How Does France’s Traffic Light System for Travel Work?

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How Does France’s Traffic Light System for Travel Work?

From June 9th, all travellers entering France must follow the rules according to the new traffic light classification for travel system. Countries have been designated green, orange, or red, and the rules for entry also vary depending on whether or not you have been vaccinated. Here’s everything you need to know.

Which Countries Are Green, Orange, and Red?

France’s traffic light classification system sees all countries listed as Green, Orange, and Red. Additional changes were made as of December 30th, 2021 – see the map below for the full breakdown of countries.

Green countries

Green countries are areas where the virus isn’t widely circulating. These include all EU and Schengen zone countries, as well as Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, New Zealand, Qatar, Rwanda, Senegal, Taiwan, Uruguay, and Vanuatu.

Orange countries

Orange countries are areas where the virus is still circulating widely but is seen to be under control with no impending worry of variants. Most countries are listed as orange including the UK, Canada and much of Asia, Africa, and South and Central America.

Red countries

Red countries are areas where wide circulation of the virus is still a concern, as well as a “worrying presence of Covid variants”. All but essential travel is banned to these countries. Red countries include the United States and Russia, as well as Afghanistan, Belarus, Botswana, Georgia, Mauritius, Malawi, Moldova, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Serbia, Suriname, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

What Are The Rules for Travel to France?

There are two things you need to take into account:

  • The country you are travelling from and its classification – red, orange, or green.
  • Your vaccination status – different rules are in place for fully vaccinated travellers

How does this work in practice? The full list of rules and requirements for each category are shown in the table below (in French), but these are the basics of what you need to know. To find the latest rules for the country you are travelling to or from, head over to the French government page here and use the search function to search for the specific destination. All travellers will still need to fill in a declaration stating that they have no Covid-19 symptoms, which you can download here.

Travelling to France from a Green Country

  • Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers can enter France for any reason including visiting a second home, visiting friends and family, or tourism.
  • If you are fully vaccinated, you will need to show proof of vaccination (see below). As of December 4th, all travellers over 12 years old travelling from a non-EU country to France (including French residents and French citizens returning from their travels) must present a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours of departure. The test must be a PCR test or rapid-result antigen or lateral flow test, providing the test is ‘capable of detecting the N protein in Covid’.
  •  You will also, of course, need to follow any non-Covid related rules regarding visas or entrance to the EU depending on your country of origin.
  • Non-vaccinated travellers must present a negative Covid-19 test (an “RT-PCR-COVID” virological screening test or an antigenic test), which must be carried out less than 48 hours before departure (for connecting flights, this is from the departure time of the first flight). Travellers under 11 years old do not need to take a test. *NOTE: As of November 13th, unvaccinated travellers from the EU countries listed below must present proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 24 hours before departure from an EU/Schengen Area country.

You can find the official rules for travelling to and from France and a Green country here (scroll down for the English versions).

Travelling to France from an Orange Country

**NOTE that the rules for travel to and from the UK from France have changed as of December 18th, 2021 – all travellers including those who are fully vaccinated must now have an Essential Reason to travel. See our article on Travel Between France and the UK for the latest. The Essential Reasons remain unchanged from those below.

  • Fully vaccinated travellers can enter France for any reason including visiting a second home, visiting friends and family, or tourism.
  • If you are fully vaccinated, you will need to show proof of vaccination (see below). As of December 4th, all travellers over 12 years old travelling from a non-EU country to France (including French residents and French citizens returning from their travels) must present a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours of departure. The test must be a PCR test or rapid-result antigen or lateral flow test, providing the test is ‘capable of detecting the N protein in Covid’.
  •  You will also, of course, need to follow any non-Covid related rules regarding visas or entrance to the EU depending on your country of origin.
  • Non-vaccinated travellers can only enter France with an essential reason, which does not include property owners, family visits, or tourism of any kind. You can see the full list of the essential reasons here.
  • Non-vaccinated travellers must present proof of their essential reason for travel and a negative Covid-19 test (an “RT-PCR-COVID” virological screening test or an antigenic test), which must be carried out less than 48 hours before departure (for connecting flights, this is from the departure time of the first flight). Travellers under 12 years old do not need to take a test.
  • You must also self-isolate for seven days and take a second test following the quarantine period.

You can find the official rules for travelling to and from France and an Orange country here (scroll down for the English versions).

Travelling to France from a Red Country

  • Non-vaccinated travellers can only enter France with an essential reason, which does not include property owners, family visits, or tourism of any kind. You can see the full list of the essential reasons here.
  • Vaccinated travellers must present proof of vaccination (see below). As of December 4th, all travellers over 12 years old travelling from a non-EU country to France (including French residents and French citizens returning from their travels) must present a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours of departure. The test must be a PCR test or rapid-result antigen or lateral flow test, providing the test is ‘capable of detecting the N protein in Covid’.
  • You must submit to an antigen test on arrival in France, if requested (and if the results are positive, you will be asked to quarantine).
  •  You will, of course, need to follow any non-Covid related rules regarding visas or entrance to the EU depending on your country of origin. Travellers under 11 years old do not need to take a test.
  • Non-vaccinated travellers have even stricter rules on entry. They must present proof of their essential reason for travel and a negative Covid-19 test (an “RT-PCR-COVID” virological screening test or an antigenic test) taken less than 48 hours before travel. They will also be required to quarantine at a registered address for 10 days (enforced by police checks) and take a second test following the quarantine period.

You can find the official rules for travelling to and from France and a Red country here (scroll down for the English versions).

Vaccinated Travellers: What Do You Need For Entry to France?

Vaccinated travellers must have received a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency, i.e. Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen). For double-dose vaccines, you must wait at least two weeks after the final injection to travel. For single-dose vaccines, you must wait at least four weeks after the vaccine to travel. You will need to present proof of your vaccination on arrival.

Travelling to France With Unvaccinated Children

The official rules on travelling with children are that: “The vital reasons and quarantine measures applied to vaccinated adults are extended under the same conditions to accompanying minors, whether or not they are vaccinated.” This means that if you are able to travel (either because you have an essential reason to travel or because you are vaccinated), your children will be able to travel with you.

Children over the age of 11 who are not vaccinated will need a negative Covid-19 test (an “RT-PCR-COVID” virological screening test or an antigenic test), which must be carried out less than 24 hours before departure (for connecting flights, this is from the departure time of the first flight). Children under the age of 11 will not need to take a test. Both will need to fill in the declaration form.

Remember that this ruling also applies to any necessary quarantine or self-isolation periods or re-testing. Your children will also need to follow the same protocol and over 11s will need to take a second test.

Note that children aged 12 and over visiting France will also need a Pass Sanitaire to enter certain establishments and events, and to access long distance transport  – read more about that here.

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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

  • Jonathan Maytham
    2021-12-04 04:51:41
    Jonathan Maytham
    2 weeks and already out of date! We live in challenging times. Entering France France travel advice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) "Latest update: Update to information on changes to entry rules from midnight 4 December local time (11pm GMT 3 December); those travelling from the UK to France must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR or antigen) before departure. This applies to all travellers whether fully vaccinated or not. Tests must be taken no more than 48 hours before travel for vaccinated travellers and no more than 24 hours before travel for those who are not fully vaccinated. Self-administered tests are not accepted." Since most UK tests involve you sticking the swab up your nose yourself this may no longer count! I'll know by the 17th when I fly back.

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  •  Adrian marklew
    2021-07-21 07:58:10
    Adrian marklew
    Dear Sirs We wanted to make you aware that in this article ,The rules regarding unvaccinated children appears to be inaccurate according to the uk government website .” Children who are travelling with a fully vaccinated adult will be exempt from requirements to present a negative test result, self isolate and provide an essential reason for travel regardless of whether the minor has been vaccinated or not. Children aged 12 years or over who are unvaccinated and travelling alone are subject to the same conditions as adults” Thank you

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  •  Ed Krol
    2021-07-08 07:28:05
    Ed Krol
    Your text says "Green countries are areas where the virus isn’t widely circulating. These include the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, and Korea. All EU and Schengen zone countries are also green." But the map does not reflect this.

    REPLY

  •  John Bibby
    2021-06-09 09:05:55
    John Bibby
    Morning Zoe - like some of the other commentators, my wife and me have both doses of the AstraZenica vaccine (February and April) at our local NHS hospital and this was dated on a credit card size vaccination card. Will this be adequate for the French Authorities at border control or should we have something better than this? We have a second home in Brittany and have planned to travel in March 2022 so by then maybe the requirements will be clearer. Another excellent article - you gave me some helpful advice recently on the Schengen Area travel allowances which is another nightmare scenario for us UK foreigners!!

    REPLY

  • Tim Cobb
    2021-06-09 07:07:07
    Tim Cobb
    Morning Zoe - a very informative piece, thank, but you do not say what proof we need to present. Are they accepting the NHS app as proof? Thank you Tim

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  •  Clive Bailey
    2021-06-08 10:36:47
    Clive Bailey
    Hi I know it is a pain but it would be wonderful if this table was printed in an English format as using a phone translator is still confusing. We have both had our 2nd jabs sometime ago and wish to go France to sign on the purchase of our French house but it is still very confusing on what we can do or not do ? Please advise

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  •  Lynn McFadzean
    2021-06-08 07:32:38
    Lynn McFadzean
    I am fully vaccinated and wish to visit my French holiday home. Do I need to quarantine in France or take any tests?

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