Short-stay visa

This type of visa is generally issued for tourism, business trips or family visits.

It is also issued to persons entering to France to take part in short training programmes, internships, conferences and corporate meetings, or to engage in remunerated activities (whatever the form), not exceeding 90 days.

This type of visa is also required for simple transit through France, once outside “international zone” at any airport::

  • If you need to change airports to continue your travel;
  • If you are waiting for a transfer flight at a hotel or at an acquaintance's home.

“Uniform Schengen” short-stay visa


What is a “uniform Schengen” short-stay visa?

This is a visa issued by a Schengen Area member country for transit or stay in part of or all Schengen space. It is not to exceed 90 days over any period of 180 consecutive days.The visa inserted in the relevant travel document bears the name of the territories in which the holder is entitled to stay.

The visa may be valid for one or more entries.


Is a visa always required to enter the Schengen Area?

Not all foreign nationals are required to hold a visa to enter the Schengen Area. A visa waiver can be granted on a variety of conditions:
  • The applicant’s nationality;
  • Where the applicant holds a valid stay permit for the Schengen Area;
  • Where the applicant holds a long- stay permit;
  • The foreign national's specific status;

Foreign nationals not required to hold a visa to enter the Schengen Area by virtue of their nationality:

Persons eligible for a visa waiver to enter the Schengen Area on the grounds of possession of a resident permit or long-stay visa:

  • Holders of a valid residence permit, issued by a Schengen Area state;
  • Holders of a valid residence permit, issued by a European Union state bearing the specification “Membre de famille” or “Résident de longue durée CE”;
  • Holders of a valid long-stay visa, issued by a Schengen Area state;

In specific cases, exemptions to these rules can be granted:

  • Example: Journalists on assignment from the United States continue to be subject to French visa requirements.

What type of visa for frequent travelers?

If you make multiple short trips to France each year, you may, under certain conditions, be eligible to apply for a multiple-entry visa valid for anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. This visa is commonly referred to as a "circulation visa".

It enables you to make as many stays as you wish in France, provided that you abide by the cumulative time limit of 90 days per period of 6 months, for the duration of its validity. The period of validity is determined by the French administration, depending on your situation and previous visas granted to you.

What are the conditions for being granted a circulation visa?

  • Having previously been granted a circulation visa;
  • Having previously been granted multiple ordinary visas and showing valid grounds for multiple annual stays;
  • Being the spouse of a French national not residing in the Schengen space;
  • Being the family member of a French national not residing in the Schengen space.

In all cases, the French administration will determine whether a circulation visa can be issued, as well as establish the duration of its validity.

What is the procedure for validating a circulation visa?

You may apply for a new circulation visa before the valid circulation visa has expired. The procedure is the same as for other visas, but in most cases, the list of required documents is simplified, especially in the case of renewal.


What is the maximum authorised duration for your stay in the Schengen Area?

An official online calculator  is available to determine the maximum authorised duration of short-stays for non-European foreign nationals in the Schengen Area.

Reminder: Stays may not exceed 90 days over any given period of 180 consecutive days, regardless of whether the individual is subject to visa requirements.

Please note: The results delivered by this tool are not legally binding.


What does my sticker visa mean?

Visa sticker

  • « VALABLE POUR / VALID FOR » : Territorial validity of visa.
    • If the sticker is marked “ETATS SCHENGEN”, this visa entitles you to enter the Schengen Area:
      • Initials of destination countries if a territorial restriction applies:
        • either the initial of the Schengen states for which the visa is valid: A (Austria), B (Belgium), CH (Switzerland), CZE (Czech Republic), D (Germany), DK (Denmark), E (Spain), EST (Estonia), F (France), FIN (Finland), GR (Greece), H (Hungary), I (Italy), IS (Iceland), L (Luxembourg), LT (Lithuania), LVA (Latvia), M (Malta), N (Norway), NL (Netherlands), P (Portugal), PL (Poland), S (Sweden), SK (Slovakia), SVN (Slovenia);
        • or “ETATS SCHENGEN” followed in brackets by a MINUS sign and the codes of the Member States for which the visa is NOT valid; e.g. “ETATS SCHENGEN (- D, S)”.
    • If the sticker is marked “FRANCE + 1 TRANSIT SCHENGEN”, the visa entitles you to transit once through a Schengen state to travel to France;
    • If the mark is “FRANCE”, the visa entitles you only to enter French territory.
    • If the mark is “FRANCE SAUF CTOM”, the visa entitles you to enter France and the DROM territories.
    • If the mark is “DEPARTEMENT D’OUTRE MER (FRANCE)”, the visa entitles you only to enter the département(s) specified in the « REMARQUES / REMARKS » section.
  • « DU / FROM » : Date from which you are allowed to enter the Schengen Area.
  • « AU / UNTIL » : Date by which you must leave the Schengen Area.

These two dates specify the period for which your visa may be used (and not the length of stay allowed).

  • « TYPE DE VISA / TYPE OF VISA » :
    • Either “A”: airport transit visa (this visa does not allow you to leave the “international” or “duty free” zone of the airport)
    • Or “C”: short-stay visa (stay of less than 90 days)
    • Or “D”: long-stay visa (stay in France of more than 3 months)
  • « NOMBRE D'ENTREES / NUMBER OF ENTRIES » :
    • either “MULT”, meaning that you may enter the Schengen Area as many times as you wish;
    • or “1”, meaning that you may enter the Schengen Area once only;
    • or “2”, meaning that you may enter the Schengen Area twice.
  • « DUREE DU SEJOUR / DURATION OF STAY » : This is the number of days for which you may stay in the Schengen Area (within the dates of use of your visa) If the consulate has issued you a “visa de circulation” (valid for use one year or more), the number marked will be “90 jours”, and you are entitled to stay a maximum of 90 days in each period of 6 months.
  • « DELIVRE A / ISSUED IN » : Place of issuance of the visa.
  • « LE / ON » : Date of issuance of the visa.
  • « NUMERO DE PASSEPORT / NUMBER OF PASSPORT » : The number of your passport.
  •  « NOM, PRENOM / SURNAME, NAME » : Surname and first name of the visa holder.
  • « REMARQUES / REMARKS » : Various marks may be stamped here: type of visa, category of holder, reason for journey, etc.

What power do the French authorities have to issue a Schengen visa?

The French authorities are empowered to process your application for a Schengen visa under the following circumstances:
  • France is your sole destination of your trips (you may apply for a multiple-entry visa);
  • You are travelling to different Schengen states, but France is your primary destination in terms of duration or purpose of stay;
  • You are travelling to different Schengen states, none of which can be identified as the main destination, and your first entry to the Schengen Area is France (French border station).

Short-stay visas for non-European French territories


What type of visa for non-European French territories?

Should you wish to travel to one of these territories and are subject to visa requirements on the grounds of your nationality, you must request a special visa, as a Schengen visa will not allow you entry.

Should your trip include one of these territories and the European territory of France, you will be required to apply for two distinct visas: a Schengen visa and a national visa valid for the overseas territory or territories to which you wish to travel.


Is a visa always required to enter the non-European French territories?

Not all foreign nationals are required to hold a visa to enter a French overseas territory. A visa waiver can be granted on a variety of conditions:
  • The applicant’s nationality;
  • Where the applicant holds a residence permit;
  • Where the applicant holds a long- stay permit;
  • The foreign national's specific status.

The following foreign nationals are eligible for a visa waiver to enter the overseas territories on the grounds of nationality:

  • Citizens of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland;
  • Nationals of countries listed on the Ministerial orders pertaining to each territory.

Persons eligible for a visa waiver to enter overseas territories on the grounds of possession of a residenc permit or long-stay visa:

  • Holders of a valid residenc permit, issued by a French Prefecture or by a Schengen Area state;
  • Holders of a special card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to diplomatic and consular mission personnel;
  • Holders of a valid long-stay visa, issued by a Schengen Area state;

Visa waivers to enter the overseas territories on the grounds of nationality, where the applicant holds a visa issued by a French consulate authority with multiple entries and where the period of validity is between 6 months and 5 years, may be granted to:

  • Nationals of South Africa, Bahrain, Belarus, China, the United Arab Emirates, India, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Russia and Ukraine.

 

Update : October 2017