Britain’s departure from the European Union has led to a number of changes to travelling between the UK and European destinations including France.
One of the latest announcements has been the reintroduction of transit visas for certain third-country nationals travelling through France on their way to the UK. The change to transit visa policy was announced at the end of December 2020 by Air-France-KLM.
Continue reading to find out who will be affected by this new visa requirement and the action some airline passengers now need to take.
Do I need an airport transit visa for France?
An Airport Transit Visa (ATV) is not required by third-country nationals connecting to an EU country through a French international airport. For this reason, when the UK was still part of the European Union non-EU citizens with a UK visa did not need to apply for a separate ATV.
Now that the UK is a non-EU nation, the rules for transit have changed. Not all travellers are subject to this new requirement. Passengers should check which documents they require depending on their nationality and specific circumstances.
Nationals affected by the new Airport Transit Visa requirement for France
Passport holders from the following 30 countries will now be required to obtain a transit visa in addition to their UK visas in order to transit through France:
- Central Africa Republic
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Ivory Coast
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
Caribbean and South America
- the Dominican Republic
All other travellers can continue to transit through a French airport en-route to the UK without a separate visa.
Exemptions to the France visa requirements for transit
The new rule applies to passengers holding a standard UK visa, a long-stay visa or residence permit. This means that almost all travellers from the above countries are subject to the requirement.
However, visa requirements for transit do not apply to individuals who fall into one of the following categories:
- Aircraft crew members
- Holders of a residence permit issued by an EU or EEA Member State
- Holders of a residence permit issued by Monaco, the Principality of Andorra, Japan, Canada, the US, or San Marino
- Holders of a valid visa from an EU or EEA Member State, Canada, the US, or Japan
- Family members of an EU or EEA national or Switzerland
- Holders of a valid Schengen visa, national long-stay visa, or residence permit
Passengers who believe one of these exemptions may apply to them should get confirmation from the airline before departure.
Do UK citizens need a visa to transit through France?
The new transit visa requirements for France affect third-country nationals travelling to Britain with a UK visa.
UK citizens visa requirements for transit in France remain unchanged: no visa is required however an ETIAS France travel authorisation may be required for transit purposes from 2022.
The new visa waiver will be available online and will be a requirement when entering the Schengen Area from outside the EU.
British citizens heading to France should stay up to date with all the latest travel news and familiarise themselves with the new rules for travelling to Europe post-Brexit.
Information about the Airport Transit Visa for France
There are 3 types of ATVs available to aeroplane passengers transiting through France:
- One-way ATV: valid for one-way transit through a Schengen nation to a third-country
- Return ATV: valid for return airport transit through one or 2 Schengen nations
- Multiple ATV: valid for several transits through multiple Schengen nations
Travellers with a transit visa for France are reminded that they must remain in the international zone of the airport whilst waiting for their connecting flight to the UK.
To leave the airport international zone, a valid short-stay visa is required.