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Do Americans (or other nationalities) need boosters to visit France?

Separate sets of rules exist for international travel to France and for travel and other activities carried out after arrival in the country

People entering France from abroad do not need to have a booster to count as fully vaccinated Pic: Halfpoint / Shutterstock

[Update January 4 at 13:15 - France is now shortening the time frame in which people can get their booster doses before their health pass expires. Read more: France reduces time gap to get Covid booster jab to keep health pass]

People travelling to France from abroad do not need to have a booster dose to be classed as fully vaccinated, but from January 15 this third vaccination will gradually become a mandatory element of the French health pass for all adults. 

Read more: Covid boosters, vaccine passes: What changes in France on January 15?

The US, for example, is currently on France’s amber list for travel. 

This means that if you are fully vaccinated, no restrictions shall apply to you when entering the country, as long as you can provide proof of vaccination. 

France’s Interior Ministry states that a person travelling from abroad is deemed to be fully vaccinated: 

  • “28 days after receiving one dose of the Janssen vaccine, 
  • “Seven days after receiving a second dose of other vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Covishield),
  • “And, for persons who have received all the required doses of a WHO-licensed vaccine not approved by the EMA, seven days after receiving an additional dose of an EMA-approved vaccine.”

Therefore, no booster doses are required for entry into France. 

However, even vaccinated people travelling from the US and other countries must: 

  • Provide evidence of their vaccination status. CDC cards are widely accepted as such proof. 
  • Complete a sworn statement (available on the French Interior Ministry website) confirming that they are not experiencing Covid symptoms and have not been in contact with a confirmed Covid case in the last 14 days
  • Present the negative result of an antigen or PCR test taken in the 48 hours prior to their journey to their travel operator. 

Further information can be found on the French Interior Ministry website.

Health passes 

Travel restrictions for entry into France do not include a booster vaccine dose requirement, but once you are in the country, you may need to have proof of an additional dose in order to access a wide range of public spaces and services. 

Read more: Checklist: Where and when should I use the French Covid health pass?

These include restaurants, bars, museums, theme parks and long-distance transports. Therefore, if you are planning to take a domestic flight within transport you will need to have one. 

The health pass (pass sanitaire) consists of proof of vaccination, proof of a recent negative test result or proof of recovery from Covid within the last six months. 

It should however be noted that test results can only be used for 24 hours and that tourists wishing to take one at a pharmacy or test centre will be charged at least €22.

Read more: How to get a Covid test in France and when you have to pay

TousAntiCovid-compatible recovery certificates are also only available through the French testing system, which will issue QR codes that can be uploaded to the app. Therefore, visitors to France are unlikely to be able to use their own country’s proof of recovery as a health pass. 

The health pass is normally presented through the TousAntiCovid app, where you can upload and store the relevant documents, or in paper form.

Travellers should also be aware that since December 15, booster doses began to be integrated into TousAntiCovid as a compulsory element of the health pass for people over 65. 

Now, anyone over this age who had their second vaccine dose seven months ago but have not yet had their booster will not be able to generate a health pass, as its potential validity period can only be extended with the injection of an additional vaccine dose. 

For people who initially had the single-dose Janssen vaccine, the deadline for receiving the booster is two months after the first dose. 

On January 15, this requirement will be extended to all adults in France, residents and visitors alike. 

So, if you had your second vaccine dose three months ago and are planning on visiting France in January, you will not need to have had your booster to be able to generate a health pass. 

However, if you are an adult, had your final dose in April 2021 and will be in France after January 15, an extra dose will be needed to create a valid pass. 

You can find out more about this through government information page Service-public.fr

Currently, if your second vaccine dose was over seven months ago but you are unable to get a booster dose, you can generate a 24-hour pass by taking a Covid test. 

However, the French government has presented a bill for debate in Parliament which seeks to transform the health pass into a vaccine pass. This would eliminate the testing option. 

Read more: Covid fifth wave: French government brings vaccine pass debate forward

How can I convert my US vaccination documents to a health pass?

Tourists visiting France from non-EU countries such as the US can convert their vaccination documents to a TousAntiCovid-compatible QR code by visiting one in a list of participating pharmacies, including over 300 in Paris, with their passport and vaccination documents. 

The vaccination certificate must be in its original paper form and contain the person’s full name, date of birth, vaccination date(s), the vaccine used (and batch number if possible), the number of doses and the country in which they were received.  

Read more: How can I convert my US vaccination documents to a French health pass?

The pharmacist will then convert the documents into a QR code which can be scanned or downloaded onto the TousAntiCovid app, where it can be kept indefinitely.

This will come at a cost of up to €36 per conversion.

Children over 12 years of age who are fully vaccinated can also obtain a code. In France, children under the age of 12 years and two months do not need a health pass.

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