Foreign nationals wishing to enter France must have statutory documentary evidence ready to submit at their point of entry, outlining reasons for their stay in France, their means of support during their stay and accommodation arrangements.
While many foreign nationals staying 90 days or less in France do not require a France visa, those from countries not on the visa exemption list, or who are planning a stay of more than 90 days, must apply for a France visa from a French embassy or consulate in their country of residence.
In these instances:
France Visa holders who have entered French territory are unable to obtain visa modification or change of status during their stay. Foreign nationals wishing to engage in a salaried occupation during their stay are subject to specific procedures and must also obtain a work permit before applying for a visa.
The rules for those foreign nationals entering French overseas territories may differ from those that apply to entering metropolitan France. Applicants wishing to enter a French overseas territory will be required to specify their destination and all flight details accurately when applying for a visa.
Upon entry to and when staying within the French territory, regulations differ according whether the visitor holds a regular passport, a diplomatic passport or an official duty passport.
All passports must be valid for the entire length of stay in the Schengen Area (which covers all European countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement, including France).
Applications fees for visas are payable on submission of the application and are not refunded in the instance that the application is refused. Certain formalities, such as the making of appointments or submission of the application, while the visa application is being processed may be entrusted to a service provider. Additional costs may be applicable and further information can be obtained from the relevant French consulate.
Short-stay or ‘Schengen’ visas allow free movement in countries within the Schengen Area for stays of 90 days or less during a period of six months from first entry into the Schengen Area and may be issued for one or multiple entries.
A ‘Schengen’ visa is usually issued for purposes of tourism, business travel or family visits and also allows visa holders to enter France to attend short training courses, undertake internships or engage in a salaried occupation (subject to obtaining a temporary work permit). This could apply to musicians on tour, professional sportspeople playing in championships and employees providing services for their company while in France. Foreign nationals can also apply for a ‘Schengen’ visa simply for the purpose of transiting through France.
Under the terms of Directive 2004/38/EC of April 29, 2004, third-country family members of a European Union (EU) citizen, accompanying that citizen to France or joining them in France are only subject to entry visa requirement under Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of March 15, 2001, provided they are able to produce documentary evidence establishing the nationality of the Community citizen and their family relationship as well as, where relevant, the status of dependent for a child over the age of 21 or his or her parents.
In this instance, the entry visa is issued swiftly and does not attract a fee.
Foreign nationals in transit through a French airport, who are not leaving the “international area” of the airport do not require an entry visa as they are not entering French territory with some exceptions. For information on foreigners subject to visa requirements for airport transfer within France visit information on airport transit.
For stays in French territory exceeding 90 days (three months) a long-stay visa is required. Long-stay visas can be issued for the purposes of study, work or family reunion.
Foreign nationals issued with a long-term visa must register with the French Immigration and Integration Office (OFFII) on arriving in France, or, in certain instances, apply to the relevant prefecture for a residence permit.
Nationals of the following countries who are planning a visit of not more than 90 days in France do not require a visa.
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