The French Covid-19 vaccine pass, which is required to enter a wide range of cultural institutions, sports facilities, public transport, and eating establishments, is now available for tourists arriving from outside the European Union.
On August 9, the French government announced a new process where vaccine certificates from the U.S. and other non-European countries can be converted to an official French pass sanitaire with a QR code, accepted throughout the European Union.
When the pass first went into effect in July, it applied mainly to cultural institutions, including museums, monuments, and any place where more than 50 people might get together, like festivals, theaters, and cinemas.
Now the pass is also required to board long-distance trains and enter large shopping centers as well as bars, restaurants, and cafés (including outdoor terraces).
In short, almost everything a tourist would want to do on a visit to France currently requires a vaccination pass—and that probably won’t change any time soon.
Vaccinated Americans are issued proof of vaccination cards from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but the cards don’t come with QR codes. That will cause problems in France, where an employee with a QR reader will usually be checking passes at the entrance to museums, restaurants, and train stations.
Fortunately, a new system has been put in place to allow Americans and other non-EU citizens to obtain passes with the required QR code.
It’s not the most high-tech process, but it is relatively simple.
You’ll just need to download a short application form (available in English) and have a digitized version of your vaccination card, your passport photo page, and your travel tickets (especially the return) on hand.
After completing the application, you then send that form and the three other documents mentioned above via e-mail to the appropriate address, depending on where you live.
If you live in the United States, send your materials to this address: email@example.com.
If you live in Canada: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you live anywhere else outside the EU: email@example.com.
You will receive your QR code and pass via e-mail. Download the pass on your smartphone and, just to be safe, print a hard copy as well.
The French government has created a special mobile app, TousAntiCovid, where you can store your pass for easy access.
Note: As of this writing, vaccination passes are being processed only for people who are already in France or who will arrive on or before August 15, so that those applicants can get their passes first. If you are traveling after August 15, however, you should still send in your application as soon as possible. No announcement has been made about how long it should take to receive a code after applying.
To download the application form and find detailed instructions and other information, visit the website of France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.