Obtaining a visa for France is a straightforward process that can be entirely overseen by one of our French immigration lawyers. There are specific categories of citizens who need to apply for a French visa, mentioning that it also comes with a series of benefits, due to the fact that the country is part of the Schengen area. Our specialist can also help you obtain residency in France, so feel free to address your inquiries to us.
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Who needs a visa for France?
Non-EU/EEA citizens must obtain a visa to enter France. There are different visa policies for French Overseas Territories, French Overseas Departments of Regions, and French European Territories. Citizens from Japan, Mexico, US (diplomats, students, journalists), Singapore, South Korea, and Venezuela must first obtain a visa to enter France. As for the citizens from countries like UK, Switzerland, Malaysia, Ireland, Croatia, Australia, Canada, Chile, Bulgaria, Honduras can stay up to 90 days in France without a French visa. One of our immigration lawyers in France can tell you more about the visa regulations in this country.
What is a Schengen visa?
France is part of the Schengen area alongside with countries like Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Austria, Finland, Malta, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Denmark, Latvia, Slovakia, Estonia, Slovenia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, and the Netherlands, meaning that persons obtaining a French visa can freely travel within these countries. There are no border controls between the countries part of the Schengen area. Below you can find out information about how to obtain a Schengen visa for France which is available for 3 months, with the possibility of extension:
- The French visa application form must comprise all your personal information (name, birthplace, parents, marital status, family, etc.,).
- The passport must have a validity of at least 3 months beyond return.
- A travel visa insurance with a minimum coverage of EUR 30,000 available in France and the entire Schengen area is needed.
- Proof of the return-ticket reservation is required.
- The purpose of the visit in France must be stated in a cover letter.
- The authorities will require proof of accommodation for your entire stay in France.
- Proof of sufficient funds for the entire stay in France is solicited.
It the case of foreign employees in France, a copy of the employment contract is needed, together with the approval letter issued by the company hiring staff. In the case of sole traders, they will have to offer a copy of the business license, as part of the French visa application. It is recommended to have the support and the legal advice of a team of French immigration lawyers, so you can talk to us at any time.
The short-stay visa for France
This type of visa is commonly used for business trips, as the situation mentioned above, for tourism (for citizens from certain countries) and family visits. The uniform Schengen short-stay visa can be used, as it is issued by one Member State and may be used in another Member State.
The short-stay visa is also used for those who will be in the country for conferences or for short periods of time for their work, such as trainings or internships, as well as corporate meetings. This type of visa can be used for employment purposes, however, only for activities that will not exceed 90 days and with adequate documentation, as mentioned above.
Foreign nationals who make multiple visits to the country within a year can apply for a multiple-entry visa that has a varying validity period, from 6 months to 5 years. This is the circulation visa, however, the applicant will need to comply with certain special requirements, among which to provide proof of the need or the intention to travel to France frequently as well as proof of integrity and reliability and for this purpose previously granted visas will be used as reference. The French administration determines if it will issue the circulation visa according to each case and if so, it also establishes its duration based on the particularities of each case.
We invite you to watch a video on the types of visas available to those who wish to enter France:
Conditions for the visa for business purposes
Foreign citizens who want to visit France for business purposes will need to respect a few important formalities besides the above-mentioned ones. In this case, an invitation letter from the French company you want to visit is required. This will comprise information about the date of the visit, purposes, collaboration, etc. Also, the company you work for will have to issue a certificate stating the business travel. One of our French immigration lawyers can offer in-depth support and legal advice for persons interested in a French visa for business purposes. We can also provide details about the residence permit in France.
Other types of French visas
A French visa for culture, sports, film crew, or religious purposes, for medical purposes, and for members of official delegations can be solicited by foreigners wanting to visit France. The purpose of the journey, the duration of stay, official invitation letters, and place of accommodation in France are among the required information solicited by the authorities as part of a visa application. Please note that one of our French immigration attorneys can provide immediate legal advice.
Regardless of the visa you initially apply for to enter the country, if your main goal is to relocate to the country, you will need to discuss your options for residency in France depending on your purpose of stay. Temporary and permanent stays are possible for employment, business, or study purposes, however, you can better understand the requirements if you discuss your situation with our team.
Separate assistance is provided upon request for those who are interested in applying for French citizenship. For most foreign nationals, the option to apply for French nationality comes after five years of lawfully residing in the country habitually. This means that they will apply for citizenship by naturalization, based on their length of stay and also their level of French language understanding and overall integration.
The long-term visa for France
These types of visas are used for stays that exceed 90 days and the application is made in advance. During its validity, the long-stay visa is the equivalent of a Schengen visa and allows the holder to move to other Schengen states, however, not for longer than 90 days in a period of 180 consecutive days.
The purposes for which a long-term visa is issued can include: staying for a longer period for personal reasons or for tourism purposes, carrying out a professional activity, studying, or reuniting with family. Specific circumstances can also apply.
Only EU/EEA and Swiss citizens, along with citizens from Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, or the Vatican are permitted to remain in France without a visa for more than 90 days. If you are interested in a long-term stay in the European territory of France have a different nationality, our team can help you apply for the visa that suits your purpose.
Our lawyers are at your service if want to apply for France residency by investment.
French visa fees
The French Ministry of Interior establishes certain visa fees according to category. A reduced rate is applicable in some cases and children, as well as other limited categories of relatives, are free of charge. The main fees for a visa for France are listed below by our team:
- Schengen visa and airport transit visa: a full rate of 80 euros applies and a reduced rate of 40 euros is available for children between 6 and 12 years; children under the age of six as well as the foreign spouses of French nationals are not subject to a visa fee;
- Short-stay visa for French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthelemy: 60 euros for the standard fee and 35 euros for the reduced children’s fee (for those between 6 and 12 years); the same exceptions apply for smaller children and spouses;
- Short-stay visa for French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Mayotte, Wallis and Futuna, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands: 9 euros for the full rate; there is no reduced rate in this case, however, free of charge situations are possible;
- Long-stay visa: 90 euros for the standard rate and 50 euros for the reduced, children’s rate; exemptions apply for the foreign spouse of a French national.
An adopted child will pay a visa fee of 15 euros when the adopter (at least one of the two parents) is a French national and there is no reduced rate in this case. When the adopter is not a French national, the fee is 99 euros.
The visa fee for nationals of Moldova, Montenegro, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Georgia, North Macedonia, Russia, and Ukraine has a fixed value of 35 euros for entry visas and short-stay visas, according to the facilitation agreements in place with these countries (only applicable for nationals of these countries who are non-biometric passport holders).
A reduced rate for the visa for France can also apply in the case of students who have had their application considered by a Center for Studies in France.
Please keep in mind that these fees can be subject to change. You can verify the fees before you apply with one of our local immigration experts.
The visa fee is payable upon filing, and it is collected by the consulate that will process the application. It is not refundable. The consulate is also the place where the applicant has his biometric data collected (fingerprints and photograph).
Short facts about immigration in France
The National Institute of Statistics and Economic studies provides the following information about immigration in France:
- 9.7% of the population of France is made of immigrants;
- about 66.9 million is the population of France, according to the statistics released in January 2019;
- there are around 6.5 million immigrants living in France;
- many foreign nationals applied for a residence permit in France: more than 255,000 such permits were issued in 2018 for foreigners in the country.
Many foreign nationals who relocate to France choose to remain permanently in the country. If this is the case, our experts can provide more details about obtaining French citizenship.
Foreign citizens interested in a French visa are invited to contact our team of immigration lawyers in France for comprehensive legal support and guidance. We can assist you throughout the entire process.