The test involves inserting a cotton swab in the nostrils | Photo: Picture-alliance
The test involves inserting a cotton swab in the nostrils | Photo: Picture-alliance

Fever, a persistent cough and difficulties breathing… COVID-19 symptoms can lead to serious complications and may require emergency treatment. For migrants living in the streets, knowing where and how to go for a test can be tricky. InfoMigrants tells you more:

If you have a fever, a persistent cough, headaches and a loss of taste and smell you may have been infected with the coronavirus. To be 100 percent sure if you have contracted COVID-19 or not, there is only one way to know: get tested.

So where do I go for a test?

You can go to any of France’s Health Service Access Points, known as PASS. These 24-hour healthcare clinics are available to anyone in a precarious situation who lacks healthcare coverage.

If you don’t know how to get to the nearest PASS center, ask the NGOs that are active in and around your camp.

How is the test carried out?

"The test involves inserting a soft cotton swab in each nostril for a few seconds. There is no blood test. It may feel a little unpleasant, but it doesn't hurt," the government explains on its website.

Do I need to bring ID?

It's better if you do.

If you have an ID or passport, you must bring it along. If it's possible, bring your social security card (PUMA, CMU or AME card) as well. If you don't have social security, you can still get tested.

What type of information will I have to give out to get tested?

  • Surname
  • First name
  • Date of birth
  • Health issues
  • Current situation (i.e.: I share a room, live in a tent with other people, etc.)

Is it free?

Yes. Social security covers the full cost of the test, and there is no need to have health insurance.

If you’re not covered by social security, don’t worry, you still don’t have to pay anything as long as you take the test in a PASS center.

If you don’t have social security but you have the financial resources to pay for the test yourself, you can get tested in any lab in the city where you are living.

In general, the results are ready after two or three days (usually delivered by email, phone or via Internet messaging services)

What if I test positive?

If your test results come back positive, it is mandatory for you to isolate yourself to avoid the risk of infecting others. You will also need to wear a face mask. The medical staff in the clinic where you have been tested may also recommend that you go to a specialized accommodation center while you are positive. These centers are free.

What if the test results come back negative?

This means you don't have COVID-19.

Still, you may contract it later on, and so it’s important to keep an eye on any potential symptoms.

If you have any doubts about your results, do the test again.


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