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Types of Visas in France

Types of Visas in France

Persons who want to enter France must firstly obtain the type of visa they need, so they can prepare for the application process. Short-stay visas, long-stay visas, or French student visas can be solicited by foreigners who want to visit the country for different reasons. The entire visa application process can be overseen by one of our immigration lawyers in France who can provide legal advice and assistance right away. We can also provide support for gaining the French residence permit, so you can simply address your requests to our team of advisors.

 Quick Facts  
 Visas for EU nationals in France EU citizens do not need a visa to enter France. 

 Visas for non-EU citizens

Depending on nationality, a short-stay visa can be required. 

Visas for non-European French territories 

Most foreign nationals need to apply for a visa for stays longer than 90 days in these territories. EU citizens are exempted. 

Short-stay visa types 

– tourism,

– medical,

– business trips,

– family visits 

 Short-stay visa duration

No more than 90 days 

 Long-stay visa types

– extended tourism/personal reasons,

– educational purposes,

– professional activities,

– business,

– joining family members 

Types of visas for professional purposes 

–  self-employed or liberal activity,

– employment, international talents,

– business creation, etc.

Long-stay visa validity 

 Depending on the visa type

The VLS-TS visa 

This is a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit. The holder needs to validate the visa within 3 months of arrival. 

 When do you apply for the visa? Before departing to France 
 Where do you apply for the visa?

 The nearest French Embassy or Consulate

 Visa application costs (approx.)

 Examples include EUR 99 for a long-stay visa and EUR 60 for a short-stay visa. These fees can be subject to change.

 Visa application documents

– travel document,

– ID pictures,

– supporting documents (depending on the type of visa) 

 Special requirements for documents

 Documents in languages other than French or English need to be translated into French.

 Visa application processing time   Generally 15 days

Choosing between one of the France visa types is performed before the foreign national enters France for those who are non-EU/EEA nationals. This is because, depending on nationality, certain foreign nationals must present a visa even when they simply intend to travel for tourist purposes. The application is submitted with the Embassy or Consulate of France in the foreign national’s country of residence.

Our team can help you even before you arrive in the country by providing you with all of the needed information about the France visa types. If you are unsure of the current regulations, rules for entry, and staying in the country for short or long-term purposes, our team can assist you.

In this article, we discuss the main types of visas, both for long and short stays and we outline the conditions for some of the most popular forms, such as the ones intended for family purposes. Please feel free to ask one of our agents any questions as well as to request personalized information depending on your nationality and particular conditions.

What types of visas are available in France?

Tourist visas, student visas, work visas, and family visas can be issued for foreigners interested in visiting France. One should note that a French tourist visa is available for 3 months. Having such a visa comes with work restrictions, but with other benefits. Because France is part of the Schengen area, this means that tourists can also visit the Schengen countries. Below, you can find information about the conditions and formalities for obtaining a Schengen visa:

  •  the passport must have a validity of at least 3 months beyond the return in the home country;
  •  a health insurance with a coverage of minimum EUR 30,000 available in France and the entire Schengen visa is required;
  •  proof of accommodation in France for the 3 months stay is solicited, as part of the visa application;
  •  information about the return ticket is needed;
  •  the purpose of your visit in France must be stated in a cover letter;
  •  financial information in order to prove you can support living in France is needed.

We remind you that a short-stay visa for tourism purposes will not allow you to work in France. Also, instead of dealing with the visa application formalities, we recommend you talk to one of our French immigration lawyers and solicit legal advice.

Understanding the various types of visas is important during the pre-application phase. Your ability to obtain residency in France will directly depend on your lawful stay in the country, as well as the duration of the stay. Long-term visas are issued for a number of purposes and our team can help you gather the needed documents and submit them to the appropriate authorities.

France visa types for short stays

 Some foreign nationals will first need to enter France for short-term purposes. In other cases, they will only decide upon relocation once their first shorter period has come to an end. Irrespective of whether a foreign national knows that he or she intends to extend the stay, having a short-term visa is mandatory for foreigners depending on their nationality.

As previously mentioned, not all foreign nationals need a visa to enter the country and different rules apply for visiting the French Overseas Territories (Saint-Martin, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and others).

The short-stay visa is issued for purposes such as tourism, business trips, and family visits when the family members do not intend to reunite with the relatives who are already French residents. The short-term visa is also needed for transit purposes if the foreign national will be outside the international zone of the airport (for example, if they will wait for a transfer flight outside the airport or if they need to change the airport to continue the journey).

The Uniform Schengen visa for which the conditions were outlined above is commonly used for all of these short-term purposes. The French visa types are intended for various purposes and one of these also includes the circulation visa, suitable for foreign nationals who make frequent travels to the country. This type of visa can have a varying validity period (for example, between 6 months and 5 years), however, each case is evaluated individually. When an individual receives such as visa, he or she will be able to have unlimited stays in France, under the condition that the total time limit is 90 days for each 180 day period. The French authorities determine the total duration of the visa, based on the holder’s particular needs and situation. One will need to prove that he indeed is in need of a frequent circulation visa, for example, due to frequent work travels to France. In addition to the scope of the travel, the applicant will also need to show proof of integrity, especially by means of previously held visas (if applicable).

Foreign nationals who apply for a Schengen visa should know that this is not one of the French visa types that allows travel to non-European French territories. A special visa is issued for these and if the traveler needs to be present both in France and in a non-European French territory, he will need to separate visas. We are at your service if you want to apply for residency in France.

Long-stay visas for France

French long-stay visas are valid for 6 months, with the possibility of renewing it prior to the expiry date within 3 months. Just like in the case of short-stay visas, this type of visa also lets foreigners freely travel within the Schengen area. As for the requirements imposed, this will be the same as for most of the visa types available for France, mentioning that the application form offered by the authorities must comprise personal information (name, birthplace, marital status, family, etc.). Long-stay visas will replace the short-stay visas for persons who intend to live in France for more than just 3 months.

These French visa types cover several main categories, and they can be issued for foreigners who carry out professional activities in France, join family members or attend specific courses. In some cases, the visa can be issued for extended tourism purposes or for a prolonged stay for personal reasons, such as for medical purposes. When the duration of the stay for medical care, for example, exceeds the permitted 90 days, the individual will be issued a long-stay national visa (upon submitting proper supporting documentation that will be examined by observing medical confidentiality).

Understanding the requirements of the various visa types is mandatory for all those who wish to relocate to France. Our team can answer questions about the vis and entry requirements for all foreign nationals, as well as the types of residence permits (for short-term and long-term stays). You can reach out to us as soon as you decide to travel to the country for your long-term stay.

Remaining in France for long-term purposes under one of the types of visas described in this article can allow the holder to obtain French nationality under the naturalization process, in most cases (with the other option being through a declaration of nationality, when the applicant has French lineage). Certain conditions apply to both of the possible ways to obtain citizenship in France and our team can give you more details.

We invite you to watch a video on the main types of visas in France:

Student visas for foreigners in France

Foreign students can attend prestigious universities in France as long as they respect the visa requirements and conditions. Short-stay and long-stay student visas are available for foreign citizens and issued in accordance with the length of the courses in France. The formalities are the same as for most of the visas, except the fact that the university or college will have to provide the letter of approval, as part of the visa application. Moreover, the chosen college or university must provide information about the campus accommodation, if it is the case. Otherwise, if the foreign student will live with the family in France, proof of this kind of accommodation is needed.

The French visa for professional activities

This is a type of visa that allows the holder to engage in professional activities in several categories, such as self-employed, employee, or investor. Self-employed individuals who hold the visa can travel to the country for business purposes that may have to do with their commercial obligations when they are shareholders or founders in a French resident company.

The long-stay visa for employees allows foreign nationals to respond to recruitment posted by a French company as well as work as a seasonal worker, engage in teaching activities or work as a professional assistant or collaborate with a French modeling agency. Other professions and internships are also included. We suggest reaching out to our specialists if you are interested in applying for this type of visa.

French family visas

Joining the family in France as a non-EU/EEA citizen is not complex if the necessary visa is obtained. Short or long-stay visas are normally required in this case, depending on the length of stay in France. The residence permit is then issued by the prefecture, as soon as information about the accommodation in France is offered to the authorities. With the help of our French immigration lawyers, you can receive complete legal services and support for the entire visa application process, regardless of the purpose of your visit to France.

France immigration statistics

We have gathered information about the population and immigration in France that might attract your attention:

  •  around 66 million is the population in France, according to worldometers.info;
  •  the population of France represents around 0.84% of the total population of the world;
  •  approximately 6.5 million immigrants were registered in France in 2018;
  •  about 110,00 foreigners gained French citizenship in 2018.

All the details about the types of visas available in France can be solicited from our team of immigration lawyers in France. Please feel free to contact our advisors at any time and ask for legal advice.