France schengen visa

From the lights of Paris to the relaxing countryside, France is one of the most alluring countries in the world. Tempting cuisine such as sauces, cheeses, breads, and pastries wait inside charming cafés. French beaches are often known to be naturalist friendly, but plenty of family-oriented beaches abound.

French Overseas Territories

Aside of the French European Territory, the Republic of France also consists of two overseas territories, which are:

  • French Overseas Departments or Regions (DTOM)

  • French Overseas Territories and Collectivities (CTOM)

The metropolitan France has been part of the Schengen Zone since 1997, when it signed the Schengen Agreement. With an area of 551,695 km2 only in the continent of Europe, France is the top European destination for travellers around the world.

European Union Eligible Visa Applicants

Because of the Schengen zone common travel area, part of which France is, the following will need to obtain a visa when travelling to the French territory in the continent of Europe for short-stays:

Please note that visa policies of French Overseas Territory, Departments or Regions are a bit different from those of the Metropolitan France.  Depending on your nationality, you may have to obtain a visa to visit these countries as well.

If you need a visa, then you will have to apply for a French long-stay National Visa. Apply for the long stay French visa type that best corresponds to your purpose of entry to the French DROM or CTOM.

French Territory Visa Required Documents

Due to the abolished borders between the member states, EU nationals only need an identification document to travel throughout the Schengen Area.

On the other hand, foreign nationals will need to present several statutory documents when they show up at the French port of entry. Find these documents listed below:

  • A valid passport or travel document. Issued in the last 10 years, and it should be valid for at least 3 months after your date of departure.

  • A visa – if you are subject to the French visa regime.

  • Proof of sufficient funds for your intended stay in France. France wants you to show evidence of attesting 120€ per day if holding no proof of prepaid accommodation and 65€ per day in the other case.

  • A round-trip ticket to France and back.

  • Proof of accommodation. Covering the entire duration of the stay.

Keep in mind that the French border officer holds the final decision on whether you should be permitted to enter France or not. He or she will check your documents and may ask you a few questions about your trip to France like:

  • What is your purpose of visiting France?

  • How long do you intend to stay in France?

  • Where are you going to stay in France? Etc.

You will be permitted to enter France, and thus the Schengen Area, if the French border officer is convinced that your documents and purpose of entry are okay.

Please, make sure that the French border officer stamps your passport when you enter France. Without a stamp, you could be fined or detained from France.

Short Stay Visa

This type of visa is generally issued for tourism, business trips or family visits.

It is also issued to persons entering to France to take part in short training programmes, internships, conferences and corporate meetings, or to engage in remunerated activities (whatever the form), not exceeding 90 days.

This type of visa is also required for simple transit through France, once outside “international zone” at any airport::

  • If you need to change airports to continue your travel;

  • If you are waiting for a transfer flight at a hotel or at an acquaintance's home.

Visa Application to Visit France

In order to complete the application process to obtain a short-stay visa to France, you must follow these steps:

  1. Choose the right French visa type you need, according to your purpose of entry.

  2. Check out the French body responsible for visa admission in your country. 

  3. Complete the French visa application form.

  4. Collect the required documents for a short-term visa to France.

  5. Schedule a visa interview appointment.

  6. Attend the interview at the appropriate French Embassy/Consulate/VAC.

Where to Apply for a French Short-Stay Visa?

The French authorities have regulated visa admission and processing differently in countries around the world. According to how the French authorities have regulated visa admission in your country of residence, you may have to apply at one of the following:

  • The French Embassy

  • A French consulate

  • A Visa Application Center to which France has outsourced visa submission

  • The Embassy / Consulate of another Schengen country to which France has outsourced visa submission

How Long Does It Take to Get a French Visa?

The processing time for a French Schengen visa may take up to 15 days. Still, depending on your application for a French visa, this period may be extended up to 30 days or even up to 60 days in exceptional cases.

This is why we strongly advise you to lodge your French short-stay visa application as soon as possible, though not earlier than three months prior to your trip to France.

For further information and details, you can always contact VisaHQ.

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    This article was published by VisaHQ, a world leader in visa processing. Since 2003, VisaHQ has 20 offices in 6 countries and has helped countless tourist, business travellers, diplomats, workers, and students obtain their visa. With a 4.41 star rating on, VisaHQ is committed to innovation, service, security, and simplicity in the visa application process.