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France reopens to UK tourists: Rules for adults and children

We explain how to get a QR code for the French health pass (pass sanitaire) and the rules for ski stations

A family in ski suits on a mountain cheering at the camera

Heading off to France to ski? We explore the new travel rules and pass sanitaire requirements Pic: Rido / Shutterstock

[Article updated January 18 at 15:55]

France has relaxed the rules for vaccinated travellers from the UK, a move that has been especially welcomed by ski stations, for whom at least 40% of business comes from British visitors in some areas.

Read more: 'Happy and relieved': French ski resorts prepare for British visitors 

Several Covid rules are in place including the need for a French health pass to access restaurants, cafes and other public spaces and some services such as long-distance trains and ski lifts. We summarise.

Vaccinated travellers entering France

  • Vaccinated people travelling from the UK no longer need an “imperative reason” to travel to France. The need for one of a list of restricted reasons has been lifted for vaccinated travellers.
  • Vaccinated travellers no longer need to self-isolate for 48 hours (or 10 days if no early release with a negative Covid test) on arrival
  • Vaccinated travellers must still show a negative antigen test or PCR Covid test from the previous 24 hours before travelling. NHS tests are not valid. A list of test providers in the UK is here. This applies to all travellers aged 12 and over.
  • Vaccinated travellers must still provide proof of vaccination and a declaration of honour (déclaration sur l’honneur) that they do not have Covid symptoms or have been in contact with a confirmed case.

Children under 12 do not need to take a Covid test before travelling to France, but should fill in their declaration of honour. The UK government website states that: "The same measures applied to vaccinated adults are applied to any minors who are travelling with them, whether vaccinated or not." 

Vaccinated travellers entering the UK 

  • Everyone entering the UK must complete a passenger locator form as per UK government instructions. The details of under-18s (or under-16s entering Scotland) can be included on the form of an adult that they are travelling with.
  • Travellers returning to England from France no longer need to take a test before returning, but vaccinated people must take a Covid test on or before day two after return, the day of arrival being day zero. This test can be a lateral flow or PCR test. If you test positive, you must self-isolate, and take a PCR test to confirm.

Children aged 17 and under are subject to the same rules as fully vaccinated people whether they are vaccinated or not. This also applies to people taking part in an approved vaccine trial, and people who are unable to have a vaccination due to medical reasons, states the Consulate General of France in London website.

Children under four are exempt from all testing requirements, while five to 17-year-olds must take a day two test.

France recognises ‘fully vaccinated status’ as the following: 

  • Vaccinations Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson are recognised
  • 1 week after the second dose of Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • 4 weeks after the single and only dose of Johnson & Johnson
  • 1 week after the single dose of any of the above vaccines if you have previously tested positive for Covid-19

People travelling to France from the UK cannot use their NHS vaccination card as proof of vaccination.

You must instead generate or obtain printed or digital proof of your vaccinations with a QR code OR a document (dated more than 11 days ago and less than six months ago) proving that you have recently recovered from Covid.

This can be found on the NHS app or from your doctor.

Do I need a pass sanitaire in ski stations in France, and how can I get one? 

Yes, everyone aged 12 and over needs a pass sanitaire in France to enter most public places, including restaurants and cafes. This also applies to the use of ski lifts.

France’s health pass rules apply to children aged 12 and above. Younger children do not need one.

It is not yet clear what will happen with health passes and the rules for children aged 12 and over if the French government changes the health pass to a ‘vaccine pass’ as expected. We will update you as soon as the information becomes available.

You can get a health pass (pass sanitaire in French) by downloading the TousAntiCovid app and scanning your UK NHS QR codes proving your vaccinations or recovery status into the app.

Note that from January 15 new rules apply to health passes in France in relation to booster doses. These rules now also apply to visitors to France.

Read more What changes to the health pass come into force on January 15?
Read more: 'Incompatibility of French-UK Covid systems harming French ski season' 

What if I (or my child aged 12 or over) don’t have a QR code from the UK?

If you are travelling from the UK but do not have an NHS QR code (e.g. if you are from Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man or Gibraltar), or you are a child aged 12 or over without a QR code, you can only get a temporary QR code for use in France by obtaining a negative PCR or antigen test from a healthcare professional at a pharmacy in France.

This can be printed, texted or emailed to you after the result. Pharmacies offering this service are listed on the French health website here, with a map here.

Note that this is expected to change if France changes its health pass to a vaccine pass which is planned for next week. Tests will then no longer be accepted as a way to access a health pass in France.

Read more: Why the Covid vaccine pass bill may be delayed (again) in France?

Please be aware that UK citizens without EU residency or additional EU citizenship cannot currently get a temporary ‘Equivalent’ EU vaccine certificate QR code via this French online portal, as it is not open to those from outside the EU. The website states: “Please do not complete a file on this platform, your file will be refused.”

Facemasks are also currently mandatory in most public spaces and outdoors in France, except where stated.

What about unvaccinated travellers to France from the UK?

  • Unvaccinated travellers must still have an imperative, “compelling” reason and attestation form valid for “red countries”  A list of acceptable “compelling reasons” for travel can be seen here (PDF in French). This does not include visits to family, second homes or general tourism.
  • Unvaccinated travellers must still quarantine for 10 days on arrival at the address listed on their stated address (see below).
  • Unvaccinated travellers must register, before their departure, on the digital passenger eOS platform, and must enter the address of their stay in France. They must quarantine there for 10 days upon arrival.
  • Unvaccinated travellers must still show a negative antigen test or PCR Covid test from the previous 24 hours before travelling. NHS tests are not valid. A list of test providers in France and the UK is here.
  • Unvaccinated travellers must fill in a declaration of honour (déclaration sur l’honneur) that they do not have Covid symptoms and have not been in contact with a confirmed case.

In addition, the Consulate General of France states: “All travellers might be asked to take a test upon arrival in France, including at Gare du Nord for Eurostar arrivals. Anyone testing positive for Covid-19 will be subject to mandatory self-isolation for 10 days.”

Unvaccinated passengers returning from France to the UK

  • Unvaccinated people must be able to present an essential reason for travel. Further information can be found here.
  • Unvaccinated travellers returning to England do not need to take a test before returning, but must self-isolate for 10 days, and take Covid PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8 after return. 
  • Unvaccinated travellers returning to Scotland must take a Covid test before arrival, complete a Passenger Locator Form, and buy PCR tests to take on Day 2 and Day 8 of the 10-day quarantine.

Related stories

'Happy and relieved': French ski resorts prepare for British visitors
Flights, trains, holiday firms gear up for increased UK-France travel 
UK-France travel restrictions ease
Why the Covid vaccine pass bill may be delayed (again) in France? 

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