New online portal for French travel pass for under-18s

The French interior ministry has announced the creation of an online system to allow foreigners in France aged under 18 to get a pass for travel.

New online portal for French travel pass for under-18s
Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP

All non-EU citizens living in France (which now includes Brits as well as other non-EU nations like Australia, Canada and the USA) need either a visa or a residency permit.

The exception to this is under 18s. Children under the age of 18 do not need a residency permit and in most cases are not able to apply for one.

However, proof of residency can be useful when travelling (for example at certain points during the pandemic non-residents were not allowed into France), especially for older children who are travelling without their families.

The French government therefore allows under 18s to apply for a document known as a Document de circulation pour étrangers mineurs (DCEM) – circulation document for non-EU minors.

The document is not required for travel, it is simply intended to make it easier for minor to prove their residency status if needed. Around 60,000 are issued or renewed every year, according to the Interior Ministry. 

The pass itself is not new, but now instead of going to the préfecture, families can apply for the document online – part of the French government’s gradual move of all residency paperwork online.

Parents or legal guardians make the application on behalf of the child, and you can now do so HERE.

You fill in the online form and upload supporting documents.

Once the application is processed, you will then only need to go to the préfecture to pick up the document.

The document is valid for five years and can be renewed.

Once children reach the age of 18 they need to apply for their own residency document.

In the case of UK nationals who were living in France before December 31st 2020, they continue to benefit from the Withdrawal Agreement, but can no longer use the post-Brexit online portal to apply, instead they must make their application at their local préfecture – more details here

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