’s vaccination status.

In answer to the second question:

She is not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and she is returning to the UK from France, which the UK has listed as an amber country. 

So this means she will need to present a pre-departure Covid-19 test, buy two Covid tests in advance to be taken in the UK, fill out a passenger locator form and she will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon return to the UK. 

France demands unvaccinated people who are leaving the territory to travel to an amber country provide an essential reason for their journey.

However, if your daughter’s friend is a UK national living in the UK, this counts as a valid reason for leaving the territory, so she will not need a certificate.

France’s rules state: “No foreign nationals travelling to their own country will be prevented from leaving French territory (although there is no guarantee that they will be able to return in the absence of a compelling reason)”.

You can find out more about France’s rules on this at this link. 

Related stories:

Can I use NHS app to show vaccine status for UK to France travel?

UK is planning for vaccinated people in EU and US to skip quarantine

Travel France: Under 18s covered by parent's Covid vaccine status

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