France extends its Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire) to children over 12, French mortgage eligibility is set to tighten in the new year, and clarification from the UK over vaccine rules. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Health Pass Extends to Over 12s
France’s Health Pass has been in place since the start of August and is currently required to access everything from bars and restaurants to gyms, cinemas, concerts, and many other events and leisure activities. Up until now, the pass has been a requirement for all over 18s throughout France. However, from October 1st, the pass will be extended to all over 12s.
This may cause issues for travellers planning to visit France with children during the October half-term holidays, especially if you live in a country where vaccines have not yet been made widely available to under 18s (such as the UK). If you are travelling with unvaccinated children between the ages of 12 and 18, it’s important to note that the rules for travel to France have not changed – unvaccinated children can accompany their vaccinated parents without the need for an essential reason (although over-11s must present a negative Covid test on arrival). The pass is not required to access hotels or other tourist accommodation, but some hotels have introduced this as policy, so be sure to check before you travel.
To access the pass for your children without a vaccination certificate, you will need either proof that your child has recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months or proof of a negative PCR or antigen test taken in the last 72 hours. Unfortunately, tests are not free for tourists in France and are set at €29 for an antigen test or €49 for a PCR test. However, they are widely available and many pharmacies and test centres offer 15-minute drop-in services – search for your nearest ‘centre de depistage’ here.
2. Tighter Mortgage Regulations from 2022
France’s High Council for Financial Stability (Le Haut Conseil de Stabilité Financière or HCSF) recently announced that its 2021 recommendations for housing loan practices are set to become law from 2022. The HCSF issued a number of recommendations for banks back in February, including stricter borrowing limits and maximum mortgage terms. However, these are currently only recommendations – they are not legally enforceable, which they will be from next year.
Our mortgage team have also confirmed new eligibility requirements for both UK and US property buyers hoping to secure a French mortgage, including higher minimum loan amounts. Read all about the changes here.
3. Final Date For Withdrawal Agreement Residency Applications
The final deadline for Brits living in France after Brexit to apply for a French residency card – a Titre de Séjour – under the Withdrawal Agreement is just a few days away. A three-month extension from the initial deadline of June 30th, 2021, was agreed upon back in June, pushing the deadline to September 30th – this Thursday.
If you were legally resident in France before January 1st, 2021, and have not yet applied for your Titre de Séjour, you must file your application before the end of the month. Failure to do so will not only mean you become illegally resident in France, but it will also mean that you lose your rights to residency under the Withdrawal Agreement.
Our guide to Applying for a Titre de Séjour will talk you through the process.
4. UK to Recognise Mixed Vaccines
In last week’s News Digest, we reported on the changes for travelling between France and the UK from October 4th. Since then, the UK has now changed its policy on accepting mixed-dose vaccines for those vaccinated in the EU.
Those vaccinated with mixed doses (i.e. receiving one dose of AstraZeneca, followed by a second dose of Pfizer) will now be considered as ‘fully vaccinated’ by the UK. Note, however, that the UK still does not recognise those vaccinated with a single dose (because they have recovered from Covid-19 within the six months prior to vaccination) as being fully vaccinated, a common practice within France and many EU countries.
Keep an eye on our article on travelling between France and the UK for the latest updates, but as always, we recommend double-checking the rules of travel right up to your date of departure, as changes are always possible.
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