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France visa application guidelines

France visa application guidelines

If you’re planning on applying for a French visa but don’t know how to go about it, no need to worry; we got you covered. In this article, we will be sharing the steps to follow to apply for a French visa successfully. But first,

what is a French visa

If you are not a citizen of a Schengen member state, you need a French visa to enter France. A French visa is an official document that permits a foreign citizen to enter and stay in France for a specific period, depending on the type of visa. France is part of the Schengen Area, which means that Schengen member citizens can travel freely between Schengen countries without going through border controls. However, if you are not a citizen of a Schengen member state, you need a visa to enter France, unless you are exempted.

There are various types of French visas depending on the purpose and duration of the visit. Some common types include:

  • Short-stay visa: This type of visa allows the holder to stay in France for up to 90 days within 180 days. Short-stay visas are usually granted for tourism, business travel, or family visits.
  • Long stay visa: This type of visa is intended for individuals who wish to stay in France for more than 90 days, including students, workers, and those relocating to France.
  • Airport transit visa: This type of visa is required for foreign citizens who need to transit through a French airport on their way to a third country.

To apply for a French visa, you will be required to provide several documents including a visa application form, a valid passport, two passport-sized photos, proof of travel insurance, proof of accommodation in France, and evidence of sufficient financial means to support yourself during your stay in France. Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, additional documents may also be required.

Application guidelines

Gather information on your situation

Seek information and check if you need a visa or not

This portal helps you gather the information you will need before submitting your visa application online.

The visa wizard will help you determine, depending on your situation, the visa requirements, as well as the visa fees and required supporting documents.

If you have stayed in the Schengen Area within the past 6 months please use the Visa Calculator tool to determine the precise number of days remaining for your authorized stay (online calculator).

Fill out the visa application form

To submit a visa application, you must provide at least the following :

  • A travel document (original + copy) in good condition, issued less than 10 years ago, with at least two blank pages, which is valid for at least three months after the date on which you have planned to leave the Schengen Area, or in the event of a long stay, which is valid for at least three months on the date on which the requested visa expires. However, in the event of a duly proven emergency, this final requirement may be waived.
  • 2 recent ID pictures in ISO/IEC format (pdf)
  • The supporting documents (originals and copies) depend on your situation and your plan

Important: Documents in languages other than French or English may be required to be translated into French.

  • Your application fees are due upon filing.
  • If your home country is eligible, you must fill out the online application form. You will be guided through the whole process by on-screen explanations.
    • Before validating and printing out your application, you will be asked to create a personal account that includes your email address to save your partially- or fully-completed form. After this step, you will receive the list of required supporting documents and have the opportunity to book your appointment.
  • If your country is not eligible, please check the appropriate procedure on your country of application page.
 Book your appointment

Make sure you allow enough time before your departure date to schedule an appointment to have your application reviewed.

Check on the average appointment waiting time to ensure that you can submit your application three months to two weeks before your departure date for a long-stay visa, and 6 months to two weeks before your departure date for a short-stay visa.

In most cases, the consular services use external service providers to receive visa applicants and collect their documents. The consular services nonetheless remain fully responsible for processing and making decisions on visa applications.

You will find all the necessary details to make an appointment on the country of application page.

Submit your application

Go to the appointment with your application

You must attend your appointment with all the required documents (CERFA and receipt).

The service provider (or consulate) will receive you, review your application, collect the visa fee, collect your biometric data (photo and fingerprints), and keep your passport and copies of all your supporting documents to forward to the consulate.

The visa application process will take approximately 20 minutes at the visa center. France visa application guidelines


All visas issued by France are biometric visas.

Any visa applicant aged 12 or older must submit his or her visa application in person. The following biometric data will be required: a photo (scanned or taken during your appointment), and ten fingerprints.

If you hold a biometric Schengen visa issued in the past 59 months, your previous biometric data can be re-used.


Visa application fees are composed of :

  • The administrative costs incurred for the processing of your application. The amount paid is kept by the administration, even in cases where visas are denied. For more details, please refer to the table of application fees by visa type (pdf).
  • If application fees are received by an external service provider, this provider is responsible for collecting the appropriate fees. The service fee may differ from one country to another, but may not exceed € 40 per visa application. External service providers are also authorized by the administration to offer additional services at cost.
You may be exempt from attending your visa appointment in person if :

Your fingerprints were previously collected as part of an earlier application less than 59 months before the date of your current application.

NOTE: To confirm whether someone else can apply for a visa on your behalf, please contact your visa center.

Tracking your application and collecting your passport

Your application is monitored by the visa center where you applied. For details, go to our track the progress of your application page.

You will be notified when your passport is ready for collection from the visa center where you applied. Visa applications are generally processed within 15 days. This period can be extended up to 45 days in particular cases if the examination of the application justifies it.

In some instances, the passport can be sent by postal services. France visa application guidelines


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