Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, March 12, 2012

I had a little bit of extra time at the airport on the way to my latest trip to the US, so I decided to sign up for Parafe.  Parafe stands for "passage automatisé rapide des frontières extérieures", or Fast Automatic Passage from External Borders", and it is a free program that was put in place in 2009 to allow certain people to skip the passport check lines. It is open to all adult EU & Swiss citizens and members of the EEE.  According to the website, those holding a European residency permit could also apply, but this option was crossed out on the poster at the airport, so I'm not sure what's going on there.

You can sign up for the program at either CDG (in terminal 2, near Exit 10 on the departure level) or at Orly (South Terminal, right before entering into hall 1 on the departure level).  There were only a few people waiting, so I joined them, only to find out when it was my turn that I didn't need to sign up since I had a biometric passport and my fingerprints were already logged in it. 

They directed me towards the security line and I just had to scan my passport and index finger and walk on through - no more waiting in long security lines for me!  (Though you still have to get your carry-on scanned).

The same thing happened yesterday on the way back - I was able to skip the passport check again and just walk right on through to pick up my suitcase, making the plane to car time less than 20 minutes total. I tell ya, that has endless appeal to a person like me who is obsessed with efficiency.

A similar system exists in the US and they are rolling out a frequent "verified" traveler version that won't even require you to take off your coat/shoes, take your laptop out of your bag, etc, but this one requires major background checks (like your addresses and jobs for the last five years) plus you have to do an in-person interview and pay a non-refundable fee of $100. I might try it out if my work will pay for it, but only once the wait times for the interview have gone down.

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Blogger chickster said...

I had no idea this existed (in France or the States); something to definitely look into!

March 12, 2012 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger The Paris Chronicles said...

Good to know. I wonder if minors can take advantage of this. I'd love to speed through as a family. I'll check it out on my next trip through Roissy.

March 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

When I was coming back from NZ last month I saw people trying to pass through those doors and getting so frustrated that they just went back into line. Maybe they're getting better now.

March 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

Julie, I wonder if they were actually enrolled in the program? You aren't able to use them if you're not. I literally just flew on through both times - you scan your passport and then your index finger and off you go.

March 13, 2012 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Maybe not, I don't know, it just looked like hard work from where I was standing but then we have the beat the line pass of a baby!

The Paris Chronicle, it definately can't be used by kids under 6 as their fingerprints aren't put onto their passport

March 13, 2012 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

As a French resident/U.S. passport holder, I got really excited at the prospect of this wonderful shortcut and went to sign up immediately. No go-- American passports are too big to fit into the French passport scanner.

March 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Sara Louise said...

I want to check this out but I never fly in and out of Paris.

March 14, 2012 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger Gwan said...

I signed up at Christmas when there was a security strike, but didn't really think it through since it's fairly rare that I fly to a non-Schengen country. Then on the way back I followed signs supposedly to the parafe area but it just went to a dead end and I had to go all the way to the back of the line. Grrr

March 14, 2012 at 8:20 PM  

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