Let’s get something clear : A France Schengen visa or France visa allows you to travel to 26 countries in Europe that make up the Schengen zone, without any internal borders. It can be issued from any of those 26 countries. Which effectively means that if you got one of those, you can travel to any of these 26 countries. Not just that, a Schengen visa also allows you to travel to a bunch of other countries outside the Schengen zone without having to apply a visa for them.
Now coming to France, it needs no introduction. France has something for everyone, from the romance and architectural history of Paris, the ski resorts of French Alps, the sun-drenched Côte d’Azur, 246 types of cheese and a language that’s music to your ear. No wonder it’s the most visited country in the world. As it is part of the Schengen zone, you can visit it with a Schengen visa. A France visa is effectively a Schengen visa after all.
A France visa is usually a Sticker visa, affixed to one’s passport.
Which are the Schengen Area Countries?
The 26 Schengen countries are:
Any Schengen visa is a short-term visa, issued for only up to 90 days over any period of 180 consecutive days. You can get it for the following purpose.
- Tourism or Family visits
- Business trips
- Airport transit
- Trade fair
- Guest scientist
- Medical treatment
- Training or Internship
- Culture, sports, film crew, religious gathering etc.
France Schengen Visa Stats
In 2018, France received 4,012,771 visa applications all over the world and issued 3,350,547 visas, while rejecting 630,242 visas.
Rejection rate : 15%
Passport Holders with a Visa Waiver for France
Citizens of 62 countries can travel to France without a visa for 90 days in 180 days. If your country is not in the list, you need a visa to enter France.
You can check whether you need a visa to enter France on the visa wizard of the Foreign ministry website. Citizens of the following countries don’t need a visa to enter the Schengen for 90 days.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
Embassies of France
You can find out the nearest embassy or consulate of France in your country by visiting the website of foreign ministry of France. A lot of info is in French, but a little google translate will do wonders.
Application Process for France Schengen Visa
How to choose the country that would process your application?
Since a Schengen visa allows you to visit any country in the Schengen area, regardless of where you apply, you need to choose the country that will process the application carefully. For example, you need to apply for the France Schengen visa through an embassy or consulate of France only if
- You will be spending more time in France than the other Schengen countries, if there are multiple countries on your list.
- You are planning to travel for equal number of days in all the countries, but France will be the first country you visit.
- France is only country you are visiting.
Here is how that works with examples.
Schengen Visa Application through a consulate or third party service provider?
You must submit your visa application to the French consulate (or Embassy) or with a certified service provider (differs from country to country) in the country where you legally reside.
However, if you are in another country and you can explain why your application could not be submitted to the consulate in your legal place of residence (unexpected circumstances, etc.), your visa application may be accepted. For example, if you are an Indian citizen working in Canada legally, you will be able to apply for a Schengen visa in Canada, rather than India.
When to Apply for a France Visa?
Usually, you should plan to apply for the France visa at most 6 months before the date of your travel, and at least 2 weeks before. Depending on your citizenship and the volume of applicants in your country, the visa processing time might vary. There might be delays, so plan it well.
- The earliest: 6 months before the intended date of travel to France.
- The latest: 2 weeks before the intended date of travel to France.
What are the Requirements for France Visa?
The matter of the fact is that any Schengen country needs a copious amount of documents, no matter which country you are applying from. The requirements can vary depending on your employment, marital status and the purpose of your journey.
The application form for a Schengen visa is the same irrespective of which country you are from and the country that would process your application. You need to fill it and sign it. Although earlier they only accepted paper applications, every country now gives the option to digitally fill in the application and sign it.
Passport & visas
A valid passport with at least 2 blank pages. If you have already been to the Schengen zone, then you must provide the copies of your visas.
Round-trip flight ticket reservations. There is no need to purchase the ticket before obtaining the visas, unless specifically required or instructed.
Proof of accommodation
Proof of accommodation in France for your entire stay. Refundable reservations in hotels are totally fine.
If someone is hosting you, the person hosting you must go to their local town hall or police station to obtain the proof of accommodation document on your behalf, which is different for every Schengen country and would be in the official langauge of that country. Then the original document would be stamped by the consulate and would be presented when you enter the country.
Means of subsistence
Simply put whether you can afford to travel in a Schengen country or not. The generally accepted proofs are personal bank statements, payslips, credit card or debit card statements for the last 3 months. The amount you need to show varies from country to country based on the standard of living in that country.
Schengen Travel Health Insurance
Travel health insurance is mandatory for Schengen visa application.
- You must submit travel health insurance in Schengen area or worldwide with 100% coverage with no deductibles or co-pays.
- It should cover at least €30,000 EUR for medical, emergencies and repatriation services.
- It should be valid for the full duration of your stay.
Some insurance providers might let you cancel and get a refund if the visa is denied.
Cover Letter/Letter of Intent
It’s one of the most important documents in reality. This is where you tell the Schengen country about your itinerary, plans and yourself.
2 photos must be attached; the photo should be of passport format – a recent whole-face capture with a light background.
Documents for Evidence of occupation
If you are employed:-
- Offer letter or employment letter. This document must be original and written on the company’s letterhead paper.
- Recent payslips, generally for 3 months.
- Leave approval letter from employer.
- Income Tax Return (ITR) for the last 2 years or acknowledgements of the same.
If you are a student:-
- No-objection certificate from school or university
- Proof of enrolment
- sponsorship letter about covering your expenditures
If you are self-employed:–
- A copy of your business license or certificate of registration
- Company bank statement of the last 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
- Pension statement of the last 6 months
Documents for sponsorship
If someone is sponsoring you, they need to provide
- Written consent certified by public notary of the parents or guardian or the person sponsoring the trip. Some Schengen countries accept sponsorship from your parents or spouse only.
- Pension statements or payslips for the last three months
- Proof of regular income generated by ownership of property or business
If you are a minor
- If the minor is travelling with only one parent, written consent certified by public notary of the other parent or guardian, except in cases of a parent having sole custody or guardianship of the minor.
- If the minor travels without parents, written consent, certified by public notary, of both parents or guardians having custody or guardianship of the minor.
- Copies of the passport of the parents. If not applicable, birth certificate of the applicant and copies of the ID cards of the parents.
France Schengen visa for purposes other than tourism
While tourism counts for the majority of Schengen C visa, you can get it for purposes other than tourism as well. However, you would need to provide extra documents for this.
1. Schengen Visa for Culture, Sports, Film Crew or Religious Purposes:
- Invitation, entry tickets, enrolments etc.
- Letter from the film company specifying title, synopsis and shooting locations of film.
- Complete list of names of travelling crew members along with their roles.
- Letter from the Schengen State´s agency confirming arrangements for film permits.
- Certificate of registration with the country’s authority.
2. Schengen visa for study, research, or other types of internship:
- Certificate of admission or registration at an educational establishment for the purpose of attending academic or vocational courses, or cover letter from the inviting company
- Certificates of the establishment at which the applicant is enrolled
- Copy of Student’s ID Card.
3. Schengen visa for medical treatment:
- Certificate from a medical doctor or a medical institution confirming the need for specific medical treatment to be received in the Schengen state
- Official document confirming that the specific medical treatment can be performed and patient be accepted accordingly
- Proof of pre-payment of the treatment
- Any other correspondence between the sending medical doctor and the receiving medical institution
4. Schengen visa as a member of an official delegation:
Along with a copy of the official invitation, letter from the concerned authority confirming
- Identity of the applicant
- Purpose of the journey (meetings, consultations, negotiations or events held by intergovernmental organizations)
- Duration of stay
- Accommodation details
5. Schengen visa for airport transit
- Visa or other entry permit for the third country of destination.
- Documents in relation to the onward journey to the final destination after the intended airport transit.
How Long Does it Take to Get Schengen Visa for France?
Schengen visa processing time varies from one country to another. It also depends on your home country. A Schengen visa application for France is generally processed within 15 working days.
In special cases it might stretch up to 60 days as well.
Schengen Visa Fees
The fees for Schengen visa is €80 EUR approximately, for single, double or multiple entries. Visa fee will not be refunded even if you withdraw the visa or if it’s denied. Depending on the country you are applying from, you can pay it online or through a bank money order.
- Adult applicants: €80
- Applicants from 6 to 12 years old : €40
- Applicants under the age of 6 : Free
In addition, the nationals of a few countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia , and some other categories depending on the purpose of application are exempt from paying the fee at all.
Visa Validity & Duration
The Schengen visa is valid from the day it’s issued. The duration of stay would be up to 90 days.
The only to know about the status of your application is to call/email the consulate where you applied for the visa or through the third party agency if you applied through them.
What to Do in case of Schengen Visa Refusal?
Every Schengen country provides you with a denial/refusal letter in case your application is rejected. The refusal letter always indicates the reasons why the Visa was denied.
In case, your application was rejected, you appeal this decision or reapply after a while. Depending on the country where you are applying, the number of days by when you can appeal can vary. In general, it’s 30-60 days.
When appealing, you might need to come up with additional proof and convince the consular official why the denial wasn’t right. If convinced, they would provide you the visa. If not, you have to reapply, probably through a different country.
You should carry the print-outs of all the documents you submitted during the visa application. While it’s not common, you might still need to show them proof of accommodation, return ticket etc.
Entering & Exiting Schengen zone
Unlike other countries, you don’t need to fill out any Arrival/Departure card while entering any Schengen zone. At the immigration, they might ask you a few routine questions such as the places you are visiting, and the number of days you are staying. Following this they will stamp your passport.
While exiting, you need to go through passport control.
Schengen Visa Extension and Conversion
Yes, you can extend your France Schengen visa but only in exceptional cases if any problem has arose after entering the Schengen zone, which simply means it’s not gonna be a walk in the park and not to mention, all the extra documents you need to come up with.