Heading To France? Tourists Need A Vaccine Passport

The French have protested vaccine passports, and law enforcement has responded in force. As it was put in the New York Times, “Emmanuel Macron Told the French What to Do. It Didn’t Go Well.”

Nonetheless, if you’re a tourist traveling to France you’re going to want a vaccine passport, or “pass sanitaire” (health pass).

Since Monday, all international travelers seeking access to restaurants, bars, hospitals, large shopping centers, museums, theaters, sports and amusement parks and more – even common areas of hotels – have to show their passport. (Essential bakeries are excluded from the requirement, because access to baguettes and croissants are basic human rights.)

You can do a one-and-done submission of your vaccination card, show proof of recovery from prior infection, or test every 48 hours. Children 12-17 are exempt until the end of August. Children under 12 are exempt, as no vaccine has yet been authorized. The French government accepts Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca (and Covishield) along with Johnson & Johnson.

Currently much of the EU requires proof of vaccination for entry into some bars and attractions, and the French pass once obtained can be used across Schengen Europe.

The process to obtain a pass involves sending an email with copy of passport, form, and photo of vaccine card. They’ll respond with a QR code that’s your vaccine passport. Anyone (vaccinated) that’s going to Europe should get a French Covid card.

Data points are that these are handled quickly, generally about a day. They can’t really verify your CDC card is genuine, so they’re taking it on faith, but most people submitting cards are going to be submitting real ones.

So far they’re only accepting applications for tourists arriving through August 15 but that should be extended in the coming days.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Suggestion: if possible, for the time being any traveler might want to route through France. I have an upcoming trip into AMS that I am going to change to route through CDG. Hence, I can obtain a Pass Sanitaire with a QR code that is accepted throughout the EU. Will make EU travel a lot easier.

  2. Royal Caribbean has cancelled , as of last week, port stops in Marsailles for Harmony of the Seas cruises in August, September and October.Harmony of the Seas is the only Royal ship doing Western Med cruises. (Her first cruise since this pandemic lockdown began is Sunday Aug. 15 from Barcelona).

  3. Do photos of the vaccination card (both sides) suffice or will they only accept the physical card ?

  4. I find it funny the same people who warned us for years that Trump and Republicans are fascists have now started demanding everything they claimed they were fighting to prevent.

    Also funny is that the same people who argue the police should defunded and/or abolished are the same ones that want police to be wasting their time enforcing vaccine and mask mandates.

  5. @ George the snowflake
    France and the rest of the civilized world doesn’t need your business.
    Stay home and eat your free-dumb fries

  6. Since Southern Europe is in an intense heatwave I’ll pass. I would have never thought a major side effect of this virus would be insanity.

  7. Absolutely a super plan, if they can implement it smoothly. All countries should have similar measures, including the U.S., Most people will get vaccines if they find it inconvenient not to. Normal life should be available to those who are not high risk of spreading COVID. Those who don’t want to be vaccinated can do things online, by delivery, remotely, virtually, until this is over.

  8. Gary, your comments section Is really going down the toilet. It’s starting to look like FB or YT.

  9. I got a certification from the California website where I was given a proof of vaccination with a QR code.
    Is that the vaccine passport being mentioned in your article?

  10. You can also create a fake CDC card using stuff found on the internet. The french can’t verify that information on it.

  11. We’re travelling to Marseille and beyond in September and it is GREAT news knowing that we have a clear path to get on the French system. I wish that we could apply a similar system here that would be accepted throughout the US and the world. It just might be the kick in the butt we need to move the vaccination program off-center and do it without penalizing those who just want to enjoy life.

  12. snowe, then it’s a good idea that the government moved to requiring visitors to supply proof of vaccination that they can verify.

  13. works for me in fact it makes me more likely to visit France. a recent study in SF demonstrated that vaccinated people are 5x less likely to get covid.

    that said it is too bad they won’t except a verified QR code but at least they accept CDC cards.

  14. I’m in France right now. Just show cdc vaccination card to enter. Not really a problem at all. We are on a river cruise where we had to show same to board. Nice to be with only folks who are full vaccinated.
    I think France for once got this right!

  15. Steve, actually yes still. I’m currently in France and my CDC card was accepted today at the Lourve, the d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, and MANY cafes where we stopped for a glass of wine as we wandered the streets. Oh, and Louis Vuitton

    Turnaround time is now also much more than 24 hours. We submitted our info almost 3 full days ago. We got an email that it’s been received, but it hasn’t been processed yet. I’m not worried. I expect they’ll continue to accept the cdc card until they figure out how to process applications pre arrival.

  16. For Bill re river cruise. Did you have to take an antigen test before boarding the river cruise at the port?

  17. No CJ we simply showed our cdc vaccination cards. Vaccination was a requirement. No vaccination no boarding. A negative test was not a substitute. I don’t know the procedure for those who have recovered from Covid but haven’t been vaccinated as well. We didn’t meet anyone on board where that was the case.

  18. We are into 3 days after submitting info, we leave for Paris tomorrow. Anyone have info on train from Gare du nord into city, can you board? We’ve planned to get antigen tests before departure from US just to be safe and buy us a day or two. Gonna research local area (Montmartre) for testing there in case we don’t receive our conversion code.. Any info if pharmacies are still assisting in converting ? I heard that some were but most not.

  19. Pamela, I wouldn’t worry at all. We haven’t been anywhere that didn’t accept the CDC cards. It’s totally a non-issue. We’ve taken trains to both Versailles and Reims, it’s been fine.

    I believe the French government put a stop to pharmacies converting cdc cards to the QR codes.

  20. @ Pamela & Thomas Shelton:
    I’ve been in France now for more than 6 weeks. My departure was from the US W-Coast through AMS with final destination GVA (Geneva-Switzerland) where I crossed the border into France by train. I have changed my departure date already two times and might stay until October.
    The ONLY time I was asked for my CDC card was at US check-in. Nowhere else I was asked for proof of vaccination. There are signs at public places and some restaurants, hotels etc that show the QR code as needed, but as soon as they discover you’re from the Etats-Unis, everyone is very welcoming, happy to be able to show off their best English again and admire your determination to get there in spite of Covid in the first place. The CDC card is sufficient, although I never had to show. At least that’s my personal experience.
    For a return to the US, my better half walked into a local Pharmacy, made an appointment for the next day (they’re very busy with locals) and was done with the PCR test in 20 minutes. Euro 29. Including an official stamped paper with all the information available and the address and name of the attending Pharmacist (who spoke perfect English).
    Hubby’s check in at GVA airport for a KLM flight – continuing onto the USA – was very strict and the agent really studied the test results on the paper.
    No vax checks when stepping on a train anywhere in France, or Switzerland or when crossing the border.
    Folks only wear masks (the better kind and not of fabric) when indoors.
    So far so good.

  21. @ Kimmie A:
    I’ve read about passengers trying to check-in at an US airport with Air France and were told the CDC card was not acceptable to them and one needed a negative PCR test in addition. Costly at an US airport.
    Transiting through Amsterdam was – and still is – a breeze as compared with CDG.
    Personally I avoid transiting at CDG at all costs and at all times.

  22. The EU pass is really helpful, but doesn’t come quickly….my wife got hers about 24 days after the application was filed, and I am at 26 days with nada….and, yes, you get asked for the pass almost everywhere. If you are applying for one, give yourself at least a month.
    While most places eventually accept the CDC card, it usually involves extra time while they try to figure out what it is. The EU pass is a URC which their readers recognize immediately.. you can always test a every 2 or 3 days, but that kills time and costs about 25 euros for each test….so, its gets costly quickly.
    Get the EU pass which is widely accepted!!

  23. We just returned from France and after applying for the French Covid QR code twice, Aug 16 & Sep 3 (after email notice from the issuing agency) we received the code on September 29th, 3 days before returning to the US. However, we went directly to a pharmacy near our hotel and got the code in a few minutes at no charge. They provided a printed sheet, which could be used for entry into any required venue or loaded directly in the Covid app. We also routinely saw people presenting their CDC cards for access to many venues without any hindrance. I would definitely recommend using the app as it has a “wallet” that also accepts Covid test results for display when asked. All of the establishment that we visited had an apparently simple phone or tablet app that instantly recognized your vaccine or test results. We had no negative experiences at any public or private venues throughout France from airports, train stations, museums or restaurants. We also went to a nearby pharmacy when leaving and got a Covid antigen test in a few minutes for €25.01 each, with results by form or email within 15 minutes. To be honest, we felt safer in France than here at home where Covid rates are higher and vaccine rates are lower.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.