France is the most visited country in Europe and one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Its capital, Paris, is widely considered the most beautiful city on earth.
You may need a visa to travel to France, depending on where you are from (nationality), the length of your trip (duration of stay), and your reason for travel (type of visa needed).
There are numerous types of visas for France, which are valid for travel for specific purposes and times. Different French visas have different France visa requirements and validity periods.
In general, French visas can be divided into two main categories: short stay visas and long stay visas (a long stay visa for France is required for those looking to spend more than 90 days in the country).
Another main distinction relates to allowed entries: a single entry will allow you just one entry into the country; a multiple entry visa for France will let you enter and exit as many times as needed.
The following documents are typically required for all visas to France.
Official, government-issued document, not older than 10 years, with the correct validity length (a minimum three months past the intended day of exit from France)
Your France visa fee will depend on the type of visa you are applying for, and possibly other factors, such as your age. Fees are generally non-refundable, even in the case of a denied visa.
Two recently taken photos of the applicant. Photos should be passport style (and have passport dimensions). You will likely upload these photos electronically; alternatively, you will be asked to submit physical copies
You will almost certainly have to submit additional documents on your French visa application. Requested documents are typically those which help visa authorities confirm your identity, determine the truthfulness of your stated purpose of travel, and assess your financial state. The type of French visa you apply for will determine your supplemental documents, which may include the following:
Identity documents, such as your birth certificate
Documents showing your finances, such as your bank balance
Information about where you will stay in France
Proof of university education, etc.
Please note that documents not already written in English, French (or other widely spoken) European and global languages may require official translations into an acceptable language.
Applicants for French visas should follow these general steps, which may vary slightly depending on numerous factors, including visa type and application destination.
Choose your visa duration
Determine how long you intend to be in France i.e. what type of France visa you need: long, short, or airport. This will determine how you proceed with the subsequent application steps.
Select your France visa purpose
Choose your reason for travel
Select your entry category
Your selection of the single-entry visa for France or the multiple entry visa for France will determine whether or not you may travel in and out of the country/Schengen area throughout your visa period. Consider that holders of the single-entry visa for France cannot return to the country after exiting.
Determine where to apply
Find your physical application destination (place where you will submit your visa application). This is typically the French Embassy/Consulate or associated visa-application center where you live. For more information, see “where to apply.”
Access your main application form
Most applicants should apply for their French visa online, through the official visa portal system. If you are unable to access the online form due to your application destination, you will likely apply directly through your local French mission. Regardless of how you apply (online or in person) you will typically need to officially submit your application through your local French embassy/consulate/visa application center, in order to fulfill various in-person requirements.
Gather the rest of your documents
Gather your required documents as well as the supplemental ones required for your specific French visa type.
Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, you may be able to pay for your visa at this stage of the application (online). Alternatively, you will be asked to submit payment at your visa interview.
Almost all French visa applicants, even those who apply online, must attend a visa appointment at their application destination. Scheduling a French visa interview can take days, weeks, or even months—if you apply through the French visa portal, you should be able to schedule your interview online. Alternatively, you may need to reach out to the embassy/consulate/visa application center directly (via email/phone) to make an appointment.
This is where you will submit your biometric information, be interviewed, and meet other requirements pertaining to your visa type. This is typically the final stage of the France visa application process; you will either be granted a visa upon the conclusion of your appointment, receive a rejection, or leave to await a decision.
France visa application processing occurs at application destinations - French embassies and consulates (and their associated visa application centers) around the world.
Depending on the type of French visa you seek, you may be able to apply online (the France Schengen visa application, for example, is online). However, even online applicants must fulfill the in-person France visa requirements, which can only be fulfilled at physical French embassies / consulates and visa application centers. If you are outside of France and are applying for a France visa, you will apply through the French embassy/consulate or visa application center where you live.
Applicants for short-stay visas to France are advised to submit their application a minimum of fourteen days before their intended trip. And while applying well in advance is recommended, applying too early (i.e. over six months before departure) is discouraged. Long stay visa seekers to France should not apply more than 90 days in advance of their trip.
The France visa application processing time varies. Factors which determine how long it will take to get your visa include the following:
Depending on all of these factors, you could expect to receive a visa in days, weeks, or even months after you apply.
Depending on where you are from, you may need a visa to enter the country, regardless of how long you intend to stay. Some nationalities do not need a visa to travel to France. Regardless of your nationality, however, you will need a visa if you intend to stay in the country longer than 90 days and you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.
Get a travel document for France (visa) by submitting an application to your local French embassy/consulate/visa application center, meeting the visa requirements, and paying your visa fee.
The amount of money you need depends on the Schengen country you are visiting. You will likely need to show several months proof of salary/bank statements in order to meet the Schengen proof of funds requirement.
Choose from among the various types of France visa you need to apply for (France Tourist visa, France Work Permit visa, France Business visa) by considering your reason for travel and how long you want to stay in the country. These factors will determine the type of visa you need. In addition to visa type, you should also determine how many entries you need—i.e. whether you need a multiple entry visa for France or a single entry visa for France.
Rejected Schengen visa applicants can appeal the decision, reapply, or apply for another travel document for France (different French visa, such as a France Working visa).