This post was written as of September 15, 2021. Things are changing very rapidly so I advise you to visit the French government website for the most up to date information.
If you have been following me on Instagram, you may have picked up on some of the clues I have been dropping the past week. Yes, I am going to France soon. This is a trip to see family that is long overdue. My husband hasn’t seen his sister in almost three years. We had many hesitations about traveling due to the pandemic, but I actually feel safer traveling to Europe than I do to many parts of the United States. (ahem, looking at you southern states!) Vaccination rates in France are higher than many states. Plus, there are restrictions about entering the country as well as returning to the US. You cannot even board a flight back to the USA without getting a COVID test.
This trip feels very different from past trips to France because there are many more requirements due to COVID. I had been anxiously awaiting for updates on travel restrictions since we booked our tickets. Just last week, the United States was moved to the “Amber List.” At first, I was worried that we would have to make changes to our trip but we are fully vaccinated so we are good to go!
If you are vaccinated, you can travel to France with no restrictions linked to health conditions. The measures applicable to vaccinated adults also apply to any minors accompanying them, whether they are vaccinated or not. You can therefore travel with your underage children, whether they are vaccinated or not, and they will not need to self-isolate. Unvaccinated children aged 12 and over will need to present a negative test result as described below.
If you are NOT vaccinated, there are rules depending on your country of origin. Please do your own research.
A few people have asked what I need to travel as well as how to apply for the pass sanitaire (health passport). This Coronavirus-Advice for Foreign Nationals in France post is a comprehensive FAQ to help answer your questions. Please refer to that if you have questions, I am just sharing my personal experience below.
- GET FULLY VACCINATED.
Whether you are traveling or not, get your full vaccination NOW! Period. JUST DO IT.* I seriously cannot emphasize this enough. It doesn’t have anything to do with travel but with protecting others.
*unless you are medically exempt, of course
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
I do this before any international trip but it has been especially helpful leading up to traveling during COVID. Emails are sent out regularly about your destination country. This includes everything from COVID information to protests to terrorism warning levels. It also alerts the state department that US Citizens are overseas. Get in the habit of using this system when you travel. I have been doing it for years.
- Apply for the France COVID certificate.
This is for fully vaccinated tourists to France. Every person you are traveling with needs to apply for this separately. Give yourself enough time to get this processed before you travel. To apply for this COVID certification you will need to submit: a digital copy of your passport, your airline ticket, a copy of your CDC vaccination card, and will need to fill out the required questionnaire. Allow 2 weeks minimum for processing, although sometimes it can happen quickly. Once approved, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access your “Certificat COVID numerique UE.” I printed two copies as well as saved it to my phone just in case!
- Complete the French Certificate of International Travel.
This form is required for border control measures both on entering and leaving the country. Countries have been classified based on health indicators. The United States is currently on the “Amber List,” as of September 15, 2021.
- Pack your documents in your carry-on bag.
This includes your passport, your CDC vaccination card, your Certificat COVID, your French Certificate of International Travel, proof of your destination location, and proof of return. This might be overkill but better safe than sorry.
I am writing this prior to my trip, so I am hoping all of my research pays off and we get into France with no issues.
On a somewhat related note, I have also been doing a ton of research to figure out what is still open in terms of gluten-free food options in France. Just like in New York City, many places shut down permanently due to the pandemic. You cannot rely on just one resource for traveling these days. You need to check your sources, check with the restaurant, and then I highly suggest following up with them as your trip approaches. Everything can change in the blink of an eye these days as more COVID variants pop up and more lockdowns are put in place. I will be sure to share my food discoveries once I return.
You can follow along on my Cote d’Azur adventures on my Gluten-Free Globetrotter Instagram page!
Au revoir, mes amis!