facts about france

British and visiting France? Check your passports

Although we haven’t heard of any clients affected, we have read that some British passport holders have been denied entry into France because their passports are out of date.

The EU “10 year validity rule” has been in the headlines, so here are the facts as supplied by Your Europe, official website of the EU.

“If you are a national from a country outside the EU wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a valid passport and possibly a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU and it must have been issued within the last 10 years. This means your travel document must have been issued within the previous 10 years the day you enter the EU on condition that it is valid until the end of your stay plus an additional 3 months.

On a related issue – later this year the EU’s new entry and exit system will be introduced in France. Known as the EES it will affect Brits with a second-home here.

It only affects non-EU citizens. If you are entering France from the UK then extra checks are being put in place, but (in theory) entry will be speeded up as these checks will now be computerised – no more manual stamping of passports!

Passports will be scanned at the border, automatically checking entry/exit dates, as well as your bio-metric details. The computer will calculate whether you are within your 90-day limit. If you have spent more than 90 days out of the previous 180 within the Schengen zone then a flag will be raised. You will be liable to a fine and a ban on re-entry.

Our understanding is that for those of us who are resident in France, we will need to avoid the automated gates and choose a manned booth, so that we can show our residency cards alongside our passport! 

Hmm – longer queues and a recipe for disaster – time will tell.

No date has been set yet for the EES to be introduced, just “later this year”. As soon as this changes we will let you know.