The French government has suspended the online portal through which non-EU visitors (excluding the UK) can request a health card QR code.
This means they now have to complete the process at a designated French pharmacy, at a cost of up to €36.
Tourists arriving in France from abroad must obtain a health pass to be able to visit public spaces such as restaurants, bars and museums.
This sanitary pass may consist of proof of full vaccination against Covid, a negative test result received within the last 48 hours or proof of recovery from Covid within the last six months, and is normally presented via a QR code generated by the app French TousAntiCovid.
Visitors from the EU and some countries including the UK have vaccination certificates which are already compatible with the app and can be downloaded directly.
However, many non-European tourists, including those from the United States and Canada, do not have documents that can be scanned in TousAntiCovid, so they must go through a process to convert their certificates.
These travelers were first informed that they could translate their documentation into a QR code by sending an e-mail to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On August 27, a supposedly simpler online portal was launched, allowing tourists to upload their contact details themselves.
Yet the ministry has received “a very large number of requests” – more than 4.5 million according to The dot guy – causing processing delays and leading some travelers to cancel their trips.
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Now, the online application portal has been closed leaving a message that reads: “This procedure has been closed, it is no longer possible to submit an application.”
The U.S. Embassy in France has just released a statement explaining that: “As of October 31, the French government has changed the method by which U.S. citizens and others vaccinated outside of the European Union can obtain a French health pass.
“Under the new system, the health pass will be obtained from designated pharmacies for a fee of up to €36.”
Read more: French pharmacies to convert non-EU vaccination data into health passes
The Embassy also offers a listing pharmacies that will agree to carry out the process for tourists.
Travelers will need their passport and the original paper version of their vaccination record – containing their name, date of birth, date(s) of vaccination, number of doses and the country in which they were received – in order to get the QR code.
Those who are unvaccinated or unable to convert their vaccination documents can also obtain a health pass by taking an antigen test at a pharmacy, many of which accept walk-in visits.
These tests usually cost between 20 and 30 € and the results are accompanied by a QR code which can be used as a health pass for the next 72 hours.
“This is strictly a procedure of the French government,” added the American embassy. “Despite what some pharmacies have told travelers, the U.S. Embassy does not have access to the French system, nor can we assist in this process.”
It is not known when the decision to suspend the online portal was taken, and French embassies in countries such as Chile and the United States still indicate that travelers can request a QR code online, although the links no longer work.
The website of the French Embassy in Washington DC indicates that the “system is open to non-European foreigners, tourists and students […arriving] before September 5.
“Requests for later arrivals will be handled later.”
However, this does not explain why the system remained active until October 31.
The connection has contacted the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask why the portal has been closed and whether there are plans to introduce a new online system. We have not yet received a response.
Some American tourists have said they can visit restaurants and museums using their Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination cards, but this is at the discretion of the location.
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