travel to France
France wants to make it easier for students and researchers to enter the country this year. Source: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Despite the pandemic, Campus France says international students and researchers are welcome to travel to France provided they meet certain criteria. The French Agency for the promotion of higher education, international student services, and international mobility has updated its website with information for students who want to travel to the country.

According to the 2021 edition of Key Figures of student mobility by the agency, the country only witnessed a “moderate decline” in international student enrolment compared to its neighbouring European countries. Before the pandemic, France was the sixth most popular country to study in, behind Germany and Russia but ahead of Canada. The number of foreign students — 370,000 — is still growing by 23% over the last five years, but at a slower rate than the world average and competitors.

travel to France

The exciting social culture in France includes the annual Bastille Day celebrations, which light up the entire city. Source: Bertrand Guay/AFP

Each of the 13 regions in metropolitan France has a rich higher education cluster. Coupled with an 80 billion-Euro Research and Innovation programme —  the biggest in Europe — the country attracts throngs of international talent thanks to its innovative scientific culture.

Despite travel complications due to the pandemic, students from sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb, the Middle East, and Europe in particular showed renewed desire to travel to France for studies post-pandemic. If you’re among this group of hopefuls, here are three key points to keep:

You must be vaccinated

In a post-pandemic world, a vaccine passport could be your only way to travel to France. Students who want to enter the country must produce proof of full vaccination, as well as a sworn declaration that they have been free of COVID-19 symptoms and contacts in the past two weeks. France recognises Comirnaty (Pfizer), Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines; you will be considered safe for travel to France 28 days after getting fully vaccinated.

travel to France

French elite acrobatic flying team “Patrouille de France” (PAF) flies over the Louvre Pyramid during the 21th and last stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 108 km between Chatou and Paris Champs-Elysees, on July 18, 2021. Source: I. M. PEI/POOL/AFP

Know your country’s rating

Bear in mind that this vaccine rule hinges on the safety ranking of your home country. France uses a colour code: “green” countries are safest from COVID-19, while “orange” countries experience controlled transmission, and “red” countries have active circulation and variants. Check how your country is categorised before proceeding with travel plans.

Students from “green” countries may enter without vaccination as long as they have a negative PCR test from the past three days. If you come from an “orange” country, you must take an additional PCR test after a seven-day isolation period. You must also show an exempted international travel certificate and other documents justifying your travel.

Travel to France becomes more complicated if you are coming from a “red” country. You won’t be able to enter the country unless you’re vaccinated, in accordance with border measures currently in place.

You may need to self-isolate upon travel to France

Depending on where you come from, you may have to observe a seven-day isolation period at home. You must also wear a mask in crowded public spaces, and download the TousAntiCovid app on your phone to track positive cases around you. Don’t forget to validate your visa online, too. You should also register for Social Security for easy access to health provisions such as vaccines and PCR tests.