Update : October 2017
The service is currently being tested in three pilot countries: South Africa, Senegal and Tunisia (*). It will gradually be extended to all countries.
(*) Online form at the website of TLS Contact in the countries which use the services of this provider.
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All foreign nationals require a visa to enter the Schengen area unless exempt. This exemption depends on:
Important: not being required to obtain a visa or be in possession of a visa is not sufficient to grant automatic right of entry and does not exempt you from proving the purpose of your stay and your means of subsistence during a Border controls.
If you have a valid residence permit authorising you to reside in France, you do not need an entry visa. However, if members of your family do not have residence permits, they must apply for a visa unless exempt.
Foreign nationals holding a residence permit in France and who have declared this document lost or stolen to the local authorities must apply for a return visa from the consulate in order to enter France again. It is recommended that foreign nationals holding a French residence permit keep this document safely at all times when travelling overseas.
Unless stated differently on the visa stamp, short-stay visas are valid for all the 26 States in the Schengen area i.e. the following countries (in alphabetical order): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
There are no border controls between Schengen countries except in special circumstances.
Important: the United Kingdom and Ireland are not part of the Schengen scheme.
"Schengen" visas do not allow entry to France’s non-European territories as they are not part of the Schengen area.
Similarly, visas for France’s non-European territories do not allow entry to the Schengen area.
A Schengen visa (issued by a Schengen State embassy or consulate) is valid for all 26 States in the Schengen area unless indicated otherwise on the visa stamp. If your visa is still valid, you do not need to apply for another visa to visit France. However, you must be able to provide supporting documentation as to the purpose of your stay and your means of subsistence upon your arrival in France.
Foreign nationals who are authorised to enter mainland France for a short stay without a visa are also authorised to enter Monaco without a visa as are holders of residence permits issued by a Schengen State. The holder of a Schengen visa valid in France is also authorised to enter and stay in Monaco.
When a short-stay visa is required and the main destination is Monaco, the consulate in France will issue a Schengen visa valid for Monaco and the Schengen area.
Your application will be passed on to the Monegasque authorities. The visa will be issued by the Monegasque authorities following their agreement.
The visa application file must include:
You will also have to provide:
The visa stamp indicates the validity of the visa and the authorised length of stay. A visa may be issued for a single entry or multiple entries.
The maximum length of a stay is that which is indicated on the visa and will vary depending on the purpose of your stay.
Compliance with these durations and the validity of the visa are checked when entering or leaving the Schengen area. Should you fail to comply, you may be refused entry/exit at the border.
A Type D long-stay visa issued in France or by another Schengen country allows you to travel in the Schengen area for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period during your visa’s validity period subject to presenting supporting documents as to the purpose of your visit and your means of subsistence. This is valid for all long-stay visas indicating the letter ‘D’ during the validity period.
You are entering the Schengen area via a French airport. The border police will carry out controls in this airport. Unless exempt from a having a visa, you must have an entry visa and a short-stay visa for the Schengen area.
Foreign nationals making this type of transit do not enter into the Schengen area. In principle, foreign nationals are not required to have an airport transit visa subject to exceptions. Certain nationalities must obtain a visa to make this type of transit in airports in France.
If you were granted a short-stay visa or were exempt from obtaining a short-stay visa during your arrival in France, you must be able to satisfy all the border police’s requests:
Having a visa in your passport does not necessarily guarantee that the holder will be authorised to enter the Schengen area. The border police may refuse you entry. If you were granted a long-stay visa, the border police will only ask to see your passport containing the visa. It must have a stamp showing the date of entry into France.
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.
The Member State authorised to process and rule on visa applications is the one whose territory constitutes the sole (or main) destination of your journey.
When your trip includes several destinations, the Member State authorised to process your visa is the one whose territory constitutes the main destination of your journey in terms of length. If the main destination can not be determined, the Member State authorised to process your visa application is the one on whose external border the applicant intends to enter.
In this case, the authorised Member State is the one whose territory constitutes the main destination of the journey in terms of length.
You must apply for your visa at the French consulate as France constitutes the main destination of your journey in terms of length even though you are entering the Schengen area via another Member State.
Visa processing times vary depending on the nationality of the applicant, the purpose of the stay and the local visa issuing conditions. To apply for a short-stay visa, the application must be submitted at least two weeks prior to your planned visit; however, it can not be submitted more than three months prior to your planned visit. It is the responsibility of the applicant to take the necessary precautions in terms of respecting deadlines when an appointment system is in place.
Certain types of visa require special checks (e.g. civil status, etc.) or consulting different French authorities, which may extend the processing time.
Those applying for a visa must cover the administrative costs (i.e. costs linked to processing your application) i.e. €60 for short-stay visas and €99 for long-stay visas. In certain cases, certain categories of applicants may be wholly or partially exonerated from paying these fees (children under six years of age, children aged between six and twelve years of age, spouses of French nationals, students whose applications have been inspected by a study centre in France, etc.). Visa fees are not reimbursed even if your application is refused or you withdraw your application.
You must use the passport you intend to travel with. When you fill in the application form, you must indicate your original nationality as well as your current nationality (i.e. that shown on your passport).
The purpose you indicated for your trip determines which supporting documents you will have to provide to support your visa application. You must choose the purpose of your stay for which specific documents are requested (e.g. letter of invitation, employer attestation, etc.), so the “working” reason should take precedence. Similarly, if you are coming to France to study and for tourism purposes, the “Studying” reason should take precedence.
Individuals who have obtained a Schengen visa and have submitted biometric data (fingerprints and photograph) are not required to submit this biometric data again if they possess a photocopy of their previous Schengen visa, which must show the statement “VIS” and if the biometric data was submitted less than 59 months ago. However, you must submit a passport photograph in your application.
If your application is for a school group, we recommend you contact the consulate, which will arrange an appointment for you; you will be told where to submit the applications (e.g. an external service provider or the consulate).
Visa applications for the purposes of a school trip are free of charge.
If you hold a long-stay visa, equivalent to a residence permit, you must send the OFII (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration) form to the relevant regional delegation.
However, if your long-stay visa bears the statement “carte de séjour à solliciter”, you must submit your residence permit application to your local police station (i.e. without first contacting the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration) in the two months following your arrival in France unless you are a minor (i.e. aged under 18 years).
NB: a minor aged between 16 and 18 years who works must apply for a residence permit.
Long-stay visas, equivalent to a residence permit, allow you to travel under the following circumstances:
If you have not completed the OFII formalities in the three months following your arrival in France and you have subsequently left France, you must submit a new application for a long-stay visa with the French consulate in your country of residence.
The consulate is not authorised to renew residence permits. You must visit your local police station (préfecture) in France. You can travel with your expired residence permit as long as you have the renewal confirmation receipt.
A return visa (in France) is a type of long-stay visa issued under special circumstances to individuals able to prove they have a French residence permit. The granting of this type of visa is subject to authorisation from the relevant police station.
The “visa de retour” allows you to enter France:
The visa application file must include the following documents:
If your valid residence permit has been lost or stolen:
If you are in possession of the initial residence permit receipt:
Under-age children living in France do not need a residence permit. However, to enable travel outside France, travel documents for foreign minors can be obtained (DCEM). This document allows the minor (following a trip abroad) to prove his/her right to reside in France and to be readmitted without a visa into France or the Schengen area. This document must be presented with a valid passport.
The republican identity document (TIR) enables certain foreign minors residing in France to travel and prove their identity. The person with parental authority for the child must make the application and provide the supporting documents. The document is issued and can be renewed or replaced by the police station (préfecture or sous-préfecture).
A decision to refuse a visa may be either explicit (the applicant is notified of the express refusal) or implicit (the applicant is not notified of any decision within two months of submitting his/her application).
The applicant has the right to contest this decision within two months:
If he/she intends to contest the ruling before the administrative court, he/she must also file an administrative appeal to the Commission de Recours Contre les Décisions de Refus de visa (appeals board for visa refusal rulings) within two months (CRRV – BP 83609 – 44036 NANTES CEDEX 1). This prior recourse, which must be justified, written in French and signed, is compulsory prior to any appeal made to the administrative court.
The exercise of graceful or hierarchical remedies shall not have the effect of extending the period of prior administrative appeal before the Commission de Recours Contre les Décisions de Refus de Visa.
Update : October 2017