International Travel

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France

France
French Republic
Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism.

Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in France. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to France:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and large crowded public venues.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to any ongoing police action.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for France.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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Embassy Messages

Alerts

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

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) 43-12-47-54
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax: +(33)(4) 91-55-56-95

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.

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheets on France and Monaco for additional information.

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 the written consent of at least one parent or legal guardianto leave France. The minor must travel with his or her own I.D., a copy of the parent/guardian’s I.D., and form number 15646*01, executed by the parent/guardian and available here.
  • If you are transiting through France to South Africa, there are special requirements for minors. See Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements for South Africa for additional information.

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, 888 17th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington D.C. 20006, 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.

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

Find information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction customs regulations on our websites.

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 recently enacted a new counterterrorism law as a result of the terrorist attacks of 2015.
  • The new law 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.
  • French police and military routinely patrol public spaces. You should expect security inspections at the entrance to large public venues and businesses.

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.
  • Alerts issued regarding demonstrations are posted on the U.S. Mission’s website.

Crime: The majority of crimes directed against foreign visitors, including U.S. citizens, involve pick-pocketing, vehicle and 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. Rental cars are frequently targeted for break-ins when visitors exit their vehicles and leave valuables behind.
  • 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, which are present in France. In the last year, the Embassy has assisted multiple victims who appear to have been targeted using these 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
  • guide 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, Enjoy Paris Safely, 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
  • provide you with names and addresses of specific victims’ assistance organizations in the U.S.

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

For further information:

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 U.S., 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.

Flying Drones: It is against the law in France to operate drones in urban areas, and near airports, military bases, prisons, nuclear plants, and large gatherings such as outdoor concerts and parades. Violators can be arrested and subject to fines of up to 75,000 euros and/or one year imprisonment. Review the information sheet provided by the French government concerning hobbyist drone flights.

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.

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. Be sure to obtain a “Feuille de Soins” for later reimbursement from your health care provider.
  • 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.

The U.S. government does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: 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 (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of France to ensure the medication is legal in France. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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.

Pedestrian 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. Children over four years of age must have a ticket.
  • 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.

See our road safety page for more information. Visit thewebsite of the French National Tourist Office’s and national authority responsible for road safety. See Embassy of France’s 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 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.”)

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in France.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.”

Last Updated: February 16, 2018

Travel Advisory Levels

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, enter zero "0" after the automated greeting
Fax
+(33)(1) 42-66-97-83: +(33)(1)42-61-61-40 (Special Consular Services)

France Map