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Is the PCR test required for doubly vaccinated Americans?

I would to confirm from recent travellers to France that the PCR 72-hours-before-arrival COVID test is not required for entry in France. I'm flying from Seattle to Amsterdam and then to Nice next Saturday.

Posted by
9564 posts

If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need a PCR test to enter France- you just need your proof of vaccination.

For transiting Amsterdam, I don’t know what is required. You should check.

Posted by
92 posts

I would recommend that you check what is needed to transit through Amsterdam. My understanding is that the requirements are very strict and it’s causing a lot of airlines to cancel flights to Amsterdam. I ended up changing my flights to transit through CDG and later found out that my original Seattle-Amsterdam flight had gotten canceled.

Posted by
873 posts

Hubby and I…..fully vaccinated…..got our negative Covid tests at Walgreens 2 days before flying to Switzerland through Amsterdam a week ago just in case we needed them…..never used them….customs just wanted to see our passport and cdc vac cards…..still have not used the negative tests results.

Posted by
92 posts

That’s interesting! I’m not sure what airline the OP is flying but my experience was that Delta at SEA was extremely strict about paperwork and almost didn’t let me board because their system was saying I needed a visa for my final destination (Switzerland) - we eventually sorted it out after they escalated it, but it was not a great start to my trip!

Posted by
489 posts

I'm flying on Delta, Seattle - Amsterdam - Nice, and I did get an email from Delta explaining how passengers were responsible for meeting the health requirements of the countries on their itinerary, but they did not say whether transiting through a third country (Holland) would require the same level of vigilance. I understand France only requires from Americans the CDC card/vaccination records, both of which I will have on me.

https://www.delta.com/us/en/travel-planning-center/find-your-destination/explore-top-destinations?prices=false?mkcpgn=EM_MKTG_TRAN_CL_210925_AA900849_A01B_P0_requirements

From the above link, it does not APPEAR to include transit countries, only destinations. But the same Delta email says that its partner Dutch KLM may have somewhat different requirements from those of Delta, which should not be, of course, conflated with those of the destination country.

Of course, I would like to skip getting the PCR before going to the airport but only if I am fairly certain I'm not going to have problems!

Posted by
7544 posts

For information on transiting through Amsterdam, go to the Schipol airport site. https://www.schiphol.nl/en/page/welcome-back-transfers/

The terms "transfer", In-Transit" and "Layover" are thrown around, but simply put, if you are arriving, staying airside, in the secure zone, and boarding another flight to outside of the Netherlands, and doing all this in less than 24 hours, then no test is needed.

You should fill out the Health Declaration form, and a separate Quarantine Disclosure Form (that might be expiring soon) that basically says you are exempt from Quarantine since you will not be staying in the country. Likely you will be asked for neither, or that was my experience.

Posted by
489 posts

Is it a connecting flight that’s part of your original itinerary, or a stop you are making?

I'm only transiting through Amsterdam, getting off the plane from Seattle to get onto another plane to get to Nice. Only 90 minutes or so in the Amsterdam airport.

Posted by
489 posts

For information on transiting through Amsterdam, go to the Schipol airport site. https://www.schiphol.nl/en/page/welcome-back-transfers/

The terms "transfer", In-Transit" and "Layover" are thrown around, but simply put, if you are arriving, staying airside, in the secure zone, and boarding another flight to outside of the Netherlands, and doing all this in less than 24 hours, then no test is needed.

Thanks, Paul. I just want to be 100% sure that a PCR test is not needed. Until 10-14 days ago I was sure it would be.

Actually, it WILL be required to return to the U.S. (from Lisbon), but I think I'll be able to use the same test that allows me to enter Portugal 2 days before my return to the U.S. (My cruise winds up in Portugal. I am supposing to get off the ship and enter Lisbon, the cruise company will offer some method of getting the PCR test done, assuming that is, that one IS required to get off the ship and enter Portugal. But maybe that's a big IF.

Posted by
13934 posts

I just want to be 100% sure that a PCR test is not needed...snip...Actually, it WILL be required to return to the U.S. (from Lisbon)

You don’t need a PCR test to return back to the US. You can get the Antigen test. If your Antigen is positive you would go for the PCR.

Here is the link to the CDC guidelines for travelers returning from an international destination.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html

The CDC does recommend returning fully vaccinated individuals get an antigen test 3-5 days after return home.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html

Posted by
489 posts

Thanks, Pam, for the clarification. Up until now, I have not been making a distinction between the two tests. Whatever the cruise company comes up with to allow her passengers to enter Portugal, I am banking on, will be used to get me back into the U.S., whether antigen or PCR. I'll google "antigen" to find out what is involved. I've only done PCR tests so far.

Posted by
1 posts

We are scheduled to depart for Paris tomorrow evening on United out of Newark and had an extremely confusing situation a- we did not receive confirmation of our on line check in despite uploading our vaccination certificates which is all we have been told is required. We called, and two separate agents informed us that we need to bring a negative PCR test result taken by 2 days ago. This is nuts! The website says nothing about this. So, we are faced with searching for an antigen test in the am and hoping the United agents were misinformed as we will drive 2 hours to the airport and have many reservations on the line if they tell us we can't board.
!$%$%

Posted by
13934 posts

I agree with Frank. I arrived in Paris last Wednesday. The Delta desk agent checking me in in Spokane said I needed a test. I said that is not a requirement for France, please read further on your screen. You may have to stand your ground and ask for a supervisor. Give yourself extra time just for things such as this.

I do feel bad for the desk agents, especially in smaller airports that are not the International hubs. What a mess of information to go thru!

Posted by
489 posts

avcrawford:

How horribly confusing & anxiety-provoking. One feels at the whim of the airline / airport / country of destination border control. Now I don't know if I should just go ahead and get a PCR done tomorrow. I'm not even sure how I would get an antigen test done (or where).

Posted by
489 posts

I agree with Frank. I arrived in Paris last Wednesday. The Delta desk agent checking me in in Spokane said I needed a test.

The link I provided above clearly, when you enter the destination, indicates one does NOT need a PCR/antigen test for France. Delta itself goes by the country of destination and does not have their own set of rules separate from those of the country of destination (other than the double vaccination and mask requirements).

https://www.delta.com/us/en/travel-planning-center/find-your-destination/explore-top-destinations?prices=false?mkcpgn=EM_MKTG_TRAN_CL_210925_AA900849_A01B_P0_requirements

I'm hoping that in Seattle Delta will be more informed.

Wonder how EARLY I need to be at Sea-Tac. It used to be THREE hours for international departures.

Posted by
13934 posts

Denny, I was transiting thru Seattle to get that non-stop flight to Paris and the Gate agents seemed much better informed BUT they are probably working the same international gates each day so it’s easier to keep track.

They did try to use the facial recognition scanner for boarding but it wasn’t working properly so they defaulted to scanning boarding passes.

Someone here may have gone thru Seatac security recently. I think when Sarah Murdoch (Rick Steves guide) traveled a couple of weeks ago she suggested adding extra time. Spokane lines for Delta check-in were nuts early AM with long lines for regular security (no line for pre-check).

Posted by
489 posts

Denny, I was transiting thru Seattle to get that non-stop flight to Paris and the Gate agents seemed much better informed BUT they are probably working the same international gates each day so it’s easier to keep track.

Pam, I used to take that direct Seattle - Paris flight (and would see some of the same stewardesses). This time I'm transiting through Amsterdam.

I've got enough packing still left to do, so I think it's a safe bet not to do a PCR test before I leave. It's been 20 months since I left the country, so I'm not sure what to expect. Wearing a mask both in the airport for 2-3 hours and then in the plane sounds pretty challenging (I have sinsusitis, so it's like I can't breathe with a mask on, or at least get enough air).

Posted by
7 posts

Hi, we flew Delta, Seattle-Amsterdam-Nice on September 26. We had to show our vaccination cards at check in in Sea. We also filled out the form Delta forwarded us prior to flight
The check in was slowed by people who didn’t have their paperwork.
Our CDC card has worked the two times we were asked
Also, today we took a rapid Covid antigen test at a pharmacy in Nice and had emailed results within 20 minutes
No worries, have a good trip!

EDIT: We downloaded the Tous AntiCovid app and our rapid test was uploaded to the app

Posted by
489 posts

Hi Allen,

Thanks for sharing your experience Seattle - Amsterdam - Nice. Very reassuring for a jittery traveler like myself who's been to France 6 times within the past 6 years.

One remaining question is: Does one need to show the "original" CDC card (a flimsy piece of cardboard paper)? I misplaced my card 6 weeks ago, after which I laminated a copy of it at Office Max. Will that do? I would like to keep the original at home.

Posted by
8049 posts

We just arrived at CDG from Chicago on United this morning. We had to show CDC cards with passports at check in and then we had to show them a second time at the gate -- they had a table set up outside the gate and everyone had to show their cards and get a sticker on their passport which was checked as we boarded. They also required the attestation forms to be filled out although no one ever asked for or looked at them after that.

We had filled out trace forms on line for United but were required to do it all over again on paper on the plane.

On landing at CDG our CDC cards were checked against our passports right after getting off the plane well before immigration. At immigration they just stamped our passports; no one looked at or asked for the attestations.

United kept sending emails that we were required to test or to have had the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Obviously not true. It feels like an intern is doing his first week on their web sites and on their communications.

Posted by
13934 posts

If you can’t breathe with the mask on you might try breathe-right strips across your nose. I tried them before I came and it worked OK. Since I’ve been in Paris I’ve just tried to mouth-breathe when I have the mask on and that is better.

I took the Metro today for the first time this trip. Not crowded at all and the guy in the ticket booth was unbelievably helpful to me and to the man ahead of me.

Posted by
8049 posts

On the airplane we were all required to fill out forms that gave our US and our Paris addresses, our seat number etc etc so that if there was a COVID case on board we could be traced and notified. They were collected on the plane and presumably be processed IF there was an outbreak.

I had already filled the same information out for United Airlines on line but that didn't matter.

United has a really terrible web and notification presence. They constantly send messages indicating that a test is required to fly and the last one I got said that you had to have a test OR the Johnson/Johnson vaccine in order to fly to France. Neither of those things is true. And the airline itself has the expected procedures in place to verify vaccination which is all that is required.

We were also required to have the attestation form filled out to board the plane but no one in the US or France took it or looked at it again.

In Paris, all passengers had to present their vaccination record and passport before being allowed to proceed to immigration where only the passport was checked.

Posted by
4317 posts

Have you tried different type of masks for extended periods of time to see if one is better than the others? I have trouble wearing an N-95 for hours, but the disposable ones and some cloth ones that I have aren't as bad.