UPDATE November 3rd 2021: Unfortunately, over the weekend, the French government took down the website for visitors to get a Health Pass prior to arrival in France. The current method involves arriving in France with your vaccination card and going to a pharmacy to get a temporary health pass. Perhaps this post “killed the deal” but I’m glad that many who were planning trips to France were able to get their QR codes prior to arrival for a seamless journey. In the interest of historical documentation, I’ll keep the original post up.
After almost two years without international travel, I finally booked a trip to Paris. One of the reasons we chose to visit was because of the vaccination mandates instituted in France. My belief is that a place with such provisions will likely avoid having to suddenly lockdown and throw travel plans into disarray. Pretty much every activity in France requires showing a QR code known as the Pass Sanitaire (Health Pass) that verifies if you’ve had a vaccine, a recent negative test, or past infection.
I’ve heard some visitors state they were able to use their CDC vaccination card they received in the United States to enter venues in France. I don’t like carrying my CDC card around since it doesn’t fit in a wallet and can easily get lost. My state doesn’t offer a digital version. Luckily, France has made it (somewhat) simple for foreigners to apply for a French health pass if you have plans to visit. I’ll go over the steps I took to get ourselves set up.
Applying for the French health pass (Pass Sanitaire)
- Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and create an account (créer un compte). If you can’t read French, it’s best to do this whole process in a browser with in-line translation like Safari or Chrome.
- Once you’ve made an account, you can submit documentation for yourself as well as others. Each applicant will get their own “folder.” I was able to apply for myself as well as my wife.
- You’ll need to select what area of the world you’re applying from – the USA, Canada, or elsewhere. After that, it’s as simple as providing your birthday, home address, copy of your passport, copy of your vaccination card, which vaccine you received, when and where your last inoculation was, travel dates in France, copy of your itinerary to visit France, and an affirmation. All of this is probably easier to do over a desktop computer, but I was able to fill out the application on my phone. My main piece of advice here would be to remember that USA is “États-Unis” in French for when you’re searching for your country of vaccination.
Try to time your submission for the start of the business day in France
When I initially submitted our applications, I let them sit for a while. I actually forgot about them until checking back in three weeks later to find that they were still sitting there unreviewed. However, someone I know got an approval for their health pass the same day they applied.
I realized that I had initially submitted my applications during an evening here in the United States, which was during the middle of the night in Paris. I decided to re-do my applications and submit them around 7AM in Paris on weekday (10PM pacific or 1AM eastern). This was key, as both of our applications were approved within 5 minutes.
I don’t know why it works this way, but something about the workflow queue makes it such that newer applications are likely brought up to the top and someone manually checks the application. If you have a pending application that is more than a few days old, it’s best to make a new one, wait for approval, then delete your old application.
Penny in the comments also points out that keeping attachments under 3MB helps with timely approval.
Once I got our Health Pass PDFs, I was able to upload them into the TousAntiCovid app, where they will be ready for use when we visit in a few weeks.