Drive to Spain, then train back to France


Does anyone know if, at the border between France and Spain, when one is driving across, does one have to go through a customs area to get their passport stamped?

My husband and I live in France. We plan to travel by car (towing a caravan) to Spain starting in December. I plan to return to France by train, about two months later.

Because if my passport has no stamp going into Spain from France (driving across the border - no passport checkpoint, I think?), then… Will I need to show them at the train station, when I’d originally entered Spain?

Is there a possibility that on return by train, I will have a problem being allowed back in?


If you’re already within the Schengen zone, you shouldn’t need to worry about passport checks. I drove into Spain earlier this month without a passport check (as usual). It was only later when asked for ID while collecting the keys to our rented apartment in Barcelona, that I realised my passport was still at home in France. Fortunately they accepted my new Titre de Sejour card and everything was fine.

I think if you’re driving on French plates and the car looks in reasonable nick, it’s unlikely you’ll be stopped. And the Spanish have scrapped charges on the Autovias (peages). The toll gates remain, but there aren’t any tickets or barriers and you just drive straight through (although probably best not to do it at 120 kph).


Thanks for your reply. I do have a carte de sejour.

It’s just that with a different mode of transport on return from Spain to home in France… We’re driving across to Spain, and then I’m going to take the train back home to France.

I hope the folks at the train station or border patrol or whatever, during the train travel, won’t ask me to prove how long I’ve stayed in Spain. I won’t be able to provide any proof of date when we crossed the border, since we were driving, I don’t think…

Because, as you say, when driving across the border from France to Spain, there aren’t any passport checks…

My concern is: will I be able to get back to home in France, without anyone needing to see whether I overstayed? I must sound a bit confused… I do believe there’s a time limit on how long one can stay in another EU country, no? Even as a carte de sejour holder? I’m a little nervous I guess, because I’m still only on a year-to-year basis for renewal of mine. I don’t get the five-year residence carte de sejour until 2023.

As far as I understand passports, are checked at the borders of the Schengen Zone, not within it. We went down to Spain with my South African sister-in-law, who before coming to Europe had to get a Schengen visa stating which countries she was going to visit. However, once through CDG, she never used it again.

Also if you have a titre de sejour carte, you’re obviously a French resident and therefore are not subject to the new 90 day visitor rule.

Don’t worry, enjoy Spain and if you’re in Barcelona, maybe you can get my wife a new teacup to replace the one that she bought two weeks ago and has already broken :wink:

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Thanks. I wonder, were you all traveling by car, or by other mode of transport? I keep thinking that when driving, the border issues are less or non-existent. But when traveling in a ‘closed’ system, if you will, such as by train, then you have the checkpoints or gates or what-have-you, where they get pretty literal about stamps and such?

But as you say, perhaps the borders of the Schengen zone are the issue. I do appreciate this. My OH thinks the same as you, so perhaps I’m over-thinking this.

I just don’t want anyone to question whether I’ve overstayed my visit in another Schengen country, given that I think I have only 90 days out of 180 in which to visit another country even when it’s a Schengen one? I’m a resident of France, so maybe I’ve confused something.

Sorry to hear about the teacup! I made my neighbor some cider cups, first I’ve ever tried to make, and they turned out a bit clunky. And I can’t recall how many teacups I’ve broken over the years. My next-favorite art material is… glue :wink:


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I went by train from France to Germany to Poland and back, returning about a fortnight ago and nobody asked me anything. Lots of different trains. The only place my ID was checked was just before Frankfurt an der Oder, coming back into Germany from Poland because of the Belarus refugee business. In France they check covid passes. I hope this reassures you a bit!


Thanks. Yes it does. Cheers!

I came back from Séville by train and bus and needed my ID for confirming that the ticket matched the person. No border controls. For the duration of the stay as I understand a titre de séjour given to a non EU country resident allows a short stay in another EU country of upto 90 days. There are no border controls. I suppose the duration is used as a trigger that you should take some administration steps if you want to stay longer.

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I’m sort of confused!
I thought that a WA Cde S only allows residency in a EU state for more than 90 days in 180 in the granting country?
But if there are no formal border checks aka free movement between the 27 states how would say Spain know you had broken the 90 day rule?
It would be different if you wanted to up sticks and move from France and settle in Spain as you would then have to get immersed into “state” managed systems. But how would Spain know if constant hopping to too and fro and resulted in breaking the 90 day rule?

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With you on this one @strudball
I look forward to some answers.

Just remember the so called "conspiracy theory " that covid vaccines contained nanobot microchips that tracked every movement globally, together with Mr Musk’s controversial starlink skynet mini satellite constellations, and you’ve got your answer!:rofl::rofl:

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That explains why after my vaccine I had a little dent in my arm - they clearly injected me with a mini satellite dish!

It used to be the case, and I expect it still is, that, if challenged, the onus was on the traveller to prove when they arrived in the country they are now leaving. Guilty until proved innocent, in other words.

To prove when I arrived in FR [for WA CdS purposes], in addition to my ferry ticket I went straight to Leclerc to gas up the car and then to Carre4 for comestilbles. The receipts for these purchases were part of my dossier for the CdS RV .

The snowbird brigade, with their plastic cottages on wheels, who trundle down to the Algarve for the winter, are very mindful of this situation. Having a £250k motorhome impounded for overstaying has put the wind up them, they being used to many more than 90 days in the winter sun.

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