France to charge foreign tourists for Covid-19 tests from tomorrow

From July 7, it will cost tourists €49 for a PCR test and €29 for a rapid antigen test

6 July 2021
A person getting a Covid-19 test via a nose swab

Covid-19 tests will no longer be free for foreign tourists in France beginning July 7 Pic: Noiel / Shutterstock

Foreign tourists will have to pay for Covid-19 tests in France beginning tomorrow (July 7).

This announcement was made by the French government at the beginning of July and is a U-turn as it previously said all tests in France would be free for visiting tourists. 

Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said the decision had been made as most other countries are requiring tourists, including people from France, to pay for tests.

Tourists will be charged €49 for a PCR test and €29 for rapid antigen tests. 

French citizens and residents will still have access to free Covid-19 tests. Tests will also be free for those with a medical prescription. 

Reimbursement for tests taken abroad by people who live in France

France’s medical insurance service Assurance Maladie will cover the costs of certain tests taken abroad. 

Tests taken in an EU country and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland:

Covid-19 tests taken for medical reasons (presence of Covid-19 symptoms) or administrative reasons (when the tests are mandatory to enter or leave an EU state) are covered 100% up to €35. 

People can present their European Health Insurance Card, the French version is known as CEAM, at the moment of the test to benefit from this coverage.

If you do not have one of these cards, then you can claim back the money when you return through France’s state health insurance service. 

You need to fill out the form "S3125 soins reçus à l’étranger” and submit it to the Assurance Maladie.  

However, France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran stated in mid-June that Covid-19 tests taken abroad by people who live in France wishing to return to France will not be covered by the health insurance.

This means tests taken for medical reasons will still be covered, but not those taken for administrative reasons.

The government is yet to announce the details of this update or when this rule will come into force.

Tests taken in another country:

People travelling to non-EU countries, such as the UK and the US, will be able to be reimbursed for Covid-19 tests taken only for medical reasons, up to 27% of the cost. 

In the UK, Covid-19 tests taken for medical reasons are already free. Tests taken for travel reasons must be paid for, with prices varying depending on the laboratory or service that customers use. France will not cover costs for tests taken for travel reasons in the UK as it is not a member of the EU. 

To benefit from any reimbursement, you should fill out the form "S3125 soins reçus à l’étranger” and submit it to the Assurance Maladie, along with a medical prescription. 

Read more:

France to charge foreign tourists for Covid travel tests from July 7

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