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Travel: Do vaccinated French residents have to pay for Covid test?

It is necessary to take Covid tests before travelling to certain countries from France, including the UK. We explain who needs to pay for that test

Covid tests, even for travel, remain free in France for people in certain circumstances Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

Reader question: Do fully vaccinated French residents need to pay for a pre-departure travel test to go to the UK (or other countries)? And if so how much?

No, fully vaccinated French residents do not need to pay for Covid travel tests in France.

Covid tests in France remain free for people who are fully vaccinated (not including booster shots) against Covid and who are in the French health system (those with a carte Vitale). This includes tests taken for travel reasons or any other reason.

Non-medical related Covid tests stopped being free for non-fully vaccinated people on October 15. This means that if a non-fully vaccinated person in France wishes to travel abroad and is required to take a pre-departure Covid test, they will have to pay for it. 

Covid tests in France remain free for:

  • People who are fully vaccinated against Covid in all circumstances

  • People who have a medical certificate exempting them from being vaccinated against Covid

  • People who have symptoms of Covid. In this case, non-fully vaccinated people can get a free test if they have a doctor’s prescription

  • Everyone under 18 years old

  • Anyone who is still at school (even if over 18)

  • Anyone who is getting surgery

  • People who are officially deemed to have been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive for Covid (a cas contact)

It means that people who are not in the French health system, for example tourists or second-home owners, must pay for their Covid tests for travel reasons. 

Under recent standardised French rules, paid-for Covid tests cost around €25 for an antigen test or €43.89 for a PCR test.

Read more: How do I get a Covid-19 test in France to return to the UK?

Read more: Checklist: When do I pay for France Covid test and when is it free?

Reimbursement for Covid tests taken abroad

When travelling in the EU or European Economic Area (and Switzerland), people in the French healthcare system can be reimbursed for Covid tests taken for medical reasons. This does not include tests taken for travel reasons. 

To do this, you should show your European Health Insurance Card when you get the test.

If you do not have the card with you, you can claim back the money later through your Ameli account.

If you have to take a Covid test outside of the EU or EEA area, then only those taken due to medical or emergency reasons are reimbursed by Assurance Maladie, at a rate of 27% of the cost, up to a maximum of €35.

Find out more details about this on the government’s page here.

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