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Consular Notification and Access

English

Contact Info for Foreign Embassies & Consulates

France

Country Information

France
French Republic
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

Must have at least one blank page for stamps

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under 90 days

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

10,000 Euros Max

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

10,000 Euros Max

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Paris

2 Avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris
France
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33) (1) 43-12-22-22, enter zero “0” after the automated greeting
Fax: +(33)(1) 42-66-97-83; +(33)(1) 42-61-61-40 (Special Consular Services)

Only the consular sections in Paris and Marseille are authorized to issue passports. The other offices provide limited services to U.S. citizens.

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Marseille
Place Varian Fry
13286 Marseille Cedex 6
France
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-48-85
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax: +(33)(4) 91-55-09-47; +(33)(1) 43-12-47-54 (American Citizen Services)

U.S. Consulate General Strasbourg
15, Avenue d'Alsace
67082 Strasbourg Cedex
France
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-48-80
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax: (33)(3) 88-24-06-95

When calling from within France, drop the country code and add a zero. For example: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22 becomes 01-43-12-22-22.

Please note that the emergency after-hours telephone number for all U.S. posts in France is: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22. Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance after business hours.

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on France for information on U.S.-France relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

France is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Visit the Embassy of France website for the most current visa and entry requirement information. 

Passports must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.

  • The Government of France does not recognize the 12-page U.S. emergency passport, issued by U.S. embassies and consulates overseas, as a valid travel document for visa-free travel, and, if traveling on this emergency passport, you may be refused boarding and/or entry by immigration officials.
  • You may enter France for up to 90 days for tourist and business purposes without a visa.
  • Immigration officers may also request you show sufficient funds for your intended stay and a return airline ticket.
  • If you are traveling to France or Monaco for reasons other than business or tourism – such as employment, study, or internship – you must obtain the appropriate French or Monegasque (Monaco) visa for that purpose before you leave the United States. You should be aware that it is nearly impossible to obtain or change visa status while in France.
  • No vaccinations are required for travel to France.
  • All minors (under age 18) traveling without a parent or legal guardian and who are resident in France must have written consent of at least one parent or legal guardian to leave France. The minor must travel with his or her own I.D., a copy of the parent/guardian’s ID, and form number 15656*01, executed by the parent/guardian and available here.

Contact the French Embassy in Washington at 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007, tel. (202) 944 6000, or the French Consulate General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, or San Francisco for the most current visa information.

Special Note:  Overseas departments and territories of France (i.e. those not located in Europe) are not included in the Schengen Agreement.  Please see Country Specific Information on French Guiana, French Polynesia, and the French West Indies for entry and exit requirements.  For other departments and territories, visit the Embassy of France website for the most current visa and entry requirement information for those areas.  

Monaco: For further information on entry requirements to Monaco, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Principality of Monaco, 3400 International Drive, NW, Suite 2K-100, Washington D.C. 20008, Tel: (202) 234-1530, Email: info@monacodc.org; or the Consulate General of Monaco, 565 Fifth Avenue – 23rd floor, New York, NY 10017, Tel: (212) 286-0500, Email: info@monaco-consulate.com.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of France. 

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our customs information page

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Safety and Security

Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.

French authorities have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions for terrorist attacks in Europe.

  • France’s Parliament approved an extension of the state of emergency imposed after the terrorist attacks of 2015. The state of emergency will now remain in effect until November 1, 2017.
  • The state of emergency allows the government to prevent the circulation of individuals and to create zones of protection and security.
  • The French government has re-established border controls and movement may be restricted in some areas.
  • The Government of France routinely conducts security and crisis management drills involving deployment of security forces, emergency services, and police to high profile areas that may be near popular tourist sites. U.S. citizens should be aware of the possibility of drills, and should heed instructions of local authorities should they encounter them. 

When traveling or living in France, you should:

  • Be aware of your local security situation, and take appropriate steps to bolster your personal security.  
  • You should monitor media and local information sources, Paris Travel Information webpage, and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities. 
  • You should address specific safety concerns to French law enforcement authorities who have responsibility for the safety and security of all residents and visitors to France.

Demonstrations occur regularly. Large, public demonstrations take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstrations tend to take place on politically significant holidays and during international summits hosted in the country. 

  • Demonstration organizers must obtain prior police approval, and police routinely oversee participants.
  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. 
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates on the situation and traffic advisories.  
  • Security messages issued regarding demonstrations are now posted on the U.S. Mission’s website.

Crime: The majority of crimes directed against foreign visitors, including U.S. citizens, involve pick-pocketing, residential break-ins, bicycle theft, and other forms of theft.

  • Visitors to congested and popular tourist areas (e.g., museums, monuments, train stations, airports, and subways) should be particularly attentive to their surroundings.
  • Crimes of opportunity are more likely to involve violence on the street late at night or when the victim resists. 
  • Women should exercise extra caution when out alone at night and/or consider traveling out at night with trusted companions.
  • While the incidence of sexual assault is statistically low, attacks do occur.
  • Be aware of “date-rape” drugs. 
  • Be cautious in bars and clubs where alcohol is served, and do not leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from strangers, as they may have slipped drugs into the drink. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
  • There are high incidences of “smash and grab” robberies in economically depressed areas or on highly traveled thoroughfares such as roads to and from the airport. Thieves on foot or motorcycle will approach a vehicle that is stopped in traffic, smash a window, reach into the vehicle to grab a purse or other valuable item, and then flee. Keep doors locked and valuables out of sight.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy Paris at +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22. In Monaco, dial 17 to connect to the Police. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide the Paris Police Prefecture pamphlet in English, Paris in Complete Safety, which offers practical advice and useful telephone numbers for visitors
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in France are severe.
  • Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. 
  • In France and Monaco, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could land you immediately in jail.

See also Public Transportation information.

You should contact the Embassy of France or one of France's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our Customs Information.

  • There are strict regulations concerning temporary importation or exportation from France of items such as firearms, antiquities, medications, business equipment, merchandise samples, and other items.

French Foreign Legion: U.S. citizens interested in joining the French Foreign Legion (FFL) should be aware that the cognitive and physical tests for acceptance are extremely challenging.

  • Ensure you have access to sufficient funds to return home should your candidature be refused. 
  • Successful candidates report that the FFL provides a new identity and retains their U.S. passport during a long probation period.  Lack of access to your passport can complicate routine or emergency travel.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in France.

See our LGBTI travel information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Getting around French cities can be challenging for those with mobility issues. Many sidewalks are narrow and uneven, and cobblestone streets make access difficult, but the major tourist areas have better facilities. 

  • Although the Paris Metro is a very efficient method for traveling throughout central Paris, most stations are not readily accessible for people with disabilities. However, many Parisian buses and tramways are equipped with lowering platforms for travelers with limited-mobility, or sight- or hearing-disabled. Taxis are also a good mode of transportation.
  • The English-language Paris Visitors Bureau website contains additional information specifically designed for travelers with special mobility needs. For further information, e-mail U.S. Embassy Paris or U.S. Consulate General Marseille.

Students: See our students abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.

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Health

Dial 15 to connect to emergency medical services, or dial 112 to reach an operator.

Medical care is comparable to that found in the United States. 

  • Except for emergency services, you may be required to pay for service prior to receiving treatment in France.
  • You may be refused routine care under local law if you lack the ability to pay.
  • Foreigners with terminal illnesses may be denied treatment if treatment is available in their home country.
  • U.S. embassies and consulates do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid may not be used overseas. 

Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Roads are generally comparable to those in the United States, but traffic engineering and driving habits pose special dangers. 

  • Lane markings and sign placements may not be clear. Drivers should be prepared to make last-minute maneuvers.
  • Driving is typically faster and more aggressive than in the United States. 
  • Right-of-way rules differ from those in the United States. Unless specifically indicated otherwise, drivers entering intersections from the right have priority over those on the left, even when entering relatively large boulevards from small side streets. 
  • On major highways, there are service stations at least every 25 miles. Service stations are not as common on secondary roads in France as they are in the United States.

Traffic Laws: While French cities actively encourage bicycle rentals through widely available city-sponsored systems, you should be cautious, especially in a busy and unfamiliar urban environment. Helmets are neither required nor readily available near rental stations. If you plan to ride a bicycle in France, you should bring your own helmet.

Pedetrian accidents occur when a pedestrian steps out into the street, often when a car or motorcycle is making a turn through a pedestrian crosswalk. Pedestrians should be cautious and aware of traffic even when they have a green walking signal since this is no guarantee against aggressive drivers.

Public Transportation: Paris has an extensive and efficient public transportation system. The interconnecting system of buses, subways, and commuter rails is comparable to or better than that found in major U.S. cities. Similar transportation systems are found in all major French cities.

  • If you use any of France’s excellent public transportation services, take particular care to retain your used or “validated” ticket, until you exit the bus, subway or train station completely. 
  • Inspectors conduct intermittent, random checks, and passengers who fail to present the correct validated ticket are subject to stiff and immediate fines.
  • Inspectors may show no interest in explanations and no sympathy for an honest mistake. Failure to cooperate with inspectors may result in arrest.

Between cities, France has extensive rail service which is safe and reliable.  High-speed rail links connect the major cities in France. Many cities are also served by frequent air service. Traveling by train is safer than driving.

Please refer to our road safety page for more information. We suggest that you also visit the French National Tourist Office’s website for specific information on French driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance. See U.S. Embassy Paris’ driving in France webpage for information on using U.S. driver’s licenses in France.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of France’s ’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of France’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to France should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website (select “broadcast warnings.”)

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Paris

2 Avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris
France
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33) (1) 43-12-22-22, enter zero “0” after the automated greeting
Fax: +(33)(1) 42-66-97-83; +(33)(1) 42-61-61-40 (Special Consular Services)

Only the consular sections in Paris and Marseille are authorized to issue passports. The other offices provide limited services to U.S. citizens.

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Marseille
Place Varian Fry
13286 Marseille Cedex 6
France
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-48-85
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax: +(33)(4) 91-55-09-47; +(33)(1) 43-12-47-54 (American Citizen Services)

U.S. Consulate General Strasbourg
15, Avenue d'Alsace
67082 Strasbourg Cedex
France
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-48-80
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax: (33)(3) 88-24-06-95

When calling from within France, drop the country code and add a zero. For example: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22 becomes 01-43-12-22-22.

Please note that the emergency after-hours telephone number for all U.S. posts in France is: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22. Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance after business hours.

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General Information

France and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since July 1, 1988.

For information concerning travel to France, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements for U.S. citizens, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for France.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues, facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including France.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221

Website: travel.state.gov

The French Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés.  The Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés forwards completed Hague applications to the appropriate Public Prosecutor attached to the civil court of general jurisdiction in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides.  The Prosecutor brings the case on behalf of France.  Parents or legal guardians and other parties (e.g., the child) have the right to their own counsel.  The French Central Authority can be reached at:

Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés
Direction des Affaires Civiles et du Sceau
13, Place Vendôme
75042 PARIS Cedex 01
France
Telephone: +33 (1) 4477 6105 / 6380
Fax: +33 (1) 4477 6122
E-mail : entraide-civile-internationale@justice.gouv.fr
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in France, a parent or legal guardian is encouraged to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.  It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into French.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  Any competent person or organization may translate the documents.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or the French Central Authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, France.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in France.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

In a Hague Abduction Convention case, the French Central Authority will assign a Public Prosecutor to present the case to the court, and it is not mandatory for a petitioner to retain a private attorney. The Public Prosecutor, however, does not represent the left-behind parent who submitted the Hague Abduction Convention application; the Prosecutor represents the French Republic and submits the request for return on behalf of the French Central Authority. The parent or legal guardian who has submitted the application may hire a private attorney in France to join the Prosecutor in presenting the Hague Abduction Convention case. A privately hired attorney should contact the French Central Authority as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the French Central Authority. The privately hired attorney should continue to keep both the U.S. and the French Central Authority apprised of any further actions taken in the case.

The U.S. Embassy in Paris, France, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The French Central Authority promotes mediation in abduction cases and will attempt to initiate mediation in most Hague Abduction Convention cases.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

France is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between France and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

France is not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. There are few children eligible for adoption in France, with a long waiting list of French prospective adoptive parents. Most intercountry adoptions in France are by legal residents of France who adopt in third countries.

While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a French orphan by foreigners is unlikely. No French orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas in the past five fiscal years. The information provided is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from France, including adoptions of French children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in France.

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and France is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from France, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, France also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: A foreigner who resides outside of France, and wishes to complete an intercountry adoption of a child residing in France, does not need to establish residency in France. A foreigner who wishes to adopt a child, whether in France or elsewhere, for the purpose of residing in France with the child, must be a permanent resident of France.
  • AGE AND MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: For domestic and intercountry adoptions, a couple must be married for a minimum of two years or, if married less than two years, both spouses must be at least 28 years old. A single person can adopt provided he/she is at least 28 years old; however, in practice, it is very difficult to get approval. There is no age limit if one of the spouses wishes to adopt the other spouse's child. There is no age maximum. Adopting parents must be at least 15 years older than the child they want to adopt (10 years in the case of the other spouse's child).
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS:Prospective parents must prove that they can provide for the child but there is no minimum income requirement.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: None.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because France is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from France must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that France attempt to place a child with a family in France before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to France's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.

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How to Adopt

WARNING: France is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in France before a U.S. consular officer issues an "Article 5 Letter." Read on for more information.

France's Central Authority 
Since January 2009, the Central Authority for adoptions in France is the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

THE PROCESS

Because France is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from France must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: The information provided is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from France, including adoptions of French children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in France.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in France
  6. Bring your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider: 

    The first step in adopting a child from France is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and France. We provide a list of Accredited Adoption Service Providers on our website.
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Eligibility Requirements.

    Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in France. France's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under France's law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and France determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in France may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities.

    If the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he or she will send a letter (an "Article 5 Letter") to the French Central Authority. Do not adopt or obtain custody of a child in France before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter. 

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in France:

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in France, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in France.

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in France generally includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: American citizens interested in or considering adopting a child in France should consult the website of the Agence Française de l'Adoption, provided in the section under "Contact Information."
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: Prospective parents must file for adoption at the Tribunal de Grande Instance having jurisdiction over their place of residence. Although it is not mandatory, it is advisable to retain a lawyer. The court has six months to determine if the conditions for adoption have been respected and if the adoption is in the best interest of the child. Once adoption is granted, the prosecutor asks the city hall of the adoptee's place of birth to record the adoption. There is no indication of the biological parents.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: In cases of domestic adoption, prospective parents deal directly with social services. Other adoption agencies specialize in international adoption.
    • TIME FRAME: Intercountry adoption in France is a lengthy process, sometimes taking several years. The domestic adoption process takes about a year on average.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Necessary documents are generally prepared by an attorney.
    • ADOPTION FEES: There are no "adoption fees" in France but adopting parents often hire an attorney to assist them with the administrative and legal proceedings.
    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: American citizens interested in or considering adopting a child in France or bringing a child to be adopted elsewhere to reside with them in France should consult the French government internet site provide above under Adoption Authority in France for information concerning documentary requirements.

      IMPORTANT VISA REQUIREMENTS IN ADOPTIONS FROM THIRD COUNTRIES: Americans who are legally resident in France but are considering adopting a child from a different country should first consult the country-specific information on adoption for that country. It is critical to remember, however, that in addition to meeting U.S. legal requirements, such children adopted from a third country must also have a French visa to enter and reside in France. Adopted children of a number of Americans have been denied entry into France because they did not have the appropriate French visas. Once in France, they will need to obtain a U.S. visa, if they choose to bring their child to the United States at a later time.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Read more on Traveling Abroad to learn about Authenticating U.S. Documents.

  6. Bring Your Child Home

    Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
       You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

      The city hall of the adoptee's place of birth will issue a birth certificate with the names of the adoptive parents.

    • French Passport 
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from France. You can request a passport for your child at the city hall in Paris (Mairies d'Arrondissement) or at the prefectures and sous-préfectures outside Paris.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for a U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child. Read more about the Medical Examination.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave France. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign France that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for France, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in France, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does France require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

France has no requirements of the adoptive parents after the adoption.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

The French Central Authority 
Service de l'Adoption Internationale (SAI), Autorité Centrale (International Adoption Service, Central Authority)
Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes (Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs)
244 boulevard Saint-Germain
75303 PARIS 07 SP
France
Telephone number: +33 (1) 4317 9118
Fax number: +33 (1) 4317 9344
e-mail: courrier.fae-sai@diplomatie.gouv.fr
websites: diplomatie.gouv.fr / www.adoption.gouv.fr

Embassy of France 
4101 Reservoir Road, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Telephone: (202) 944-6000
Fax: (202) 944-6166
http://www.info-france-usa.org/

France has Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.

Office of Children's Issues 
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about intercountry adoption and related immigration procedures, call the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC)
1-877-3424-8374

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 36 Months
A-2 None Multiple 36 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 A None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 A None Multiple 60 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 36 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 24 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

The Treaty which entered into force on December 21, 1960, applies only to mainland France and the departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion.

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Note: If it is claimed that an original record was made in a territory devastated during the war, positive proof of the non-existence of the record may be obtained from the appropriate authorities in the form of a letter or certificate.

The form of a document often varies according to the district in which they are issued. They are sometimes typed, but frequently written in longhand, and all of them, except military discharge, bear appropriate fee stamps, as well as the signature and seal of the issuing authority. Fraud in the issuance of such documents is rare.

The foregoing information applies to all departments of France, regardless of location.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available.

  • For persons born in France, 'Extraits de Naissance' are obtainable from la Mairie (Office of the Mayor) at the place of birth.
  • For French nationals born in a foreign country, they are available from the Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, Service de l'Etat Civil, 20 Allee Brancas, 44 - Nantes.
  • For French nationals born in a French colony, they may be obtained from the Direction des Archives de France, Section Outre-Mer, 5 Bd. Barthou, BP 1056, 44035 Cedex Nantes
  • A request for a certificate should contain the applicant's full name at the time of birth; date and place of birth; father's full name; mother's full name at the time of applicant's birth and applicant's place of residence. A request should be accompanied by a self-addressed (unstamped) envelope.


Death/Burial

Available. (Acte de Deces) Obtainable from the Office of the Mayor (la Mairie) of the place where the death occurred. A request for such record should be accompanied by a self-addressed envelope and an amount sufficient to cover return postage. Payment for the return postage should be made by money order.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available. Marriage certificates (Copie intégrale de l'Acte de Mariage) may be obtained from the office of the Mayor (la Mairie) of the town in which the marriage took place. A request for such record should be accompanied by a self-addressed envelope and an amount sufficient to cover return postage. Same-sex marriage was made legal in France as of May 18, 2013. Note that a "Pacte Civil de Solidarité" (PACS) is not the equivalent of marriage for immigration purposes.

Same-sex have been legally recognized in France since May 18, 2013.

Divorce

Available. Certified copies of Divorce Judgment (Jugement de Divorce) may be obtained from the Greffe du Tribunal de Grande Instance where the judgment was pronounced. A request for a Divorce Judgment should be accompanied by a self-addressed envelope and an amount sufficient to cover postage.

Adoption Certificates

Available. A 'Droit de Greffe' is obtainable from the Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance or Tribunal du Domicile) where the adoption was granted. Payment outside of France should be made by an international postal money order and should include return postage. A self-addressed envelope should be included.

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Identity Card

Unavailable.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Extraits de Casier Judiciaire may be obtained by any person, regardless of nationality, who has resided in France at any time, provided such residence occurred after the age of 15 years. Persons born in France may obtain the certificates from the Greffe du Tribunal de Grande Instance at their place of birth. Persons born outside of France may obtain them from the Ministere de la Justice, Casier Judiciaire National, 107, rue du Landreau 44079 Nantes Cedex 1.

The applicant should furnish his/her full name, and any other names (including maiden), by which known, date and place of birth, father's full name, mother's maiden and married names, and place of residence.

Court Records

Available except for convictions which have been amnestied. The "Jugement" states the essential facts of the case and gives the conviction and sentence imposed, but is not a description of the entire court proceedings. If further information is required, the "grosse de jugement" should be requested. Both documents may be obtained from the Greffe du Tribunal or Palais de Justice where the conviction took place.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

Available. A military record (Certificat de Position Militaire for the Army and the Air Force and Etat Signaletique des Services for the Navy) is available to all adult male French citizens whether or not military service has been performed. A self-addressed envelope and a money order to cover the return postage should accompany the request.

Military records for the Army and the Air Force are obtainable from the Bureau de Recrutement et de la Statistique of the military district to which the person was called to report for military service, and for the Navy from the Ministere de la Marine, Paris, in the case of officers and from the Bureau Maritime du Matricule, Toulon, Var, in the case of enlisted men.

Military records are not available to persons who are not liable to military service. In the case of a person exempted from military service, the medical report can be obtained only if the personal doctor of the applicant contacts the doctor (majeur) of the Bureau de Recrutement where the applicant received his exemption.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Titre de Voyage

(Convention of July 28, 1951). The French document for refugees resident in France whose status is covered by the Geneva Convention of July 28, 1951, is written in French and English. The former "Titre d'Identite et de Voyage" requiring a return visa is now issued only to a very limited number of stateless residents or to refugees who are not covered by the Convention. Issuance of Nansen passports and types of "Titre d'Identite et de Voyage" other than the aforementioned has been discontinued.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Paris, France (Embassy)

2, avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris

Tel:33-1-43-12-22-22

Fax:01-42-61 61 40

Visa Services

All categories for France, except for the following French Overseas Departments and Territories:

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 944-6000/6195 (202) 944-6166

Atlanta, GA (404) 495-1660 (404) 495-1661

Boston, MA (617) 832-4400 (617) 542-8054

Chicago, IL (312) 327-5200 (312) 327-5201

Houston, TX (713) 572-2799 (713) 572-2911

Los Angeles, CA (310) 235-3200 (310) 235-3267

Miami, FL (305) 403-4150 (305) 403-4151

New Orleans, LA (504) 569-2870 (504) 569-2871

New York, NY (212) 606-3600 (212) 606-3620

San Francisco, CA (415) 397-4330 (415) 433-8357

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Paris
2 Avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris
France
Telephone
+(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Emergency
+(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax
+(33)(1) 42-66-97-83
France Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.