News Digest: Do You Need a Covid Booster to Travel to France?



News Digest: Do You Need a Covid Booster to Travel to France?

Relaxed rules for travellers between France and the UK come into effect this week, but you might need a booster to qualify as fully vaccinated in France. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. France Drops 24hr Test from the UK

Good news for vaccinated travellers coming to France from the UK—pre-travel tests will no longer have to be taken within 24 hours of departure. Proof of a negative PCR or antigen (lateral flow) Covid test result is still required by vaccinated travellers prior to departure; however, it can now be taken within a 48-hour window before departure.

Finding 24-hour tests can be tricky in the UK, so this update is likely to make it much easier for travellers from the UK. The new rule comes into effect immediately.

Unvaccinated travellers still require an Essential Reason to travel, and pre-travel tests must still be taken within 24 hours of travel.

See our guide to Travel Between France and the UK

2. UK Scraps Day 2 Tests for Vaccinated Travellers

We announced in our News Digest a couple of weeks back that the UK was also relaxing its entry procedures for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers. The changes will come into effect from this Friday, February 11th. From then on, vaccinated travellers will no longer need to pre-book and take a Covid test on Day 2 of arrival – you will, however, still need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form.

Unvaccinated travellers will still need to present a negative pre-departure test and also take a Day 2 test on arrival; however, they will no longer be required to quarantine on arrival or take a second PCR test on Day 8.

3. Boosters Required for France Entry

France has confirmed that the requirements for booster vaccines will now be extended to all travellers and visitors over the age of 18. These new rules came into effect for EU travellers on February 1st, 2022, and it is now clear that these rules will apply to all travellers wishing to enter France.

This means that in order to be considered “fully vaccinated” for entry to France, you must have received a booster vaccine within nine months (270 days) of your second vaccine dose.

If your last vaccination was over nine months ago, you must receive a booster vaccine prior to traveling to France in order to be counted as vaccinated. Otherwise, you will fall under the same rules of unvaccinated travellers, including the requirements to test, quarantine, or provide an Essential Reason (depending on your country of origin).

4. Are You Hoping to Retire to France?

If you’re looking to retire to France now or in the future, FrenchEntrée is here to answer all your questions and concerns. Check out our new Retiring to France Essential Reading guides, which will take you through each step, from applying for residency and understanding your pension options to French healthcare for the over-60s and paying tax on your overseas pension.

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Take a look at our Moving to France and Visas & Residency guides, or get in touch and let us know your questions.

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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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  •  Alissa
    2022-02-11 08:25:56
    Have people whose vaccine was over 9 months ago (who never got a booster) been required to start over by getting the vaccine a second time and then getting the booster within 9 months? Or is just getting the booster shot even if it’s after the 9 months generally accepted? I’m wondering because I’m supposed to travel to France from the US this summer and was planning to get my booster shot this month (about 10 months after my vaccine). Thanks!


    • Zoë Smith
      2022-02-11 22:02:19
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Alissa, Under the current guidelines, once you receive your booster (at any time) it counts as a third dose - there is no maximum timeframe in which you must receive your booster in order for it to count. The nine-month mark is only the time at which you will no longer be counted as vaccinated in France unless you receive a booster. I hope that clears it up and best of luck for your travels! Zoe