France – COVID 19 Travel Updates

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Traveling to France – COVID-19 Updates

There are so many reasons to visit France, it’s hard to know where to start. Paris is probably the most obvious one, followed by the Mediterranean and the Loire. If you’re into hiking and sports, then you’ll love the Pyrenees and the Alps. For sports and history, head to the north coast, especially Brittany.

France’s experience with COVID19

France has been extremely hard-hit by the pandemic. COVID19 entered the country relatively early (in December 2019). Since March 2020, the country has been almost completely in a “sanitary state of emergency”. This was briefly lifted in the summer of 2020 but reimposed by the fall. It has been progressively lifted again since 3rd May 2021.

The current COVID19 status in France

At present, the CDC’s advisory for France is Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19. The U.S. State Department’s advisory is also Level 4: Do Not Travel.

All non-essential travel from outside the EU has been banned since 31st January 2021. This is intended to change on 9th June 2021. The French government plans to allow leisure travel from selected countries. Travelers will, however, need to have a “health pass”. This presumably means proof of vaccination or a negative COVID19 test of some form.

It is unclear whether or not the U.S. will be included in the initial list of countries. There is a strong possibility that the French governments will start with close neighbors like the UK and Switzerland. You can, however, check for the latest information on the official website run by the Ministry for Europe and International Affairs. The English version is here.

Under current rules, U.S. citizens may only travel to France if they have a “certificate of international travel”. This must be obtained prior to travel from the Ministry of the Interior website (English version here). These certificates are only granted if you are traveling for an approved reason.

Upon arrival, you must provide a negative COVID19 PCR test and self-isolate for 7 days. After this, you need to follow all COVID19-related restrictions in place at the time of your visit. You can get an up-to-date list from the French government’s website (English version here).  

Mask requirements

A key point to note is that in France, you don’t just have to wear a mask, you need to wear an approved type of mask. The minimum standard is “Category 1”. This safeguards against over 90% of particles. Some people may need to wear medical-grade face masks (FFP1) or even filtering respirators (FFP2). There are exceptions for children under 11 and people undertaking physical exercise.

Returning to the U.S. from France

Everyone aged two and older must comply with one of two options before boarding a flight to the U.S. Firstly, you can provide a negative COVID19 viral test taken within 72 hours of your scheduled departure. Secondly, you can provide documented proof that you have recovered from the virus within the past 90 days.

Currently, there is no federal requirement to quarantine upon return from France. States, however, may apply their own rules.

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