French Health Pass Applications for Americans Are Currently Paused. Your Trip to France May Cost More

Traveler in face mask getting his temperature checked.

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If you're planning to visit France soon, you should know that your trip may cost more due to COVID-19 testing expenses.


Key points

  • Americans can no longer apply for a French Health Pass online, meaning they will need to pay to verify that they're vaccinated or regularly test negative while in France.
  • COVID-19 testing is an additional trip expense to consider when traveling internationally.

Fully-vaccinated Americans can visit France for tourism purposes without having to undergo pre-travel testing. But to participate in many activities in France, you'll need the French Health Pass. This QR code system verifies that you're fully vaccinated. For Americans who weren't vaccinated in the EU, this can be a hurdle. Until recently, Americans were able to apply for the French Health Pass to verify their vaccination status. As of Oct. 31, the application has been paused. This development may impact your upcoming travels to France.

You can obtain a QR code by testing negative every 72 hours

Previously, American travelers could apply for the French Health Pass before their trip. Travelers submit a photo of their CDC card, vaccination details, and trip details. Once approved, travelers are given a French Health Pass QR code that verifies their vaccination status.

As of Oct. 31, 2021, the application is paused. That means this option is no longer available to American travelers. But there is another way to obtain a pass.

Travelers vaccinated outside of the EU can get a temporary QR code with a negative COVID-19 test result. Rapid tests are readily available in most pharmacies around the country. There are also many pop-up testing sites in popular tourist areas. Tourists must pay for testing, and in most cases, tests cost between $30 and $35.

While this is a simple and easy way to obtain a temporary French Health Pass QR code, your code will only be valid for 72 hours. That means if you're planning to visit France for several days, this will be an additional trip cost.

You may be able to verify vaccination status at select pharmacies

If you're hoping to skip regular testing, there may be another way. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in France notes that travelers can get a French Health Pass by getting their vaccination card details verified in person at select pharmacies throughout the country. This is only available at participating pharmacy locations. You'll need to pay a fee to do this. The pharmacy can charge a maximum of EUR 36 for this service (about $42 USD).

At the time of writing, there are 33 pharmacy locations in and around Paris that offer this service. If you're unable to obtain a pass this way, you'll have to go with the testing route. No matter what you choose to do, it will be an added expense.

If travelers don't obtain a French Health Pass QR code, it can be challenging to enjoy their trip as most restaurants, museums, and many indoor attractions require it.

This will make traveling to France more costly

If you want to go to the Louvre, dine at restaurants, or ride long-distance transit (like taking a train from one French city to another), you'll need a QR code. If you're unable to visit a participating pharmacy to verify your vaccination status and go with the testing method, this can get costly. You'll need to get tested every 72 hours.

If a test costs $30 and you're visiting France for a total of 12 days, you'll be paying $120 to test four times throughout your trip. Make sure that you budget for this extra cost as you work out your vacation budget.

Remember, to fly back to the U.S. after traveling abroad, you'll also need to show proof of a negative test result. If you don't have this, you won't be able to board the plane.

These are the current rules based on vaccinated status:

  • Fully-vaccinated travelers must be tested no more than three days before departure
  • Unvaccinated travelers must be tested no more than one day before departure

Instead of a negative test result, travelers can show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 no more than 90 days before the flight's departure.

Budget extra money for your trip

Even if you're not visiting France, it's a smart idea to include extra money in your vacation budget if you're planning to travel internationally within the next few months. Traveling during a pandemic can be costly.

Here are some examples of extra costs that you may encounter:

  • Pre-arrival COVID-19 testing
  • Post-arrival COVID-19 testing
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 testing to re-enter the U.S.
  • Quarantine stays
  • Travel insurance
  • International health insurance

Ensure that you know what additional costs you may need to pay before taking an international trip during the pandemic. If you want to earn rewards on your travel spending, consider applying for a travel rewards credit card.

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