France has lifted restrictions on unvaccinated travelers from the UK, which means that effective today passengers who haven't had the jab can visit without an essential reason.

The UK has been moved from the orange or mid-risk list to France's lower-risk green category in its international travel restrictions, making it significantly easier for UK travelers who haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19 to visit France.

The move puts the UK in line with countries such as the US and European Union nations who can travel to France with little fuss, presenting either proof of vaccination or, in the case of unvaccinated people, a negative test. 

Previously visitors from the UK had to present a "compelling reason justifying the need for them to come to mainland France" which effectively banned them from visiting.

In recent weeks, France has relaxed other pandemic measures by suspending the vaccine pass requirement to enter indoor establishments and removing the mask mandate, with the exception of public transportation. 

If you have your sights set on a trip to France this year, here's what you need to know about the rule changes and how they could impact your visit.

Family camping picnic in France
The change comes just before the Easter holidays, a popular travel time between the UK and France © Getty Images/Westend61

Do I need to show proof of vaccination to enter France?

Generally speaking, yes. If you want to avoid additional restrictions such as testing or quarantine, it's a good idea to show proof of vaccination.

To be considered fully vaccinated, you must have received a booster dose no later than nine months after receiving the last dose of your primary vaccine schedule if you're over 18. Those aged between 12 and 17 don't need to show proof of a booster to be considered fully vaccinated.

France accepts vaccines authorized by the European Union (EU) or those approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use.

What are the entry rules for visiting France?

The documentation you need to enter France during the pandemic varies depending on where you are coming from.

If you're traveling from the EU or any country signed up to the EU digital COVID cert program, you can present your digital COVID-19 certificate or any approved European health certificate that documents your vaccination status to avoid additional restrictions. If you're unvaccinated, you'll need to take a negative test prior to departure.

If you're traveling from the UK, you can present a digital or paper NHS certificate showing their full vaccine status to avoid testing. If you're unvaccinated, you'll need to take a negative PCR or antigen test prior to departure.

If you're traveling from the US, the same rules apply. The US, like the UK, is now classified as a 'green' or low-risk country and passengers are asked to present their CDC vaccination cards. Unvaccinated arrivals must take a negative test prior to departure.

If you're traveling from elsewhere, you'll need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test if you're coming from a 'green' or low-risk country. If you're coming from an 'orange' or mid-risk country, you'll be asked to show proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated passengers from orange countries must present an essential reason for traveling.

Do you need a visa to go to France?

Young Man Wearing Mask Standing At Airport
Despite the rule changes, masks are still required in airport, transport stations and on public transport in France © Getty Images

France suspends the health and vaccine pass

France required people, including tourists, to show a vaccine pass (pass vaccinal) or health pass (pass sanitaire) to board public transport and to enter most venues including museums, galleries, theaters, restaurants, and tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower.

In mid-March the passes were suspended, which means you won't need one to enter an indoor facility unless you're visiting a nursing home facility. However, as they are 'suspended' rather than scrapped, the passes could be introduced again if cases spike or a new COVID-19 variant of concern emerges.

Where do I need to wear a mask in France?

Mask mandates have been lifted in most venues including shops, restaurants, gyms, museums and workplaces, but there are some exceptions. If you're traveling to France you'll need to wear a mask in airports and transport stations. You'll also need one to board public transport and taxis, including Uber. Failure to comply could result in a €135 fine. 

France travel during COVID-19: What it felt like to visit this winter

Where can I get tested in France?

If you need to take a test for your return journey home, you shouldn't have much hassle finding one in France. Testing is widely available in France in most pharmacies and medical facilities but you'll generally need to make an appointment in advance. Most pharmacies can do antigen tests for about €25, and PCR tests can cost about €45. You can find testing locations near you through the COVID testing map.

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First-time France: where to go and what to do
France’s 10 most stunning road trips
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This article was first published Jul 21, 2021 and updated Apr 1, 2022.

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