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Is there really a minimum cash requirement for British visitors to France?

Brexit has ushered in a host of travel changes for Brits coming to France, but is there really a minimum amount of cash you need to enter the country? We look at financial requirements for visitors.

Is there really a minimum cash requirement for British visitors to France?
Brits entering France now face a host of extra checks. Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP

UK media have recently been reporting a ‘new’ announcement from Spanish authorities about a minimum amount of money needed for British tourists – but in fact this has always been the case for non-EU citizens and applies equally to France.

Who does this affect?

This is for tourists, visitors and second-home owners – people who do not live in France and do not have either a residency card (carte de séjour) or a visa.

If you enter with a carte de séjour or visa you will not be asked to provide proof of financial means (although you may need to provide them during the visa/residency application process).

If you are a visitor with an EU passport (eg French or Irish) this does not apply to you. 

What can French border guards ask you?

Non-EU citizens entering France can be asked to provide a range of documents, in addition to a valid passport:

  • Proof of accommodation – either a booking for a hotel/gite/Airbnb if you are a tourist, proof of your address if you are a second-home owner or an attestation d’acceuil if you are staying with friends or family – full details on the attestation d’acceuil here;
  • A return or round-trip ticket (or proof of onward travel if you do not plan to return to your home country at the end of your stay in France);
  • Documents proving your purpose of entry;
  • Proof that you have the financial means to support yourself while in France.

This doesn’t mean that every non-EU citizen entering France is asked for all these documents – far from it in fact – but French police are entitled to ask and if you are unable or unwilling to provide these documents you can be refused entry to the country.

How much money do you need?

There is a sliding scale for how much money you need to prove you can support yourself financially while in France:

  • If you are staying in a hotel, gite, Airbnb, campsite or similar you need €65 for each day of your stay – so for example €650 for a 10-day stay;
  • If you are staying with friends or family (and have the attestation d’acceuil) you need €32.50 for each day of your stay;
  • If you do not have accommodation booked for your entire stay, or are staying with friends and family and do not have the attestation d’acceuil, you need €120 a day.

How do you prove it?

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).

Showing a current online bank statement is not considered sufficient.

Come on, are they really going to check all British tourists?

It’s pretty unlikely. As mentioned, this has always been the rule for non-EU citizens arriving in France – the only change is that since Brexit it now applies to Britons too.

But anecdotal evidence from American, Canadian and Australian tourists entering France suggests that financial checks are rare, although it’s not unusual to be asked about the purpose of your visit or for proof of where you are staying.

Anecdotal evidence from other non-EU citizens suggests that, unfortunately, racial profiling does happen, so people of colour are more likely to be asked extra questions at the border.

But random checks could take place, and French border guards are entirely within their rights to refuse you entry if you are unable to supply the required proof.

So this is Brexit-related?

Yes. This is the rule for non-EU citizens and applies in all EU countries (although each country sets their own level of financial requirements) – since the UK left the EU it now applies to Brits entering EU Member States, too.

This is one just one many extra travel requirements for Brits entering France since Brexit, including passport-stamping, new rules for pets and restrictions on the items that can be brought in.

Travel to France: What has changed since Brexit

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TRAVEL NEWS

France and Ireland to create new combined train and ferry tickets

The French and Irish leaders have announced the creation of a new combined ticket, that can be used on ferries and trains in both countries.

France and Ireland to create new combined train and ferry tickets

Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin is currently in Paris visiting French president Emmanuel Macron, and the pair have jointly announced the creation of the new ticket, “in order to encourage green mobility between France and Ireland”.

The joint statement added that the ticket will be in effect by summer 2023, saying: “The objective will be to allow, in particular our young people, to travel between our two countries thanks to a green, simple and reasonably priced deal.”

Full details are yet to be confirmed, but the idea sounds similar to the ‘Franco-German ticket’ announced earlier this month, which will give special deals on train tickets between France and Germany to young people.

Full details of that scheme are set to be announced in January. 

Martin was in Paris for the signing of the Celtic Interconnector agreement between France and Ireland, an electricity agreement that links France and Ireland via a 500km undersea cable.

At present journeys between France and Ireland require separate tickets for French trains, Irish trains and the ferry, unless you are travelling with an Interrail pass which can in certain circumstances include ferry travel.

The Franco-Irish ticket would replicate that system, but for single journeys rather than the multi-journey pass of Interrail. 

READ ALSO Yes, travel across Europe by train is far better than flying – even with kids

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