[Article updated on October 13, 2021 at 08:45]
Reader question: We are travelling to France for the school holidays to visit our parents with our 16-year-old-son, who has received one Covid vaccine. When we went to get his second, we were told that this is all he will receive in the UK at present. What are the rules for entering France and while there?
The UK is currently offering a single Covid vaccine dose to all healthy 12 to 15 year olds, with a second dose not being considered until spring 2022.
In addition, the government has stated that 16 to 17 year olds will be offered a second dose “at a later date” that has not yet been specified.
France recognises people as being fully vaccinated after two doses of three of the four vaccine types that are being used and accepted in the country: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. A person is considered fully vaccinated after one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
However, for any under 18 travelling to France, the same vaccine status will be applied to them as the accompanying adult. This means that if our reader is fully vaccinated, their 16-year-old son will also be considered fully vaccinated and therefore able to enter France without extra restrictions such as having to provide an essential reason.
Non-fully vaccinated children over 12 will, however, need to take a PCR or antigen test in the 24 hours before they travel to France.
The UK is on France’s amber travel list, so over 18s who are not vaccinated are required to provide an essential reason for their travel, which mainly relate to having the right to live and work in France.
You can find out more information about what requirements there are to enter France from an amber country at this link (in French). You can also read our travel rules article about UK to France travel here.
Under-18s returning to the UK from France will not need to take a pre-departure test but will be required to take a day two test after arrival if they are over five (or over 11 for travel to Scotland).
France’s health pass (pass sanitaire) rules for under 18s
France requires everyone aged 12 and above to present a health pass to enter the majority of public places, including cafés, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and museums.
A health pass is proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid, proof of having tested negative for Covid within the past 72 hours, or proof of having tested positive for Covid between 11 days and six months prior.
This means that while our reader’s son will be able to enter France without being fully vaccinated or tested, he will need to get tests to visit public places where a health pass is required once in France.
The simplest option is to get a rapid antigen (lateral flow) test, with these available at many pharmacies around the country. These tests should cost around €25 but in some places will cost more.
This test will serve as a health pass for 72 hours and allow our reader’s son to enter public places that require the pass in that time. He will then have to take another test if he wishes to continue going to public places requiring a pass.