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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Can tourism in France surpass pre-pandemic levels this year?

A report from the World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that the French tourism sector will bounce back strongly in 2022, potentially even surpassing pre-pandemic levels. We spoke to people in the tourist industry to see how they feel about the future.

Can tourism in France surpass pre-pandemic levels this year?

Covid-19 has battered the French tourism sector. 

In 2019, before the pandemic, tourism accounted for about 8 percent of French GDP and 9.5 percent of all jobs. The 90 million tourists who visited the country that year brought in an estimated €170 billion. 

While France is thought to remain the most visited country in the world, the last couple of years have been a disaster. Only 40 million people visited the country from overseas in 2020 (54 percent less than in 2019). Official figures for 2021 have not been released but the total number of foreign tourists was thought to be 50 million, according to government projections before the end of the year. Many have felt a real-life impact of this. 

Simon Burke left his job as an HR director for a Paris-based tour company called Fat Tire Bike Tours last year. Withering tourist numbers meant the company was running on a skeleton staff, making his role redundant.

But in September, he incorporated a new business – Txango Tours – offering tourists guided visits of Paris, Versailles and other parts of the country in motorcycle sidecar. 

“It is really a childhood dream. I’m feeling optimistic about this season,” he said. 

Simon Burke tests out a Txango Tour sidecar in Paris.

Simon Burke tests out a Txango Tour sidecar in Paris. (Source: Txango Tours)

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, Simon’s confidence is not misplaced.

The organisation predicts strong growth in the French tourism sector this year if restrictions continue to be gradually lifted. It said that tourism industry could bring €182 million into France in 2022 and that the number of people working in it could even surpass pre-pandemic levels. 

Data from France’s national statistical authority for the last quarter of 2021 showed that tourist accommodation bookings were 8.6 percent lower than the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

It indicated a bounce-back in domestic tourism with residents spending just 3 percent fewer nights in hotels, campsites, gites and other tourist sites than before the pandemic, but international tourists were still hesitant, with 33 percent fewer hotel stays than in 2019. 

Even before the pandemic, domestic tourism (French people holidaying within their own country) accounted for 70 percent of all tourism revenue, and over the last two years the government has promoted staycations as a ‘patriotic’ option to support the tourism industry.

But for some, the outlook remains bleak.  

Clare Dawson, who is based in the Alpine resort of Tignes, runs a website called through which she and her small team rent out dozens of self-catered chalets, organise airport transfers and hire out ski equipment. 

In the past, Clare has relied largely on seasonal workers from Britain, mostly employed on part-time contracts. But because of Brexit, this option is now much harder – given the visa requirements. 

“We just can’t get the staff,” she said. 

“Of course, we are all hoping that Covid is a short term thing, but Brexit is permanent”. 

Local labour market conditions in France mean that the local population prefer to avoid temporary, part-time contracts. The hospitality sector had been struggling to recruit enough staff even before Brexit and Covid. 

Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBIT) which is a collective of more than 200 British tourism businesses operating in the EU placed 7,000 adverts on for chalet worker jobs in pôle emploi centres during the 2018-19 ski season, guaranteeing that they would employ anyone who applied. In total, there were three responses to the ad, two of which were spam emails. 

The mountains though, haven’t escaped the pandemic altogether. Clare has had foreign guests cancel reservations at the last minute over concerns about the vaccine pass and ski lifts have been closed at various points during the pandemic. 

Her partner runs a ski rental company called Tignes Spirit which has cut staffing from 35 last year, to just 10. 

“For ski businesses, it has been a really tough couple of years,” said Clare. 

The French government has invested billions of euros in supporting the French tourism over the course of the pandemic and unveiled a further €1.9 billion in financing in November to help develop the sector further over a ten-year period – much of this funding has been earmarked for training people to work in hospitality roles.  

READ MORE What you need to know about the French ‘Tourism Plan’

Perhaps even more significant than all this spending is the easing of Covid restrictions, according to SBIT managing director, Charles Owen. 

“In terms of a bounce back, everything is relative,” he said.

“With the end of the UK-France travel ban and with restrictions being wound back, we are starting to recover. But the pandemic has caused a lasting amount of damage and many firms have not survived.” 

The US government issued a level-4 travel warning for France in December, placing it in the red do-not-travel category. This is particularly damaging to some in the industry. 

More recently the four-month booster shot requirement for the vaccine pass has created difficulties for some Americans, leading to the US Embassy issuing a warning for people to check carefully the vaccine pass rules before booking a trip. 

The candy-loaded piñata is the American market – we need them to come here,” said Simon.

The French government is talking about lifting restrictions such as mask-wearing and vaccine pass rules in the spring, when the health situation permits.

But there is no guarantee that rules would not be reimposed if a new variant emerges – epidemiologists have warned that this cannot be ruled out. 

For Simon though, the sooner that such restrictions are lifted, the better. 

“If France continues to require the vaccine to do anything in France, tourism will not return to the pre-pandemic levels we are all hoping for,” he said. 

“I think, really, restrictions need to go away. But that is just wishful thinking.” 

You can find all the latest on travel rules and testing requirements in our Travelling to France section.