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Reader question: Do I have to register British visitors to France with the town hall?

Since Brexit, British travellers have found themselves in the often confusing and complicated world of non-EU travel, which in certain circumstances could involve telling your local town hall in France whenever you have guests visiting from the UK.

Reader question: Do I have to register British visitors to France with the town hall?
Does having Brits to stay really now involve a form? Photo: Jean-Philippe Ksiasek/AFP

Question: I read that if I want to have visitors from the UK staying at my home in France I will need a permission certificate from the Mairie – surely this can’t be right? I need permission even if my own family members are coming to stay with me?

Brexit has made life more complicated for Brits living in France – such as having to apply for the compulsory residency permit – but it has also had an impact on those just visiting.

Visitors need to abide by the 90-day rule and, if wanting to stay longer they will also need a visa. 

But there is also something called an attestation d’accueil which is required for people hosting non-EU visitors in their homes for private or family visits.

The attestation costs €30 and must be obtained in advance of the trip by the host.

But do people hosting British visitors need this?

Non-EU visitors may be asked at the border to provide proof of where they are staying.

If you are staying in tourist accommodation such as a hotel, campsite, Airbnb, gîte or B&B then you can show proof of booking, but if you are staying with friends then you may be asked for an attestation d’acceuil – a certificate obtained by your hosts.

We have published a complete guide to how to get it HERE.

Is there an alternative to getting the certificate?

Because the process of getting the attestation is quite cumbersome – the host must apply in advance at their local mairie and send the form to the guest – there are plenty of people for whom this is impractical or impossible.

In this instance there is an alternative – you can instead provide proof that you can support yourself financially while in France, and if you cannot show either a hotel/gite/Airbnb booking OR an attestation d’acceuil, this means proving that you have at least €120 for every day of your stay in France.

Full details on the financial rates here.

The EU states that proof of means that will be accepted are; cash, travellers cheques, bank statements for the last three months showing the balance of your account at the required level or credit cards (debit cards are not accepted).

Will this really be checked?

Because of the pandemic we haven’t really had a normal tourist season since the end of the Brexit transition period in 2021, so there is still some uncertainty on this.

Anecdotal evidence would suggest that in reality proof of residency or proof of means are rarely asked for, and this tallies with the experiences of other non-EU visitors such as Americans, Canadians and Australians.

However, be aware that French border guards are entirely within their rights to ask for this, and you can be turned back at the border if you cannot provide this information.

Member comments

  1. attestation d’accueil – wow this will be a drag
    It could almost stop folk coming or staying in France if family coming to stay for a few days have to be logged into this system. Also how many visitors will have 30,000€ of travel insurance just for hopping across the channe plus how will a family ‘have to have show that for each memver they have 30€ a day available for living expenses?
    Comments please, or am I misinterpreting the situation?

    1. I think the attestation d’aceuil doesn’t apply if you are a permanent resident in France.🤔

  2. What will happen at passport control when they get here without the form? Hold people at the airport until they can get on a plane back? All you need to show is a confirmation of booking accommodation, then no form needed

    1. Rog, the point of the article & the declaration is that it is about private visits to private homes, if the host is not an EU cit (+ couple of other included countries). The host has to do the form & once approved send it to the visitor before travel. Not about hotels or other accommodation professionals.

      1. I understand no form needed if you have booked accommodation, but you do need all the paperwork if staying with your family. My question is what will happen to people at the airport that haven’t seen this and got the paperwork. Americans, I have read only need to provide an address. Also what happens if you just want to explore in a camper van, can they no longer just tour?

  3. Welcome to life outside the EU. This is what visitors from much of the rest of the world already have to do. The funny thing is, they just get on with it. British exceptionalism again means rather than just accept it, people will rather whine and moan about it until the French give in and exempt them from it. No doubt the old arguments of “the British contribute so much to France” and ” the French need us more than we need them” will be trotted out in conversations around this topic again and again and again and again…ad infinitum.

    This is life outside of the EU. This is what travellers from most third countries have to do already. It is not onerous nor difficult, just another form that needs filling in and a bit of money to pay. If you can afford the holiday chances are you can afford to pay for this.

    1. Your assumption that everyone can afford holidays is wrong, having family living here offers an opportunity otherwise not available.

    2. Paperwork is extremely onerous and the right to family life supposedly a human right.

  4. On the RIFT website this morning (14th May), they say they have contacted the British Embassy, who have confirmed that this is now law, it applies to UK passport holders not resident in France and should be followed. Just how much it will be enforced is, of course, another matter.

  5. Yet another increase in the cost of a trip to France. We usually collect random grandchildren and bring them over for parents to follow on. I assume under 18s will need to be included which will double the cost to a family. I checked Eurotunnel costs last week, Frequent Traveller single tickets now £54.00 but currently suspended from sale. As if we haven’t had enough to test our resolve!

  6. Assuming all foreign resident in France (myself) paperwork and all foreign visitor from England (my family) paperwork has been confirmed by the local mairie as sufficient and correct and Attestation d’Acceuil issued for the family visit to my home, does UK Home Office advice not to travel to France (Covid precautionary) invalidate necessary health + repatriation insurance (30,000 Euros)and consequently invalidate the Attestation d’Acceuil? Will be very helpful if someone knows the answer to this.

  7. I’ve now just completed my first Attestation d’Accueil – it’s new for your local Mairie too.
    BEFORE you go, ensure you’ve got ALL the paperwork required and purchase your timbre fiscale online here – it’s 30€ per visitor:
    You’ll need to print off the confirmation email you receive once purchased and take this with you along with:
    Latest utility bill
    Latest Avis d’Impôt
    Passport, flight/travel confirmation with dates, Travel/Medical insurance doc that must include full repatriation costs for your guest/s
    Currently there is no electronic system for the Attestion d’Acceuil which means the stamped/signed Attestation along with copies of all the paperwork have got to be posted to your visitor and arrive with them BEFORE they travel as only the original document is acceptable.
    This is going to cause problems for anyone wanting to make a quick, last-minute trip as the way the system currently works does not allow enough time for this.
    Anyway, hope the above helps and if any of you have got any tips/tricks to get round any of this – please do let me know.

  8. I am confused, having spoken to my Mairie today they told me that it is not necessary to have an Attestation D’Accueil!

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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.