Last updated August 12, 2021
High fashion, delicious cuisine, world-class wineries and some of the best museums in the world can be found when you travel to France. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, the French capital city of Paris is celebrated for its museums and cultural sites including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral. Whether you're off to one of the sun-baked wine regions, the gardens of Giverny or Versailles, the warm beaches of the French Riviera or the exciting streets of Paris, France is an exceptionally rich experience. The country is full of rich experiences that you are sure to remember for the rest of your life.
Is Travel Insurance Mandatory in France?
Mandatory France travel health insurance depends on what country you're a citizen of. U.S. Citizens don't need a visa to enter France. However, most non-U.S. citizens require a visa for France. In order for the French government to provide this visa, they require proof of France travel insurance (also known as Schengen travel insurance).
Besides purchasing travel health insurance for France, the only other requirements (non-COVID related) for entering the country are as follows:
- All visitors must present a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. The 12 page U.S. emergency passport isn't valid for visa-free entry into France.
- There must be at least one blank page on your passport for stamps.
- You must present proof of 10,000 Euros in your bank account.
- That you're fully vaccinated (with an EMA-approved vaccine or similar)
- That you have been tested (PCR or antigen) with a negative result within the last 48 hours
- That you have fully recovered from COVID-19, confirmed by a negative PCR or antigen test
COVID-19 in France
France is currently open to vaccinated American tourists, although the CDC warns against travel to France at the moment. Vaccinated passengers will need to provide proof of a PCR test from within 72 hours, or an antigen test within 48 hours. Unvaccinated passengers will need a "pressing reason" to visit France (tourism doesn't count) and will have the same test requirement along with a 7 day self-isolation that will be followed by a second test.
Also, keep in mind that you must present a health pass to access leisure and cultural events in which more than 50 people are gathered. Also, starting in early August, you'll need to present this health pass in order to gain admission into bars, restaurants, malls, hospitals, retirement homes, residential care homes, and for long-distance travel by plane, train or coach.
This health pass must prove one of the following three items:
These passes can either be digital or in paper form.
Health & Safety Tips
France is known for having a high rate of petty theft, particularly on the Paris Subway. If you are taking public transportation, be sure to keep your purse, backpack or bag closed and in your hands at all times. If you are wearing a backpack, take it off and hold it in front of you to avoid bumping other passengers and not being aware if someone attempts to open your bag. Phones, wallets and cameras are particularly at risk of being stolen.
Also be wary of people offering to take a picture of you with your camera or phone (particularly in front of famous landmarks) as they may plan to run off with your device as soon as you hand it over.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for France: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. Rabies is also recommended if you are likely to come into contact with wild animals or plan to explore any caves.
Visas and Documentation
If you are planning on visiting France (or any country in the Schengen area) for 90 days or less for holiday or leisure, you can either enter with just your passport or with a Schengen Visa, depending on your home country. Most countries in North and South America, including Canada, Mexico and the United States, can enter the Schengen area without a visa. Citizens of most African and Asian countries, however, will need this visa and are therefore required to carry travel medical insurance for the duration of their stay. For more information and to see if you need a visa for your trip to Europe, check the Schengen Visa's official site.
To receive a Schengen Visa, you must prove that you have travel insurance that includes medical coverage and emergency evacuation. You may need additional documentation if you plan to work or study while in the Schengen region.