Travel and Tourism

France Travel Restrictions: What You Need to Know

With the world-famous Eiffel Tower, dreamy beaches along the Côte d’Azur, and exceptional viticulture and gastronomy, it’s no surprise that France is the most visited country in the world.

In fact, nearly 220 million international visitors came to France in 2019, and tourism accounted for almost 10% of the country’s GDP.

Although the pandemic may have caused tourism in France to come to a halt for the last two years, the country has recently eased travel restrictions and is allowing foreign nationals to come and experience France once again.

Even better, the ETIAS visa waiver for France will be introduced at the end of 2022. This travel authorization comes with many benefits, including less queues at passport control, seamless travel between Schengen countries, and multiple entries.

Travelers who are planning to visit France soon should be sure to read up on the current entry requirements and travel restrictions, which are outlined below.

The Latest Entry Restrictions for France

After more than a year of dealing with lockdowns and quarantines, the French government opened its borders to international tourism in June 2021.

However, the country continued to grapple with new restrictions, ‘green’ and ‘orange’ lists, and testing requirements over the next couple of months.

Thankfully, on February 12, 2022, France has considerably loosened its entry requirements as it learns to live with ‘the new normal.’

France Entry Requirements for Vaccinated Travelers

As part of the new rules, foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated and traveling to France do not have to follow any requirements.

This means that there is no need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test, regardless of the country of origin.

In order to be admitted under this category, incoming passengers will be asked to show proof of a complete course of vaccination. At the moment, France accepts any of the vaccines that are approved by the European Medicine Agency (EMA), including Moderna (Spikevax), Novsvax, AstraZeneca (Vaxveria), Pfizer & BioNTech, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

However, it is important to note that, since February 1st, 2022, arrivals are only considered to be fully vaccinated if they have received a booster dose no later than nine months after receiving their second dose.

France Entry Requirements for Unvaccinated Travelers

Unvaccinated travellers who wish to enter France are categorized based on the county that they came from.

Travellers who come from ‘green’ countries, which France defines as countries that do not have any variants of concern, only need to present a negative antigen or PCR test within 72 hours before entering France. The full list of green countries may be found on the French Interior Ministry website.

Likewise, travellers from orange countries will need to present a negative test, as well as a compelling reason that justifies their trip to France. On arrival, there is a possibility that travellers may be asked to take a test, and be subjected to isolation if the result is positive.

Domestic Restrictions in France

Once in France, travellers will be pleased to hear that there are minimum domestic restrictions.

Curfews have been abolished, and there are no restrictions on movement and transportation. However, everyone 6 years of age and older must wear a face covering while riding on public transportation. Visitors may also be asked to wear a mask in some commercial establishments and business centers.

Likewise, visitors are expected to adhere to typical health and safety rules, such as maintaining a proper distance and washing hands.

Speaking of transportation: airports across France are back to work on a regular schedule, including Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly, as well as other popular hubs like Nice, Lyon, and Toulouse.

Although France enacted its own Health Pass last year (officially called the Pass Sanitaire), it is no longer required for travellers who wish to enter venues and establishments like restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, and so on. The only exception covers travellers who need to enter hospitals, official establishments (such as embassies) or nursing homes.

After enjoying a holiday in France, it’s time to travel back home. Travelers who need to undergo testing for their final destination will be pleased with the availability of PCR and antigen test centers in France.

Test results are produced fairly quickly: antigen test results may be ready in as little as one hour after getting swabbed, while PCR tests may take a few hours. Antigen and PCR tests are widely available at laboratories, testing centers, and pharmacies. A handful of airports in France also have their own testing centers.

By doing research and preparing in advance, intrepid travelers can enjoy a fun and worry-free vacation to France. The most important things to keep in mind are to constantly check the green and orange lists before your departure, taking plenty of masks, and following all health and safety precautions.