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UK-France travel: Must unvaccinated teens still do pre-departure test?

France has removed the requirement for negative pre-departure Covid tests for vaccinated people. We look at how accompanying children are affected

France has recently changed its rules surrounding pre-departure travel tests Pic: SeventyFour / Shutterstock

France eased its rules surrounding pre-departure Covid travel testing on February 12, removing this requirement for fully vaccinated people. 

It means that vaccinated people need only present proof of vaccination and a sworn statement confirming that they are not experiencing Covid symptoms. 

Read more: France ends pre-departure Covid test for all fully jabbed travellers

Unvaccinated adults must carry out a PCR test in the 72 hours before or an antigen (lateral flow) test in the 48 hours before they leave for France and show the negative result to their travel operator.

This is as well as presenting their sworn statement and accepting that they may be required to take a random Covid test on arrival and self-isolate if the result is positive.

One interior ministry page also references the need to quarantine on arrival for seven days, but other official sources make no mention of this. We have contacted the French consulate for clarification. 

What about teenagers?

The French consulate website states that teenagers under 18 who are not vaccinated are subject to some travel restrictions even if they are travelling with vaccinated adults.

This means that 12 to 17-year-olds must take a pre-departure test within the above time frames, as well as completing a sworn statement. 

However, they are not required to have an essential reason for travel.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from all Covid restrictions and do not need to take a test, complete any forms or quarantine on arrival. 

It should be noted that the results of self-administered tests which are not from an approved private test provider – for example, NHS lateral flow kits – cannot be used for travel purposes. 

Vaccine passes 

On arrival in France, you will be required to show a vaccine pass (pass vaccinal) to gain entry to a wide range of venues including restaurants, bars, cafés, cinemas, theatres, museums, ski lifts and long-distance transport services such as TGV trains or domestic flights.

Read more: France’s vaccine pass: How and where is it being used?

Read more: Checklist: Where are vaccine passes required in France?

Read more: Easy-look chart: Who is eligible for a Covid vaccine pass in France?

This pass consists of proof of full vaccination or of recovery from Covid within the last four months, and must be presented by everyone over the age of 16.

Read more: How to get a Covid recovery certificate in France and as a tourist?

Children aged between 12 and 15 may continue to use a health pass (pass sanitaire), meaning that instead of showing proof of vaccination they can use the negative result of a PCR or antigen test taken in the last 24 hours. 

Antigen tests are offered by most French pharmacies, with results being emailed out within half an hour, but they come at a cost of at least €22.

However, this option is not available for 16 to 17-year-olds, who will not be admitted to the public spaces included in the system unless they can create a valid certificate of recovery from Covid. 

This should be straightforward for teenagers coming from the UK, whose positive result will be stored in their NHS Covid pass and can be uploaded to France’s TousAntiCovid vaccine pass app. 

However, for people coming from other countries whose certification systems are not compatible with that of France, it may not be possible. 

Related articles

Covid-19: Rules for travel to and from France

French senators call for immediate end to vaccine pass in open letter

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