Entering France as a U.S. citizen

Unfortunately, there’s no one-word answer on whether you need to obtain a visa to enter France. Like a lot of countries which have links with the U.S., the rules are cloudy at times and what might be the case for some individuals, might not occur for others.

In fact, the issue of entering France is a whole topic in itself. Bearing this in mind, we’ll now mull over the details you need to take into account before you make your journey to Europe.


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Do you need a passport to enter France?

While the Visa question might have several answers, when it comes to your passport no such problems exist.

In simple terms, any U.S. citizen wishing to travel to the country must own a valid passport. When we talk about a ‘valid passport’, it’s worth highlighting the definition of this. It means that it must have at least three months remaining beyond your departure from the country. It should be noted that this ‘three month’ rule is relevant to the whole of the Schengen area, if you are extending your visiting to other parts of it.


What about emergency passports?

Some U.S. citizens may hope to travel to the country on one of the 12-page emergency passports, which are issued by embassies and consulates which are based abroad.

We should highlight that strictly speaking, this is not a document which is recognized by France. As such, you may not be allowed entry by using this.


What else is required of U.S. citizens?

As well as a valid passport, there are several other requirements that France places on U.S. citizens.

Firstly, visitors must be able to explain the purpose of their visit. Most of the time this will revolve around business or leisure, although some might be asked for finer details depending on the scale of the check.

As well as this, all visitors must be able to explain how they are intending to support themselves for the duration of their stay, whilst also detailing any accommodation they have arranged. Ultimately, it means that if you are visiting France, you should have thoroughly planned your trip to guard against any problems at the border.


What about the visa?

Well, we still don’t have a definite answer and in general whether you need one will depend on a whole host of factors. Usually, these surround your nationality, how long you intend to stay in France and on some occasions, the reasons behind your trip might be taken into account. In relation to the duration of your stay, if you are staying for less than 90 days you won’t tend to need a tourist visa.

Before travel, you will need to contact the French Consulate to see if you actually require a visa. From this point on, they will be your point of contact and any request for a visa must go through them. This is an important note to make, as a common misconception is that a visa should be requested from the Embassy.