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France Pauses Pre-Arrival Health Pass Applications for US Travelers

France reopened its borders to Americans in June, with fully vaccinated U.S. travelers exempt from quarantine. But, France has endured several COVID-19 ups and downs since then, which led to the implementation of the French Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire) for residents and visitors alike (excepting minors under the age of 12).

You can still enter the country without a Health Pass but will need one if you hope to visit any of France’s indoor venues, including restaurants, cafes, cinemas, museums, theatres, as well as zoos, amusement parks, sports venues, festivals, concerts, campsites and more. Since August, provision of a Health Pass has also been required to board intercity trains, long-distance buses and domestic flights within the destination.

Those who received vaccines in E.U. countries already have their jabs logged automatically into France’s national health system and can readily obtain a Health Pass, which consists of a digital QR code linked to one’s COVID-19 vaccine records, test results or recovery certificate. For people inoculated outside the E.U., the process for obtaining a Health Pass prior to visiting France was a bit more involved, but entirely possible.

However, since October 31, France has altogether removed the system by which Americans could apply for Health Passes prior to their trips. U.S. travelers can still obtain a French Health Pass QR code but must now do so after reaching their destination.

Under new protocols, visitors who’ve been vaccinated outside the E.U. can acquire a Health Pass in a couple of different ways. The first is by having their passport and vaccination card details verified at any of the participating pharmacies scattered throughout the Republic for a fee of up to €36 (about $42).

USA Today reported that there are presently 33 participating pharmacies located in and around Paris, with a total of 96 total in the entire country. You’ll need to present your valid passport and original paper vaccination card, displaying your date of birth, vaccination date(s), number of doses and the country where you received said vaccines.

If you’re unable to get your documents verified at one of these pharmacies, there’s another route available to you. Travelers can obtain a temporary Health Pass by testing negative on a COVID-19 test taken in France, where rapid antigen tests are available on a walk-in basis at many local pharmacies.

The results include a QR code that can serve as a temporary Health Pass, valid for 72 hours only. However, using this method, you’ll have to get tested every 72 hours at your own expense, with antigen tests typically priced at between $30 and $35. Depending upon the size of your party and how long you’re staying in France, your trip could wind up costing a fair bit more than you’d anticipated.

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