It was supposed to be the cornerstone of the European strategy to open up to tourism when issuing vaccination certificates. However, it seems the strategy keeps changing to keep up with the current times. In the summer, when France opened up, they announced that all sorts of indoor places including museums and restaurants (and plane rides) would be required to validate the vaccination status of those visiting. Only those who are vaccinated would be able to visit these places. However, they need to present an EU Covid Passport (or a digital equivalent)
The same rules applied for those who were travelling from outside France as well. The French Government offered to issue a Pass Sanitaire to everyone who arrived in the country, which would then be imported on the TousAntiCovid, the French app for Covid-19 updates and track and trace. At the moment, it is expected that the Pass Sanitaire will be required to access indoors in France at least till July 2022.
If you have been vaccinated in one of the following countries – European Union Member States, Albania, Andorra, Faroe Islands, Holy See, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Morocco, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine or the United Kingdom (England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland) – your country issues an EU Digital COVID Certificate which is accepted in France, or, in the case of the United Kingdom, a digital format also accepted in France. In that case, you do not need to convert your COVID certificate.
There have been many twists and turns in the tales of how to get the French Pass Sanitaire. When the process started in July 2021, everyone was asked to go to a French pharmacy to get their vaccination cards converted to an online French vaccination record. Then, in August 2021, France moved to a system where you had to send an email with all the appropriate documents to get your pass Sanitaire. There were three email addresses, one for US arrivals, one for Canadian arrivals and one for the rest of the world.
A couple of weeks ago, France abruptly shut down the online system used to issue EU vaccination certificates to those who were vaccinated outside the EU. The system clearly could not hold under the weight of the over 4 million applications it was slammed within a short amount of time.
Now, there is a new system instituted in its place, which has been implemented since October 26, 2021 for the issuance of the EU Covid Passport equivalent in France, as underneath.
Applying for a COVID certificate if you were vaccinated abroad (procedure for non-European nationals entering France and non-European students)
You can apply for a COVID vaccine certificate of equivalence if you meet the following conditions:
- If you have not been vaccinated in a Member State of the European Union, Albania, Andorra, Faroe Islands, the Holy See, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Morocco, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, as these countries issue digital COVID certificates that France accepts;
- If you are aged 12 and 2 months or over as of October 1, 2021. Below this age, you are not subject to COVID certificate requirements;
- You have been vaccinated with a vaccine which is accepted by the European Medicines Agency or an equivalent for over
- Four weeks if you received a one-dose injection (Johnson&Johnson);
- Seven days after the second injection for two-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca);
- Seven days after the injection if you have recovered from COVID-19 (in this case, only one dose is necessary);
- Seven days after a booster ARNm dose (Moderna or Pfizer) after two shots of a vaccine on the WHO’s health emergencies list (Sinovac/Coronavac or Sinopharm/BBIB-PVeroCells)
To apply, you need to head into a pharmacy in France if you are a foreign national who is not a student. You should present your passport and the paper version of the original vaccination certificate in a pharmacy offering the service (a list is available on the Ministry for Solidarity and Health website). These essential documents must clearly include the surname, first name, date of birth, date of vaccination, the vaccine used, if possible its batch number, the number of doses injected, and the country of vaccination. The vaccine equivalence certificate generation service may be invoiced for a price not exceeding € 36, including tax.
Having said that, since you will still need a pass to enter most indoor venues across France, there is an ample number of testing kiosks set up across Paris at least, which do a free Rapid Antigen Test and get you a result in 10 minutes. The result can be used to give you a temporary Pass Sanitaire for 72 hours, which you can use to access all sorts of indoor venues which require the pass. Then, rinse repeat. (However, per the new FAQs, it also states that these tests might be no longer free anymore)
“In France, foreign nationals must pay for tests, and they are available from many healthcare professionals (labs, pharmacies, etc.) and in designated areas. The results of antigen tests are generally available within 15-20 minutes.”
To move around France, you will need to provide a Pass Sanitaire, which is going to be issued against your fully-vaccinated card at designated pharmacies at this point in time and will cost you under Euro 36 here on. Other countries are also issuing the EU Covid Passport equivalents, and different countries have different rules in place.
Have you applied for the EU Covid Passport in France? What has been your experience getting it issued?
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