top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

UK passport not stamped on exit from France: Will this cause problems?

We continue to receive queries about passport stamping, which now applies to British visitors entering and exiting France from or to the UK. Here we look at one issue that came up for a reader

A reader reports inconsistencies in passport stamping when using the Eurotunnel service Pic: Gary Perkin / Shutterstock

Our passports were stamped when we travelled to our second home in France via Eurotunnel in July but on our return to the UK in October, also via Eurotunnel, our passports were not stamped. Should we be worried that we will be refused entry to France next time?

The main purpose of stamping the passports of non-EU visitors is to check that they have not overstayed in the Schengen area.

As a result, the standard practice is stamping on entry and exit of the area (but not at internal Schengen borders, such as between France and Spain).

Along with other issues such as the rule of not staying more than 90 days in 180, or Schengen rules on validity of passports, this requirement came in for British visitors as a result of Brexit this year. 

Read more: British passports and 10-year rule for validity for EU visits

Since you will in this case be coming from the UK, not a Schengen area country, there will be no implication that you have overstayed in the area, so we would not anticipate that this will be an issue.

We would suggest just mentioning to the border guards on returning that no stamp was made on exit after your last stay in France (mon passeport n’a pas été tamponné quand je suis retourné/e au Royaume-Uni en octobre après mon dernier séjour en France). You could also bring your travel ticket from October as proof of the date of that trip.

To avoid any confusion in future however, we would suggest trying to make sure that the passport is stamped on entry and exit of the Schengen borders.

It is possible that the border guard in October forgot, or perhaps thought you were a British resident of France (whose passports do not have to be stamped). We have seen several travellers report that French border guards are not always consistent in their practices, with some residents getting passports stamped, and in this case a non-resident’s passport not being stamped… 

Entry/Exit System may help avoid stamping problems in future

The EU’s new Entry/Exit System, expected next year, is intended to remove the requirement for stamping, as information about non-EU visitors to the Schengen area will have to be entered into a shared database when they cross Schengen borders, including taking a photograph and fingerprints and entry and exit dates (once entered in the system the biometric information should be valid for several years and not need to be taken each time).

This should in theory remove problems with stamping – as long as border guards correctly identify non-EU visitors and make sure their details are recorded as required…Having said this, UK travel industry experts, and French airports, have raised worries about the potential for delays as information is collected (see article below).

Identification of whose details need entering and whose do not should be further facilitated by the end of next year when the EU’s Etias scheme requiring non-EU visitors to pre-register online for permission to enter the area is set to be in place.

Once given (valid for three years) this Etias permission will be recorded in a database and checked at the border by a passport scan.

Previous articles

EU’s new entry and exit systems problematic say UK travel chiefs 

Etias: What is new EU €7 entry process and how will it affect you? 

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France