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I am French. Can I enter Britain with an expired French identity card ?

  • 1
    Is your question about extending your card or about visiting with an expired one ? – blackbird Sep 30 '15 at 15:54
  • I don't have enough experience with this to extend it to answer, but this seems relevant: europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/… – Andrew Ferrier Sep 30 '15 at 16:32
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    Just to clarify: The issue is that French ID cards are now valid for 15 years, but older cards have a face validity of only 10 years even if they are also regarded as being valid for 15 years by the French government (the whole mess was apparently created to save some money on renewals, as getting a new ID card is free). – Relaxed Sep 30 '15 at 17:18
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Late answer on this topic but wanted to share my thought and recent experience on that!

I don't think using an expired but extended ID card would work I'm afraid, and clearly you shouldn't take the gamble! In essence, the UK haven't acknowledged this tricky decree from 2014 so don't rely on it to cross the border.

I've recently faced an issue with the UK Home Office when trying to gain permanent residency after having spent 8 years in the UK. I had provided my expired French ID card (expired in 2015) along with my application following a recent chat with the French Consulate in London, who had confirmed UK authorities are aware of the 5 years extension when I asked for a new French ID card.

Guess what, my application has been rejected and I'm about to pay another £65 fee to reapply.

My advice is to ALWAYS use a valid ID card according to the expiry date printed onto it when travelling outside France, and NEVER assume foreign immigration services to be aware of such a validity extension.

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The French Foreign ministry maintains a list of countries that officially confirmed they are willing to recognise seemingly expired ID cards during their extended period of validity. Unfortunately, the UK is not on that list even though the Timatic entry found by @blackbird57 suggests it really does accept those cards in practice.

I have no idea whether it makes a difference one way or the other but the Interior ministry also provides an information leaflet to print and carry with you to show at the border, should the border guards require an explanation about the whole situation. They have similar leaflets in dozens of languages including all EU official languages except Irish but also Arabic, Albanian, Catalan, Serbian, Turkish, etc. for all countries that let French citizens enter without a passport.

Personally, I got a passport and I do not intend to ever test this.

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Oui ! Yes you can.

According to Timatic:

Nationals of France are allowed to enter with an expired national ID card when:

  • it is expired for a maximum of 5 years, and
  • the date of issue is between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2013, and
  • the passenger was 18 years or older on the date of issue.
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    Where do they get their information? The problem with extended validity French ID cards is that France says that their validity has been extended, but there's no indication on the card itself, and some governments have said that whatever France says, they would only accept the validity date that's written on the card. – Gilles Sep 30 '15 at 22:06
  • @Gilles They get it from the Border Force NICE department – Crazydre Jun 4 '18 at 22:45
  • @Coke what is NICE? – phoog Jun 5 '18 at 0:03
  • @phoog National Immigration and Customs Enquiries. A central department of the Border Force which officers at local ports of entry can refer to in ambiguous cases. – Crazydre Jun 5 '18 at 0:23
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Late reply, but I figured contributing might be useful. I just did it today, with the expiration date shown on my card being a week ago. The border control man literally just said "hi", scanned my card, said "cheers" and let me through. So no problem!

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