UPDATE: France extends validity of car safety tests until the summer

The French government has announced another extension to expiry dates for the Contrôle Technique vehicle safety certificates.

UPDATE: France extends validity of car safety tests until the summer
Photo: AFP

Anyone whose vehicle's contrôle technique vehicle safety certificate – the equivalent of the British MOT – is about to expire has been granted another reprieve.

France first pushed the deadline for doing the contrôl technique until the lockdown was lifted.

With all non-essential journeys banned and most garages closed anyway, people whose certificate was about to expire faced an anxious wait to know if their vehicle would remain roadworthy and legal during the lockdown.

Now, as France began ease the lockdown on May 11th, the government has decided to extend this period again.

For cars and other light vehicles that saw their certificate expire after March 12th, the period has been “exceptionally prolonged until August 10th 2020,” according to a statement on the government website.

For those who saw their certificates expire before March 12th, the deadline is July 10th.

During the extention people are permitted to drive with an expired contrôle technique, but should book the vehicle in for its test as possible.

Most routine administrative tasks were stopped during the lockdown, and the government also announced an automatic three-month extension for long-stay visas and titres de séjour residence permits.

READ ALSO The new rules on France's compulsory vehicle check


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EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example.