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EES and ETIAS: What foreigners in France need to know about 2023 passport control changes

The Local
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EES and ETIAS: What foreigners in France need to know about 2023 passport control changes
The EU's new EES system will change border control procedures for non-EU citizens. Photo by Olivier CHASSIGNOLE / AFP

You might have already heard about changes to travel rules from 2023 due to the EU's EES (Entry and Exit System) and ETIAS - if you're a foreigner and you live in France, here's what this will change for you.


The year 2023 will bring in two big changes to how the EU controls its borders - EES and ETIAS.

You can find a full explanation of what they are here, but EES is the one that will have the greatest effect on travel for foreigners who are resident in France. It is also the one due to come into effect first.



We're talking here about non-EU nationals who are either living in France or are here on an extended stay - people who have either a carte de séjour resident card or a long-stay visa.

For tourists, those making short trips to France such as family visits or second-home owners - click HERE.


If you have the passport of an EU country other than France, the EES does not affect you, and you can carry on travelling as normal. If you are a dual national, EES will only affect you if you are using your non-EU passport for travel. 


EES applies to the EU's external borders, so if you are travelling between France and Belgium then nothing changes.

However if you are entering France from a non-EU or Schengen zone country (eg the UK, USA, or Australia) then extra checks will be in place.


EES does not change any of the rules around residency or length of stay in France (or any other EU country), so the 90-day limit remains in place for non-residents, while the rules on visas and cartes de séjour remain exactly the same.

What EES is intended to do is tighten up border security, including the enforcement of the 90-day rule for tourists and visitors. It will do this by introducing a new computer system that enables passports to be automatically scanned at the border - checking both biometric details like fingerprints (for extra security) and entry and exit dates to calculate the 90-day limit for each traveller.

It does away with the process of border guards manually stamping passports on every entry and exit from the Schengen zone.

So what does this mean in practice for foreign residents of France?

Anyone with a residency card or long-stay visa is, naturally, not constrained by the 90-day rule - and in order to avoid having their passports stamped, they show both their passport and residency card/visa at the border.

A spokesman for the European Commission told The Local: "Non-EU nationals holders of residence permits are not in the scope of the Entry/Exit System and ETIAS. More about exceptions can be found on the website. When crossing the borders, holders of EU residence permits should be able to present to the border authorities their valid travel documents and residence permits."

We asked the Interior Ministry for guidance on this, and they told us: "EES only concerns non-EU nationals, without a long-stay or residence permit, who are paying a private or tourist visit for less than 90 days.


"Non-EU citizens holding a residence permit (titre de séjour) or a long-stay visa are not eligible for EES.

"These persons must present their residence permit or long-stay visa, as at present, when crossing the border. The control procedures do not change for these categories of travellers."

Unfortunately, the new automated passport controls can only read passports, there is no option to also show a visa or residency card.

Residents of France, therefore, will have to avoid the automated gates and instead go to manned passport control booths, in order to be able to show their residency documents and avoid starting the 90-day 'clock'.


EES was set to come into effect in May 2023, but has now been postponed again. The exact date is still to be confirmed but it is expected to be "by the end of 2023". 


What happens if I use the automated passport gate by mistake?

As we mentioned, EES does not change the rules around length of stay it only tightens up enforcement of them.

If you swipe your passport through an EES gate, this starts off the 90-day 'clock' ticking, so that the next time you exit the Schengen zone, your passport will likely show you as having over-stayed your 90-day limit.

This is basically the same as what happens at present if a border guard stamps your passport in error when you enter the country.

The over-riding principle is that a residency permit will always trump a passport stamp - so you are not in danger of losing your residency status or being deported if you end up with either a manual passport stamp or an EES clock. As long as you can show a valid residency card or visa, that guarantees your right to stay in France.

However, what is likely to happen is that your passport will be flagged as over-staying when you leave the country, and you will have to find a border guard and explain the situation to them - depending on passenger volumes this could take some time so you're looking at delays and lengthy explanations at the border.

In short, it will be a hassle rather than a disaster, but it could be time-consuming to explain and in the worst cases could see you missing your flight/train/ferry. 


The second change due to come into effect in 2023 is ETIAS, and this is currently due to start from November.


This is a change to anyone covered by the 90-day rule. Citizens of many non-EU countries including the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can spend up to 90 days in every 180 in the EU or Schengen zone without needing a visa – the so-called ’90 day rule’.

This is set to change – people are still entitled to spend up to 90 days in every 180, but the process will no-longer be completely admin free. Instead, travellers will have to fill out an online application before they travel.

Once issued, the authorisation lasts for three years, so frequent travellers do not need to complete a new application every time but it must be renewed every three years.

Each application costs €7, but is free for under 18s and over 70s.

For anyone who has travelled to the USA recently, the system is essentially similar to the ESTA visa required for short stays.


This only applies to tourists and visitors to the EU, not non-EU citizens who live here.

Residents of France will show their visa or residency card at the border, instead of the ETIAS visa, exactly as they do at present. 


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phil.moore 2023/01/21 11:14
The Daily Telegraph is reporting this morning that EES has been postponed. Is that true?
roblafrenais 2022/10/31 18:50
What does this mean for UK residents in France with a carte de sejour who travel from France to another EU country? Or those who travel to France from the UK through another EU country such as Belgium? Do they need an EES?

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