While in France, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Individuals who hold U.S. and French or Monegasque citizenship should be aware that local authorities may treat you as solely French or Monegasque. Criminal penalties vary from country to country, and there are some things that might be legal in France or Monaco, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy counterfeit or pirated goods in another country. Engaging in sexual conduct with minors or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is also a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you commit a crime in another country, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating French or Monegasque laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in France and Monaco are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. For legal assistance in France or Monaco, refer to this list of attorneys.
If you use any of France’s excellent public transportation services, take particular care to retain your used or “validated” ticket. Inspectors conduct intermittent, random checks, and passengers who fail to present the correct validated ticket for their journey are subject to stiff and immediate fines. Inspectors may show no interest in explanations and no sympathy for an honest mistake. Failure to cooperate with inspectors can result in arrest.
If arrested: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained.
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.