Passports & Visas
Everyone needs a valid passport to enter France unless you’re a French national with a valid national ID card.
American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Union (EU) nationals don’t need visas for visits less than 90 days (except for students planning to study in France).
A long-term visa (carte de séjour) is necessary for non-EU citizens staying longer than three months. Get this prior to departure from the French Consulate in your country of residence (be sure to plan ahead, some paperwork takes several weeks, optimistically speaking).
Contact the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the locations of French Embassy and Consulate offices throughout the world, Tel: +33(0)8 92 70 10 47 www.diplomatie.gouv.fr(multilingual site).
Although not required, traveler’s insurance is always a good idea. Shop around, since there are many different policies to suit all budgets and needs. Minimum coverage should include trip delays or cancellation (especially if you have purchased non-refundable tickets), lost luggage reimbursement, health coverage and emergency assistance. Be sure to ask if you’ll be reimbursed for flights missed due to strikes, which occur frequently in France. Check the fine print on your credit card policy, since many offer insurance coverage on travel purchases (including flights and hotel) for cancellations or lost luggage.
French doctors and hospitals don’t require patients to have insurance, but all bills must be settled immediately (and usually in cash). Be sure to get a detailed receipt for your home insurance company (it may be helpful to contact them in advance about coverage whle traveling).
Always carry prescription medications in their original packaging with a photocopy of the prescription.
Obviously a necessity if you want to rent a car or drive in France. Read more in the Getting Around section about requirements and the International Driving Permit.
If you’re a student, teacher, journalist, or senior citizen, then you’re entitled to many discounts or free entrance into museums and monuments. Be sure to have the proper ID – student card, press card, photo ID with age clearly listed, etc.