Travel document for foreign minors (DCEM)
Foreign minors are not required to have a residence permit to stay in France.
However to facilitate their travels outside France they need to apply for a travel document for foreign minors (DCEM).
The DCEM certifies the regularity of the minor’s stay in France and allows him/her to return to France or to the external borders of the Schengen area after a trip abroad without the need to obtain a visa. .
For each trip abroad, the minor must be in possession of :
- a valid travel document (in particular a passport) ; and
- his/her DCEM.
Please find below the information relating to the stay of your minor children in France (aged less than 18 years old).
Minor child of a non-European citizen
The DCEM is issued to minors residing in France when at least one of their parents has one of the following residence permits:
- Temporary residence permit (“Employee”, “Temporary worker”, etc.)
- Multi-year residence permit (“Talent Passport”, “Employee”, etc.)
- Resident card of 10 years
Minor child of a European citizen
The DCEM is issued to minors residing in France if they are covered by one of the following situations:
- Minor of which at least one parent is European (European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein or Switzerland) and has been settled in France for more than 3 months;
- Minor whose step-parent is European and of which at least one parent has been settled in France for more than 3 months;
- Minor of which at least one parent has acquired French nationality.
Authorised length of stay
If the minor is aged under 13 years old
When the child is aged under 13 years old, the duration of the DCEM will depend on the nationality of the parents and the duration of their residence permits.
- Children of European citizens are issued a DCEM that is valid for 5 years and may be renewed.
- Children of non-European citizens will receive a DCEM that is valid for 5 years unless the parents have a residence permit with a duration of less than 5 years. The DCEM is then issued for the same duration as the parents’ residence permit. If the parents have residence permits with different expiry dates, the latest expiry date will apply.
In both cases, the DCEM is renewable until the majority of the child following the same procedure as for the first application.
If the child becomes French or obtains a residence permit, the DCEM must be returned to the Prefecture of the place of residence.
If the child is over 13 years old
If the child is over 13 years old, the DCEM is valid until the child is 18 years old.
- If the parents have a residence permit that expires before the child’s 18th birthday, the expiry date of the child’s DCEM will be the same as that of the parent’s permit. However, the child’s DCEM may not be less than 1 year.
- If the parents have a residence permit with different expiry dates, the latest expiry date will apply.
If the child becomes French or obtains a residence permit, the DCEM must be returned to the Prefecture.
The DCEM application must be filed by the person exercising parental authority over the minor.
As of January 24, 2022, this can be done online on the dedicated platform. It will be handled by the Prefecture or Sub-prefecture of the minor’s place of residence.
Once the application has been accepted and when the DCEM is ready, it must be collected from the designated Prefecture or Sub-prefecture. The applicant for the residence permit must collect it accompanied by the beneficiary child.
What documents are required?
For information purposes, check out the list of documents required in support of a request for a travel document for foreign minors (DCEM) :
If the minor child has non-European parents, the DCEM is issued against payment of a tax of €50 in the form of tax stamps when the permit is handed over.
If the minor child has European parents, the DCEM is issued free of charge.