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France travel: Can I use proof of exemption from Covid vaccination?

A small number of people cannot receive the vaccines due to health conditions 

Certificates of contraindication to Covid vaccines cannot be used as EU Digital Covid Certificates Pic: Song_about_summer / Shutterstock

Reader Question: I have a contraindication to the Covid vaccines, meaning that I cannot receive them. Can I use this as proof for travel from France to other EU countries or will I have to follow the restrictions applied to unvaccinated people? 

There are a small number of people for whom the existing Covid vaccines are not suitable because they have an allergy to their contents or another health condition which puts them at high risk of an adverse reaction. 

In France, these people can ask for a letter from their doctor proving this contraindication. 

These certificats de contre-indication à la vaccination can also be converted into a French vaccine or health pass if the doctor fills in an application form designed for this purpose. 

So, in theory, people with contraindications should be able to upload their certificate’s QR to the TousAntiCovid app.  

However, the French government states that: “The contraindication certificate which will be issued to you cannot be used for travel outside of France, or to Corsica or an overseas territory.”

The Direction générale de la santé has also said that: “Such certificates do not exist within the European regulation of July 1, 2021, relating to the EU Digital Covid Certificate.” 

This certificate would normally be accessed in the ‘Border’ (Frontière) section of the TousAntiCovid app, is common to all EU member states and can be used for travel within the bloc.

If you do not have a Covid vaccination or recovery certificate, you will be required to follow the rules for unvaccinated people. 

Some countries may no longer require unvaccinated travellers to comply with Covid restrictions, but in general they will normally be required to show the negative result of a PCR test taken in the 72 hours prior to or an antigen test taken in the 48 hours prior to departure. 

Some countries may also ask you to present an essential reason for travel. 

However, as stated above, the EU’s Covid Certificate system can also be accessed by people who have had and recovered from Covid in the last six months. 

So, if you have been infected by the virus within that time, you can upload your positive test result – complete with QR code – to the TousAntiCovid app and use it for travel within the EU, unless the country in question does not allow this type of evidence.

Paper certificates can also be used.

It means that if you recently recovered from Covid you will not need to carry out a pre-departure test. 

You can find out more about the EU Digital Covid Certificate on the European Commission website.

Related articles 

What are the Covid requirements for travel from France to Belgium?

Can non-residents be vaccinated against Covid in France?

Does France recognise the Novavax vaccine for international travel?

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