Getting Visa For France

If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you need to acquire a visa in order to visit or live in France. There are two kinds of visas – one is a Schengen visa and the other is a national (French) visa. Visiting France? If you’re planning a trip to France, you need to familiarize yourself with their Visa requirements.France is a welcoming country, most of the time. Yet, if you want to visit France as a tourist or even on business, you’ll need to get Visa to France. Most Visa seekers ask how long does it take to get Visa for France.

Visiting France has been on your bucket list for ages. Besides the stunning architecture and classic French cuisine, you have heard that the people are super friendly and love Americans. The French government is expecting a high number of tourists in 2013. You can make it happen by following this short step-by-step guide and get your visa in no time!If you are interested in traveling to France for a short visit, you need to obtain a Visa. In fact, most nationalities outside of the European Union must obtain a Visa. It is also important to note that if you hold an EU passport as well as one from another country then you apply for the Visa at the embassy of your home country. This process can take anywhere from two weeks to a few months depending on what time of year it is and how busy the embassy is.

Getting Visa For France

France Visa Application Requirements, Fees and Guidelines

Depending on the purpose of your travel to France, there are different types of visas that will apply to the occasion.

Whether you are planning to go on a visit, study or work and reside in France permanently, you will have to apply for a different France Schengen Visa, accordingly.

You can apply for the France Visa since 1997 when France, as a Member of the European Union, also became a member state of the Schengen Area.

Monaco – a European microstate/city-state located within France – is considered part of the Schengen Area although it did not officially sign the particular documents of the agreement. Besides, no border control is performed for the Schengen countries surrounding it!

On the other hand, Andorra is another microstate located between France and Spain that performs border controls, therefore to enter it you should obtain a multi-entry Schengen visa since you should enter the Schengen Area while going or leaving Andorra.

France Entry Restrictions in Response to Coronavirus

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, France and the rest of the EU and Schengen Area members imposed an EU-wide entry ban on third-country nationals in mid-March 2020. Entry restrictions are frequently changing based on the COVID-19 situation in other countries.

Read “Travelling to France This Winter – Current Rules and Entry Restrictions” to get the latest updates regarding France entry restrictions and other measures imposed by French authorities.

Who does and who doesn’t need a Visa to enter France?

Not every foreigner and not for every territory of France applies the same visa policy. As such, visa exemptions are greatly influenced by dissimilar factors, where the major ones are: foreigner’s nationality, the territory of France that the applicant seeks to visit, foreigner’s residence status in Schengen Area or specifically in France, the purpose of visit, as well as the duration of stay.

Speaking of France territories, the law separates them into three following parts, subject to dissimilar visa policies:

  • French European Territory
  • French Overseas Départments or Regions (DOM)
  • French Overseas Territories (TOM)

Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions?

The following foreign nationals are FREE to travel WITHOUT French Visa for short stays (up to 3 months) to Guadeloupe (and its dependencies: Saint Martin, Saint Barthélémy), French Guyana, Martinique, Réunion:

  • Schengen Area member countries,
  • Andorra,
  • Argentina,
  • Australia,
  • Bolivia,
  • Brunei,
  • Bulgaria,
  • Cyprus,
  • Canada,
  • Chile,
  • Costa Rica,
  • Croatia,
  • El Salvador,
  • Guatemala,
  • Honduras,
  • Hong-Kong (titulaires du passeport de la Région administrative spéciale seulement),
  • Ireland,
  • Japan,
  • Macao (titulaires du passeport de la Région administrative spéciale seulement),
  • Malaysia,
  • Mexico,
  • Monaco,
  • New Zealand,
  • Nicaragua,
  • Panama,
  • Paraguay,
  • Singapour,
  • South Korea,
  • St-Marin,
  • Switzerland,
  • The Holy See,
  • The United Kingdom,
  • The United States,
  • Uruguay and
  • Venezuela. 

*Note: Nationals of the above-listed countries CAN enter and stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions WITHOUT a French Visa, except for the following categories of foreign nationals, who MUST have a French Visa to stay in those territories:

  • Nationals of the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Venezuela or Singapore who aim to work in these territories,
  • Nationals of the United States who: aim to study there, hold a diplomatic or official or other service passport and aim to stay in these French territories in a diplomatic or official mission there, as well as those who aim to stay there for journalism purposes

All other foreign nationals of the excluded countries from the above list, CANNOT enter or stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions WITHOUT undergoing the French Visa Application procedure and getting the appropriate French Visa.

Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in French Overseas Territories? 

The following foreign nationals are FREE to travel without a French Visa  for short stays (up to 3 months) in French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia and its dependencies, (Terres Australes et Antarctiques françaises (TAAF)), Mayotte, Saint Pierre et Miquelon:

  • Argentina,
  • Australia,
  • Bolivia,
  • Brasil,
  • Brunei,
  • Croatia,
  • Canada,
  • Chile,
  • Costa Rica,
  • El Salvador,
  • Guatemala,
  • Honduras,
  • Hong-Kong * (passport holders of the special administrative area exclusively),
  • Japan,
  • Macao* (passport holders of the special administrative area exclusively),
  • Malaysia,
  • Mexico,
  • New Zealand,
  • Nicaragua,
  • Panama,
  • Paraguay,
  • Singapore,
  • South Corea,
  • The United States and
  • Uruguay.

Nationals who can enter the French Overseas Territories WITHOUT a French Visa but CANNOT stay more than three (3) months or ninety (90) days there, come from the following countries:

  • Schengen Area member countries,
  • Andorra,
  • Bulgaria,
  • Cyprus,
  • Ireland,
  • Monaco,
  • Norway,
  • Netherlands,
  • Saint Marin,
  • The Holy See and
  • The United Kingdom.

*Note: Nationals of the above-listed countries CAN enter and stay in the French Overseas Territories WITHOUT a French Visa, except for the following categories of foreign nationals, who MUST have a French Visa to stay in those territories:

  • Nationals of Brazil, Canada, South Korea, United States, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore meaning to get a gainful job in these territories,
  • Nationals of the United States if they: aim to get a job there, or, entering and staying there for journalism purposes
  • Nationals of Hong Kong and Macao will need a French Visa to enter and Stay in the Overseas French Territory of New Caledonia.

All other foreign nationals of the excluded countries from the above list, CANNOT enter or stay in the French Overseas Territories WITHOUT undergoing the French Visa Application procedure and getting the appropriate French Visa.

General required documents for a France Visa Application:

  • Download the France Visa Application form, fill it completely and with sincerity. You can also fill the France Schengen Visa application form electronically and then print a hard copy.
  • 2 photos must be attached; the photo should be of passport format – a recent whole-face capture with a light background. Learn more about photo requirements and specifications for a French Visa.
  • Your passport and copies of your previous visas – valid for at least 3 months beyond the return date – are required. Your passport must have at least two blank pages.
  • A copy of your return ticket reservation. It is not recommended to purchase the ticket before obtaining the visa – if not otherwise required.
  • Travel visa insurance confirmation of minimum 30,000 € coverage within France and the entire Schengen area. In order to apply for a French visa, the French embassy/consulate requires a Schengen travel insurance policy that is valid in all Schengen countries. French embassy/consulate also requires the confirmation of coverage letter as the proof of coverage to be submitted along with other requested documents and France visa application.
  • A cover letter stating the purpose of a visit to France and itinerary
  • Flight ticket reservations. Find out how to get a flight reservation for France Visa Application without paying for the actual flight.
  • Proof of accommodation for your entire stay in France. Book a hotel in France online!
  • Proof of civil status (marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, ration card if applicable)
  • Means of subsistence – Proof of sufficient financial means for the period of stay. As the European Commission specifies, any foreigner seeking to enter France, since 19 June 2014, when applying for France visa must be able to attest to the France Embassy or Consulate possessing the daily money amount of 120€ if holding no proof of prepaid accommodation. However, if the applicant has a prepaid hotel, then this amount reduces to 65€/daily for the period of covered hotel accommodation, while the rest is 120€. Also, in case the applicant proofs cheaper forms of accommodation the amount decreases to 32.25€/ day.

UK residents, please read: How to Apply for a Visa to France in UK!

If employed:

  • Employment contract
  • Current bank statement of the latest 6 months
  • Leave approval letter from employer
  • Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary

If self-employed:

  • A copy of your business license
  • Company bank statement of the latest 6 months
  • Income Tax Return (ITR)

If a student:

If retired:

  • Pension statement of the latest 6 months

If applicable:

  • Regular income generated by property proof of the latest 6 months

*Note: The signed application form must be accompanied by the rest of the above-mentioned mandatory documents and handed personally to the appropriate embassy/consulate or its representative in your home country.

Apart from the general documentation required, accompanying should be other additional documents depending on the purpose of your French Visa application.

List of additional documents required for the most frequent purposes of the France Visa Application:

French Tourist/Visitor Visa:

France Visa for Business Purposes:

  • Invitation letter from the French company you will be visiting and their detailed address accompanied with the dates of your visit
  • A certificate from your employer stating/allowing your business travel
  • If there were previous trade relations between the two companies, proof of such events must be provided
  • Business bank statement of the latest 6 months
  • Memorandum and Article of Association in original certified copy (registered with joint-stock companies) Trade License (first issued and present renewal), Proprietorship/Partnership documents
  • Regarding the applicant’s expenses during stay in the Schengen zone, either the employer or the partner company must state coverage of expenses on the letter or invitation.

France Visa for Medical Purposes

France Visa for Medical Purposes is destined for foreigners who need to enter and stay in a French territory temporarily to get medical treatment in a medical institution located in French territory. Typically this visa type is issued to foreigners who cannot get the appropriate healthcare in their home country.

Apart from the general requirements, the following are the specific additional documents to apply for this French visa type: 

  • A Letter of invitation from the medical institution, or, A Formal Agreement of the French Hospital for Patient’s Admission  – Both documents must include information such as the aim of the foreign patient’s consult, his/her current diagnosis, information about the therapy to take, the length of it, the appointment date, medical costs involved, the main doctor in charge, and so on.  For critical or emergent cases, the invitation letter must be enclosed together with a formal confirmation from the medical institution – stating the readiness to treat the patient on a specific date of arrival.
  • Evidence of a Prepaid or Covered Medical Treatment
  • Payment receipt of medical fees from the French Hospital – A letter affirming the costs of the patient’s treatment are already covered.
  • Detailed information on medical treatment fee – issued by the medical institution’s financial department (for uncovered medical treatment)
  • A bank transfer slip confirming the payment of a medical treatment fee (for prepaid medical treatment of the applicant)
  • A guarantee letter from the applicant – An affirmation certificate to assure the patient’s capacity to cope with the extra medical costs (when expecting unforeseen costs of medical treatment to happen)
  • Verbal note from the Embassy of the home country of the applicant in France, or, Verbal Note from the Ministry of Health of the home country 
    The formal document must declare the readiness of the relevant government of the applicant’s home country to cover his medical treatment costs (for covered medical treatment by the Government of the home country of the applicant)
  • A Letter of Confirmation from the Employer – i.e. A Bank Statement of the Employer – A letter confirming the employer’s financial capability to cover his employee’s medical treatment in a French territory (for covered medical treatment by the Employer of the applicant) – if applicable
  • Birth Certificate (for a minor applicant) – The certificate must be provided in original accompanied with a copy
  • Letter of Consent from the Other Parent (for a minor applicant travelling with one parent) – A formal document from a parent, translated in a French language and notarized, stating he/she has no objection about his child travelling
  • Letter of Consent from Both Parents (for a minor applicant travelling with a third person) – A formal document from both parents, translated in a French language and notarized, stating they have no objection about his child travelling.
  • Copies of Valid Schengen Visas (of accompanying parent, parents or third person of a minor).
  • Medical Report from A Doctor In Charge Of Treatment in the Country of Residence of The Applicant.
  • Confirmed Hotel Reservation or Confirmed Accommodation in the Medical Clinic (for accompanying persons of the applicant).
  • A certificate from the national medical authority for the incapacity of the country to offer the appropriate medical treatment for the applicant’s condition.
  • Registration Certificate of the patient in the national list for organs and cornea transplant issued by the medical and surgical team performing the transplant (In case of transplant).

France Visa for Culture, Sports, Film Crew or Religious Purposes:

  • Invitation letter from the above-mentioned authorities with details upon the nature of events or activities – the purpose of visit, expense coverage
  • Names of the applicants (crew members)
  • Duration of stay in France
  • Travel itinerary while in France

France Visa for Members of Official Delegations:

  • The official invitation copy
  • Identity of applicant
  • Purpose of the journey (negotiations, meetings, event by intergovernmental organizations, consultations)
  • Duration of stay in France
  • Place of accommodation in France 

France Visa for Study, Training, Research, or other types of Internship Purposes:

  • An enrolment certificate allowing attendance of courses
  • Certificate of completion or courses attended
  • Financial sustenance 

France Visa For The Wife/Husband of a French citizen:

  • Proof of French citizenship (ID card or consular card or certification of French nationality or naturalization order)
  • French marriage certificate
  • French family record book

French Airport Transit Visa:

  • Visa or other types of entry permit in the transit country
  • Copy of your valid visa for your final destination

For more detailed requirements, please read the following article “French Visa for Airport Transit“!

France Visa for Underage Children:

  • Proof of parent’s regular income (work contract with specified monthly income or a bank statement or business license)
  • Notarized travel permission from parent (parental travel consent)
  • If one parent lives in another country – their notarized parental travel consent

*Note: When applying at the French embassy/consulate in the home country, the guardian or parent should accompany their underage children.

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