Schengen visa vs France visa

What is the difference between a Schengen visa vs France visa? Are they the same, and can they be used for the same purpose? What is their validity, and how can I decide which one to go for? These are common questions asked by persons who plan to travel to France but are unsure of the type of visa to go for. If you are in this situation and you wish t travel to France in the coming months, this is the article you need to get all the necessary information to make your trip successful. Read it till the end to learn more.

Schengen Visa Vs France Visa: What Is The Difference?

Let us start by explaining the difference between both visas.  

For starters, they are both issued by the French government through its embassies and foreign missions abroad. France has been a Schengen country since 1997, so the country is eligible to issue Schengen visas like other member states. Also, the country has its national visas, which are issued to visitors. These documents are valid and recognized by the French authorities, but they have some differences, as you will see below.

Validity: First, you should know that both visas have different validity. While Schengen visas are only valid for 180 days, the normal France or French national visa is valid for one year or more. The embassy also has long term visas that can last up to 4 years or more; some are renewable.

Recognizability: The second point is that French visas are only recognized by French border control and immigration agents, while Schengen visas are recognized and accepted by border agents of all Schengen countries and a few non Schengen countries like Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus. So you can only visit France with a France visa.

Renewable: A France visa is renewable if you meet all the conditions and do not flout the immigration rules. On the other hand, Schengen visas can be renewed, but not immediately, and visitors interested in renewing their Schengen visas must wait for at least six months before they can do so.

Visa Fee: The visa fee for a Schengen visa is standard, which means that the amount a Schengen visa issued by France will cost is the same as a German or Czech Schengen visa. A normal France visa, on the other hand, commands a visa fee. For instance, the standard fee for Schengen visas is €80, while children between 6 and 11 years pay €40, and children under six years pay nothing. As for French visas, the fee will depend on the type of visa and its validity. In most cases, longer-stay visas cost more.

How To Apply For A Schengen Visa Or A France Visa?

You can apply for either of these visas by submitting your application directly or indirectly to the French embassy in your country. Some embassies accept visa applications directly from applicants, while others accept them through licensed visa agents. But first, you must decide on the type of visa you want and the purpose of your trip. 

After making the decision, you must decide whether you need a Schengen visa if you only want to visit for a short time.  

Some nationals don’t need visas for short visits because they are from countries that are on the Schengen visa free list. Do your due diligence and find out whether you need a short stay Schengen visa or not. Once you are sure that you need the visa, you can then go ahead to prepare your document and submit your application.

Will I Need To Attend A Visa Interview?

Most visa applicants need to apply for visa interviews if they want to secure visas. The interview provides you with the opportunity to state your case as to why you need a visa and for the visa officer to examine your documents. To get an interview date, you must book an appointment with the embassy ahead of time, as walk-ins are not allowed.

How Long Before I Get The Visa?

The waiting time will depend on the type of visa you are applying for. For Schengen visas, you may need to wait up to 45 days to get the visa, while a conventional French visa will require that long or up to 2 months. The waiting time will depend on the embassy’s procedure, the type of visa the volume of applications.

Can You Work With The Visa?

You can work with a France visa only if you secure a work permit after entering the country, but holders of Schengen visas cannot work.

Now that you know the difference between a Schengen visa vs France visa, enquire about the different visas required before submitting your application to the embassy.

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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.