Customs in France

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May 18, 2019
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#1
I am currently a US citizen studying for a year in the UK under a T4 student visa. Unfortunately, during recent travel, I lost my US passport and had to get a replacement emergency passport from the US embassy in Madrid. I’m trying to get a full validity US passport by May 20, which is the date of a scheduled flight from London to France, but I doubt this will happen, as my application is still processing. I was wondering if I will have any trouble trying to enter France with a US emergency passport if I have a visa letter from the Cannes Film Festival requesting I be welcomed into the country. If I am not allowed into France, would I be forced back to London? If I wasn't allowed into France, I was hoping to instead fly to Italy and take a train in to France that way.

I'd appreciate any help you can provide.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#3
France and Italy are both in the EU (as is the UK for now). The entrance requirements are the same. Did you have an issue when you returned to the UK from Spain? If you cannot enter France (the US State Dept is the one to answer this question) you would be denied entrance into Italy as well. You need the necessary documentation to enter France. Have you gone to a French consulate in the UK to ask them?
 

Michelle Couch-Friedman

Administrator
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Sep 19, 2015
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#4
What you are trying to do is fly from a non-Schengen area (UK) to a Schengen area (France, Italy, etc) in Europe. You will likely be stopped at check-in in the UK unless your US Passport has a minimum of 90 days validity from your return flight out of the Schengen area. Here is an article we recently published explaining the requirements to enter the Schengen area and the implications if you somehow arrive in one of these countries without the required entry documentation: Welcome to Switzerland! Now you're going to jail.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
France and Italy are both in the EU (as is the UK for now). The entrance requirements are the same. Did you have an issue when you returned to the UK from Spain? If you cannot enter France (the US State Dept is the one to answer this question) you would be denied entrance into Italy as well. You need the necessary documentation to enter France. Have you gone to a French consulate in the UK to ask them?
Yes UK is in EU but not part of Schengen so it does not come in as “clean” ie no immigration.

Also be aware that France occasionally has passport controls for Schengen flights because of terrorism concerns. I have experienced that.
 
Aug 29, 2018
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#6
France and Italy are both in the EU (as is the UK for now).
Strictly speaking, that is not relevant. Thew applicable treaty is the 1985 Schengen Agreement, which established a common union for international border checks. The United Kingdom is not a participant in Schengen; which is why one needs to pass immigration when taking the Eurostar trains out of London, or when one flies between the UK and Schengen Area countries.

Other countries, such as Switzerland and Norway, are members of the Schengen Agreement but are not members of the EU.
 
May 18, 2019
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#7
To clarify, my emergency passport is brand-new and is accepted by most countries, with France being a notable exception. The U.S. embassy had suggested I wouldn't have any problems going from another Schengen country into France as opposed to from the UK to France.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#8
To clarify, my emergency passport is brand-new and is accepted by most countries, with France being a notable exception. The U.S. embassy had suggested I wouldn't have any problems going from another Schengen country into France as opposed to from the UK to France.
Then your question was already answered. It would seem from the information you were given by the US embassy that you do not have a document allowing entrance into France. Therefore attempting to fly to France from the UK would likely lead to denied boarding on the flight, or a forced return to the UK from France. If you have further questions you need to address them to the French embassy or consulate where you are.
 
Apr 1, 2018
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#9
You could go to a Schengen country where your passport accepted, clear passport control there and then go to France where shouldn't have to go through passport control again.
 
May 18, 2019
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#11
Thank you everyone for your input. The embassies have been fairly difficult to be in contact with, so I wanted to try my chances here. I appreciate your time.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Thank you everyone for your input. The embassies have been fairly difficult to be in contact with, so I wanted to try my chances here. I appreciate your time.
I just checked on Timatic -- and a US temporary passport on an itinerary UK TO Spain came up as not eligible -- which means that you may be denied, as many airlines use Timatic to see if one is eligible. Italy came back as a no. Airlines do not want to take the risk of having to pay for return trip and being fined.
 
Mar 18, 2019
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#13
I just checked on Timatic -- and a US temporary passport on an itinerary UK TO Spain came up as not eligible -- which means that you may be denied, as many airlines use Timatic to see if one is eligible. Italy came back as a no. Airlines do not want to take the risk of having to pay for return trip and being fined.
You need both an opinion from the American Citizen Services at the Embassy or Consulate General, and you ALSO need an opinion from Timatic. The Embassy is likely the expert on what documents the foreign country will actually accept, but Timatic is the expert on whether the airline will actually allow you on the plane. Even if you have technically acceptable documents, you're going to have a seriously hard time getting on the plane if Timatic says they aren't.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
You need both an opinion from the American Citizen Services at the Embassy or Consulate General, and you ALSO need an opinion from Timatic. The Embassy is likely the expert on what documents the foreign country will actually accept, but Timatic is the expert on whether the airline will actually allow you on the plane. Even if you have technically acceptable documents, you're going to have a seriously hard time getting on the plane if Timatic says they aren't.
Yes that is why I looked at Timatic -- and note some of the airline websites give a baby-timatic -- while others give a more full one, with many different types of passports -- such as regular, diplomatic, temporary etc. And by using temporary it came up as a no, even with expiration date past 6 months of departure.

And since Timatic is what most, if not all airlines use, it could get very difficult.

I am actually surprised that the Embassy told the OP that it would be okay to go through X country -- a staff member from a foreign government should not be mentioning this -- they should tell the person to check with the government that would actually accept them when it comes to any sort of irregularity. And in the end, it is up to the foreign immigration official to decide if a temporary limited validity passport is acceptable -- assuming one can get on the airplane.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#15
This is what the US Embassy in Tokyo says:

An emergency passport issued by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo is limited to one year or less, and does not have an embedded electronic chip.

CAUTION: Some countries may not accept an emergency passport and you could be refused entry by immigration officials or denied boarding by airline personnel. You should check with the immigration authorities of any country you plan to visit—other than the United States—to confirm that this passport will be accepted.

https://jp.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/emergency-passport-services/
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#16
This is what the US Embassy in Tokyo says:

An emergency passport issued by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo is limited to one year or less, and does not have an embedded electronic chip.

CAUTION: Some countries may not accept an emergency passport and you could be refused entry by immigration officials or denied boarding by airline personnel. You should check with the immigration authorities of any country you plan to visit—other than the United States—to confirm that this passport will be accepted.

https://jp.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/emergency-passport-services/
What does Tokyo have to do with this?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#17
What does Tokyo have to do with this?
Here is one US Embassy (Japan) telling people to contact the countries one wants to visit and warning people that a temporary passport may not be accepted and one may not be able to get on the airline

versus what the OP reports being told by the US Embassy visited for the renewal passport (post #7):

The U.S. embassy had suggested I wouldn't have any problems going from another Schengen country into France as opposed to from the UK to France.

The OP was not warned that the airlines may not accept the Temporary Passport, while the US embassy in Tokyo does present this as a possible hurdle.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#19
That’s why he may have to contact the US embassy in France.
Or the French Embassy where located — or Embassy of Italy or wherever the flight may land.

The US Embassies may not know the most up to date on what France is doing with irregular foreign passports—.

France even occasionally has document checks within Schengen if there is a terrorism concern —
 
Feb 3, 2019
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#20
Both the State Department's international travel website and that of the U.S. Embassy in Paris are quite clear:

"The 12-page U.S. emergency passport is not valid for visa-free entry into France. If traveling on this emergency passport, you may be refused boarding and/or entry by immigration officials. Only direct transit through France for a destination in the United States is permitted with an emergency passport."

https://travel.state.gov/content/tr...-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html
https://fr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/

I am actually surprised that the Embassy told the OP that it would be okay to go through X country
To be fair, we have no idea what U.S. Embassy staff told OP, who stated only:

The U.S. embassy had suggested I wouldn't have any problems going from another Schengen country into France as opposed to from the UK to France.
The use of "suggested" is interesting here, but it doesn't sound like staff actually advocated that approach. It's entirely possible OP asked if they knew of anyone having problems entering France through a third country, and staff simply said they hadn't heard anyting.

At any rate, the ultimate authority here is French immigration, not the State Department.

As OP was due to fly today, I suppose whatever they chose, they may have their answer by now...