a city with many buildings

Update: France, for the third time in almost as many weeks, has changed how to officially obtain a ‘Pass Sanitaire’ health pass for entering hotels, restaurants, cafes and museums in the country, for all non Europeans, including Americans. Read up on the latest info to grab yours.

At least for the foreseeable future, if you want to enter a hotel, dine out, or enjoy any of the boundless cultural attractions of France, while in France, you’ll need to show a digital QR code health pass.

That means either getting tested every three days, or having proof of full vaccination using an EU approved vaccine. Obviously, the latter is much easier, at least in theory.

The problem is that most people visiting won’t have been vaccinated in France, which means you can’t just automatically download a pass. That’s made things a fidget for Americans and other visitors from abroad.

France has now simplified the process for visitors to obtain a French health pass, known as the ‘Pass Sanitaire’, with a dedicated new website to streamline the process and remove slow wait times for email responses. Instead, you’ll just upload your proof to a website, and should be all set.

Here’s how to receive one, without (too) much hassle, and what to do if you don’t get yours before arrival.

a boat on the water with Eiffel Tower in the background

Getting a ‘Pass Sanitaire’ For France

France waffled a bit with protocols for tourists entering the country from outside of the EU to receive a ‘Pass Sanitaire’ digital health pass, but the dust has settled. Again.

Instructions had been given for tourists to visit a pharmacy after arrival in France, and that a French pharmacist could enter proof of vaccination from abroad, into the French system. That still works in most pharmacies, but the latest ‘Pass Sanitaire’ travel advice should be a lot easier, if enough trip lead time is given.

French authorities now instruct travelers with plans to visit France, to fill out an online form, after taking a photo of their vaccination card, a copy of their passport and have filled out a form. Files can be no larger than 3MB per file. This applies to non-European arrivals, such as Americans, Canadians and others.

The website allows you to create an online account and upload proof of vaccination as well as relevant travel documents. Once completed, you’ll have permanent access to the French ‘Pass Saintaire’, which should also work in other European countries.

It’s best to have both things (vaccination card and passport) ready to go when filling out the online form and creating an account. After completion, French authorities will send a QR code, which will act as the ‘Sanitaire’ health pass around France and should also work on any subsequent visits.

It’s best to have both things (vaccination card and passport) ready to go when filling out the online form and creating an account. After completion, French authorities will send a QR code, which will act as the ‘Sanitaire’ health pass around France and should also work on any subsequent visits.

Basically, it’s hassle, but should be one and done.

Data points suggest that it’s taking authorities up to a week, or more, to process these requests, so the sooner in advance of your trip you submit, the more streamlined it should be.

In accordance with the decision by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, we have put in place with the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs a specific system for non-EU tourists to receive a QR code which will be valid as a French COVID certificate.

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister Of Tourism, France
a large glass pyramid in a courtyard with Louvre in the background

Big Improvement For Tourists

This is a huge improvement for inbound tourists, who previously couldn’t even check into their hotel until they visited a pharmacy and wrangled a pharmacist willing to do a bunch of paperwork. Now, all fully vaccinated visitors will have the pass before leaving.

It’s unclear whether France plans to automate the process further for arrivals later in the year, but for near term trips, this is absolutely the best way to get the key Sanitaire Pass, which unlocks most of the doors in France which any visitors may want to enter.

More than half of EU countries now require some form of vaccination proof to enter bars, restaurants, hotels and museum attractions, which is adding a level of confusion to already confusing trips. It’s great to see France simplifying the process to get theirs.

Join the Conversation


  1. Your article lacks precision. The doc you link to, from the French NY consulate, starts off with this:
    “Initially, this system is only open to non-EU tourists who are already in France or who will arrive on or before 15 August. Requests concerning subsequent arrivals at will be processed at a later date.”

    1. The precision that’s out is the precision that’s given. French authorities have not made it explicitly clear if things will change, as stated. For now, this is the way.

    1. sadly… the European economy which depends heavily on tourism is losing big time because of all the uncoordinated and poorly executed regulations. If you are able to board a flight with a valid CDC card vaccination, then obtaining a QRC code should not be this difficult. We also resubmitted twice – old system then new system – and still nothing. My daughter and her husband submitted AFTER we did and had their QRC within 48 hours.

  2. The link to document on NYC consulate site is bad. However the sites of other consulates (atlanta, DC), are ok.

  3. Gilbert, your information was right on point. It took 10 days but just received our COVID passports using the process from the weblink.

    Thanks for the details.

  4. I’ve been waiting for a week now for response from the embassy.

    Arrived in France yesterday. This morning walked into pharmacy in Cannes and got the QR code in 5 min

    To be exact the first small pharmacy couldn’t do it. The second, a larger one did

    1. Did you go into a chain pharmacy? And did you explain in English or French? We’re traveling tomorrow and haven’t had a reply from the embassy? Thanks!

  5. Have to say that I am really thankful for this article, I would not have known about the Sanitair Pass and possibility of validating the US vaccine in a French pharmacy otherwise. So very helpful

  6. I applied for a pass two weeks before my trip and never heard back after the initial confirmation email. Made it to Paris without a pass and bunch of people that I spoke to in the plane didn’t hear back from embassy either. I just ended up taking an antigen test at CDG Airport when I landed and QR code was emailed to me in an hour. I will try to visit a pharmacy to convert my CDC card to health pass since I am planning to visit Paris again later and the pass also can be used in other EU country. From what I read on tripadvisor, only certain pharmacy know or are willing to change CDC card to healthpass (for a fee). Hotel that I checked in didn’t ask for a pass but all the restaurants that I dined in asked for a pass. Pass wasn’t checked in TGV train which I was surprised.

  7. Just a personal experience, we tried to do this and never got a response. It’s been two weeks and we are already back home now. On the plus side, every single place we went including big museums, small restaurants, bars, hotels, etc. all accepted out US paper vaccine cards without question.

  8. I had no luck in Paris (August 4-5) getting a pharmacy to add my QR code. They all indicated that pharmacies are no longer allowed to do this. I started emailed my data on August 7 and finally received my pass on August 13. Here is the email that was supposed to be used (at the time) for US west coast residents: area1.covid-pass@diplomatie.gouv.fr
    Once I had the pass life was splendid.

    1. I know you had a bad experience, but many data points subsequent to your experience confirmed most pharmacies can and will help. Some choose to be difficult. Indeed that’s correct, re email. That email is linked on the embassy website, but because our readers come from all over the world, we send them to the link which supplies all relevant email addresses, rather than one from one corner. All the best.

  9. We’ve been in France for over a week now, having this pass is a must.
    Almost all restaurants, malls check them.
    Even small bakeries – after you spend time in crowded space making selection- will check your pass right before ringing up your order.

    I’ve never heard from the embassy, but getting the QR code was easy in Cannes.

    The second pharmacy we stepped in was able to do that. They spoke English good enough . We used pictures of vaccinations cards in the phone and had to show IDs – US driver’s license worked.

    Getting ready to fly back on BA through london. Got tested in Paris€25 for antigen.
    BA is heavily pushing to use the VeriFLY app. Uploaded the negative test result and it was validated within an hour.

  10. I’m a U.K. citizen. I’ve just returned from a two week holiday touring France. My NHS app & QR was accepted everywhere., abs scanned in without a problem
    I assume this article is primarily aimed at US citizens?

  11. I submitted via the e-mail, not the website. Should I resubmit? Or just wait for the first submission to go through? One of our three submissions came back in a week. The other two were emailed 8/12/2021 with only the automated email of receipt of e-mail.

  12. I applied for my health pass on 9/17 for my travel on 10/8 and still have not received it. My layover in Paris to Montpellier is only 1.5 hours. If I don’t receive my health pass in time, is there enough time for me to go take a COVID-19 test at the airport to get a QR code? Thanks!

  13. A trick I found is to delete your original application and submit during weekday early French business hours (2am EST/ 8am French time). Before resubmitting my app was awaiting review for days but once I resubmitted at 2am EST on Tuesday it was approved in 15 min and I got my QR code. Good luck!

  14. It seems to be taking an age for these to be approved. Been waiting since late September. Followed up but no response as yet

  15. I am traveling in south of France, been on trains and buses and rarely asked for the pass , only once at a hotel and they accepted cdc card. However I thought it a good idea and just got one in a pharmacie in Cannes. Costs 36€. It wasn’t a chain or large pharmacie, it seems some simply offer it and most will look at you like you’re crazy and have no idea.

  16. Have been in hotels, on buses and trains in South of France and never asked for pass sanitaire. I did obtain one from a small pharmacy in Cannes by presenting cdc card and ID.

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