Apply for DCEM
What is it?
The Foreign Minors' Circulation Document (DCEM) allows a child under the age of 18 to travel abroad and return to France (or to the external borders of the Schengen area), without needing a visa. The document proves that the child is legally resident in France.
The DCEM is valid for 5 years (renewable) and must always be used with a valid travel document (passport or travel document).
Good to know: French children, European nationals or children with dual French and foreign nationality are not concerned. They can travel abroad with a passport or identity card.
The DCEM request must be made online on the Étrangers en France (ANEF) website by the person who has parental authority (i.e. the child's parent(s), or by the agent ( i.e. the person officially designated to ensure the protection of the child).
Who is it for?
What to do?
Check if you can apply for DCEM
It is possible to request a DCEM for a foreign minor if they are in one of these situations:
- Foreign parent in a regular situation with a temporary residence permit, or a multi-year residence permit (4 years) or a residence permit (10 years).
- European parent who has been living in France for more than 3 months OR European step-parent and at least one of whose parents has been living in France for more than 3 months.
- Other situations => The DCEM can be given to a minor child residing in France:
- who has the status of refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection;
- or who was entrusted to the Ase service (child welfare) before the age of 16;
- or who entered France with a long-stay visa as a child of French nationals or adopted;
- or who entered France before the age of 13 with a long-stay visitor visa, and who usually resides in France;
- or of which at least one of the parents has acquired French nationality.
To apply for a DCEM, you need these documents:
- Birth certificate of the applicant (you);
- Identity documents of the applicant and the child;
- Family book or birth certificate with the filiation of the child.
- Documents proving that you have parental authority over the minor:
- Married parents: extract of marriage certificate;
- Divorced parents: divorce decree;
- Unmarried parents: birth certificate of the child mentioning the recognition of the minor before the age of 1 year, or joint declaration of joint exercise of parental authority made to the clerk of the judicial court or copy of the decision of justice ruling on parental authority (if the child was recognized after the age of 1 year).
- OR If the DCEM applicant is an agent, they must send additional documents:
- Mandate of the person with parental authority (letter, authentic act);
- Identity document of the agent;
- Documents attesting that the signatory of the mandate exercises parental authority over the minor.
- School or nursery certificate or any other document for young children to prove habitual residence in France;
- Proof of address in the name of the applicant if the minor lives with him/her, or in the name of the minor if he/she does not live with the applicant;
- 2 e-photos of the minor (see the Refugees.info sheet "Making and using an e-photo").
Good to know: Civil status documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by their translation into French by an approved translator/interpreter.
> To read: the Refugees.info sheet “Obtaining the official translation of a document”
Other documents are requested depending on the situation, for example:
- If the minor is a refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection: decision of OFPRA or CNDA.
- If the minor is a child of a European: any document proving the regularity of the applicant's stay.
- If the minor is a child of French: valid national identity card or national passport of the parent.
- If the minor has a parent who has acquired French nationality: valid passport, valid national identity card, certificate of French nationality less than 6 months old or national passport of the French parent.
Good to know: There are other special cases that require other documents. The easiest way to know all the documents is to use this online simulator (click here).
Connect to the Étrangers en France (ANEF) website
The DCEM applicant must first connect to their personal account on the Foreigners in France (ANEF) website:
- click on your name at the top right of the home page, and select "Access my account".
- or if you've never done so, create an account.
> To read: the Refugees.info sheet “Create an account on the Étrangers en France website” .
Good to know: If you do not have a foreign or visa number, you must specify your email address. You will receive an email with a username and temporary password to confirm the creation of your account: you must click on "Connect" to choose your personalized password.
Once you are logged into your account, click on the "I request a travel document" button. Then, check the box "A circulation document for foreign minors (DCEM)" and click on "I continue".
Then choose the case that corresponds to your situation:
- If you are a non-European parent and you have a residence permit, tick the boxes: "Parent / Legal representative in an individual capacity - AND "I am a non-European foreigner holding a residence permit";
- If you are a foreign parent (EU national or assimilated country*) and you have a residence permit, tick the boxes "Parent / Legal representative on an individual basis - AND I am French or EU national or assimilated - AND I hold a residence permit";
- If you are a French or foreign parent (EU national or assimilated country*) AND you do not have a residence permit, tick the boxes: "Parent / Individual legal representative - AND "I am French or a national of the EU or assimilated" - AND "I do not hold a residence permit";
- If you are a legal representative mandated by a legal person (example: child welfare services), tick the box: "Legal representative mandated by a legal person".
* The assimilated countries are Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Then download the list of documents requested according to your situation and click on "I start".
Validate and verify, then click on "Submit the request".
You will then receive an acknowledgment of receipt by email (inbox or in spam) and you can check your DCEM application by clicking on "I open my application submission confirmation".
Good to know: It is not compulsory to complete the foreigner number of the minor child if you do not know it or if he/she does not have one. The services of the prefecture will give him/her one automatically, which the applicant will receive by email. An ANEF account for the minor will also be automatically created and you will receive an account creation notification by email.
Follow the progress of the request
Your DCEM renewal request is studied by the prefecture close to your postal address. The processing times for applications are different in each prefecture.
To find out how your application is progressing, log into your personal account on the Foreigners in France website, click on your name at the top right of the home page, and select "Access my account".
Once logged into your account, click on the notification to check the progress of your request.
There are four stages:
- Submission of the request: your request has been received.
- Investigation in progress: the prefecture has begun to study your request, its processing is in progress.
- Decision made: your request has been processed, a decision has been made.
- Residence document available: the document is available. You will receive a summons by email, which must be downloaded and printed before coming to the prefecture.
Good to know: If you need to send additional documents, the prefecture sends an email and a notification is visible in the personal space.
If the prefecture has not responded within 2 months, the DCEM request is refused.
Paying and withdrawing the DCEM
To withdraw the DCEM, you must prove that you have paid €50 in tax stamps (with proof of payment of the stamp duty).
Tax stamps are sold only on the timbres.impots.gouv.fr website and in tobacconists.
> To read: the Refugees.info sheet "Buy a tax stamp".
On the day of the appointment, you must come accompanied by the beneficiary child. Do not forget the printed summon.
Good to know: If the minor and/or the applicant cannot come to the prefecture on the day of the appointment, it is possible to ask to postpone the date on the personal space by clicking on “request the postponement”. Explain the reason and propose a new date.
Renew the DCEM
If the child is under 13: the DCEM is valid for 5 years and can be renewed when necessary. The online process on the Étrangers en France site is identical to the first request.
If the child is over 13 years old: the DCEM is valid until the child is 18 years old.
Good to know: The expiry date of the child's DCEM is the same as the validity date of the parents' residence permit or identity documents. For example, if the parents have a residence permit that will end before 1 year, the end date of the child's DCEM is 1 year. If the parents have different validity dates, the earliest date is taken into account.
- If the child has French nationality or if he/she obtains a residence permit, the DCEM must be returned to the prefecture.
- If the document is lost or stolen, you must report the loss or theft to the police station.
If you have a technical problem on the site
If you have a technical problem (blocked page, error message, etc.), you can contact the Citizen Contact Center (CCC):
- by phone on 0 806 001 620 (free number)
- or with the contact form ("Contact" button at the bottom left of the screen). You must clearly explain your problem and send screenshots (site, date and time visible) with the error message if you have one.
Good to know: If the CCC has not been able to provide you with a solution, you can go to your prefecture to be accompanied by the digital reception point reserved for foreigners present in France. To contact the digital reception point closest to you, you can search on the internet by writing: “foreign prefecture digital reception point” and adding your department.