France Plans To Welcome Vaccinated Americans This Summer

Filed Under: Travel

It looks like a trip to France this summer might not be totally out of the question for Americans.

France plans to ease travel restrictions

A majority of the European Union has been closed to most outsiders (including Americans) for about a year now. We’ve seen individual European Union countries, like Croatia and Greece, announce plans to reopen to visitors who are either vaccinated or test negative for coronavirus. However, up until recently a majority of European Union countries haven’t revealed any plans to open, though that could be changing.

On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron stated in an interview that France intends to lift travel restrictions starting in May, and even plans to allow in vaccinated Americans this summer.

As Macron explains:

“We will progressively lift the restrictions of the beginning of May, which means that we will organize in the summer time with our professionals in France for French European citizens, but as well for American citizens. So we are working hard to propose a very concrete solution, especially for US citizens who are vaccinated, so with a special pass, I would say.”

When asked if this plan has been discussed with the White House, Macron said:

“We started to discuss that, now our ministers in charge are finalizing the technical discussions.”

You can watch Macron’s interview with “Face The Nation” here:

It’s worth noting that the US also currently has a Schengen travel ban, though rumor has it that this will be lifted as of mid-May. Of course that doesn’t mean Schengen countries will similarly lift their travel bans, because those bans aren’t explicitly against those coming from the US, but rather are against those coming from most countries outside of the Schengen zone.

This would be fantastic news for airlines

My take on France opening up

It’s fantastic to hear that France is considering opening to vaccinated visitors from other countries, including Americans. Up until this point there hadn’t been any public discussions or comments from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc., about the possibility of opening up on a more widespread basis.

Now, a few thoughts:

  • I would assume that Macron’s timeline is highly optimistic, so don’t necessarily count on being able to travel to France as an American in May
  • It’s possible that we’ll see France specifically open up, but don’t expect that this will necessarily give you free access to the rest of the European Union or other Schengen countries, since countries seem to largely be setting their own policies
  • While there’s nothing wrong with locking in refundable flights and hotels now, I wouldn’t be planning any trip to France in the next couple of months with an expectation of it definitely happening

Personally I’ve guessed all along that the European Union will open up on a widespread basis as of late summer. I still think that timeline is probably most realistic. Of course I could be wrong, but the basis of my decision was how long bureaucracy takes, since not a whole lot happens quickly in the European Union.

Americans may be able to travel to France this summer

Bottom line

France’s President has outlined plans for the country to open to vaccinated Americans in the near future. While the country hopes to slowly lift travel restrictions as of May, it’s anyone’s guess when Americans will actually be allowed in.

While countries like Croatia and Greece have announced plans to welcome vaccinated Americans, this is really encouraging news, given how the land borders France shares with other European Union and Schengen countries.

Here’s to hoping that this actually happens, and that bureaucracy doesn’t get in the way.

What’s your take on France opening to vaccinated Americans? With what timeline do you think this will happen?

  1. Macron will be pretty upset that you have downgraded him from President to Prime minister! He thinks very very highly of himself as it is!

  2. oh Ben!!!!!

    “French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron”

    You are going to be back listed by President Macron of France like Trump says.

    Stupid macron does not like you do not respect him.

    Macron has collaborators like a prime minister and others ministers (so inferior people compared to him).

    What a big mistake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. Ben will no longer be flying Air France or going to France in general, as Macron will be banning him for calling him a mere Prime Minister.

  4. Shame on me, there’s no excuse! Sorry, haven’t had enough coffee today, but post is now fixed.

  5. Whilst I applaud this move for US citizens coming here, as a resident of France I really hope this turns into a two way loosening of the restrictions, because the US needs to fix its overly complicated rules for travellers from Europe. Especially given that right now EU citizens have to spend 15 days in say Mexico or Turkey in order to enter the US.

  6. What’s unclear is what model of tourism is being discussed. I guess we all want to assume it will be independent tourism where we use points to get a reward air ticket and use points to get hotel stays. And come and go as we please. Mix and mingle. Eat where we like, when we like, what we like. Go and see the tourist places. Just like in the good old days.

    Spain has been talking about group tours. So has Greece. That’s a neat way of keeping everyone together, making sure they all pay money and spend money, and keeping them at arm’s length from the local poulation.

    We just don’t know yet what model of tourism France has in mind. The given is that it needs $$$. The economy is in recession. And maximising income from inbound tourists from cashed up economies might be on the agenda. Who knows? Tourist plans could all come to nothing more than smoke and mirrors. I’d file it under “interesting possibility”. But in the end, France has to pay for the vaccines just like everyone else and they don’t have resouces to dig up and sell.

    Covid is a tricky virus.

  7. Do we know how any vaccinated traveler allowance works for children who are not old enough to get vaccinated yet? I have several tentative trips schedule late summer/fall overseas but don’t know if restrictions are lifted for vaccinated adults, what they means for my 10 and 12 year old.

  8. Considering that French residents under 50 will not be eligible to be vaccinated until mid-June according to the current timeline, this is a bit of a slap in the face.

    Perhaps Macron had better worry more about vaccinating his own people before opening the floodgates to the outside.

  9. Meanwhile here in Koalastan, formerly known as Australia, vaccines won’t be rolled out for a couple years most likely and borders shut forever.

  10. How exactly are they going to know who is vaccinated? Antibody test? I thought the US was against the covid passport…

  11. Iceland is apparently taking your CDC card as a legal vaccination proof, and there are vaccine administration databases at the state level in the USA that could map to whatever documentation France will want upon request of the person who got the vaccine.

    My concern would be that while the border may be open, there could also be too many restrictions that are in place or come at go at the department and city level that there may not be enough that you can do to make a leisure trip worthwhile once you get there. (And if I just want to hang at the beach, I’ve got a perfectly good one five miles form home, hence the screen name)

  12. France is responding to what was going to happen – different countries within the EU are beginning to reopen to tourists at different times and France cannot face another summer of little to no tourist revenue.
    If France opts for a group-based model of allowing vaccinated tourists in, the smallest businesses (hotels, cafes and restaurants) will likely receive few revenues since that size of business is least capable of accommodating groups.
    Western Europe is easy to navigate solo.
    Given that the US is still sitting on Astra Zeneca vaccines which aren’t even approved for use, they need to be released to increase vaccinations around the world. There will be a great rift if vaccinated Americans and Brits (and a few others) are free to roam the earth while other countries’ citizens have to miss another summer.

  13. A strict reading of this announcement would indicate that those with children too young to have a vaccine are a sub-class and won’t be allowed into France. I wonder if they are going with a strict reading or if a young child would be allowed into the country. This is my fundamental problem with any announcement like this. Sure it isn’t a full official announcement, but even those often just say “fully vaccinated” and makes anyone with a child into a sub-class of persona non grata.

  14. If citizens of France will not be vaccinated and so the American kids, we are looking at a vacation in France with no french people around or American kids running wild.

  15. Macron is smart, always has been. No reason to not let americans in now. Any american with the means to fly and vacation in france is either vacinated or hasanti-bodies or both. Period. The media makes these opening of the boarders seem like millions of reckless people will travel immediately but lets be honest who actually can fly to France and speed a week on the Riviera?

  16. Count on delays, postponements and logistics issues due to the abominable handling of the CCP Virus crisis by the French Administration ( I have followed it very closely, I am French and American with a shuttling routine between the 2 countries busted for 15 months), but this still represents the possibility of a hope of a maybe improvement at the end of the tunnel. I wouldn’t hold my breath for it to happen too quickly, though.

  17. Macron understands that tourist dollars to be spent in Europe are effectively zero sum. Every dollar spent on a trip to Greece or Croatia means one less dollar to be spent in France. For that reason he also won’t require group tours to enter the country. As pointed out above, that not only encourages tourists to go to other countries, but also keeps tourist dollars away from small and medium French businesses that can’t accommodate tour groups of size.

    I’d expect Canada to do the same, but there doesn’t seem to be much movement. If you like fishing or hunting in Canada (and other tourism), you may be out of luck for years to come because most of those lodges depend on American tourists to pay the bills. A second summer of zero revenue will kill almost all of them.

  18. It’s easy to talk about the reopening in the abstract but like everything else related to international travel during the pandemic, there still remain obstacles for the individual American traveler even if the border restrictions lifted tomorrow. What proof of vaccine status will be required? The standard CDC card can be easily forged and no USA vaccine passports are in the works, at least as I am aware. Further, the requirement of a negative Covid test, regardless of vaccine status, is still in place for re-entry back into the USA. As someone who has traveled to the EU for work back and forth during the pandemic, these tests were not cheap nor easy to access. That said, it’s in the airlines best interest to facilitate convenient, reliable, inexpensive testing if the requirement isn’t lifted and likewise vaccine proof requirements need to be articulated soon, rather than later.

    I read in the Italian papers today that Italy will be receiving 54 million doses in the next three months and expects herd immunity by September. At some point, economic considerations might drive open the borders sooner (for vaccinated travelers) than the expected herd immunity target. Let’s hope!

  19. I got the vaccine in February and fully expect to get a booster in September and travel to CDG from the Maldives early in October. Vive la France!

  20. I like that EU is starting to consider reopening to us, but for me they all mean jack squat until the 3-day PCR test requirement by Uncle Joe is lifted when coming back. The only international city/country that seem to have easy available PCR test to come back is Dubai/UAE.

  21. “It’s worth noting that the US also currently has a European Union travel ban”

    No it does not have a ban on EU travel.

    It has a ban on travel from the Schengen Zone plus the Republic of Ireland and the UK (the RoI is in the EU but not Schengen and the UK is a member of neither but both form the Common Travel Area)

    The Schengen Zone is not the same as the EU.

    5 members of the EU aren’t in Schengen (but only one of those the ROI is banned) and 4 countries are members of Schengen but not the EU.

    The Presidential Proclamation does not mention the EU. It mentions Schengen

    Section 1. Suspension and Limitation on Entry. (a) The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, and the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.

  22. Can we keep perspective here? Not all people are going to travel freely for quite some time, you’ll need some kind of “evidence” that you’ve either had the vaccine or tested negative (full stop). While Europe is working to make this happen I think it’s too late for this summer. The window for families with school age children or college students from the US is small (6-8 weeks). Most people in the US planning a trip to Europe (as I have) booked it this month hoping it will happen. If it doesn’t fit we’re looking for another summer vacay in the good ole US of A.

  23. We need to distinguish between entry and health requirements.

    I would expect (hope) that entry requirements will be lifted in a coordinated and reciprocal way (i.e. US allowed to visit Schengen and Schengen to visit US). At least the land borders within the Schengen zone are open. At airports and ferry terminals, there are sometimes controls. So if France opens to US citizens, they will be able to travel to most Schengen countries, as we in Europe are currently.

    Health requirements are a totally different story. Most countries have test or quarantine restrictions and might be adding vaccine rules, soon. In some countries health regulation also restricts hotel stays or other activities, in particular restaurants. I think Macron’s announcement points into this direction, that US citizens who have been vaccinated, will be able to move freely within France. But there are no harmonized health regulations between the Schengen countries, so vaccinated tourist might be moving around freely in France but subject to a 10 day quarantine and prohibited hotel stays in Germany …

  24. Thank you so much for this update!

    Way back in January, in a fit of optimism once, we booked a trip in Air France’s La Premiere for late July, returning in August, inspired by your wonderful write-up of your La Premiere with your dad and Ford!

    I had been wondering if we were going to need to cancel that trip, and if so, whether we should try for Greece, or whether we needed to give up on Europe for 2021 and vacation closer to home. Your posts today on both France and Greece put a smile on my face! I’ve been vaccinated since early March and would absolutely love to have a belated 30th anniversary trip! (Actual anniversary was 2020. Ah well! Prime number anniversaries are special too.) Our college-student daughter who will be accompanying us is newly eligible to be vaccinated as of this week!

    Fingers crossed that France is able to make this plan a reality!

  25. Trudeau needs to open Canada up to vaccinated Americans on important business even if those admitted are banned from shopping and tourism. Currently, a lot of essential matters are called “non-essential” and most of the essential reasons are really non-essential.

  26. @ jan
    I did my Pcr test in my small town in France at 11am and got the result at 5pm, it was as fast as Dubaï and they had drive in too!
    If you go to France the requirement of Pcr test 72 h before travel shouldn t be a issue.
    Enjoy your vacation !

  27. France may “open up” to vaccinated travelers, but what about all the things in France you might actually go to? Museums? Parks? Right now French people can’t freely go anywhere besides work, doctor’s appointments, and exercise because of the third wave, so getting into France is all well and good but then what?

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.