Entering France via Land Border - Need Stamp on UK Passport?

Travel Forums Europe Entering France via Land Border - Need Stamp on UK Passport?

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1. Posted by Groundhopper123 (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi there - my apologies if this has already been asked somewhere but have had a bit of a trawl and couldn't find anything on this specifically so can I ask if anyone has experience of getting their UK passport stamped after entering France from elsewhere within Schengen?

I'm planning a multi-stage trip where I fly out from the UK into Amsterdam, spend a few days in Belgium then take the Eurostar back to the UK from Lille.

The info on the Welcome to France website (link here: https://www.welcometofrance.com/en/sheet/schengen-area) is a bit unclear, at the top it says that once you enter a Schengen member state you can move around freely (always my basic understanding of Schengen), however further down it states that:

"Upon entering French territory, non-EU/EEA/Swiss foreign nationals arriving from another Schengen country must declare themselves to the French authorities (border police, police station or gendarmerie) unless they can produce a residence permit valid for more than one year issued by another Schengen country.
A stamp stating the date of entry into France is then applied to the foreign national’s passport."

I'm aware that France has temporarily suspended its participation in some of the provisions around Schengen and border controls (see article below) so is this the reason they want to stamp your passport?

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/6-schengen-area-countries-have-now-extended-their-border-controls-for-another-half-year/

Would anyone with experience of this sort of journey be able to confirm whether or not I need a stamp - and indeed how much of a faff it is to get one? I'm planning on getting the train from Belgium to France so would the police board to check/stamp people's passports anyway? My French isn't great so my stress levels are rising at the thought of wandering into a random police station in Lille and asking for a passport stamp - or indeed getting grief at border control when I try to get on the Eurostar at the end of it all...

Many thanks in advance :)

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6379 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

First of all, schengenvisainfo isn't an official site and is best avoided when seeking info about entry requirements. Use official websites.

The official UK government website below makes it clear that you should get your passport stamped on entry to the Netherlands. That means going to a passport (border) officer's desk and not using e-gates. In the highly unlikely event of the officer not stamping your passport just explain why you need him/her to do so. Dutch passport officers are fluent in English.

>Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through the Netherlands as a visitor. Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/netherlands/entry-requirements

You'll see that the same advice is given in entry requirements for France (and the other Schengen countries):

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements

ETIAS (the e-visa waiver for non-EU/EAA/Schengen nationals) was intended to remove the need for passport stamps for citizenships allowed to enter Schengen countries without a full visa. It was supposed to be in place in May this year but was delayed until November and is now more likely to start in 2024.

> I'm planning on getting the train from Belgium to France so would the police board to check/stamp people's passports anyway?

In the Schengen area of free movement police don't board trains (or buses) for random document checks on all passengers. They only board if they are looking for a specific person or group of people. The whole idea of Schengen was to do away with the idea of 'showing your papers' as a norm. UK citizens once benefited from that philosophy but because of Brexit we are now on a par with all the other 'third country citizens'.

Whilst I always urge people to make an attempt to speak at least a little of the language in any country they're visiting, all officials in EU/Schengen countries have at least some English and a large majority are pretty fluent......so you really, really don't need to stress about it.

Don't worry. It'll be fine. :-)

3. Posted by Groundhopper123 (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thank you for your kind reply :) Think I've been guilty of slightly over-researching this, it's rare I miss an opportunity to stress unnecessarily! Very much agree with you on making the effort to speak the language of the country you're visiting, I do actually speak a fair bit of Dutch (though as you say the Dutch are very good at English - almost frustratingly so from my perspective!), it's just my French that's very iffy, so in the v unlikely event of no stamp at Schiphol I'm sure that would be resolved.

4. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6379 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

>Think I've been guilty of slightly over-researching this, it's rare I miss an opportunity to stress unnecessarily!

Been there, done that!!

If there were any such requirement it would definitely be mentioned on the FCO entry requirements page. They're pretty good at updating the info as required.

And, logically, I very much doubt that French police want hundreds/thousands of non-Schengen/non-EU tourists wandering into police stations asking to 'register'. I suspect they have more pressing matters to deal with....especially at the moment!

I'm sure it'll all be fine. Enjoy your trip!