France places Australia on orange list for travel

France has announced that Australia has been moved to its orange list for travel, in light of the Covid spread in the country. This means that unvaccinated travellers now need an essential reason to come to France.

Travellers wait in line to have Covid documents checked at an Australian airport.
Travellers wait in line to have Covid documents checked at an Australian airport. France has moved the country to its orange list. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP)

Australia has been downgraded from France’s green list for travel and is now classified as orange, as the country experiences a rise in Covid case numbers. According to official figures, more than 400,000 people are currently infected with Covid in Australia – but a shortage of rapid antigen tests means that the true figure could be much higher. 

The downgrading of Australia to the orange list was decreed in the Journal Officiel – which lists all decisions taken by the French government – on Saturday. Countries categorised as orange are considered to have “an active but controlled circulation of the virus.”

READ MORE How does France’s Covid traffic light system for travel work?

This new categorisation for Australia means unvaccinated travellers now need an essential reason to visit France – this does not cover tourist visits. If you are an unvaccinated French or EU citizen, or have a French titre de séjour, this counts as an essential reason to travel to France. These rules came into effect on Sunday, January 23rd.

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to self-isolate at a fixed address in France for seven days following arrival. They can leave quarantine if they test negative on Day 7.

All travellers coming from Australia, vaccinated or not, are required to take a PCR test at no more than 48 hours before departure – and obtain a negative result. Children under 11 years old do not need to take this test. 

Unvaccinated travellers may be asked to undergo a Covid test at the airport upon arrival in France. 

All unvaccinated travellers to France from Australia and other orange list countries are required to fill out the following form. Both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated travellers will need to fill out this one

Vaccine pass

Once you’re in France, you will also be required to use a vaccine pass to access a wide range of public venues like cinemas, restaurants and museums. Full details HERE.

For people over the age of 18, you need either need to be fully vaccinated with a booster (taken within 7 months of completing a full vaccination cycle) or have proof of recent recovery from Covid.

If you were vaccinated in Australia, here’s how to access the French vaccine pass.

What counts as fully vaccinated?

To qualify as fully vaccinated, travellers must:

  • Have received a vaccine that is approved by the European Medicines Agency – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson (also known as Janssen). The Indian-produced Covishield vaccine is now accepted by France 
  • Be at least seven days after the second injection for double-dose vaccines or after a single dose for those people who had previously had Covid-19
  • Be at least 28 days after the injection for people who had the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine
  • People who have received a vaccine that is recognised by the World Health Organisation but not yet approved for use by the EMA can travel to France if they have had a ‘top up’ single dose of either Pfizer or Moderna 

A booster shot is not essential in order to enter France but, as mentioned above, you may need one to access venues including bars, cafés and long-distance trains.

What about travel to Australia? 

France imposes the essential reasons criteria on non-vaccinated passengers travelling to Australia. 

Australia is slowly opening its borders once again to international travel – although each state has its own rules on quarantine upon arrival. You can consult the official rules here

Unless you are granted an exemption (for medical reasons for example) you will need proof of vaccination to travel to Australia and will need to fill out a travel declaration form prior to departure. 

You currently need a visa to travel to Australia unless you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Permanent family members of these people and New Zealanders are allowed in, in some cases. Other temporary visa holders seeking to travel to Australia must apply for a travel exemption

You must do a PCR test no more than 72 hours before your departure time to Australia unless you are travelling on a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand. You will need to present your negative test to the airline before boarding. 

What other countries are on the orange list? 

Argentina was also moved from the green to the orange list over the weekend. It joins most of South America, Asia and Africa. 

You can consult a map detailing how countries are categorised here

Member comments

    1. Australia’s infection rate is through the roof when comparing our population to some European nations. We were comfortably sitting around the 140’s on the world covid chart and in a matter of months have shot up to 28. Don’t have a problem with any countries imposing restrictions on Australians, given how badly covid has been handled here in the last two months, by both Federal and State Governments. After all, we were happy to slam shut our international border, when other countries were overwhelmed with cases, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  1. the links to the online health pass are not useful as the service has been stopped. You are unable to submit online

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Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU

After two years of limited travel many people are planning a holiday this year and France is a popular destination - but it's easy to lose track of the latest travel rules. Here's what you need to know if you are coming to France from a country that is within the EU or Schengen zone.

Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU


France operates a ‘traffic light’ system that has been in place since summer 2020, assigning countries a colour based on their Covid infection rates.

These days most of the world is green – the lightest level of restriction – including all the countries in the EU and Schengen zone. Find full details on the government website here.

Map: French interior ministry

Vaccinated – if you are fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) and travelling from a green zone country all you need to show at the border is proof of vaccination. There is no requirement for extra paperwork such as passenger locator forms or health declarations and no Covid tests needed. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Unvaccinated – if you are not fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) you will need to show a negative Covid test at the border. The test can be either a PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours or an antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Fully vaccinated – in order to qualify as ‘fully vaccinated’ you must be vaccinated with an EMA approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca or Janssen) and must be at least 7 days after your final dose (or 28 days after in the case of Janssen). If you had your vaccine more than nine months ago, you will need a booster shot in order to still be classificed as ‘fully vaccinated’ if you are aged 18 and over.

Anyone vaccinated within the EU/Schengen zone will have the EU digital vaccine pass, but vaccination certificates issued outside the EU are also accepted at the French border. 

Children – The rules on vaccination apply to all children aged 12 and over. Under 12s do not need to supply proof of vaccination at the border. Children aged between 12 and 18 do not need a booster shot, even if their vaccine took place more than nine months ago.

The above rules apply to all EU and Schengen zone countries – if you are travelling from the UK click HERE, click HERE for travel from the USA and HERE for travel from other non-EU countries.

In France

So you’ve made it into France, but what are the rules once you are here?

On May 16th, France ended the mask requirement for public transport, representing one of the last Covid restrictions still in place.

Masks – masks are now only compulsory in health establishments, although they remain recommended on public transport. They are not required in other indoor spaces such as shops, bars, restaurants and tourist sites, although private businesses retain the legal right to make mask-wearing a condition of entry.

Health pass – the health pass was suspended in March and is no longer required to enter venues such as bars, restaurants and tourist sites. It is still required to enter establishements with vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. In this case it is a health pass not a vaccine pass – so unvaccinated people can present a recent negative Covid test.

Hygiene gestures – the government still recommends the practice of hygiene gestures such as hand-washing/gel and social distancing although this is a recommendation and not a rule.

Self-isolation – if you test positive for Covid while in France you are legally required to self isolate – full details HERE.

READ ALSO How tourists and visitors to France can get a Covid test