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France's Response to Omicron

When it comes to determining the transmissibility and overall severity of infection for the latest Covid-19 variant, there’s still a lot of research to be done.

france omicron

With more and more countries reporting cases of Omicron while still battling the prevalent Delta, there’s a good bit of nervousness over what it could mean for their residents.

As such, destinations all over the world are implementing various measures in order to hopefully curb the spread of Covid overall. From testing and mandatory quarantines to new visa requirements and other restrictions on travel, just about every country has different rules.

This can even include rules based on your country of origin and/or nationality.

France has been experiencing an uptick in Covid levels and in fact, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other countries recently issued travel health notices because of it.

So, we wanted to find out what France is doing in response to Omicron and the rising numbers.

What Visas for France are Currently Available?

As you’ll see below, they’ve implemented some fairly strict measures due to the variant in addition to the normal requirements for entry into France.

You must present a valid passport along with the documents required to verify the reason for your stay.

For a stay of fewer than 90 days, the short-stay visa is still available but you’ll need to show proof of accommodations and the means to fund your entire trip.

They are also still issuing long-stay visas and residence permits at this time.

Is Testing/Vaccination Required?

Last week, France started requiring international travelers to adhere to a new testing policy. This includes testing prior to and/or on arrival, confirming that you have not been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, you are free from symptoms, and that you will self-isolate for seven days.

In addition to showing proof that you are vaccinated, any person aged 12 and over traveling from outside the European Union is required to provide proof of a negative PCR test or an antigen test that was taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival.

Travelers from within Europe will need to test within 24 hours of arrival.

Visitors from a Member State of the European Union (i.e. Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, etc) that have a complete vaccination schedule aren’t required to provide the test.

As of 15/12/21, if you received a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you’ll have to show proof that you received a booster.

What Other Measures Have Been Taken?

France has various restriction levels based on varying health indicators related to Covid-19 and its variants. This means that a country’s specific classification will change over time but they fall into one of four levels.

Green - no observed active circulation of the virus and no variant of concern has been identified. There are no additional restrictions for those visiting France from a green list country or territory.

Orange - active circulation is currently in controlled proportions and variants of concern are not spreading unchecked. Whether you’re vaccinated or not, in addition to the negative antigen or PCR test within 48 hours of leaving for France, you’ll be required to complete a systematic antigen or PCR test on arrival. 

Furthermore, you must give a compelling reason for your visit in order to be allowed to enter Metropolitan France and if you do receive authorization and aren’t vaccinated, you’re subject to a seven day self-isolation and end-of-period test.

Red - very active circulation with the presence of concerning variants. While the restrictions that apply for orange level countries are imposed here as well, the mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated is for 10-days and is supervised by security forces.

Scarlet - very active circulation along with discovery of a new variant that may result in increased transmissibility and you must a compelling reason for your visit.

At this time, those countries include South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Eswatini, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Mauritius, and Malawi. If you show an acceptable reason for your visit and are allowed entry, you’re subject to the mandatory 10-day quarantine whether you’re vaccinated or not.

Additionally, you may be subject to restrictions by both France and your destination country if traveling to an orange, red, or scarlet country.

Is the Canada eTA Still Available for French Citizens?

The Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is still available at this time. This is a simplified online application process that gives French citizens with valid passports the right to enter Canada without a visa.

This is a multiple entry electronic visa waiver and allows a stay of up to 180 days (6 months) for each visit to Canada. Whether for business or pleasure.

Winter is here for much of the world and that means that a lot of people want to travel for the holidays, etc. The changing of the seasons also means that more and more people will gather indoors, which could drastically change the country’s entire Covid-19 “landscape” in a matter of days.

You definitely need to stay on top of current rules, regulations, and requirements for any country you plan on visiting. However, as you saw above, if you hope to encounter the least resistance as possible on your journey, then you should consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t already done so.

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