French Bureaucracy

This report highlights the importance of retaining historical documentation in case you need to prove your date of entry into the EU.

Published 4 years ago

French Bureaucracy – keep proof of last port of call before entering EU.

We were boarded by members of French Customs in St Tropez harbor. I was somewhat flustered as they came aboard when I was sleeping so was not as alert as I might have been. And I was distressed at the way they were rifling through the clothing lockers etc in our cabin.

Among other things, they required proof of when we had entered the EU. I am inclined to keep files, unlike the skipper who likes to unclutter and was eventually able to pull out a fuel bill for Egypt dated last year which satisfied them.

Although we have heard that the French are deadly on people who have not paid VAT and overstay their permitted time in the EU, I had not previously thought of the necessity to retain such documents. It would be prudent to bear this in mind and keep something with your other documentation.

This is our second visit to the Med. In 2004 we did not have any contact, but we have now twice had visits from the Douane in a three week period of cruising the coast from Italy to Spain.

Robin Mellett

Editor’s note: “Free Spirit” sails under an Australian flag.

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