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Unvaccinated Americans can now travel to France without seeking special permission

The United States gets a ‘green’ light from a European destination that just dropped its mask mandate

(Washington Post illustration; iStock)
2 min

France has moved the United States to a lower-risk category in its international travel restrictions, making entry significantly easier for Americans who are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The European country added the United States to its “green” list, which indicates “negligible or moderate circulation of the virus, in the absence of emerging variants of concern,” according to the Ministry of Interior.

The change outlines testing requirements for travelers who do not have a complete series of coronavirus shots. Previously, when the United States was at an “orange level,” visitors in that category had to obtain approval after submitting “a compelling reason justifying the need for them to come to mainland France.” They were also subject to random testing on arrival.

Fully vaccinated travelers from “green”-list countries only need to show proof of vaccination to visit France. Unvaccinated travelers will need to show a negative result from a PCR or antigen test taken before departure, or a past positive test as documentation of recovery from the coronavirus. Children under 12 are exempt from those rules.

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On Monday, France lifted covid restrictions for most public places. That included no longer requiring a mobile vaccine pass to enter restaurants, bars or theaters, and lifting mask requirements in most settings. However, masks are still required on public transportation and in health facilities such as hospitals.

The rule changes comes as coronavirus cases continue to decline in the United States. According to tracking data compiled by The Washington Post through Wednesday, the country saw a 25 percent drop in daily cases over the past week, with 58 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

France, meanwhile, has seen an uptick, with a 22 percent increase in daily cases over the past week, with 623 new cases per 100,000 people.

The country joins a number of other nearby destinations that have eased entry requirements for foreign visitors, including some that have done away with entry restrictions altogether. The United Kingdom announced plans to lift its remaining travel restrictions this week, joining other countries such as Ireland, Iceland, and Norway.