DCEM document requirement for non-EU children in France

DCEM document requirement for non-EU children in France

Their legal guardians will have to apply online before using the Entry/Exit System

Children will need a DCEM in order to be exempt from the EES whether travelling accompanied or alone,

All foreign children living in France – other than EU/EEA/Swiss citizens – will need a ‘DCEM’ document for international travel when the EU’s new borders system goes live this autumn.

These are free to children from Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (WA) families but otherwise cost €50, payable in timbres fiscales.

The information has been shared by the British Embassy in Paris, ahead of the new Entry/Exit System (EES) scheme starting ‘in the autumn’ at a still unspecified date.

The Embassy writes that when it begins, a young person ‘MUST be in possession’ of a document de circulation pour étranger mineur (DCEM ), whether travelling either accompanied or alone, in order to be exempt from the EES.

The EES is a new digital system for logging entry and exit of non-EU nationality visitors to the Schengen area.

Read more: New biometric border controls – French app delays and photo issues 

Adult foreign residents of France are expected to have to show their residency cards to avoid having to go through this new process – which is set to include giving travel information, passport details and having a facial image and fingerprints taken.

However, it appears that the EES will be unable to recognise that children are residents unless they have a formal document proving this, which up to now has been deemed optional for children of nationalities exempt from visas for visits to France, such as Britons and Americans.

Read more: Ministry answers queries on under-18s’ travel to and from France 

Generally speaking, children living with parents or guardians in France do not have their own residency cards, though it is possible for them to apply for one from age 16 if they need it to work, follow professional training or sign on as a jobseeker.

If you are the parent or guardian of a minor who is a foreign resident of France, you can apply for a DCEM online at this website. Children can use this to prove that they are residents of France when passing the border.

We were told by the ministry in 2023 that DCEMs issued since applications went online will now be a print-out with a special barcode, rather than a laminated card.

We note that official information online still indicates that it is necessary to collect a document, however it has not been updated for over a year (the website instructs adult applicants and their children to wait for a text or other message from the prefecture informing them to visit).

Once issued, a DCEM lasts for five years.

The Interior Ministry previously said that having one of these could be useful to avoid a WA child’s passport being stamped in error, however it added that getting a passport stamp would have no impact on the person’s continuing residency rights.

A number of documents, in digital form (scanned in, or with a high-quality photograph), must be attached to the online application.

Read more: What is France’s DCEM form for young foreigners? 

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