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Passports

Citizens of the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States need a valid passport to enter France. The passport is valid for a stay of 90 days. To prevent international child abduction, E.U. governments have initiated procedures at entry and exit points. These often (but not always) include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, facilitates entries and exits. All children must have their own passports.

Allow plenty of time before your trip to apply for a passport; processing normally takes 3 weeks but can take longer during busy periods (especially spring). Keep in mind that if you need a passport in a hurry, you'll pay a higher processing fee.

For Residents of Australia: You can pick up an application from your local post office or any branch of Passports Australia. Visit the government website at www.passports.gov.au for more details.

For Residents of Canada: Passport applications are available at Passport Canada agencies throughout Canada. Forms and further information can be found at www.ppt.gc.ca.

For Residents of Ireland: You can apply for a passport using the Passport Express service at most post offices. Further information can be found at www.foreignaffairs.gov.ie.

For Residents of New Zealand: You can pick up a passport application at any New Zealand Passports Office or download it from their website www.passports.govt.nz.

For Residents of the United Kingdom: To pick up an application for a passport visit your nearest passport office, major post office, or download the forms from the website www.ips.gov.uk.

For Residents of the United States: Whether you're applying in person or by mail, you can download passport applications from the U.S. State Department website at http://travel.state.gov.

Visas 

E.U. nationals don't need a visa to enter France. Nor do U.S., Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, or South African citizens for trips of up to 3 months. Nationals of other countries should make inquiries at the nearest French embassy or consulate before they travel to France. If non-E.U. citizens wish to stay for longer than 3 months, they must apply to French embassy or consulate for a long-term visa.

Customs

What You Can Bring into France: Citizens of E.U. countries can bring in any amount of goods as long as the goods are intended for their personal use and not for resale. Non-E.U. citizens are entitled to 200 cigarettes, 100 small cigars, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco duty-free. You can also bring in 2 liters of wine or beer and 1 liter of spirits (more than 22% alcohol). In addition, you can bring in 50g (1.76oz) of perfume.

What You Can Take Out of France:

Australian Citizens -- A helpful brochure is available from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Know Before You Go, online under "Information for travelers." For more information, call the Australian Customs Service (tel. 1300/363-263 in Australia, or 612/6275-6666 if you're abroad; www.customs.gov.au). The duty-free allowance in Australia is A$900 or, for those 17 or younger, A$450. If you're returning with valuables you already own, you should file the "Goods Imported in Passenger Baggage" form.

Canadian Citizens -- For a clear summary of Canadian rules, ask for the booklet I Declare issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500 from abroad; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca, under "Going on Vacation?"). Canada allows its citizens a C$750 exemption and you're allowed to mail gifts to Canada from abroad valued at less than C$60 a day, provided they're unsolicited and don't contain alcohol or tobacco (write on the package "Unsolicited gift, under C$60 value"). All valuables, including serial numbers of valuables you already own should be declared on the Y-38 form before departure from Canada.

New Zealand Citizens -- The answers to most questions regarding customs can be found on the website of the New Zealand Customs Service (tel. 0800/4-CUSTOMS, 0800/428-786, or 649/300-5399 from outside New Zealand; www.customs.govt.nz).The duty-free allowance for New Zealand is NZ$700. Fill out a certificate of export, listing the valuables you are taking out of the country so that you can bring them back without paying duty.

U.K. Citizens -- When returning to the U.K. from an E.U. country such as France, you can bring in an unlimited amount of most goods. There is no limit on what you can bring back from an E.U. country, as long as the items are for personal use (this includes gifts) and you have already paid the duty and tax. However, if you bring in more than these levels, you may be asked to prove that the goods are for your own use. For information, contact HM Revenue Customs (tel. 0845 010 9000; www.hmrc.gov.uk).

U.S. Citizens -- For specifics on what you can bring back and the corresponding fees, download the invaluable free pamphlet Know Before You Go online at www.cbp.gov. Or, contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) (tel. 877/CBP-5511 [877/227-5511] in the U.S. or 703/526-4200 from outside the U.S. Returning U.S. citizens who have been away for 48 hours or more are allowed to bring back, once every 30 days, $800 worth of merchandise duty-free. You're charged a flat rate of duty on the next $1,000 worth of purchases, and any dollar amount beyond that is subject to duty at whatever rates apply. On mailed gifts, the duty-free limit is $200. To avoid having to pay duty on foreign-made personal items you owned before your trip, bring along a bill of sale, insurance policy, jeweler's appraisal, or receipt of purchase or register items before you leave. You cannot bring fresh foodstuffs into the U.S.

Medical Requirements

Unless you are arriving from an area of the world known to be suffering from an epidemic, especially cholera or yellow fever, inoculations or vaccinations are not required for entry in France.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.