Foreign travel advice

France

Summary

Information and advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe, following the result of the EU referendum.

There have recently been a number of violent demonstrations against the police in the suburbs of Saint Denis to the north of Paris. On 15 February 2017, related demonstrations in north-eastern Paris also turned violent. Be vigilant and take extra care if you’re in the area. Follow police advice and stay well away from any protests.

There is a high threat from terrorism. Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups, and recent French military intervention against Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), the French government has warned the public to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.

The French government has extended the national state of emergency until 15 July 2017. Check the French government’s advice about what to do if a terrorist attack occurs. See Terrorism

The French government has launched a free smartphone app to alert users about possible security incidents, including all major natural, technological and terrorist-related risks. Users will be able to view alerts for up to eight geographical areas. The app, called SAIP (Système d’alerte et d’information des populations), is available in English and French. You can download the app by entering the term ‘SAIP’ in the Apple App store or Google Play.

From 16 January 2017, all vehicles – including motorbikes – driving in central Paris from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday will need to display a special ‘pollution sticker’. If you have a vehicle registered in France, you can apply for a sticker now on the French Ministry of Environment website.

Some older vehicles don’t qualify for a sticker at all due to their high emissions; these vehicles can’t be driven in central Paris at all from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday. See this table for more information. For vehicles registered outside France, a special website (in English) will be available to submit applications from early February 2017.

There remain some migrants in and around Calais, who may seek to enter the UK illegally. There are reports of obstacles being placed on to the road and items being thrown at vehicles on the approach to Calais Port from the A16 motorway. If this happens you should keep moving where it’s safe to do so, or stop and call 112 if it’s not safe to proceed. Keep vehicle doors locked in slow moving traffic in and around Calais, and secure your vehicle when it’s left unattended.

If you’re crossing the Channel, check the website of your chosen operator before you set off. In the event of any disruption, information about alternative routes and operators is available via this interactive map.

Around 17 million British nationals visit France every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The most common problem reported is pick-pocketing. See Safety and security

You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired. Some medical costs aren’t covered by the EHIC so you should also take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. See Health

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

The Emergency phone number in France is 112.