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France Suspends Most COVID Restrictions, Including Vaccine Pass

By Michelle Baran

Mar 16, 2022

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Travelers can now enter French bistros without presenting a vaccine pass.

Photo by Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

Travelers can now enter French bistros without presenting a vaccine pass.

The U.S. has been moved to France’s “green list” of countries, meaning unvaccinated leisure travelers can now enter the country, too.

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Just three short months after reintroducing more stringent entry requirements for travelers arriving from the United States amid the winter Omicron-fueled COVID surge, France has now removed almost all of its COVID restrictions. And as of this week, it is also allowing unvaccinated U.S. leisure travelers to enter the country as long as they present a prearrival COVID test, according to the French government’s latest update.

On Sunday, France moved the United States to its “green list” of countries. Fully vaccinated U.S. travelers can continue to enter without a prearrival COVID test, something they have been able to do for the past month. (The testing requirement for vaccinated travelers was dropped in mid-February.)

U.S. travelers are also no longer being asked to fill out an online health declaration form prior to arrival. 

But the biggest change is for unvaccinated U.S. travelers or those who are not considered fully vaccinated—as of February 1, 2022, in order to be considered fully vaccinated by the French government, those age 18 and older must have been vaccinated no more than nine months prior to entry, or they need to have received a booster COVID-19 vaccine dose. Prior to being on the green list, unvaccinated U.S. travelers had been prohibited from entering France unless they had a pressing or compelling reason, such as being an EU citizen or resident or were traveling for an essential work purpose or for studies.

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Now, they can travel to the country as long as they provide proof of a negative COVID test from within 72 hours of departure (for a PCR test) or within 48 hours of departure (for an antigen test). According to the U.S. Embassy in France, the French government will also accept a positive COVID test taken at least 11 days but no more than six months prior to arrival in lieu of the negative COVID test result. 

Unvaccinated children under 12 are exempt from the testing requirement, but those age 12 and older must submit to the same testing requirements as unvaccinated adults.

Another notable change that went into effect on March 14—France has suspended the use of its Pass Vaccinal (or Vaccine Pass), which was official proof of being fully vaccinated that was required for entering numerous establishments, including museums, cafés, restaurants, public transportation, and entertainment venues.

It is still needed for non-emergency visits for hospitals and nursing homes; for those who are not fully vaccinated, a temporary health pass can be obtained with a negative COVID test.

This week, France also lifted its indoor mask mandate. Individual businesses can set their own mask requirements and, of course, travelers and citizens can continue to wear masks if they so choose.

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As for those returning to the United States from France, as of December 6, all international arrivals, vaccinated or not, need to be tested for COVID no more than one calendar day before their flight to the U.S., a requirement that remains in place. And all foreign arrivals into the U.S. must be vaccinated.

This story originally appeared on December 3, 2021, and has been updated to include current information.

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