News Digest: No More Car Insurance Green Cards & Could Your UK Passport Be Refused in France?



News Digest: No More Car Insurance Green Cards & Could Your UK Passport Be Refused in France?

As we move into April, there’s an important change to car insurance in France, energy cheques will be arriving soon, and we’re reminding Brits to check their passports prior to travel! Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. End of car insurance green cards

As of yesterday (April 1st), the small green paper squares that were required to be displayed in car windows as proof of car insurance are no longer legally required in France (and, no, it’s not an April Fool’s joke!). In a bid to prevent paper wastage and protect against falsified insurance documents, police will now follow a simplified administration check, allowing them to check a vehicle’s insurance on the official Fichier des Véhicles Assures (FVA).

However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need car insurance! The rules around car insurance have not changed – in France, all motor vehicles in circulation must be insured. Read our guide to car insurance in France for more.

From now on, drivers will receive a Mémo Véhicle Assuré (MVA) from their insurer instead, and you must keep this document (or a digital copy of it) on you when driving in case of an accident. Read more about this in our full article here.

2. Energy checks sent out

France’s Chèque Énergie or Energy Cheque is a government aid voucher sent out to low-income families, which can be redeemed against your energy bills. Households that earn less than €11,000 per unité de consommation or UC (energy consuming units, calculated based on the number of people living in your house) are eligible to receive the cheque in 2024, and this year, they will start being sent out from today – April 2nd.

Cheques are sent out automatically, but it’s up to you how and when you use them (vouchers should be valid until March 2025), so check out our article below for more details.

France’s Chèque Énergie: Who is Eligible & How to Use It

3. Reminder for Brits to check their passports

Reports of more British holidaymakers getting caught out by the EU’s “10-year validity rule” have made the headlines again over the Easter holidays, so here’s our friendly reminder to all Brits to check your passport now! Post-Brexit, UK passport holders now fall under the same rules as all other non-EU countries, meaning that on the date you enter France (or any other EU country), your passport:

  • Must have at least six months of validity left
  • Must have been issued within the last 10 years

It’s the latter point that is causing confusion due to a quirk of UK passport issuing, whereby, prior to 2018, it was possible to apply for a passport renewal in the UK up to nine months prior to its expiration – and the “extra” months would then be added to the validity of your new passport. Designed to encourage passport renewals at quieter times throughout the year, the rule led to many passports being issued with up to nine extra months of validity.

In these instances, your UK passport may have a validity period of 10 years and nine months. However, after the 10 years is up, you will not be able to enter France or any EU country with this passport even if it is still more than six months before the expiry date.

How can you make sure you aren’t caught out by this? First, check your passport and look at:

  1. The expiry date: This date should at least six months after the date that you wish to travel to France or another EU country.
  2. The issue date: if this is after 2018, then you only have to worry about the expiry date above. However, if it’s issued prior to 2018, then you should calculate 10 years from this date, ignoring the expiry date. For example, if the issue date is 10th March 2017, then you will need to renew your passport before 10th March 2027 in order for it to be valid for travel to France/the EU.

4. Get your questions in for our Visas & Residency webinar

If you’re looking to move to France and have questions about visas and residency, then make sure to sign up for our free webinar. I’ll be joined by expert advisors from Lexidy, English-speaking France immigration lawyers, and FAB French Insurance for a comprehensive look at the road to permanent residency in France.

We’ll be covering everything from that initial visa application to applying for your Carte de Sejour, ensuring you have all the latest information and advice for a smooth transition to France in 2024.

As always, you can send your questions to me in advance at [email protected], and you can sign up for the free webinar here:

Visas & Residency in France: Making the Move in 2024

Thursday, 18th April, 16.00 BST (17.00 French time)

As a FrenchEntrée+ Member, our bilingual property and relocation advisors will be with you every step of the way. With 20+ years of experience and a vast network of experts covering legal, tax, currency, and more, we’ll help you transform those big dreams into real actionable steps and provide you with an easy-to-follow personalised roadmap to success.

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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  •  Niall Foulis
    2024-04-06 10:49:14
    Niall Foulis
    Good Day I note from a recent advice piece on this that you still are stating that 6 months validity on passports is required from date of entry. The EU official website is quite clear in that only 3 months validity from date of intended departure is required . Yours Aye Niall Foulis


    • Zoë Smith
      2024-04-10 20:53:32
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Niall, Yes, you are right - providing you have proof of the date you are leaving the EU, it can be within 3 months of the intended departure date. Kind regards, Zoe


  •  Gayor Gunn
    2024-04-02 09:14:35
    Gayor Gunn
    Zoe Re the 10 year passport rule, am I correct in assuming the rules don't apply to those people with residency permits, as they will not be required to leave the EU (they are in effect coming home) coming from the UK? Thank you Gaynor


  •  Michel Sautejeau
    2024-04-02 09:10:45
    Michel Sautejeau
    Hi Zoë, pleased to that you near Nantes my home city where I went to Uni at La Faculté des Lettres.. My question comes from a different angle, I'm still French but have lived in the UK, near Manchester since Sept 74 & and have only ever used my French ID Card to travel from the UK back home to Clisson to visit my French Family. Since "Brexshit" & losing my Beautiful Wife to a brain tumour, I haven't returned to France, but hope to drive there this Spring/Summer, I would like to know if I'm still OK to use my ID Card or do I need a French Passport now please ? And special Car & Travel insurance ? Many thanks and kind regards, Michel


    • Zoë Smith
      2024-04-10 21:01:59
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Michel, Lovely to hear from a Nantais ! I'm sorry to hear about your situation and I hope you can make it back to France this summer. However, I'm afraid that since Brexit, French citizens do need a passport to travel to and from the UK. You can apply from the UK, though - here's the link to the embassy homepage. Kind regards, Zoe