Can you go to France yet? The answer to that question changes continuously like a moving target. In October, one of my French students, a woman I’ll call Sharon, went to France with her husband. “Merveilleux!” she exclaimed upon her return. A marvelous trip! She went to several countries and had the best time of all in France (plus, she was able to practice her French!) She didn’t have any problems while she was there but had prepared according to then-current regulations.
Requirements for Travel to France
She was required to have evidence of vaccination (original card) as well as a sworn statement. Sharon and her husband took a Viking cruise and Viking provided this document for them. If you’re planning to travel with a tour company, they’ll provide a lot of information for you and the necessary forms. If you’re going on your own, you can download it at this site: https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Certificate-of-international-travel. You’ll have to show these documents on the U. S. side before you receive your boarding pass. While on the cruise, Sharon and her husband were tested for Covid daily. (They still report having a great time!)
The website mentioned in the previous paragraph lists requirements such as getting a negative test or quarantine, but these don’t currently apply to Americans. One of these may apply to people coming from other countries. If you plan to visit several countries, you’ll need to check the regulations for those countries as well as re-entering France, if you’re leaving from there. Here is the France Diplomacy website, which offers additional information: https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/
Before disembarking in Paris, Sharon and her husband were given a “locator form”, which gave their names, flight numbers, seat assignments, and contact information. They gave this document to a flight attendant, but their movements in France weren’t tracked once they left the airport. They did have to show their documents again once in Paris. You may have to show your vaccination card in restaurants and museums as well, depending on the establishment. The vaccine card is known as a Pass Sanitaire in France.
Be Informed Up-to-the-Minute. Here’s How
This is all subject to change again before you travel, either opening up or requiring new documents. Be sure you check with the French Foreign Affairs website and the U. S. State Department as well. This website is https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html, although it hasn’t been updated since October 4, and we know how quickly things change! It warns about travel to France and I’m not sure why. The “civil unrest” that is sometimes reported is what one French friend told me was the “weekly demonstration” that occurs each Saturday. It’s just a French thing, and normally is not dangerous (unless it escalates into a riot, which occasionally happens. In that case, just avoid the area.)
Returning to the US
Upon returning to the U.S, you’ll have to show your vaccination certificate again as well as a negative Covid test taken within 3 days of departure. If you are unvaccinated, you’ll need to have the test within one day (and we know how difficult that can be since results aren’t always available that quickly.) If you don’t have these documents, you can be denied boarding. This website (U. S. Embassy and Consulates in France) gives you the details for re-entry into the US. https://fr.usembassy.gov/health-alert-u-s-embassy-paris-france-november-3-2021/
The end of Sharon’s story took a twist when she and her husband tried to go to the United Kingdom. At that time, they were requiring a document that she didn’t know about (they were not with a tour at this point) and getting the documents and fulfilling their complex requirements was too difficult, so they shortened their trip. One week later, these requirements in the U.K. were dropped.
Be Prepared . . . And have a great time!
The moral of the story: Be prepared and knowledgeable of all the requirements. Do your homework up to the last minute (Remember, things change quickly!) Call your airline, visit the websites mentioned in this post and other helpful ones you may find, and of course, your tour company, if you’re using one. These sites are authoritative but may not be up-to-the-minute updated. Keep looking and learning. After that, there’s no reason you won’t have a great trip in France. And we’ll all look forward to things getting easier and more open in days to come!