British Consulates In France
British consulates in France, what are they? How can they help you as a British Expat in France? Find out more information about the British Consulates and Embassy's in France
If you are British citizen who has recently moved to France, or you are in the process of doing so, then – besides picking up your French dictionary and European plug adaptors – there are some essential details of which you need to take note. These are the contact details for the British consulates and the British embassy, and they are a helping hand as you navigate the murky depths of expatriation in France.
Let me give you some further details to explain what a consulate is, so you know how to contact and use them, especially in an emergency.
What are the consular services and what do they do?
Consulates are the representative of UK interests in other countries, and offer British government services to Britons abroad, whether you have relocated or are simply holidaying. They are usually based in a couple of major cities in each country. In France there are three – in Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille – not including the embassy (which I will get to in a minute).
Essentially, consulates protect their nationals’ interests by offering help and support, most often by supplying emergency travel documents.
What is the difference between a consulate and an embassy?
Also known as ‘a diplomatic mission’, an embassy is the base for a country’s government abroad. They are usually located in capital cities, so in this case the British embassy is in Paris. The embassy is the head of the British government in France, and the consulates are acting bureaus which are often smaller, but can quickly perform the services you need depending on where you are in the country. These branches are usually in cities with the highest amounts of tourism.
Who can they help?
The British embassies and consulates help British nationals, and also Brits who hold dual nationality (although this depends if you are currently in the country of your other nationality). The term ‘British national’ includes: British citizens, Overseas Territories citizens, overseas nationals or citizens, British subjects, and a British protected person. A full description of these terms can be found on the government website.
If you are a national of another country, have been living legally in the UK and are travelling abroad, unfortunately, the British consulates cannot offer you these services.
What consular services are available for British citizens living in France?
The British embassy and consulates provide up-to-date news on British-French relations, current affairs, travel and legal information, and health requirements, all of which are easily accessed online.
The most common reason for contacting the embassy or local consulate is due to lost or stolen passports, but there are many other services available for expats or holiday-makers should you need them such as:
- Urgent assistance: This usually includes emergency travel, or in other more critical circumstances this can be in regards to you being the victim of a crime, your arrest, or due to a death on French soil.
- Marriage certificates: This includes the consulate receiving notice of an intended marriage or PACs – the French civil partnership – and documentation for change of name.
- Passport applications and renewals.
- Registering overseas births.
- Legalising signatures.
- Certifying a copy of an official document.
- Visa applications.
If you need information quickly, it is worth checking the Living in France page of the government website where there is some useful information. Other resources include the French Foreign Travel advice page, Britons working abroad, and the embassy’s Facebook and Twitter.
Meanwhile, the British embassy arranges monthly online outreach events, so British citizens in France can meet the consular advisors and have their questions answered. The most recent meeting was on 7th September, and they usually have them once a month, so keep your eye on their social media feeds or on Eventbrite for the next event.
Where are the British consulates in France?
There are four offices, including the embassy:
British Embassy Paris
35 Rue du Faubourg St Honoré Paris Cedex 08 75383 Paris France +33 (0) 1 44 51 31 00 Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 1pm and 2:30pm to 5pm
British Consulate Paris
16 Rue d’Anjou 75008 Paris France +33 (0) 1 44 51 31 00 Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 12.30pm. Outside normal working hours, a consular Emergency Service operates and can be contacted on +33 (0)1 44 51 31 00
British Consulate Bordeaux
2nd Floor 335 Boulevard du President Wilson 33073 Bordeaux France +33 (0)5 57 22 21 10 Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm. Outside normal working hours, a consular Emergency Service operates and can be contacted on +33 (0)5 57 22 21 10
British Consulate Marseille
Les Docks de Marseille-La Joliette 10 Place de la Joliette Atrium 10.3 1st Floor 13002 Marseille France +33 (0) 4 91 15 72 10 Opening times: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9.30am to 12.30pm Outside normal working hours, a consular Emergency Service operates and can be contacted on +33 (0)4 91 15 72 10
As you can see, the consulates’ opening times are restricted – they have seemingly been inspired by the French work ethic – so take note of your closest consulate’s availability before you call.
How do I get emergency documents or my passport renewed for travel?
First thing’s first – if you lose your passport, or if it’s been stolen, you need to report it. The government website has an easy-to-use form for you to do so. You also must tell the local French police. They will provide you with a written police report, which you may be required to give to the embassy or consulate.
A replacement passport can take up to six weeks to arrive, so if you are planning to travel imminently then you will need emergency travel documents. The requirements for these documents are:
- You are British
- You are not in the UK
- You passport is missing, damaged, full, recently expired, or is with a foreign embassy
- You do not have time to wait for a replacement
- You have evidence of urgent travel plans
Emergency travel documents enable you to travel between five countries. The details of your travel are printed on them, so if your plans change you must have them updated. Applying for the documents costs £100, and the British embassy or consulate will be able to tell you if you are eligible. The process is easy to complete on the government website, and the application will announce whether you need to visit your local consulate to finalise the process.
If your final destination is the UK, the border control will keep your emergency travel documents upon your arrival.
If you simply need your passport renewed, thanks to online applications, it is a quick and easy process. The cost of a new passport is £86 if you reside in France, plus there is an additional £19.86 courier fee. As this is a once-in-ten-years expense, the cost shouldn’t be too panic-inducing, however, make sure you apply for your passport approximately nine months before the expiry date. Airlines and border security may not let you pass if your passport has less than six months validity.
Will I need to go to the consulate much?
No, it’s highly unlikely. Thanks to all the resources available online, including information and applications, there is little need to make appointments at the local consulate. Furthermore, thanks to Covid-19, the British consulates in France are now operating virtually as their staff work from home, therefore, if you need an appointment, it will probably be online.
As administration in France is notorious for being fairly inactive, it is reassuring to know we expats have the assistance we need, as well as the comfort of well-informed English speakers, to help us adjust. The embassy and consulates are the middle-ground between the haven of the UK and the new adventure awaiting us in France, and they have our backs covered – even if they do enjoy a lengthy French lunch break.