For those who want to walk the streets of France, visit the historic avenues of Paris, or enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower under the Christmas lights, such a thing is possible for a large percentage of tourists, especially for citizens of the European Union / Schengen area.
Before planning your trip to France this winter, here are extended guidelines for what you need to know.
France is among the European Union countries that have imposed some of the strictest COVID-19 restrictions since 2020. Although France opened its borders to visitors last summer, the country has been under lockdown three times since then.
France entered its third national lockdown in April 2021, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, and reopened again with caution.
However, as cases of COVID-19 have increased rapidly over the past month and with the discovery of the new Coronavirus Omicron variant, the French authorities have announced the re-imposition of entry rules for many categories of travelers.
Who is eligible to enter France now?
Vaccinated travelers from 38 countries, including residents of the rest of the 26 EU member states, are allowed to enter France provided they meet certain entry rules.
Travelers from these countries, known as the Green List of Countries, were allowed to travel to France without restrictions, regardless of their vaccination status.
However, as coronavirus cases are starting to increase again, everyone is now required to present a valid EU digital COVID-19 certificate or other equivalent document. Some travelers are also required to follow additional entry rules.
Here is the list of countries from which travelers can reach France:
26 EU member states Four non-EU Schengen countries: Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and four small European countries: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican State 20 Third countries: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Comoros, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, New Zealand, Qatar, Rwanda, the Kingdom Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Vanuatu.
Vaccinated travelers from these countries are entitled to enter without having to go through any restrictions. All they have to do is provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved by the French authorities.
Unvaccinated travelers coming from any of the countries included in the green category are also allowed to enter France provided they have evidence that they have been infected with COVID-19 in the past six months, or that they submit the results of a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours of arrival.
The test requirement applies to all unvaccinated travelers over 12 years of age.
However, the rules for travelers entering France from a Green Listed country differ from country to country.
Special rules apply to travelers from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia because these countries are currently “under surveillance”.
This means that unvaccinated travelers from the 18 EU countries must submit a negative PCR result taken within 24 hours.
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The entry of France from the countries in the list of amber
All other countries that are not part of the green or red list are placed in the orange category in France.
Vaccinated travelers from these countries are also allowed to enter France without having to go through strict entry restrictions.
However, travelers from these countries who have not been vaccinated must have a strong reason for entry, present a PCR test or an antigen test performed in the last 72 hours or 48 hours, respectively, prior to their appearance at the state border.
In addition, non-vaccinated and non-exempt travelers from countries on the orange list may undergo random testing while in France and be subject to mandatory seven-day quarantine requirements.
Travel to France from the red list countries
According to France’s Red List of Countries, in this category are placed countries with variants of COVID-19, which are subject to strict restrictions, namely Afghanistan, Belarus, Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Eswatini, Georgia, Lesotho, Moldova, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Suriname, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.
Travelers from the above countries can only enter France if they have compelling reasons to travel.
Everyone over 12 years of age must submit a negative PCR test result or a rapid antigen test result within 48 hours prior to admission.
On the other hand, only French citizens can return after staying in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini as flights from these seven countries have been banned in South Africa due to the spread of the Omicron virus.
Moreover, to avoid any further spread of the virus, French authorities have announced that all third-country nationals, including Britons, are now subject to testing requirements. This measure applies to all non-EU citizens, even those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the virus.
“Any person of twelve years of age or older wishing to travel to the national territory from a foreign country must be provided with the result of a screening test or examination conducted less than 48 hours before the flight,” the authorities explained.
>> British nationals traveling to France are subject to additional requirements from Saturday
French health card – what travelers need to know about it
In order to facilitate travel this winter within the European Union, since July 1, the French “Health Card” has become the equivalent of the EU’s digital COVID-19 certificate and is now widely recognized within the group.
“The QR code on the French ‘Sanitaire Card’ can therefore be read anywhere in Europe, directly in the TousAntiCovid app and in paper form, a government statement said.
Thus, travelers to France can prove their health status with an EU COVID-19 passport. The passport can be used in paper or digital form, and travelers will be able to cross the border using the QR code labeled on the passport.
After collecting their European Coordination Certificate, French citizens are advised to follow these steps:
Check the regulations of the destination country Print the certificate or import it into the TousAntiCovid app
Since August 9, with the exception of French citizens, a health permit has become available even to non-EU travelers who wish to have such a document.
However, third-country nationals are no longer eligible to transfer their current passport. Since November 5, travelers from outside the European Union have been required to obtain a new health permit in a French pharmacy.
>> France officially extends health permit requirements until mid-2022
Since the same date, the document has also become necessary to attend the activities of commercial restaurants, trade fairs, exhibitions, professional seminars, stores and shopping centers with an area of u200bu200bmore than 20,000 square meters, etc.
>> How to apply for a French passport for COVID vaccination as a non-EU student and a non-EU student vaccinated abroad
French travel insurance – a must for every traveler
It is strongly advised that all those planning to travel to France during this winter purchase extended travel insurance covering epidemic and pandemic situations to ensure that they can save their money if their trip is canceled due to the coronavirus situation.
Before buying France travel insurance, everyone should check if it includes medical benefits and low expense deductions, covers at least 50,000 euros in emergency medical expenses, and 250,000 in emergency evacuation coverage.
You can buy medical travel insurance protection for France at a very low cost from MondialCare, AXA Assistance or Europ Assistance.
What do you expect when you visit France this winter?
Since August 9, France has made the COVID-19 vaccination passport mandatory for everyone who wishes to access certain events and places.
This means that everyone, including foreign travelers, must provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result of no more than 72 hours upon arrival at these places.
Since May 19, museums and cinemas have opened in France with a limited capacity. This means that the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, and many other monuments such as the Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy are now open to tourists.
Viewers are allowed to return to museums, plazas, monuments, theaters and auditoriums with a seated audience of up to 800 people in indoor environments and 1,000 people in an outdoor area.
Visitors are still expected to wear masks in public indoor spaces such as hotel lobbies, museums and movie theatres, as well as on the city’s most frequented main streets, TheSchengen.com reports.
The current situation of the Corona virus in France
France is one of the European countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 7.5 million cases and 116,848 deaths as of December 4.
As for vaccination rates, data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control shows that 77.2 percent of the country’s adult population has received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 70.0 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated.
>> France recognizes 5 COVID-19 vaccines for travel