Many foreign nationals aside from visiting, come to France to study or work, or even to settle and live there. However, depending on their nationality and purpose of entry, many of these travelers will have to apply for a French Visa first.
French visas include visas given to enter and stay in France, DROM or CTOM. However, a French Schengen visa does not entitle its holder with entrance into DROM or CTOM.
Do I Need a Visa to Travel to France?
If you are planning to visit France, you should be aware that many nationals need a French visa in order to enter its borders, while many others do not. Whether you need to apply for a visa to France or not, depends on these factors:
- Your nationality.
- The part of France you wish to visit.
What Type of France Visa Should I Apply For?
Finding out what type of French visa you need to apply for is actually a pretty easy process. A France Schengen visa is issued to foreigners that wish to visit France, the French territories or another Schengen area country for less than 90 days within a 6-month period.
You can apply for a French Schengen Visa if you are traveling for one of the following purposes:
- To transit through the French airport.
- To participate in business and professional meeting, or a conference.
- To make a family and private visit.
- For tourism.
- To enroll in a short-term training course.
- To enroll in an internship (practicum).
How to Apply for a France Visa?
The process of getting a French Visa is not easy, nor quick. You can complete the application process for a France visa by following the steps listed below:
- Choose the right Embassy.
- Compile the documents file.
- Schedule an interview.
- Attend the interview.
- Pay the French Visa fee.
Choose the right embassy
If you are applying for a visa to France, you will have to submit your application at the French embassy in your home country. However, if you will visit other countries in Europe apart from France, you will have to apply for a visa at the Embassy of the country where you will spend most of your time.
For instance, if you will spend three days in Germany, two in Switzerland and live in France, then you will have to apply to the French embassy. On the other hand, if you will be spending the same amount of days in each country you are planning to visit, then you will have to apply at the embassy of the country where you will be landing first.
Fill in the French Schengen visa application form
You can find the France Schengen Visa application form here.
Fill the form with honest and correct information. Keep in mind that the information you give in this form must comply with that in the other documents, otherwise, your application most probably will be rejected. Do not forget to print it twice, and sign both copies at the end.
Compile the documents file
The required documents depend a lot on the type of French visa you are applying for and the purpose under which you wish to enter France. After you have found out what type of France visa you need to apply for, then the next step you need to take is to gather the required documents for France visa.
Book a France visa appointment
After you decide where you will have to apply, book a France visa appointment. At most French embassies you are able to schedule the appointment online, however in some countries, this might not be an option, so you will have to go to the embassy to schedule the appointment.
If you do not book this appointment, then you will not be accepted for the interview.
Attend the interview at the France Embassy
On the day of the interview, show up at the appointment center on time (embassy or consulate). Remember that if you are late even for a few minutes, then they will probably cancel your appointment. Try wearing something a bit more official, but comfortable.
The France visa interview takes around 10 minutes to complete. The consular officer will ask you some questions regarding your trip and the purpose of travel to France. Try not to be nervous, and answer honestly.
After the verification of your application, the application form information will be entered into the online system of the consulate or embassy and you will receive a printed copy of your application, which process usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes. After you get the printed form, please make sure to verify all the details are correct and sign the form.
Underage applicants must be accompanied by their mother/father/legal guardian.
Pay the fees
The fee must be paid upon submitting the French visa application. After you complete this payment, you will receive a receipt, which shows that payment has been made, which must be offered amongst other documents of the application dossier. You will have to pay a France visa fee in order for your application to be processed. French visa fees differ from each other based on visa type, age of applicant, nationality, etc.
Children aged from 6 to 11 will have to apply a reduced fee of only €40, (not including French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte and French Southern and Antarctic Lands)
How Long Does it Take to Get a French Visa?
Your French visa application will be processed within five to 20 working days.
Whereas, if you have applied for a France long-stay visa, you will get a reply for 15 to 20 days, or up to 2 months in some specific cases.
If you apply for a short-stay visa to visit the French Overseas territories and collectivities, then the processing time is 5 working days to 3 weeks. On the other hand, long-stay visas to these places could get up to 2 months to be processed.
What Can I Do in Case of a French Schengen Visa Refusal?
In case of a refusal of a Schengen visa for France, you can submit a request for a re-evaluation of the application to the French embassy or consulate. Such a request should be done if you have strong reasons to believe that the visa refusal was unjust.
The appeal against the decision should be submitted 2 months since the day of the refusal, in French, and the supporting documents attached to the case file. The results of the appeal could be an indirect refusal (no answer in 2 months), or a direct refusal by the commission.
The applicant can make an appeal for cancellation of that decision in no longer than 2 months at the Administrative Court of Nantes (only if the visa was rejected from the appeal, or when ministers also confirm the visa rejection).
How Many Times Can I Enter France With a Schengen Visa?
Based on the times a person is allowed to enter Schengen and the number of countries a person is allowed to enter, the France Schengen visa is grouped as follows:
- Uniform Visas. There are two types of these visas:
- Single entry – which allows its holder to enter once in the Schengen area.
- Multiple entries – the holder of this type of visa is allowed to enter France and the other countries of the Schengen area multiple times.
- Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV) – are the visas that do not allow their holder to visit any other Schengen country, aside of France when issued by the French embassy or consulate in their home country.
Can my French Schengen Visa be Revoked?
A French Schengen visa can be revoked, if you engage in:
- Working without having a work permit.
- Being involved in actions considered of danger to the public order.
- Attempting to settle in France
If your French Schengen visa is revoked, you can appeal against the decision at the Prefecture and/or at the Ministry of the Interior, who may re-evaluate the decision for refusal.
Can I Work on a French Visa?
Naturally, French short-stay visas are not meant for getting a paid job. Foreigners wishing to get a long-term visa for getting a paid job in the French territory, they need to first find a sponsoring employer who will provide for them an approved (stamped) work contract by the DIRECCTE, as this document is required for visa application.
Foreigners wishing to get a long-term visa to get a paid job as either artist or a sportsperson in championships, they must have a work permit taken by an employer/hosting institution stamped by the necessary French authority, as this document is required for visa application.
France Temporary Work Permit
A France Temporary Permit is a must for people coming to France to engage in paid activity under a French Schengen visa.
Only those coming to work in France under the following purposes are exempt from this requirement:
- sporting, cultural, artistic and scientific events.
- colloquia, seminars, and trade shows.
- cinematographic, audiovisual, entertainment and phonographic production and dissemination, as an artist or technical staff.
- modeling and artistic pose.
- services to the person (domestic worker) during the stay in France of a particular employer.
- auditing and expertise missions in IT, management, finance, insurance, architecture, and engineering as a contracted employee.
- teaching as a visiting professor.
If you are coming under a short-stay professional visa to France for any other purpose then you will have to get a temporary work permit. The work permit has to be obtained by the employer at the DIRECCTE (French Ministry of Labor). The processing of the work permit takes 10 to 15 days. Usually, the employer receives the forms stamped by mail, after this period.
The form then has to be sent back to the applicant, since he/she will be asked to present this document at the France port of entry.
What If I Have to Stay In France for Longer Than 90 Days?
If you want to travel to France for purposes that require you to stay for longer than 90 days you can apply for a French Long Stay Visa. You can apply for a French long-stay visa if the purpose of your trip is one of the following:
- Reunite with your family.
- Enroll in academic studies.
- Get employed in a paid job.
- Work as an exchange student.
- Work in a highly skilled profession.
You will have to apply only to the France embassy or consulate in your home country.
Quick facts about France
There are boundless travelers who consider French territories as their primary choice of destination to visit each year, and many others see it as their future home where they plan to build a new life.
France is a land of 41 protected historical spots, 8,000 museums, 500 festivals, countless theatrical and dance shows, limitless concerts and art exhibitions. The country uses liberty, equality, fraternity, and secularism inclusion as its key principles of life.
A country that hosts many scientific events, where education is considered one of the most essential elements of economic, social and environmental development of the country, with a very hospitable integration process for foreign persons who seek to live there permanently, everybody can swiftly incorporate their lives into the country’s rights and responsibilities.