Frequently Asked Questions Related to U.S. Citizens and COVID-19

IMPORTANT TO KNOW (Updated Oct. 5, 2020)

  • The Department of State has issued a Level Three Advisory for France.
  • U.S. citizens may depart France to return to the United States at any time.
  • There is no restriction on U.S. citizens departing France for the U.S. or entering the United States.
  • U.S. citizens in France should register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at https://step.state.gov/.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions related to U.S. Citizens in France and COVID-19:

  • Will I be allowed to enter the United States?
    U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may return to the United States. Contact your airline for updated status on your scheduled flight(s). Note that on March 11, updated on March 16, 2020, President Trump issued “Proclamation—Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus” (found at www.whitehouse.gov).  This proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. In addition, certain family members of U.S. citizens are also exempted. Those exempt from the restrictions, such as U.S. citizens, will be directed to a limited number of airports where screening can take place. Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website for the current list.
  • My spouse is not a U.S. citizen, how can s/he travel?
    Information on who can apply for a visa at this time and instructions on how to do so are available on our website. The information includes email addresses where inquiries can be directed.
  • What will happen when I return to the United States? Will I have to quarantine?
    When you arrive in the United States, you will proceed to standard customs processing. You will then continue to enhanced entry screening where returning passengers are asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities. You will be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to your final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices. Here is a fact sheet from the Department of Homeland Security.
  • My 90 days of visa-free Schengen travel/other types of visa is almost up! What should I do?
    The U.S. Embassy does not have the authority to grant French visa extensions or make determinations about French or EU immigration rules. You can visit the French government website for English-speakers in France for more information on this topic.
  • What should I do if I’m in France and I think I may have been exposed to COVID-19?
    Please review the guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dial 15 for emergency services in France if you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing. Do not go directly to an emergency department, doctor’s office, or clinic. Additional information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available here.
  • What are the latest regulations concerning deconfinement? Cafes, bars, and restaurants are open in most of the country, but are closed in Marseilles and Guadeloupe, and under restricted hours in some other cities, including Paris. Schools and public transportation are open. Everyone is expected to practice social distancing (one meter), use cloth face coverings, and avoid large gatherings that may spread the virus.  Cloth face coverings are mandatory in indoor settings and on public transportation. Some cities, including Paris, have made face coverings mandatory in all outdoor areas as well. Failure to wear a face covering when required may result in a fine of approximately $150.
  • For more information regarding travel within the European Union, click here.
  • Will I be allowed to enter France? If I have a trip to France planned [in the future], can I still come? Broad restrictions on non-essential travel from many countries outside the European Union, including the United States, remain in place. The French government has defined essential travel as entry by French citizens, residents of France, all foreign (including United States citizen) students (with appropriate visa or residence permit), and spouses and children of French citizens. In rare cases, the French government will consider allowing travel in humanitarian situations and, reportedly, in cases of business activity important to the French economy. Persons may inquire about such allowances with the French Embassy in Washington, DC (visas@consulfrance-washington.org). The United States Embassy has no standing to intervene or advocate for the private travel of United States citizens to France. Please contact your nearest French Embassy or French Consulate or refer to France Visas. If you are already in France, please contact your nearest Prefecture or refer to the Ministry of the Interior or Prefecture de Police.
  • If I am permitted to enter (see above), will I need a COVID-19 test to enter France?
    This is the latest (August 1, 2020) guidance from the website of the French Embassy, Washington, DC. We refer you to its website for more information.In accordance with Decree no. 2020-911 of July 27, 2020, for all arrivals in France from Saturday, August 1, travelers aged 11 or older from the United States must provide the results of a virologic screening test (such as a PCR test) taken less than 72 hours before departure indicating a negative result for Covid-19. If they are not able to provide evidence of this test, boarding will be denied. Passengers will not be required to undertake any other health checks on arrival. A list of available test sites in the United States, based on your place of residence, can be found on your consulate’s website. However, we recommend making sure that results will be available in time before taking a test. t is also important to note that, in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic, the external borders of the European Union and the Schengen Area have been closed to travelers from the United States since March 17 and that, in this context, only those persons who fall within one of the categories mentioned in the exempted international movement certificate for travel from abroad to mainland France are authorized to enter France: https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Attestation-de-deplacement-et-de-voyage. This information will be updated regularly based on further clarifications over the coming days.
  • Can I transit through France?
    Transit passengers through Charles De Gaulle Airport are being allowed under certain conditions. Transiting passengers may not leave the international zone and will not be admitted to France. Luggage must be checked through to your final destination. You will not be permitted to leave the international zone to collect and recheck baggage. The duration of transit must be less than 24 hours.
  • Where can I get more information from the Embassy?
    Make sure you are enrolled in the Smart Traveller Enrollment Programto receive alerts and ensure you can be located in an emergency. Keep checking this website for up-to-date information.  U.S. citizens may also email us at citizeninfo@state.gov.
  • Can you help me register / update my account in STEP?
    Please try clearing your browsing history and using Internet Explorer 11 or Google Chrome. If you are experiencing issues logging onto your existing STEP account, please click the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page and submit a request for assistance using the form provided. You can also check our Embassy website for new alerts and follow us on social media for updates (@USEmbassyFrance).
  • Can I unsubscribe from STEP?
    If you sent a request to unsubscribe to STEP, note that it may take several weeks for your request to be processed and you may continue to receive STEP e-mails during that time.