I didn't get my French health pass in time for my trip — here's what happened

© Provided by The Points Guy MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

After a year sans setting foot in Europe, I had big plans for a recent trip to France. Most of them, unsurprisingly, revolved around what I’d be eating — starting with every dried, cured and aged pork product I could get my hands on plus copious amounts of oysters.

I also planned to spend as much time as possible doing what I usually do in France — idling at cafes with friends in the presence of servers who never feel the urge to flip your table in a hurry.

Full COVID-19 coverage on our News App
Iphone|Android users, Open you Camera and Scan this QR

But this time, as opposed to on my previous visits, I’d need a pass to partake.

Presenting a digital health pass as proof of vaccination is now required at restaurants, cafes and bars in France, and public places, including museums, cultural institutions and public transit. (TPG has kept up with the changing process and rules here.)

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

© The Points Guy Guests at a restaurant at Les Halles de Narbonne prepare to show their health passes on their phones. (Photo by Terry Ward)

“Did you get a pass sanitaire?” a few French friends asked me when I told them I was coming for a visit, knowing how I love nothing more than lingering at a restaurant with them for a prix fixe meal that unfolds over many hours and bottles of wine.

So the first thing I did after booking my flight from Tampa to Montpelier for my recent trip on Sept. 12 was look into getting the digital French health pass, which I was beginning to think of as my literal meal ticket in the country.

On Sept. 8, four days before my trip, I clicked on the online application to have my CDC vaccination card (showing I’d had my two Pfizer shots) converted into the French health pass. You can only apply for the pass if you’re in France already or about to travel there, I’d read, so I figured I was in the clear.

The process is straightforward, taking you through several pages asking for your full name, date of birth and address where you plan to stay in France (with arrival and departure dates). You then upload a photo of your passport information page.

© The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of demarches-simplifiees.fr)

I input my vaccination history, including the country where I got the shot(s), the date of my last injection, the name of the vaccine (it must be either Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca) and the number of doses administered.

Next, I uploaded a photo of the front of my vaccine card and a PDF of my airline ticket.

Then, voilà. I ticked a box to certify I provided accurate information and submitted the file.  A “Thank you!” page popped up and my stomach started rumbling.

© The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of demarches-simplifiees.fr)

There was an additional box for “Commentaires” on the application where you can type in any additional information you want the issuing authorities to know about your submission. And looking back, I wish I’d typed up a little note that my arrival date to France was imminent and I hoped to have the pass by then. But I was trying not to be a pushy American.

In the end, I didn’t receive an email with the PCR code and my pass sanitaire before I left for my trip — nor did I receive it during my trip. I arrived back home on Sept. 20. And on Sept. 23, my dossier still showed “in progress” with a note that “files for this process are processed within 19 days” (in the beginning, it had said five days, then 11 days — the wait just keeps getting longer).

On Sept. 24, I finally received an email — and it was a rejection since my trip dates are now in the past:

“Dear Sir, Madam, Your stay in France having ended, we regret to inform you that we will not anwer your request. We invite you to repeat it during your next stay. We apologize for not being able to do your request on time . Best regards”

© The Points Guy Screenshot courtesy of Terry Ward

A friend of mine from California also ran into the issue of not receiving his French health pass a few days before leaving on his trip. But he’d gone back into his online file to add a comment that he was on his way to France soon, he told me, and received the pass just before landing in Paris.

So how did things go for me, then, visiting France without the almighty pass sanitaire in hand?

In a word, deliciously.

I was asked to show my French health pass upon arriving at Charles de Gaulle and while boarding my connecting flight from Paris to Montpelier.

At the airport, I showed my CDC vaccination card and it was accepted, as I knew it would be — but that’s also what continued to unfold during the rest of my trip and cafe-hopping adventures in the South of France.

There was sometimes mild confusion at this paper I proffered instead of my phone when asked to show the pass, but my CDC vaccination card was never rejected anywhere.

I wasn’t required to show my pass sanitaire when renting a car from Budget at Montpelier’s airport, but when I checked into Chateau L’Hospitalet and Villa Soleilla, a wine resort near the Mediterranean Sea in Narbonne, I was asked to present it along with my passport.

During my week in the South of France, I visited several towns — including Narbonne, where you can enter the public market (Les Halles) without a pass sanitaire but must present it if you sit to eat at one of the bistro tables.

In the interior town of Rodez, where there are weekly manifestations against the mandated pass sanitaire, I was similarly asked to present it at every outdoor terrace or indoor restaurant I frequented.

© The Points Guy Patrons showing their pass sanitaire at a bar in Rodez, France, in mid-September 2021. (Photo by Terry Ward)

My friends would pull out their phones to show their PCR codes as I’d pull out my now-ragged piece of paper. And I’d get confused looks as to why I wasn’t presenting a digital pass. But nobody ever gave my vax card more than a passing glance before waving me in.

And once, when I started in with “I just arrived from the U.S. two days ago …” as an explanation of why I didn’t have the electronic pass yet, I was met with a joking, “Bienvenue, you’re lucky to be here!”

The French love of banter and teasing extends to the pass, it turns out, and I was told it’s actually against the law for establishments to ask for identification proving the pass you show is indeed yours.

That naturally begs the question of just how effective this whole process is — and I heard many stories of non-vaccinated people using screenshots of friend’s PCR codes on their phones to gain access to bars and restaurants in France. But that’s another story and not something I’d recommend trying as a visitor in someone’s country (or anyplace, for that matter).

© The Points Guy Dining outside on fresh oysters at Tarbouriech Le St Barth in Marseillan, France. You’re required to show the health pass — even for outdoor dining. (Photo by Terry Ward)

The digital vaccine health pass is required for non-Europeans over the age of 18. Applicants must have received a vaccine that’s been approved by the European Medicines Agency. That includes Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer.

In France, you can also secure a 72-hour pass by providing a negative COVID-19 test.

TPG recommends consulting the U.S. Embassy in France and the French government’s COVID-19 hub for further updates to the digital health pass.

Bottom line

If, as happened to me, your French health pass doesn’t arrive in your inbox by the time you leave for France, don’t panic. It’s hard to apply what happened to me in 10 or so restaurants and bars in the South of France to the entire country. However, chances are your CDC vaccine card will serve you just as well. If you’ve had a prior COVID-19 infection, it doesn’t hurt to bring along a doctor’s letter with proof of recovery from it or any other backup you can provide. Bon appétit!

Featured photo by Terry Ward: server at Mamamouchi restaurant in Gruissan, France, checks the health passes of guests.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


U.S. will accept mixed doses of vaccines from international travelers

FILE PHOTO: Travelers reclaim luggage at Denver airport By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late on Friday that it will ... Read more »

Texans signing Jeff Driskel to active roster

© Provided by NBC Sports The Texans called up Jeff Driskel from the practice squad as a game-day promotion the past three weeks, twice as a standard promotion and once ... Read more »

Lawrence police investigating Friday morning killing

Oct. 15—LAWRENCE — Officials in Lawrence are investigating a death in the city that was precipitated by a reported assault and battery, according to District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office. At ... Read more »

Company behind Tether 'token' fined $41M by US regulators

The company behind a digital token called Tether has agreed to pay $41 million to settle charges that it misled investors by claiming the token was fully backed at all ... Read more »

CDC issues official guidance to safely celebrate holiday season

© Getty Images CDC issues official guidance to safely celebrate holiday season The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially issued guidance Friday for celebrating the holiday season while ... Read more »

Masks and vaccines are a must this holiday, CDC says

Get your holiday themed masks and porch heaters ready. © David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images Pedestrians carry Macy’s shopping bags in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. . ... Read more »

British No 1 Cameron Norrie wants Andy Murray record after incredible Indian Wells run

Cameron Norrie is aiming high after becoming British No 1 for the first time in his career. The 26-year-old beat the likes of Roberto Bautista Agut and Diego Schwartzman to ... Read more »

Shipping snaps under weight of supply chain problems

As queues of giant shipping containers snake out of the UK’s busiest port, waiting to deliver goods carried across the world, crews onboard say it is the worst disruption they ... Read more »

Julia Bradbury 'can't wait' to hug her daughter as star recovers from mastectomy

Julia Bradbury shared a throwback picture with one of her twin daughters on Friday as she reflected on her breast cancer diagnosis four days after having a mastectomy. The Countryfile ... Read more »

Madden 22: How to complete Most Feared Champion and Hero Sets

© Provided by GamePur With the Halloween season officially upon us, Madden 22 has kicked off its Most Feared promo, which features nightmarish versions of players in MUT and new ... Read more »

Apple worker says she was fired after leading movement against harassment

FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc logo is shown outside the company’s 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco By Julia Love SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – An Apple employee who led ... Read more »

Adele fans ‘sob' after noticing references to past songs in new music video

Adele’s new music video reflects on the past in more ways than one thanks to the references to previous singles. A lot has happened in the British singer’s life since ... Read more »

Portland education technician accused of sex crimes faces more charges

Oct. 15—A Portland education technician accused of multiple sex crimes made an initial appearance in court Friday, where a judge said he is facing two additional charges of indecent conduct ... Read more »

Issues sorted out, says Sidhu after Rahul meet

© Provided by The Times of India NEW DELHI: Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu met Rahul Gandhi on Friday evening, a day after he held a meeting with AICC ... Read more »

To counter BJP, Cong to train workers on ‘true nationalism'

© Provided by The Times of India NEW DELHI: Congress will soon be training its workers on the subject of “nationalism”, in an attempt to position them strongly to counter ... Read more »

As TMC opens office, Goa CM Pramod Sawant says Cong main opposition

© Provided by The Indian Express Ahead of the Goa assembly elections early next year, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) opened its office in the state on Friday and inducted women ... Read more »

SPY Editors Review Our 32 Favorite Men's Sunglasses of 2021

© Image by SPY.com, Product Photo Courtesy of Off-White Looking for the best men’s sunglasses of 2021? You’re spoiled for choice.* In 2020, the world pretty much hit pause on ... Read more »

Former TOWIE star Lewis Bloor cleared of being part of £3million diamond scam

FORMER The Only Way is Essex star Lewis Bloor has been cleared of being part of a £3million diamond scam after his trial collapsed yesterday. Bloor, 31, and five other ... Read more »

SES receives more than 200 calls as wind, rain hits Victoria

The SES has had more than 200 calls and minor landslides have been reported along Mt Dandenong Tourist Road after storms hit Victoria overnight. © Paul Jeffers Pedestrians on Collins ... Read more »

CDC releases official public health advice for 2021 holiday season

Americans are being urged to continue to wear masks in indoor settings over the holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in new guidelines released on Friday. ... Read more »

Amazon's Belkin surge protector sale has prices starting at $8

© Provided by BGR Belkin Surge Protector Amazon There are so many terrific Belkin surge protector deals on Amazon right now. There are a few HDMI cables and adapters on ... Read more »

This Fan-Favorite Mascara Brand Launched Its First-Ever Lash Serum & It's 28% Off Right Now

© Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows. Struggling with lash fallout? We found a best-selling solution, and it’s your lucky day because Amazon is having on a beloved Lash Sensational Boosting Serum. You ... Read more »

Team Spirit step out of the shadows, eliminate Virtus Pro from The International 10

Team Spirit can’t be stopped in the lower bracket of The International 10. They’ve followed up a sweep of two-time TI champions OG earlier today with the organization’s first win ... Read more »

FIFA 22: How to complete UCL Road to the Knockouts Matthijs de Ligt SBC – Requirements and solutions

A new FIFA 22 promo went live on October 15, as this one focuses on the groups stages of the major UEFA tournaments that are currently taking place. Piemonte Calcio ... Read more »

RNG and PSG Talon square off in rematch with Worlds 2021 playoff seeding on the line

© Provided by Dot Esports This article is written in partnership with DJ Esports. All odds presented are at the time of publication and are subject to change. Group C ... Read more »

Indicted ex-Boeing pilot says he is a 'scapegoat' in MAX scandal

© Jason Redmond The former Boeing pilot indicted for fraud over the 737 MAX crashes said he was being made into a “scapegoat” over the calamaties The former Boeing pilot indicted ... Read more »

'Bachelor' star crashes car into house while kissing girlfriend

“Bachelor in Paradise” couple Noah Erb and Abigail Heringer are giving a crash course in love.  On Oct. 14, Noah took to his Instagram Story to describe how an ill-timed ... Read more »

Daniel Craig's James Bond movies are available on Amazon Prime Video in a collection for just $30

© Provided by Entertainment Weekly Francois Duhamel/MGM There was all that brouhaha about his blond hair, his height, and his non-Etonian background, but in the years since Daniel Craig was ... Read more »

Zonnique Keeps It Real on Motherhood, Marriage and Reality TV (Exclusive)

Zonnique Pullins has a lot on her plate, but she’s handling it with grace and a smile.  The 25-year-old juggles her work on Fox Soul’s The Mix, motherhood and a possible return ... Read more »

How Lori Vallow became 'doomsday' cult mom: Police documents reveal her descent into a wacky world of zombies, teleportation, and an impending apocalypse

© John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via Associated Press Lori Vallow Daybell is seen during her hearing on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Rexburg, Idaho. John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via Associated ... Read more »

Sarah Hyland Says She 'Cannot Wait' to Marry Wells Adams in 4-Year Anniversary Post

© Getty Sarah Hyland is “so grateful” for Wells Adams. The former Modern Family star celebrated her and her fiancé’s four-year anniversary on Friday, expressing that she “cannot wait” to ... Read more »

U.S. to probe Texas air regulator's rulings for racial bias

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the headquarters of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C. (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said it ... Read more »

Review of MPs' security ordered after Sir David Amess fatally stabbed

A review of MPs’ security has been ordered following the death of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who was fatally stabbed while meeting constituents. Official sources told the PA news ... Read more »

Get Your First Look At Jessica Henwick's Character In The Matrix: Resurrections

Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock As the arrival date for “The Matrix: Revolutions” ticks closer, the film’s closely guarded secrets are finally starting to reveal themselves. One item many have long wondered about ... Read more »

Sir Michael Caine Shares Bittersweet News For Fans

Dave J Hogan/Getty Few actors have reached the same heights as Sir Michael Caine. The beloved British actor has graced the screen for more than half a century, appearing in ... Read more »

IPL 2021: CSK ride past KKR to clinch fourth title

© Provided by Khaleej Times IPL 2021: CSK ride past KKR to clinch fourth title Ageing maestro Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings won their fourth Indian Premier League title, ... Read more »

‘Very clever' owners praised as Bruce is ‘right for Newcastle' – ex-player

© PA Images Newcastle-manager-Steve-Bruce Former Newcastle United midfielder Kevin Nolan has suggested that the club’s new owners have been “very clever” by sticking with Steve Bruce. Bruce took over at ... Read more »

Expo 2020 Dubai: Manchester City bring EPL trophy

© Provided by Khaleej Times Expo 2020 Dubai: Manchester City bring EPL trophy Expo 2020 Dubai will play host to the Premier League and Carabao Cup trophies on October 18-19, ... Read more »

Neymar finds his mojo as Brazil inch closer to World Cup

© Provided by Khaleej Times Neymar finds his mojo as Brazil inch closer to World Cup Leaders Brazil easily defeated Uruguay 4-1 in Thursday’s South American World Cup qualifying match, ... Read more »

Tom Parker says cancer diagnosis puts life into perspective as he fight for his kids

Tom Parker has revealed that his cancer diagnosis has put his life into perspective. The 32-year-old singer’s life was turned upside down last year when he was diagnosed an inoperable ... Read more »