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TRAVEL NEWS

Do post-Brexit travel rules apply to Brits living in France?

Travel for Brits is more complicated since Brexit, but are you exempt from the extra restrictions if you live in France? Whether you're visiting the UK or travelling within the EU, here are the rules that apply to you.

Do post-Brexit travel rules apply to Brits living in France?
If you're a resident of France, some travel rules are different for you. Photo by Sem van der Wal / ANP / AFP

Brits living in France were among the first to become aware of the new post-Brexit realities as they needed to get the carte de séjour residency card and take various other steps to secure their legal residency here.

But while having the carte de séjour exempts you from certain travel requirements, others still apply. 

Brits who have taken French citizenship or have the passport of another EU country such as Ireland can continue to travel as before, while non-residents of France (eg tourists, second-home owners and other visitors) can find details on their travel rules HERE.

For the rest, here’s a breakdown of whether the rules apply to you or not;

Passport validity – YES. Your UK passport of course remains a valid travel document, but it must have at least three months validity left in order to travel. Some transport operators were initially asking for six months validity, that seems to have been largely corrected now, but make sure to check before travelling.

Passport stamping – NO. Brits who are not resident in France, and don’t have a visa, will have their passports stamped on entry and exit of the EU.

Brits who are resident should always show their carte de séjour alongside their passport to avoid being stamped. There have been multiple reports of passports for carte de séjour holders being incorrectly stamped by French officials who appeared not to know the rules – this is what to do if this happens to you.

90 day rule – YES and NO. Non-EU citizens can spend 90 days out of every 180 in the EU or Schengen zone without needing a visa. Obviously the 90-day limit does not apply to time spent in France if you are a resident, which is why your passport does not need to be stamped.

The 90-day rule does, however, apply to all other EU or Schengen one countries, so once you leave France and head into, say, Belgium the clock starts ticking. In practice passport checks within the Schengen zone are quite rare, but you need to be aware of the limit if you spend a significant amount of time in EU/Schengen countries other than France.

When travelling within the Schengen zone, you should always take your passport and carte de séjour, just in case you are checked at the border.

Minimum cash requirement – NO. Non-EU nationals who are visiting France can be asked for a number of extra documents, including proof of accommodation and proof of having a certain amount of money for each day of their stay.

You will not be asked these questions if you are a resident in France, although you may be asked for proof of financial means when applying for a visa or residency card.

Registering British guests at the mairie – MAYBE. If you have guests coming to visit from the UK, you are technically required to go to your local mairie and obtain the form known as the attestation d’acceuil.

The form is for your guests to show at the border, there is no checking done on you as the host. In practice, border guards seem to rarely check this, and there is an alternative for your guests if they do not have the form.

Health insurance – NO. Non-EU nationals may be asked to prove they have sufficient health cover while staying in France, but if you are resident in France you are entitled to register in the French health system and get the carte vitale.

If you are travelling outside France, you will need the CEAM (Carte européenne d’assurance maladie) which will ensure healthcare costs are covered if you get sick or have an accident while travelling within the EU or Schengen zone.

These aren’t sent out automatically, you need to order one and they are only valid for two years. You can order the card or a replacement through your Ameli account, or by visiting your local CPAM offices.

Data roaming – NO. If you have a French-registered phone then you are covered by EU data roaming rules that prohibit excessive charges when travelling within the EU.

Once you’re outside the EU then it depends on the country you are travelling to, but your provider must warn you if you are running up excessive bills through roaming charges, so you will get a text message warning.

If your phone is still registered in the UK then take care with roaming charges, as many British operators are re-introducing them now that they are no longer constrained by the EU charges cap.

Pet passports – NO. If you live in France then your vet can issue you an EU Pet Passport for your cats, dogs and ferrets, which makes travel both within the EU and between France and the UK simple. You will not need the new Animal Health Certificate that is now mandatory for UK residents, but if your pet has an old UK-issued EU passport you will need to update it to a French one.

Food restrictions – YES. If you’re coming from the UK to France there is a long list of foods that you cannot bring with you, so gone are the days of bringing back some ‘proper’ bacon, Cheddar cheese or one of your mum’s home-made cakes after a trip to the UK.

If you’re going the other way, though, there are no such restrictions as the UK has delaying implementing its own checks, so you’re free to bring gifts of French sausage and smelly cheese to your friends and relatives in the UK.

Alcohol limits – YES. You can bring a few bottles of a choice French vintage to the UK with you, but the days of filling up the car with booze at the Calais warehouses are over since the introduction of new alcohol limits at the British end. As a French resident, you unfortunately don’t benefit from the duty-free prices either.

Extra queues – YES. This isn’t a rule per se, but an unfortunate consequence of all of the above, as numerous passengers have reported longer-than-usual queues at ports, stations and terminals this summer. Make sure you arrive in good time.

When entering France you will also need to join the ‘non EU’ passport queue, which is usually longer.

There is discussion in some countries of allowing permanent residents to use the EU passport queue, but it’s only an idea at this stage so unfortunately you remain stuck in the long queue with the tourists. 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

Life in France: 5 plants that (allegedly) repel mosquitoes

Summer in France brings lots of good stuff and some deeply annoying things, like mosquitoes. But did you know that there are plants that you can add to your garden or balcony that will repel these deeply unwelcome visitors?

Life in France: 5 plants that (allegedly) repel mosquitoes

If you’re one of these people who are attractive to mosquitoes then you’ll know the misery of spending the summer covered in itchy red lumps – and the bad news is that the rising global temperatures mean that ‘mosquito season’ in France now lasts longer.

It’s a common problem and in the summer French florists and garden centres often sell ‘anti-moustique‘ plants.

We’re not promising a 100 percent repellent rate, but these are some plants that apparently help.

In good news, most of them are small enough so that you can grow them on your balcony or in a window box if you don’t have a garden.  

Mint (menthe)

A common herb that many people might already have in their gardens, but mosquitoes apparently hate the lovely, fresh scent of mint.

And even if it fails to ward off the bugs, at least you can use the leaves to garnish food or make a nice big jug of Pimms (which might distract you from your horrible, itchy bites).

READ MORE: France’s most toxic plants and berries to watch out for

Marigolds (Rose d’inde, sometimes known as Souci)

These are a popular choice to add a touch of colour to a window box or balcony, as well as to a garden, and have the added benefit of warding off mosquitoes.

Gardeners like them because can boost the growth of other plants when planted together.

Rosemary (romarain)

Another aromatic herb that humans love and mosquitoes apparently hate.

If you’re planting it in the garden use a container because it has a tendency to spread and take over your garden. If you don’t want to grown it, or don’t have the space, you can always add a couple of sprigs to your grill when barbecuing to help keep the mosquitoes away as you dine outdoors.

Lemongrass (citronelle)

You’ll certainly be aware of citronella scent from various mosquito-repelling products including oils and candles, but you can also grow it in the your garden.

It grows quite big so might not be suitable for small gardens or window boxes.

Even if it doesn’t succeed in keeping insets away, you can use it in cooking to add a lemony flavour.

Wormwood (absinthe)

The final one on the list is usually said to be the most effective, but should be used with caution as it is toxic if eaten.

You can grow it in your garden or in a window box, but take great care that it doesn’t end up with your edible herbs as it will make you sick – if you have a garden when children or animals are present then it’s probably best to avoid this one altogether, but on the plus side its pungent scent will keep mosquitoes away.

As the French name suggests, wormwood is one of the main ingredients in the drink Absinthe and is what gives it the distinctive green colour.

Legend has it that wormwood is the active ingredient that makes people hallucinate after drinking absinthe, but in fact the drink is not hallucinogenic and never was. It is extremely strong though, which might explain some of those ‘visions’!

Other tips

Mosquitoes like to hang out and to breed in water or long grass, so you can help keep them away by eliminating their favourite spots. For example;

  • Keep lawns trimmed
  • Eliminate sources of stagnant water eg old plant pots that collect rainwater
  • Keep your gutters clear
  • If you have a pond consider installing a small fountain or pump, as mosquitoes usually won’t lay eggs in moving water
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