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Comprehensive guide to obtaining a short stay business visa for France, the application procedures, required documents, and FAQs

A France Business visa is an authorization to enter France and stay here for a period up to 90 days within a six-month period, as permitted. It permits its holder to engage in business-related activities as the following:

  • Attending meetings or conferences.
  • Conducting or attending training.
  • Conducting internal audits.
  • Installing equipment or performing other temporary services for a client, local affiliate or branch office.

Who Needs a France Business Visa?

Every national of a third country that has not yet reached a visa-free regime with the Schengen states, must apply for a France visa for business purposes.

Nationals of the following, are exempt from a visa to travel to France for business purposes.

Additionally, the nationals of a few more countries can be visa-exempt on several occasions, as when traveling with a diplomatic passport.

How to Apply for a French Business Visa?

Applying for a France business visa means completing several procedures, which are slightly different from the application procedures for other French visas.

Though at first the application process for a France short-stay business visa may seem like a lot of work to do, in particular, if this is your first time applying, if you pay attention you will notice that it is not as hard.

You just need to follow these procedures in the given order and make sure the requirements meet the criteria set by French authorities.

Below, find each step of the application process for a France business visa explained:

Complete the French Business Visa Application Form

To apply for a French visa for business purposes you will need to complete two forms:

  • The online form at the French visa portal.
  • The Schengen visa application form, which is the same for all purposes of entry and all Schengen countries.

First, complete the form at the French visa portal. Give all the required information correctly, and then at the end, you will receive a list of the documents required for the application. This includes the Schengen visa application form.

You can find this form at the visa portal of France, or ask the French embassy in your country of residence to provide you with one. Complete this form on your computer, print it, and then sign it at the end.

Collect the France Business Visa Required Documents

Copy the list you receive upon the completion of the online form at the French visa portal and start collecting all of these documents. Aside from the commonly required documents for a French visa, you will also need to collect some additional documents for a business visa, as follows:

  • Completed French Business Visa Application Form.
  • Two passport-style photos in accordance with the Schengen requirements. They must be no older than three months.
  • Your valid passport. It must be valid for a minimum of 3 months after the end of your planned stay in France. The passport must have at least two blank pages in order to be able to put the visa sticker on it.
  • Copies of older visas. If you have ever held any visa to any country in the world, submit copies of those visas.
  • Travel Health Insurance for your entire stay in France. It should cover not only France but also the whole territory of Schengen with a minimum of €30,000.
  • Complete Travel Itinerary. A list of the things that you are planning to do while in France, including details about how you are planning to reach France. Attach supporting documents as a Round Trip flight, a railroad booking or a document of a booked organized tour (where transportation is included)
  • Proof of financial means. The French authorities want to know how you will be financing yourself while in France. That is why you should submit the following documents that apply to your situation, as a part of this requirement:
    • Recent bank statements.
    • Employment contract stating your salary, if you will be working in France.
    • Income from rented property.
    • Retirement benefit plan.
    • A letter of declaration from a sponsor stating the readiness to cover your costs for the period of stay, accompanied by documents that confirm possession of money of such sponsor (i.e. bank statements of last 3 months, other).
    • Other documents that prove you have the means to support yourself for the whole duration of stay in France.
  • Proof of accommodation in France. Another very important document that you need to submit is proof where you will be staying in France. According to the purpose of your trip, at least one of the following should be submitted:
    • Hotel or hostel reservations.
    • Certificate of reception “Attestation d’accueil” stamped by the city hall (for private visits)
    • Rental contract – “Bail de location” in France if you will be staying in a rented place.
  • Certificate of criminal record of the home country– showing that candidate has no open crime case involvement.
  • Proof of paid visa fee.
  • 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 describing precisely the activity, the motive, the duration and the place of your meeting, seminar or conference.
  • Proof of previous trade relations between the two companies, if applicable.
  • Business bank statement for the latest 6 months.
  • 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 of invitation.
  • Where appropriate, entry cards at fairs or congresses.

Yet, depending on your case and the embassy of your country, you may be asked to submit additional documents. Make sure to submit them all as required.

Find Out Where You Need to Apply

Note that when you complete the online form, you will also be asked to make an appointment with the relevant French authorities in your country of residence, for visa application submission.

Depending on the French authorities in your country of residence, there are a few options where you may have to lodge your France business visa application. This could be any of the following:

  • The French embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
  • A visa-processing center in charge of visa admission on behalf of French authorities, in your country of residence.
  • One of the three authorities listed above, located in a neighboring country, to which French authorities in your home country have outsourced visa processing.

Book an appointment

After you find out where you should lodge your application, make a visa appointment with them. You will usually have to make the appointment online at their website, or through a phone call.

Make sure that the application date you book is at least two weeks before the intended date of your trip, and at most three months in advance.

Attend the Visa Interview

A visa interview for a French Business visa is compulsory for every applicant. The interview takes place on the same date that you submit your visa application file.

During the interview, a visa consular will ask you several questions on your intended trip to France. You will have to submit your documents to this person as well.

If this is the first time in last five years that you are traveling to a Schengen country, then you will also need to give your biometrics – your facial image and fingerprints – on the same day.

Pay the French Business visa fee

On the day of your appointment, you should also pay a visa fee. The fee is required in order to cover the expenses that come out of the processing of your visa application.

The France Business visa fee is €80. Yet, the nationals of a few countries and categories need to pay a lower fee of only €35. Check here for a list of these countries!

When Will I Get a Response on My Application?

As a rule, all French embassies are obliged to notify the visa applicants wishing to travel to France for business purposes, within two weeks of application. This period may be extended for some more days in specific cases, and if the authority in charge of processing your application is receiving too many applications at the time.

How Long Can I Stay in France With a Business Visa?

The longest that you can remain in France is three months for a period of half a year. Note that it depends on the French embassy that processes your visa, how long they want to let you stay in France.

This could be two days or three months, and every other period in between. You can also get a single entry visa, or a multiple entry visa, which permits you to return to visit France more than once, within the number of permitted days of stay.

You will have all this information on your visa sticker. Learn here how to read a visa sticker!

What Is the Easiest Way to Get a France Business Visa?

The easiest way to get a France business visa is to meet all of the requirements set by the French authorities, and follow the procedures correctly, given and explained in this article. There is no short road. Every traveler and every businessperson will need to follow the rules, in order to get the authorization to travel to France.

Tips on Traveling to France with a Business Visa

These tips will be very useful to you, in particular, if this is your first time traveling to France with a business visa. But even if not, some of them may come quite handy to you.

  • Wear formal clothes. If you go into a business meeting in France in ripped jeans and a baggy sweater, it will not be appreciated, no matter how good of a business person you are. You should respect the business rules in France, and they want people at business meetings and gatherings wearing suits and formal dresses.
  • Use the words ‘Monsieur’ or ‘Madame’ to address others. You have no idea how much formality is appraised in France. If you want to make a good impression, you should address with the words ‘Monsieur’ to men and ‘Madame’ to women.
  • Learn some basic words in French. Even if the meetings are to be conducted in English or another language you are familiar with, it is always an advantage to know a few words in French.
  • Light handshakes. Yeah, French people do not like others to grab and squeeze their hands. Light handshakes, which last two or three seconds, are the norm, in particular in the business world.

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