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CDG Passport Control and Security

Off to Paris from the USA arriving on the 8th of April early AM.
That is one of the strike days.
Returning home on the 17th mid-AM.
On a previous trip to France we spent two hours in line at Passport Control when we were departing for the USA.
There were two officers working and they really took their time with each and every passenger.
The officer who looked at me and my passport photo must have checked me out 3 or 4 times.
No hurry at all despite the very long line behind me.
Going through security was OK.
That trip was also at a time of SNCF strikes and I wondered if the the officers were slowing down in support of the SNCF workers.
Now to my questions:
1. Are there currently any such "slowdowns" at CDG upon arriving or departing?
2. We will try to get to CDG at least four hours in advance on the AM of our departure.
Is that enough time?

Posted by
8219 posts

I think you are right about this. We are girding up to do this soon too. We have been through CDG many many times and I think that their criterion for hiring is 'does this person meet the worst French stereotype'. ONLY at CDG have we routinely met with rude, unhelpful customer service people who seem bent on adding to people's misery. WE have not encountered this elsewhere in France any more often than we do in Nashville or Chicago or Seattle.

Posted by
94 posts

We went last summer and it took forever to get through the line on our way back to the US.

Posted by
368 posts

I also watched a slow down last December. There was one person in the passport control and about 75 people in line. The priority line had three people checking passports and a lot less people in line.

Posted by
343 posts

Wow, thanks for the heads up on this. It's been a few years since I've flown out of CDG when I wasn't going to another Schengen country. So...4 hours? That's when I should plan to be there before my direct flight back to the US?

Posted by
2466 posts

If you are going on one of the strike days, you'd better leave time - 4 hours is enough.

Posted by
16 posts

Janet. to be clear he wasn't rude just very, very slow.
Deliberate? Sympathy with the strike? I sure don't know.
Under staffing was also a problem with just two windows open.
Our experiences in France have ranged from "good" to "excellent."
Come to think of it the "excellent" assistance we received from train, taxi and especially hotel staff ("The Churchill" in Bayeux) was due to a previous SNCF strike.
Thanks to all here for your help.

Posted by
343 posts

Just wanted to follow up on my experience going through passport control upon flying out of CDG back to the US last week.

We arrived about 3.5 hours ahead of time and had a decently long line to wait in at the Norwegian Airlines counter to check in. While we were checking in, what looked like some kind of immigration control came through our line, viewing our passports carefully. They didn't stamp them, just looked at them...scanned them, maybe. Not sure. They were not airline employees. Had on grey suits. We still had our passports examined when we checked in, so I am not sure what the purpose was of the pre-scan. Anyway...

Went through security. Got to passport control and there was no one in the line! We lucked out. I'm not sure if it's just the time we arrived, but we breezed through, got our passports stamped for exiting, and arrived at our gate about 2 hours prior to arrival.

So it was about 1.5 hours to get from car rental drop off place (I think it was Terminal 2) over to the Terminal where Norwegian was flying out, stand in line to check in, get through security, get through passport control, use the restrooms, buy water, and get to our gate.

Posted by
23 posts

Want to thank all taking time to share on this. We will soon be making our way to and from CDG and this advice is very helpful.

Posted by
2916 posts

Wendy, your experience sounds like most of ours at CDG, but the problem is that one never knows what will happen, which makes it difficult to plan. A few years ago we were flying out of CDG on a Sunday morning, and after dropping off our car we arrived at the terminal and there was a moderately long line at passport control. It took a little longer than usual, but not too bad, and we arrived at the gate in plenty of time. But on the plane we heard people talking about the mess at immigration, with very long waits, including someone whose spouse called to say she was going to miss the plane because she was still in the immigration line. So I guess things can change there in a short time. So instead we've been avoiding CDG whenever possible. Last year we used Lyon via Amsterdam, and this year it will be Lyon via Munich.

Posted by
12172 posts

For people who don't have their tickets figured out already, consider flying through Iceland. Iceland is a Schengen country. If you are going on to another Schengen, there is no need for further passport control. I've been through Iceland a half dozen times now - next time, there and back, in June will make eight. So far I've never spent more than five or ten minutes in line to have my passport stamped and the average wait has been much closer to zero. I carry on, others may have to wait for their bags first (but I think they're checked through). When I get to the airport in France, I walk straight to ground transportation. I think my fly-in and out are both on non-strike days this year but I may have to play with some of my travel days to avoid strikes while in France. I think this strike is serious, as far as I know it's about the "right" to work for life at your job. Macron wants to get rid of it and the unions are equally determined not to let it go.

Posted by
343 posts're right! As we sat at the gate for a few hours, we saw people come in waves having cleared passport control and making their way. I think it's just part of crowd physics, and we lucked out. Having said that, I have no problem waiting at the gate. Much preferable to rushing to it or missing the plane. And...I agree. plan to avoid CDG in the future. In fact, I love flying out of Dublin back to the US because I can take care of US immigration while still out the Dublin airport.

Brad, good advice. I didn't care for the airport in crowded with so little staff, but maybe I was just in a different part of the airport because I had spent 24 hours there.