Travel to France

Bulldog Ronnie

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Dear All,
My wife and I have recently joined and would like to introduce ourselves. We have been motorhoming since about 2006 and are on our third motorhome that now suits us, a Benimar Tesoro 482. We are not antisocial but prefer wild camping as we want peace and quiet to enjoy the locations we visit, do not own a TV and infrequently listen to the radio (usually the 6pm BBC news) and prefer to read as we watch the sun set on our latest location. With our introduction we would like to provide a WARNING to anyone going to France (indeed any EU country) by car ferry from the Port of Dover that they should ensure the French border control STAMPS your passport on the day of travel. Briefly, our recent travel experience to France was as follows: On 18 June 2021 we booked a ferry crossing Dover - Calais with P&O, passed through immigration control and customs without problems and after a short wait boarded the ferry to Calais. Spent nearly a month exploring France and revisiting some of the locations we liked on previous visits. On 14 July 2021 we were booked on a return ferry to the UK on DFDS for a 0915 departure and nearly missed our ferry because of border French border control! We arrived at Calais border where they now make everyone get out of their vehicle and are escorted into their office. At this point they ask for your passport, vaccination certificate and PCR/Allergen test certificate. Fine up until then when the policeman behind the screen says “This is not valid. Where is the passport stamp proving when you left the UK?” He required positive proof that we left when, where and how we said we did. When we left the UK French border control merely glanced at our passports and waved us on so no stamp was proffered and we were unaware of the future implications of not having one. We were able to eventually provide proof of travel with an old email confirmation from P&O Ferries. The damming statement from the French policemen was “yes, this is a problem with our colleagues in Dover not stamping the passports so next time make sure you ask for a stamp.” Fortunately we had arrived two hours early for our scheduled ferry crossing and spent early 1 3/4 hours at French - Calais border control then had to repeat the same process at UK border control (that took less than 5 minutes). Our word of warning to you: if traveling to France (or EU) ensure border control stamps your passport and the date and port of exit are clearly identified.
 

TeamRienza

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Another example of how the N. Ireland protocol is not fit for purpose. We regularly drive from N. Ireland (part of the UK ) to Dublin and onward to Cherbourg by ferry. There is no border on the island of Ireland, so there is no way I could have my passport stamped by UK border officials. The earliest I could get a stamp would be from Irish officials in Dublin, but by then I am already in the EU (although not in the schengen area). there is no provision for this when travelling to France, or indeed to Holyhead.

Davy
 

witzend

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The earliest I could get a stamp would be from Irish officials in Dublin, but by then I am already in the EU (although not in the schengen area). there is no provision for this when travelling to France, or indeed to Holyhead.
Isn't it the French border guards who stamp your passport when you arrive ?
 

REC

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Welcome and hope you continue to enjoy your travels! A further word of caution if one has residency in an EU country...DON'T get passport stamped as this causes problems when returning to UK if you have stayed more than 90 days...welcome to Brexit lottery!!
 

TeamRienza

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Isn't it the French border guards who stamp your passport when you arrive ?

That would be my thought on the matter. I believe the UK government electronically take note of ones departure (although again not for citizens of N. Ireland (UK) traveling into Europe via the rep of Ireland). Surely the schengen countries are only interested in your arrival within their territories. The original poster seems to suggest differently with his experience at Dover, albeit the French border control on UK soil.

Davy
 

Bulldog Ronnie

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Thank you All for your welcome. Just to clarify some points, yes the UK Border Control does electronically note your arrivals and departures but bear in mind that at Dover ferry terminal it is the French Border Control who check your passport and wave you through. It is the return journey at Calais ferry terminal that French Border Control stop your vehicle and escort you into their building to examine your passport and other documents, not UK Border control. Once satisfied they allow you to return to your vehicle, move a further 10 metres along where the UK Border Control stops your vehicle and escorts you into the UK building to check your passport and documents. It is at the Calais French Border Control where you may encounter difficulties if your passport was not clearly stamped at Dover or any other port of departure.

Ronnie
 

iampatman

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Welcome and hope you continue to enjoy your travels! A further word of caution if one has residency in an EU country...DON'T get passport stamped as this causes problems when returning to UK if you have stayed more than 90 days...welcome to Brexit lottery!!
Hi there,

I’m not sure what you mean with regard to your further word of caution. Could you explain a little more? I have Spanish residencia and a GB passport, what problems should I expect?

Pat
 

REC

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Hi there,

I’m not sure what you mean with regard to your further word of caution. Could you explain a little more? I have Spanish residencia and a GB passport, what problems should I expect?

Pat
Apparently, if your passport is stamped it can create Shenghen zone problems as you show as being there too long. Residents of EU don't need a stamp? This came from a Portugal forum I belong to where they said that your passport shouldn't be stamped if you have residence. I think it is a difficult area as far as I understand, we are only allowed in the zone outside our resident country for the 90 days....so it comes back to how you prove it. I saved receipts from Portugal from entry and leaving dates so I could prove it if asked!
 
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