How to Travel to French Polynesia in 2020

*This information is as of October 2020. Travel rules are constantly changing. Please be sure to check the Tahiti tourism site for the most up to date information.

As you know, the U.S. passport currently doesn’t allow us to travel to too many countries however, there are still a few great countries U.S. passport holders can travel to including: French Polynesia! We had two 2 week Europe trips and a handful of domestic U.S. trips cancelled this year so we actually got a lot of money back on those trips.

French Polynesia started allowing international travelers to their country July 15th due the very low C*VD rates. However, there were a few additional things you have to do to enter French Polynesia.

Where is French Polynesia?

When I told people where we were going, I had a few people ask me where that was. French Polynesia is south of Hawaii and West of Peru. You may recognize the destination if I say Bora Bora or Tahiti. They are the UTC-10 time zone so they are 3 hours behind Pacific Standard Time (West Coast U.S.)

How to Get to French Polynesia

There are several international airlines that fly to Polynesia. From San Francisco, you can take a non-stop flight on United Airlines or French Bee (they fly between France and Polynesia via San Francisco). From Los Angeles you can take a non-stop flight on Air Tahiti Nui.

Pre-trip Requirements to Enter French Polynesia

  1. As of 9/15/2020 guests are required to take and produce a negative C*VD test 72 hours prior to your flight. And by 72 hours, I mean: if your flight is on a Monday, you can take your test on Friday. It cannot be a rapid test and there are a list of approved C*VD tests / labs on the Tahiti tourism website. You must then print this proof of negative test to show several times along the way (more on that later)

  2. Once you receive the negative test results, you must then go on to [insert website] and fill out your entire travel itinerary (for each traveler in your party), contact information, check the box you will also be showing negative test results. You then need to also print the receipt that you filled out the ETIS form. It will come via e-mail and will include a giant QR code.

At the Airport prior to Flying to French Polynesia

When you check in for your flight, you will not be given a boarding pass and will have to go check in at the ticketing desk where you will need to show your ETIS receipt and negative C*VD test papers.

If your paperwork checks out, you will then be given your boarding pass and can go through security.

At your boarding gate, you will then need to show your ETIS receipt, negative C*VD and boarding pass where they will then write “ok” on your boarding pass.

In Flight

Early in the flight you will be given two forms to fill out. One for customs and one for immigration. They contain similar information, but these will be two additional forms you will need to have with you when you land in Tahiti.

When you Land in Tahiti

There will be three checkpoints as you make your way through customs:

  1. You will show your ETIS receipt (the one with the QR code). They will scan your code and hand you a self administered C*VD test that you will need to turn in on the 4th day of your trip. Inside the packet are detailed instructions for the nasal and oral self tests, as well as a long list of health centers on all the islands to turn your test in to. If you are staying at a resort, you can also hand the test to the front desk.

  2. The next checkpoint you will turn in your customs paper and they will in turn hand you an info graphic of C*VD rules.

  3. The final checkpoint will be immigration. Have your passport, C*VD test results and immigration form ready to go.

As long as you have these things filled out and have followed the rules for entry you will get through no problem. The airport process took roughly 30 minutes due to the lines.

C*VD test 4 Days into French Polynesia Stay

The morning of the 4th day in Polynesia, we had to take another C*VD test and turn it into a health center. Let me tell you, giving yourself a nasal swab is not fun. I sneezed so many times doing it. The oral swab was super easy. They give you a liquid container to store the swabs in and a bio hazard bag. We handed the tests off to a doctor in the health care center and were in and out in 30 seconds.

You will only hear back if you test positive.

Do I feel safe in French Polynesia

Yes! This is my first international trip in 2020, but not my first flights. Overall, everyone has been great about wearing a mask, I didn’t see anyone get turned away along the way for not having the correct paperwork. French Polynesia tourism is way down so a lot of the beaches and restaurants are not very full at all.

What are the C*VD rules in French Polynesia?

  • Masks must be worn indoors, when in public and you cannot maintain social distancing, on mass transit. These rules are the same rules we have been practicing at home.

This post is meant to be informational if you choose to travel to French Polynesia.


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