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Travel documents for expat children under 18 in France

Children of non-EU residents in France under the age of 18 don’t need to hold their own French residency card. They are covered by their parents. However, there’s a potential problem in proving resident status if they travel back into France after an overseas trip without a parent present.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution say French Connections HCB who help people make the move to France.

Document de Circulation pour Étranger Mineur

The ‘Document de Circulation pour Étranger Mineur’ (DCEM)  enables children under 18 to return through the French border seamlessly when travelling alone. It can be used for school trips and if they travel abroad to visit friends or family.

The DCEM is the equivalent of a carte de sejour. Present the DCEM before the passport and it should mean that the holder’s passport doesn’t get stamped at French passport control.

How to apply for a DCEM

Any child living permanently in France and enrolled in school is eligible for a DCEM.

To obtain one, simply apply to your local préfecture. You will be invited in for an appointment and contacted as soon as the DCEM card is ready. You should allow at least three months before departure date. The DCEM is valid for children over 13 years until the child reaches 19. For children under 13, it is valid for five years.

One additional benefit of holding a DCEM card is that your child will already be on file in the préfecture’s database. This makes everything much simpler if they decide to apply for a residency card once they turn 18.

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