Do we have to carry our passports all the time?

I believe French people have to carry their identity card with them at all times – what should expats do – carry their passport? Is there an alternative as I am afraid of losing it? DB


LEGALLY you have to be able to prove your identity at all times – for example, if asked to do so by a police officer – but not necessarily with an identity card. Other valid documents include a driving licence or passport, carte vitale or elector’s card.

A spokesman for the Préfecture de Police de Paris said they recommend if you are not French that you carry a photocopy of your passport and leave your passport at home.

If you are not French and live in France you should also in theory be able to prove legal residence if asked, so people who are of non-French or non-EU nationality should for example carry their carte de séjour.

In practice, however you can only be asked for this in very limited circumstances

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