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



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 November 15, 2021, 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?

From now on, anyone aged over 18 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.

From September 30, this will also be extended to children aged 12 to 17.

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 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). 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.

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 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.

In order to activate your Pass Sanitaire, you will need to apply for a French-issued vaccination certificate that can then be scanned into the app.

If you are a French National who received their vaccination overseas, you can now apply for this online HERE and to do so, you will need  (in a PDF, JPG or PNG format):

  • Your full vaccination certificate
  • A copy of your passport
  • Your return airline tickets to France

If you are a non-EU citizen or second-home owners looking to travel to France, you can request this via email, by providing the above documents along with:

Email these documents as an attachment (only PDF, JPG, and PNG formats are accepted) to the relevant email address below with the subject line ‘COUNTRY/SURNAME first name’ (for example: CANADA/SMITH Zoë):

US citizens: [email protected]

Canadian citizens: [email protected]

Citizens of other non-EU countries: [email protected]

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 72 hours.

Tests are currently free for residents in France, and you can get one at your local pharmacy or search for your nearest test centre on Doctolib. However, from September, there will be a charge for all ‘convenience’ Covid tests, with prices set at a maximum of €29 for antigen tests and €49 for PCR tests.

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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  •  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!