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Foreigners officially resident in France not covered by new EES passport rules, Commission confirms

The European Commission has clarified that foreigners living in France are not covered by EES - the far-reaching changes to passport control rules due to come into effect next year.

Foreigners officially resident in France not covered by new EES passport rules, Commission confirms
Big changes are coming for travel in and out of the EU. Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

The EU’s new entry and exit system (EES) is due to come into effect in May 2023, followed by the new ETIAS system in November, and between them they will have a major effect on travel in and out of the EU and Schengen zone.

EES means automated passport scans at EU external borders, which will increase security and tighten up controls of the 90-day rule – you can find a full explanation of how they work HERE.

But the system is aimed at tourists and those making short visits to France – not non-EU citizens who live in France or second-home owners with visas, and there had been questions around how those groups would use the new system.

Now the European Commission has confirmed that EES does not apply for non-EU citizens who are living in France, telling us: “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.”

What this means in practice is that foreigners living in France cannot use the new automated passport gates that will be introduced with EES in May 2023.

The reason for this is that the automated passport gates only give the option to show a passport – it is not possible to also show a carte de séjour residency permit or a visa.

The automated system also counts how long people have stayed in France or the EU, and whether they have exceeded their 90 day limit – since residents are naturally exempt from the 90-day rule, they need to avoid the 90-day ‘clock’ beginning when they enter the EU.

A Commission spokesman said: “EES is an automated IT system for registering non-EU nationals travelling for a short stay, each time they cross the external borders of European countries using the system (exemptions apply, see FAQ section).

“This concerns travellers who require a short-stay visa and those who do not need a visa. Refusals of entry are also recorded in the system. Non-EU citizens residing in the EU are not in the scope of the EES and will not be subject to pre-enrollment of data in the EES via self-service systems. The use of automation remains under the responsibility of the Member States and its availability in border crossing points is not mandatory.”

The French Interior Ministry confirmed to The Local that people who have either a French visa or a carte de séjour should not use the automated gates – instead they should go to a manned gate and present their passport and residency papers together, in order to avoid the entry stamp.

For more information on EES for foreigners living in France click HERE. If you are a second-home owner click HERE

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STRIKES

French airline staff threaten strikes over Christmas

Unions representing cabin crew on several airlines have threatened to take strike action over the Christmas holidays in a series of increasingly bitter pay disputes.

French airline staff threaten strikes over Christmas

Cabin crew for Air France have already outlined dates for possible strike days, while unions representing staff at Easyjet and Ryanair are threatening “massive disruption” unless their demands are met.

The SNPNC-FO union, which represents cabin crew working in France, is calling for pay increases for its members working for budget airline Easyjet, warning that if no agreement is reached there will be a “very high risk” of walk-outs over Christmas.

Strikes, prices and services – what you need to know about travel over Christmas 2022

No exact dates have been proposed yet, but the union says that the current pay offer does not cover the rising cost of living, adding “the management will be responsible for the disruptions suffered by our customers”.

Cabin crew at Air France have filed a provisional strike notice from December 22nd to January 2nd, although whether staff actually walk out depends on how the pay negotiations go.

“This notice should serve as a warning to our management,” explains a union leaflet. “If this warning is not heeded, only a strong mobilisation will be able to tip the balance.”

So far the only confirmed strike action is at Air Antilles and Air Guyane – which mostly run flights between France and the Caribbean and French Guyana. Their staff will be walking out between December 17th and December 22nd, unless there is a breakthrough in pay negotiations. 

Ryanair crew working in Belgium have also threatened strike action over Christmas, although so far their French colleagues have not revealed any strike plans. 

Things look better for rail and ferry travel, with no strikes currently planned – although anyone with a trip to the UK planned should be aware of strike days planned by British rail staff over the Christmas and New Year period.

French airport ground staff and air traffic controllers won themselves a pay rise after strike action over the summer holidays. 

You can find all the latest strike information for France on our strikes page HERE.

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