Once you’ve decided to visit France, your mind is already in a small café on a cobblestoned street sipping a café au lait—but you need to get a few things in order before the rest of your body can join you.
According to France passport requirements, the expiration date on your passport must exceed your return travel date by at least three months. And, your passport must have at least one blank page for an entry stamp. Upon arrival, you may also be asked to provide an onward or return ticket, as well as evidence of funds to cover the cost of your time in the country.
France Passport Requirements
France passport requirements state that a valid U.S. passport is necessary to enter the country, and it must have one blank page for an entry stamp and three month’s validity beyond the departure date. Check these two things on your passport when you book your ticket to allow for plenty of time for a renewal, if needed. Upon arrival, you may also be asked to show an onward or return ticket and evidence of funds to cover the cost of your stay.
France (along with 25 other European countries) is a party to the Schengen Agreement, and, therefore, requires passports to be valid for at least three months (though six months is recommended) beyond your date of departure. You can travel between the countries within the Schengen area without having to show a passport, but will need to have one when returning home or crossing into another European country not part of the Schengen agreement.
Countries party to the Schengen agreement include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
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How to Get a Passport Book for Travel to France
Apply for a passport as soon as international travel is confirmed. The cost will be greater if applying for a passport within two weeks of travel time, because you will need an expedited application. You can learn more about the requirements and documents needed to obtain a U.S. passport here.
What to Do if You Lose Your Passport in France
Take every precaution to keep your passport secure, such as carrying it in a hidden passport holder, keeping it locked in a safe, and emailing copies to yourself or a loved one before traveling.
If you do lose your passport, report the loss immediately to the U.S. Embassy Paris.
Other France Travel Requirements
Visa: No for U.S. citizens, up to 90 days
So, Do I Need a Passport to Visit France?
In summary: Yes. France passport requirements state that you must have a U.S. passport that will remain valid for at least three months after your travel dates and contains at least one blank page for an entry stamp. You must also need to show proof of return or onward travel, along with sufficient funds for your trip.
More Information When Visiting France
The U.S. Department of State provides detailed information, including travel advisories and passport validity requirements, to your destination.
France Tourism is a great resource for things to do and places to stay, as well as everything you need to know before you go when planning a trip to France.
Protect Your Passport
On travel days, only take your passport out during inspection. Otherwise, keep it stowed away in a dedicated section of your bag (if you keep it in the same place every time, you won’t ever scramble to locate it). Once you arrive at your destination, find a way to stow it securely. In-room safes or safe deposit boxes at the hotel front desk are generally good options, but if neither is available, you’ll need to decide how to keep your passport secure. You might consider keeping it in an under-clothing money belt that you wear, or leaving it in the hotel or vacation rental but locking it in your suitcase with a TSA-approved lock.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.