France imposes security checks

FRANCE

France has imposed border controls and requested increased EU-wide security measures in the wake of Friday’s deadly mass attacks in Paris.

What does the change mean? Border controls have been implemented at French airports, seaports, and rail and road crossings. Non-French nationals should be prepared to show the proper identification. EU nationals will be able to enter France with valid ID cards; third-country nationals will be required to show passports and other relevant visas or permits.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Who is affected: Anyone traveling to or within France.
  • Business impact:  Business travelers may face delays when traveling to or within France.
  • Next steps: France is considering a host of security measures in response to the attacks and has called on the EU to increase security on the EU’s external borders. BAL will continue to follow developments in France and will alert clients to any significant changes.

Background: Friday’s attacks left 129 people dead, and French officials moved quickly to impose border security measures.

France has continued normal visa issuance; pending applications may be delayed, however. Third-country nationals carrying Schengen visas issued by other Schengen countries will be able to travel to France provided they show their visa and passport.

France is not the first country this fall to reintroduce internal border controls in the Schengen Area. Austria, Germany, Malta and Sweden have all imposed temporary border controls in recent months, as Europe grapples with a refugee crisis and ongoing security concerns.

French officials have called for increased EU-wide security measures. President Franҫois Hollande told a joint session of parliament at the Palace of Versailles Monday that if the EU does not more effectively secure its external borders, it will see the return of national border controls. France’s Minister of the Interior issued a statement saying that the EU “must also strengthen exchanges of information and implement coordinated and systematic checks at the external borders of the European Union through a targeted revision of the Schengen Borders Code.”

EU officials are scheduled to discuss these matters in a meeting Friday in Brussels.

BAL Analysis: Those traveling to France should be prepared for increased security measures, including ID checks and questioning. Security has been enhanced not only at borders, but also within France and delays when traveling should be expected. Visa services have not been interrupted, but pending applications may be delayed. French officials report that airports, railways and roads remain open.