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Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

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Philadelphia
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Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

I'll be taking Eurostar for the first time on an upcoming trip to London and Paris. I know we have to check in at least 30 minutes prior to departure, but I'm wondering if I need to plan for additional time, either at St. Pancras or upon arrival in Paris, to go thru immigration. I'm not trying to orchestrate split-second timing, just curious to know how this works. (And vice-versa, on the way back to London.)

I'm a US passport holder/US resident.

Thanks for any advice/perspective you can offer!

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Paris, France
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1. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

Hi there,

Your passport will be checked twice at St Pancras (by both the British and French police), but not when you arrive in Paris. I advise you to arrive a little earlier at St Pancras (I think 30 minutes is not enough - 45 minutes is better). But there should be no control in Paris.

Hope it helps! :)

Brussels
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2. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

French immigration control (for entry to the Schengen Area) takes place at London St Pancras before you board the Eurostar.

French Border Police check your passport. If you are a US passport holder visiting as a tourist (no visa required), the check should be a formality. They check that your passport is genuine and that the photo looks like your face, and you pass through. It takes about 30 seconds.

It would be wise to keep documents relating to your visit (e.g. hotel booking, evidence that you can meet the cost of your stay) within easy reach, just in case they ask for them.

However, in practice, I think they would only ask questions if there was something about your situation that appeared untypical or unusual.

There should normally be no immigration check on arrival in Paris.

30 minutes is the minimum check-in time for Eurostar, but it is better to allow 45 minutes to an hour.

Brussels
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3. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

< Your passport will be checked twice at St Pancras (by both the British and French police) >

No, it will not be checked by the British police. The UK authorities stopped inspecting the passports of outgoing travellers quite a few years ago.

A passport check at St Pancras is carried out by the French immigration authorities only.

Los Angeles, CA
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4. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

Regarding check-in time, at least 30 minutes is recommended. However, my friend and I were running egregiously late and arrived at St. Pancras a couple of weeks ago just about 10 minutes prior to departure and we were allowed onto the train. The personnel were actually very nice about rushing us through when they saw how close to departure we were. Now by no means am I recommending that you get to the station as late as we did!

Philadelphia
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5. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

Thanks everyone! This is useful and interesting. Can't wait to experience it for myself (the train trip, not so much the passport inspection!).

6. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

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Brussels
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7. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

< For travel from Paris back to the UK, which the OP also asked about, would he/she be required to fill out a landing card as a US passport holder? >

Yes. As far as I know, all non-EU passport holders have to fill in a landing card. At Brussels Midi station (where the Eurostar leaves from), the cards are available alongside the UK immigration control booth and have to be completed and presented to the UK immigration officer there.

London, UK
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8. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

At Gare du Nord in Paris, non EU passport holders can pick up a boarding card on the approach to check-in and security controls along the upper level walkway. Again at Paris they do not open check-in until the boarding for the previous one is well underway which means just over an hour before departure. This is because the departure area is rather limited. This restraint does not apply so much at St Pancras, not that there is much to do in the departure area.

Philadelphia
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9. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

Good to know. I would hate to be the newbie who holds everyone up because I'm not prepared. So glad I asked.

10. Re: Passport control when taking Eurostar London to/from Paris?

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