To many, traveling and visiting other countries and cultures sounds as the best experience ever, and the ideal way of spending their life. However, experienced travelers know that you cannot just wake up one morning and decide to visit another country, even if you have all financial means to do so. In most of the cases, one will have to obtain a visa first in order to be able to enter a specific country, which is a stamp or a sticker affixed to traveler’s passport that permits its holder to enter the country the embassy of which has issued the visa.
Before starting your application process for obtaining a France visa, ask you self the following questions, to each of which you can find the answer in the explanations given below.
France Visa Application
The process of obtaining a France visa is not easy, nor quick. So remember that if you need to visit another country, you will not be able to obtain a visa overnight. If you have figured out what type of visa you need, and collected the required documents, then you can start the application process.
Complete the application process for a France visa by following the steps listed below:
- Find out if you need a France Visa.
- Decide the type of French visa that you should apply for.
- Collect the required documents for a France visa.
- Choose the right Embassy.
- Schedule an interview.
- Attend the interview.
Find out if you need a France Visa
If you are planning to visit France, you should be aware that many nationals need a visa in order to enter its borders, while many others do not. You might be a citizen among of a country have a powerful passport, meaning you can visit France without the need of obtaining a French visa because of visa-free regime agreements between your country and France
The first step towards obtaining a visa, is actually finding out whether you need a France visa or not, which all depends in three factors:
- Your nationality.
- The length of your stay.
- The part of France you wish to visit.
Decide the type of French visa that you should apply for
Finding out what type of visa you need is actually a pretty easy process. First of all, the France visas are categorized in two groups, depending on the length of your planned stay in France:
- France Short-stay visas. For people who plan to stay in France for a period up to three months. A France Schengen visa has to be obtained in this case, which also permits the holder to visit the other 26 countries of the Schengen area.
- France Long-stay visas. For people who wish to stay in France for more than 3 months, up to a year.
Decide how long you are planning to stay, and then get the list of the short-stay or long-stay visas, depending on your case. Figure out which type of visa you need, or fits your purpose of travel to France best, and apply for that one.
Collect the required documents for a France visa
The requirements for a France visa depend a lot on the type of visa you are applying for and the purpose under which you wish to enter France. After you have found out what type of visa you need to apply for, then the next step you need to take is to gather the required documents for France visa application.
There are some documents that you will be required to submit, no matter what type of France visa you are applying for and some that are specific to a certain France visa. Some of these documents include:
- France Visa application form – duly completed with honest and correct information.
- Your passport- which must be valid for three months beyond the end of your planned stay in France, issued no earlier than 10 years before. The passport must have at least two blank pages in order to be able to affix visa.
- Photocopies of all important pages of the passport (picture, earlier Schengen visas, entry stamps, other).
- Two recent photos, according to the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
- Flight Itinerary – which is a document to confirm having a reserved round-trip transportation, hotel hostel reservation etc.
- France Travel Insurance.
- A document that proves you have paid the visa fee.
Choose the right embassy where to apply
For Schengen visa applicants
If you are applying for a Schengen visa, with which you also plan to enter France, just know that you do not need to apply at each embassy of every country you will visit. In general, you will have to apply at the country where you will be spending more time. If you will spend three days in Germany, two in Switzerland and five in France, then you will have to apply at the France 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.
For France long stay visa applicants
On the other hand, if you are applying for a long stay visa, then you do not need to figure out where you need to apply, since you will have to apply only at the France embassy or consulate in your home country.
Schedule a France Visa interview
After you decide where you will have to apply, schedule an interview. At most French embassies you are able to schedule the interview online, however in some countries this might not be an option, so you will have to go at the embassy to schedule the interview.
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 purpose of travel. 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.
French Visa Fee
You will have to pay a France visa application 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 35€, (not including French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte and French Southern and Antarctic Lands)
France Visa Processing Time
Once again, even the processing time for your visa depends on the type of visa you have applied for, as well as for the part of France you wish to visit.
You will get a reply whether your short-stay visa application has been approved or rejected within five to 20 working days.
Whereas, if you have applied for a long-stay visa, you will get a reply for 15 to 20 days, or up to 2 months in some specific cases.
The processing time changes when it comes to French Overseas territories and collectivities. If you apply for a short-stay visa to visit these places, then the processing time is 5 working days to 3 weeks. On the other hand, long-stay visas could get up to 2 months to be processed.