What It’s Like to Enter France, Europe As a Vaccinated American Tourist

Table of Contents

A majority of countries on the continent are welcoming Americans and some are even accepting unvaccinated tourists. Some countries still require negative COVID-19 tests but others are only requiring proof of vaccination.

Flags of European Union member countries.

Shutterstock.com


France opened to the US in June, with vaccinated Americans needing no more than a valid passport and their vaccination cards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to enter.

US passport and vaccine card

A US passport and vaccination certificate.

Shutterstock.com


Source: US Embassy in France

I visited France as a vaccinated American tourist in August. Here’s what it was like.

Visiting Paris, France during the pandemic

Visiting Paris, France during the pandemic.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Normally, I’d only need my passport for this journey as American tourists don’t need a visa to travel to France and the UK. But this time, I’d also need my vaccination certificate.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


France’s entry rules are quite lenient for Americans. “Fully vaccinated travelers coming from these countries can enter with proof of vaccination,” the US Embassy in France says, adding that no negative test is required for vaccinated travelers.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: US Embassy in France

Passport and vaccination card in hand, I made my way to the Eurostar departures area and showed the staff my documents.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


These staff members, whether they work for an airline, airport, rail company, or boat service, are often the first line of defense for document verification.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


While I had everything I needed, I also had to fill out and sign a statement attesting to my vaccination status.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Only then was I allowed to proceed to the next step in the Eurostar process.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Next up was the French border police. Eurostar travelers bound for France go through passport control at St. Pancras International to speed along the arrival process in Paris and catch any unauthorized travelers before they arrive on French soil.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


I was asked for my passport, vaccination card, and sworn statement, which I had readily available. The border guard didn’t even ask why I was traveling to France, and simply asked “are you vaccinated?”

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


It was one of the easiest experiences I’ve had going through passport control, even during the pandemic. Afterward, I was on my way to Paris on Eurostar.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


No further checks were performed after I arrived in Paris and let into the Gare du Nord station.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


I wasn’t in Paris long but was asked for my vaccination card when having lunch at a small cafe. The waitress was unimpressed with the paper card compared to the QR code given to French vaccine recipients.

Visiting Paris, France during the pandemic

Visiting Paris, France during the pandemic.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Leaving France was as easy as it was before the pandemic. I took Eurostar back to London and French border guards asked no questions as they reviewed and eventually stamped my passport.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Entering the UK, just across the English Channel from France, was considerably more difficult and expensive.

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France — Eurostar Trip 2021

Taking Eurostar between London, UK and Paris, France.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The UK, for comparison, requires a pre-departure test and post-arrival test for vaccinated Americans.

Getting a COVID-19 test to travel to the UK

Getting a COVID-19 test to travel to the UK.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Post arrival costs are quite costly and my two tests — because I had entered the UK twice during my European trip — cost nearly $200.

Getting a COVID-19 test to travel to the UK

Getting a COVID-19 test to travel to the UK

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Many European countries are now only requiring proof of vaccination for entry. Besides France, the countries of Germany, Denmark, and Austria, and Croatia, among others, will let travelers in with just a vaccination certificate.

vaccine card

Patient holding COVID-19 vaccination record card.

Joan Slatkin/Education Images via Getty Images


Source: US Embassy in Denmark, US Embassy in Germany, US Embassy in Croatia, and US Embassy in Austria

Previous post Vaccine Mandates Crash Into America’s ‘Don’t Inform Me What To Do’ Point out
Next post How to Use Google Travel to Plan Your Trip