France’s Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire): Everything You Need to Know

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France’s Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire): Everything You Need to Know

As part of the ongoing measures in the fight against Covid-19, France’s Health Pass or Pass Sanitaire is now required for entrance to everything from concerts to restaurants. Whether you are a French resident or homeowner, or plan to travel to France, this pass is about to become one of your most important possessions. So, what do you need to know about the French Health Pass?

What is the Pass Sanitaire?

The Health Pass or Pass Sanitaire is essentially a way of proving your Covid-19 status in order to enter public events and establishments. Initially launched in July, 2021, the Health Pass has now become French law and will continue to be used until a minimum of July 31st 2022, although it may well be extended beyond this date.

The Health Pass isn’t a physical document – instead, it’s a scannable QR code accessed via a mobile phone app that can be presented and scanned upon entrance to public spaces. However, there are permissible paper documents available for those who do not have access to the app.

Who Needs the French Health Pass?

Anyone aged over 12 in France who wishes to attend large public events, use long-distance transport, or enter any of the establishments listed in our ‘Where Do I Need My Pass Sanitaire?’ section below will need a Health Pass. This applies not only to French citizens but to any foreign citizens visiting, travelling, or staying in France for any period of time.

Note that there is no legal obligation to obtain or carry a Health Pass if you do not wish to enter or use any of the services and facilities that require the Pass.

How Do I Activate My Pass Sanitaire?

The French Health Pass is available on France’s TousAntiCovid app. After downloading the app onto your phone, click on the option ‘Scan a QR Code’ to scan your relevant document (see below). When you want to use your Pass Sanitaire, click on the option ‘My Wallet’, and you will see a scannable QR code – this is your Health Pass.

There are currently three ways to activate your Pass Sanitaire:

1. Proof of Full Vaccination

Fully vaccinated in France means that you have received the full dose of an EU-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (including Covishield) or Johnson & Johnson. Note that Sinopharm and Sputnik vaccines are not currently approved) AND, if relevant, a booster (see below). To activate your health pass, you will need to wait 14 days after the final vaccine or 4 weeks for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For those who received their vaccine in France, this has been reduced to 7 days after the final dose, and a single dose only is required for those who have previously recovered from Covid.

Booster requirements:

As of January 15th, 2022, all over 18s must receive a booster shot if within seven months of the date of their final vaccine in order to maintain access to France’s Health Pass. Essentially, from these dates, ‘fully vaccinated’ will mean ‘three vaccination shots’ or two vaccinations for those who previously recovered from Covid (i.e. 1 x original vaccine shot + a booster). This rule also applies to visitors to France and those vaccinated outside of France who wish to gain access to the pass.

Find out everything you need to know about getting a Covid booster in France.

To activate your Pass, simply scan the QR code on your French-issued vaccination certificate into the TousAntiCovid app.

If you were vaccinated in the EU

If you received your Covid vaccine and booster in another EU or Schengen zone country, you can also scan the QR code on your vaccination certificate into the TousAntiCovid app.

If you were vaccinated in the UK

For UK residents or those who received their vaccine in the UK, you can now scan your NHS vaccine QR code directly into the French TousAntiCovid app. Note that this only works with the most recent versions of the NHS Covid Pass (those which have two QR codes), so if you don’t have one of these, you will need to download a new one from the NHS app or website. NHS Covid Passes are only valid for 30 days after download, so make sure you scan it before it runs out. If not, don’t worry – you can simply download a new one.

If you were vaccinated in the United States or a non-EU country

For those vaccinated in the United States, Canada, Australia, or any other non-EU country, you should first check that your vaccine is one of the above-mentioned vaccines approved by the EU.

As of Nov 2021, it is no longer possible to access the Pass Sanitaire prior to arrival in France – instead you must bring your original copy of your vaccination certificate (showing that you are fully vaccinated in accordance with the above guidelines). In order to activate your Pass Sanitaire, you will need to take this certificate to one of the eligible pharmacies, who will validate your certificate and give you a QR code. This can then be scanned into the TousAntiCovid app to activate your Pass Sanitaire. There is often a charge for this, but fees are capped at €36.

Find out the full details here (in French). Note that you can’t do this at every pharmacy – you can search for your closest one via the before-mentioned link. For those flying into Paris, Pharmacy Bonassoli at Charles de Gaulle airport offers the service.

2. Proof of a Negative Covid-19 Test

If you are not vaccinated, you can opt instead to activate your Health Pass by taking a Covid test. Scanning a certificate of a negative Covid test (PCR or rapid antigen) taken in France will activate your Pass Sanitatire for 24 hours only.

‘Convenience Tests’ for this reason are no longer free for residents in France only if you have Covid symptoms or are a contact case. All ‘convenience’ Covid tests are payable for both French residents and travellers, with prices set at a maximum of €29 for antigen tests and €49 for PCR tests. You can get a Covid test at your local pharmacy or search for your nearest test centre on Sante.fr.

3. Proof of Recovery from Covid-19

If you have recovered from Covid-19 in France, you will be issued a certificate with a scannable QR code. This will activate your Health Pass from 11 days after your recovery (and subsequent negative test result) for the following six months.

What if I don’t have a phone/internet or don’t want to download the app?

Paper documents or print-outs of your vaccination certificate, test certificate, or proof of recovery (which should all have a scannable QR code) can also be presented in place of the Health Pass. Print-outs are also available via the app for situations where you might not have your phone or internet access.

Where Do I Need My Pass Sanitaire?

From August 9 until further notice, the French Health Pass will be required to access a number of events, leisure facilities, and public services all across France. Here’s a breakdown of where you will need to present your Pass Sanitaire.

Cultural venues

A Health Pass is now required for access to all cultural and leisure venues, including those with a capacity of fewer than 50 people.

  • Concert venues, festivals and sports matches
  • Cinemas, theatres, and stadiums
  • Gyms, spas, swimming pools and outdoor sports venues
  • Nightclubs, casinos, and dance venues
  • Zoos, Amusement parks, and tourist sites
  • Museums, galleries, and cultural centres
  • Churches and places of worship if attending an event or concert (but not for worship)

Bars, cafés, and restaurants

Access to all bars, cafés, and restaurants, including those within hotels and campsites, and regardless of their capacity, will require a pass to enter. This is applicable for both outdoor and indoor seating. Canteens and takeaway restaurants will not need to implement the Pass.

Shops and shopping centres

Contrary to expectations, the Pass will not be required for entrance to shops or shopping centres less than 20,000 square metres in size. For large malls and shopping centres, the Pass will not be applied on a national level – instead, it will be left to local préfectures to decide whether to implement the Pass based on the local Covid situation.

Hospitals and retirement homes

Anyone visiting or seeking non-urgent treatment at any hospital, medical centre, or retirement home will need to present a pass. This does apply to scheduled appointments at medical centres; however, it does not apply to visiting your local GP or médecin traitant.

Long-distance travel

You will need to present your Pass on TGV (Inoui and Ouigo), Intercité trains (including night trains), international trains leaving from France, and long-distance buses and coaches such as Flixbus and Blablacar Bus.

You will not need a pass Sanitaire for regional TER or Transilien trains, Metro and RER trains in Paris, and local buses and trams in cities throughout France.

Overseas travel

If you have activated your Pass Sanitaire in the TousAntiCovid app, you will also be automatically issued an EU Health Passport or EU Digital Covid certificate. This is another scannable QR code available in the ‘My Wallet’ section of the app. This Passport is required for access to all flights in and around the EU.

How to Use Your French Health Pass

Using your Health Pass is as simple as presenting your scannable QR code. At bars, restaurants, and cultural venues, this will likely take place at the entrance or accueil (reception) by members of staff, while for events and festivals, these checks will probably be undertaken by dedicated security officials. Your QR code will be scanned granting you entrance. Random checks are not expected to be carried out once you have gained entrance to an event or establishment.

When using long-distance transport, checks will take place at stations, along with random checks on-board, so you should be prepared to present your Pass at any time. For night trains or longer trips, you may also be issued a wristband to indicate that your Pass has been verified, ensuring you are not disturbed during your trip.

What happens if you don’t have a Pass Sanitaire?

If you fail to present a valid Pass Sanitaire, you will simply be denied entry to the event or location in question. While businesses and establishments will be subject to fines for failing to uphold these security measures, there are currently no fines in place for individuals without a Pass Sanitaire.

Fines and refunds on long-distance travel

An exception to this is for travel on long-distance trains and coaches where the Pass Sanitaire is required. Passengers found onboard without the necessary documentation will be fined €135 for violation of the Health Pass rules.

If you are unable to travel due to a positive Covid-19 test result taken prior to departure, the cost of your ticket will be reimbursed by the SNCF or exchanged at no further cost.

Fraudulent Health Passes

Fines do apply, however, for anyone caught using a fake certificate, fraudulent health pass, or a pass in someone else’s name. Initial fines are €135, but this rises to €3,750 and a possible six-month prison sentence for repeat offenders (more than three times in one month).

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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Comments

  •  IRENE DENA
    2022-01-16 08:35:42
    IRENE DENA
    Hello, I am a French citizen staying in the USA for the last 5 years due to medical situation for my husband, I am going to go to France in April, how do I apply for the pass sanitaire, as a traveler or as a citizen?

    REPLY

    • Zoë Smith
      2022-01-17 10:40:45
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Irene, Access to the Pass Sanitaire will depend upon where you received your vaccination. Assuming that you received your vaccination in the United States, you would need to follow the aforementioned process to convert your foreign vaccination certificate into one that is valid for the Pass Sanitaire. One thing I would suggest is that if you are still registered with a doctor in France, you could ask them for advice on this - they may be able to issue you the applicable certificate without the hassle of finding a pharmacy that processes them. Best of luck!

      REPLY

  •  Washand
    2021-12-24 10:54:11
    Washand
    As a UK citizen and resident of France (Carte de Sejour), I contracted and recovered from covid in a non-EU country and would like to obtain a passe sanitaire in France. What is the procedure to get a foreign positive PCR test result and subsequent negative test (recovery) accepted for a passe sanitaire? The positive and negative tests were in November 2021. Could you please give specific links to websites as most of the online information about recovery certificates is without specific information and therefore unhelpful. Thanks!

    REPLY

    • Zoë Smith
      2021-12-30 09:26:50
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Washand, Your recovery from Covid needs to be registered into the French system in order for it to be valid. As you are a resident in France, I would suggest contacting your doctor or healthcare provider directly - I imagine you will need to provide sufficient proof of your recovery, but as long as this is accepted, they should be able to enter it on your medical records and provide you with the necessary certificate to activate your Health Pass. I hope this helps, and do let us know how you get on.

      REPLY

  •  Beatrice
    2021-12-19 07:36:28
    Beatrice
    Hello, I have an authorized Medical Exemption in the US from a severe allergic reaction. I see that Exemptions will be honored in the UK. What about in France?

    REPLY

  • Robert Remo Balzola
    2021-12-17 03:01:00
    Robert Remo Balzola
    Dear Zoe, very helpful article. However, I am attempting to make application for a French Health Pass and cannot find how to make application from Australia prior to departure. Please advise a website or physical document download to make the application. Thanks. Robert

    REPLY

    • Zoë Smith
      2021-12-21 16:53:30
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Robert, I'm afraid there isn't currently an online option for foreigners outside of the EU and UK to obtain the Health Pass prior to departure - it can only be done on arrival in France. However, please rest assured that if you have a vaccination certificate (with a QR code) suitable for travel, this should be accepted by Health Pass establishments if there is a delay to activate your pass. There are updates to the Health Pass all the time, and I do hope there will be an easier system for foreigners to access the Health Pass soon - we will continue to update this article and also make announcements in our weekly newsletters if and when the situation changes.

      REPLY

  •  Lesley
    2021-12-09 10:11:03
    Lesley
    I have long covid which I got in the UK on 17 November. I have had 2 vaccines Astra zeneca. I self isolated for 12 days before returning home to France, but because I was unwell, I didn’t activate the code I was given onto my app. Can you tell me how I go about updating my passé sanitaire without this code as I am not sure if I can now have a booster . Thank you and hopefully you will be able to help me. Kind regards Lesley

    REPLY

    • Zoë Smith
      2021-12-09 12:21:48
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Lesley, You should have either a code or a QR code on your vaccination certificate and/or certificate of recovery. I'm not aware of there being a deadline to use these (please let me know if this is the case). Otherwise, I would log on to your French health account at Ameli.fr - they should have the records of your vaccination and recovery and you should be able to request a replacement certificate. Do let us know how you get on. Best, Zoe

      REPLY

  •  Joyce markie
    2021-12-08 12:55:35
    Joyce markie
    I am over 80 yes and having difficulty getting a booster vivid appointment. Will I no longer be able to use my health pass and what will I need to do as I am expecting to have to go into hospital next year.

    REPLY

    • Zoë Smith
      2021-12-09 12:18:48
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Joyce, If you are a French resident, anyone over 65 no longer needs an appointment for a booster vaccine - you will be prioritised if you drop-in to your nearest test centre. If possible, it would probably still be a good idea to call ahead, but rest assured - you will be able to get a booster. Best, Zoe

      REPLY

  •  James Thompson
    2021-12-02 05:17:38
    James Thompson
    My daughter is 14 and so cannot get a second does of the vaccine yet (as is the case in the UK for all 12-16yr olds) Does this mean she will not be able to get a Health Pass without having to pay for a PCR each day?

    REPLY

    • Zoë Smith
      2021-12-09 12:38:42
      Zoë Smith
      Hi James, Unfortunately, you are right - without a second vaccine dose, your daughter will not be able to access the Health Pass without taking daily tests. However, these can be antigen tests and are very easy to come by in France - you can simply drop in the local pharmacy. Prices for antigen tests are capped at €22. But you would need to consider the extra daily cost (and hassle) if you wish to travel to France at the moment with your daughter and visit Health Pass restricted venues. Best,

      REPLY

      •  S Jones
        2021-12-12 03:58:22
        S Jones
        My 14 year old has recovered from Covid 2 months ago. So she fits the rules for a pass sanitaire, but in the UK under 16s cannot access the UK covid pass, so she has no QR code. Can we present paper proof of positive PCR test in a pharmacy? We have the NHS email with her name, date of birth and positive PCR result. We also have a print out of her medical records from our GP. Alternatively, there are private clinics in the UK which offer a proof of recovery letter with a QR code. Can private clinic QR codes be scanned into the tousanticovid app?

        REPLY

  • Ruth Anne H Lawson
    2021-11-23 11:50:00
    Ruth Anne H Lawson
    I have a Carte Sanitaire but would also like a paper card in case I lose my phone. How can I shrink the info and print a card?

    REPLY

    •  blf
      2021-12-12 03:14:53
      blf
      If you got your vaccines jabs in France, you should have been given a paper pass, with a QR code that you then scanned into the app. That paper pass IS your backup. I myself made multiple copies of mine, and carry one in my wallet just in case the mobile is unavailable for any reason (misplaced, battery exhausted, whatever). For vaccinations received outside France (or the EU?), sorry, I have no idea.

      REPLY

  •  Kevin
    2021-11-15 07:28:16
    Kevin
    Hi. We will be travelling from Germany, (Bonn) to France, (Lyon) by train next year. What happens when we cross into France? The journey will probably have a train change somewhere inside France. If there is no pharmacy available, near the station, what then? Thanks

    REPLY

  •  Steve Dickey
    2021-10-16 12:51:15
    Steve Dickey
    I visited Paris in September, 15th - 28th. I finally received my Health Pass on 27th. I plan to visit Paris again 15 December for at least 3 weeks. I'm not sure how long this Health Pass will be valid. Can you tell me if my Health Pass is valid through this period, or must I resubmit a request? Thanks you for any information you can provide on this.

    REPLY

  •  DAVID ASMODEUS
    2021-09-07 06:22:59
    DAVID ASMODEUS
    Email these documents as an attachment to the relevant email address below with the subject line ‘COUNTRY/SURNAME first name’ (for example: CANADA/SMITH Zoë): Re: Pass Sanitaire Thank you for your ongoing France info, Zoe. However you did neglect one - crucial - part of the subject line. After one’s name should be the date of arrival in France (for example if arriving on September 19 it would read CANADA/ASMODEUS David/19-09-2021). I believe they require this for prioritizing the processing of the passes as they are quite inundated with requests. For instance a friend of mine received his the morning that he was leaving for France. Cheers and thanks again, David

    REPLY

  •  John Reynolds
    2021-09-07 05:32:55
    John Reynolds
    Hi Zoe I have a Covid-19 vaccination confirmation letter (with unique reference barcode) from the NHS which confirms that I have received two doses of vaccine. Is this sufficient to show to the authorities when entering France from the UK or is it absolutely necessary to download the French TousAntiCovid app to my phone and scan the NHS pass into it (I am not technologically skilled!)

    REPLY

  • Martin Tinsley
    2021-08-30 06:55:33
    Martin Tinsley
    Your comments regarding the TousAntiCovid App have been helpful but having scanned my two NHS codes with the word 'Valide' coming up, nothing has appeared in my wallet (I don't use Apple Pay) and the actual App just keeps reverting to the same screen, inviting scanning of codes.

    REPLY

  •  Judith jardine
    2021-08-17 07:26:37
    Judith jardine
    At the moment, your article which is helpful in many ways, is slightly misleading on UK Covid Pass and how it will work. In Scotland we do not have a digital pass, only a paper certificate, and I believe some Scots have been having a problem in some venues. Hopefully the Scottish Government will get organised soon with a digital pass.

    REPLY

  •  Susan Szwejkowski
    2021-08-13 08:44:11
    Susan Szwejkowski
    I have done what I can. I am in France. I have submitted the required forms - application, proof of two injections, passport photo, travel documents - response - they are too busy!! No explanation. Nothing telling me to reapply. Nothing to say I will have to wait a week! So, what now? No access to restaurants? No access to bars? Advice please.

    REPLY

  • Greg Bull
    2021-08-12 12:47:49
    Greg Bull
    Thanks for the update Zoe. Good to note that the NHS pass will need reloading after 30 days.Just to note the NHS code refreshes every time one logs in.. However Im not too clear about whether updating/reloading is needed if one puts the NHS QR code onto the French anticovid app. ? Thats what Ive done .Once its on the French app.there is no reminder to refresh so Im assuming it is not necessary ?

    REPLY

  •  Liz Moriarty
    2021-08-11 01:48:29
    Liz Moriarty
    I am in France at the moment and unable to download a pass sanitaire as my phone’s OS needs upgrading, which I also cannot do. I just hope the advice from FCDO is right and I can use my NHS QR code or I shall be outside the restaurant alone!

    REPLY