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France is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Stroll through the awe-inspiring Louvre Museum and witness the genius of artists like Leonardo DaVinci, Picasso, and Van Gogh, visit the French riviera and stroll down the idyllic Côte d'Azur, or explore the vineyards of Bordeaux, Champagne, and Burgundy. It is safe to say that France offers an unforgettable travel experience. However, you may need to apply for a France Tourist Visa to enjoy everything France offers.
This in-depth guide will cover everything about your next France Tourist Visa. First, we'll look at who needs a France Tourist visa and the visa-free requirements. Also, we discuss the required documents for your France Tourist Visa and how you can easily apply for your own France Tourist Visa. Finally, at the end of the post, we'll address some frequently asked questions many travelers tend to have.
But first, let's look at some of the most important features of the France Tourist Visa.
France forms part of the Schengen Area, and as such, a French Tourist Visa is known as a French Schengen Tourist Visa.
Citizens from countries outside the EU may need to acquire a Schengen Visa before traveling to France. EU, US, & UK citizens do not need a Schengen Visa when traveling to France for 90 days or less.
The main details of this visa are as follows:
The easiest way to get your France Tourist Visa is to let Atlys take care of your visa application for you. You can now save 15 hours and use Atlys to apply for a France Schengen visa on Atlys. Download the Atlys app, put in your travel dates, and let Atlys handle everything for you. You'll be able to schedule your appointment directly on Atlys.
A France Tourist Visa, also known as the short-stay visa or a Schengen Visa, will allow its holders to visit France for a short period. The France Tourist Visa is granted for non-essential purposes, such as tourism and short business trips. With your France Tourist Visa, you can visit France for 90 days per 180 days.
Also, with your France Tourist Visa, you're allowed to visit and travel to any one of the Schengen Countries. If you plan to visit other Schengen member states, add the purposes of your visit and itinerary during your France Tourist Visa application process.
Note that if you wish to stay in France for longer, you'll need to apply for a different type of French visa, like a long-stay visa.
France forms part of the Schengen Area, so you'll have to apply for a French Schengen Visa. Apart from entry into France, a French Schengen Visa grants access to all 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone.
These Countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
When applying for a Schengen Visa, the country you spend the most time in should usually be the country where you apply for your Schengen visa. If you spend an equal amount of time in different countries, the country that is your first entry into the Schengen Zone should be the country where you apply for your Schengen Visa.
Your France Tourist Visa will allow you to visit France for 90 days every 180 days. However, you can only visit France with a Tourist Visa for tourism purposes. Therefore, if the purpose of your travel is not tourism or exceeds 90 days, you'll need to apply for a different type of visa. Check our article on the 90/180-day rule to learn more.
Please note: For the purpose of this post, we'll be referring to the France Tourist Visa as the France Schengen Visa. The France Schengen Visa is precisely the same as a France Tourist Visa, the only difference being the name.
Not all visitors need to apply for a France Schengen/Tourist Visa to visit France. Some nations enjoy the benefit of visa-free travel. To learn more about the different countries that enjoy visa-free travel, read our in-depth guide about the Schengen Countries.
Next, we'll briefly discuss who needs to apply for A France Schengen Visa...
If you are a citizen from the European Union, European Economic Area, or Switzerland, you don't need to apply for any visa to visit France or the French territories. Furthermore, citizens from these nations enjoy visa-free travel to France meaning, you don't need to apply for a France Schengen Visa.
Due to certain agreements between the US and France, US citizens enjoy the benefit of visa-free travel to France. As a result, you may visit France for a duration that does not exceed 90 days. If you wish to stay in France for more than 90 days, you'll need to apply for a visa that allows you to do so.
Later in this post, we'll talk about the requirements for visa-free travel.
Unfortunately, US Green Card Holders don't automatically enjoy the same visa-free benefits as US citizens. For example, suppose you are a US Green Cardholder. In that case, your nationality (country of your passport) will determine if you'll need to apply for a France Schengen Visa to visit France or not. Luckily, US Green Card holders who need a Schengen visa can apply for their Schengen Visa at the France Embassy or Consulate in the US.
Note that if you are visiting the US with a visitor's visa (B1/B2 visa), you'll need to travel back to your home country and apply for your Schengen Visa from there.
If you're a non-EU citizen (also non-EEA/Switzerland), you'll need to apply for a France Schengen Visa to visit France. You can apply for your France Schengen Visa at your local France Embassy. Later, we'll be discussing everything you need to know about the Schengen Visa requirements and the application.
We suggest that as soon as you've figured out if you need a French Schengen Visa, your next step should be to determine where you'll be applying for your French Schengen visa. The location of your closest facility might affect how long your application will take due to travel time to and from the facility.
When it comes to making this choice, you basically have 3 options:
1. Use Atlys To Effortlessly Apply For Your French Visa. Atlys is your easiest and quickest option. Atlys is designed to be fast and simple. With Atlys, you can cut the time it takes to apply for your visa in half. Furthermore, Atlys has very helpful and friendly customer service that will help along the way. With the Atlys app, you can apply from the comfort of your home.
2. Apply At Your Local French Embassy or Consulate Applying at your local French Embassy or Consulate-General Of France is the more traditional way of getting your France Schengen Visa. Keep in mind that this option does involve some uncertainty and time-wasting. Unlike Atlys, there is no clear guidance from the Embassy. Forgetting a document or submitting an incomplete application form can lead to your visa being denied without you even being aware of the error until it's too late.
3. Apply Through A Visa Application Center Submitting an application at an application center is fairly similar to submitting an application at the Embassy. In fact, many embassies outsource their visa services to application centers. However, due to the increasing demand for visas, these application centers may become overburdened at times. As a result, there is a lengthier wait time. Also, there are numerous accounts of people who have had negative experiences with the application center's customer support. However, this is not always the case.
To allow yourself enough time and account for any unforeseen circumstances, we suggest that you apply no later than 40 days before your departure date. That being said, the processing time for a Schengen Visa to France is usually around 15 days.
Schengen visa fees depend on the nationality applying for the Schengen Visa. Therefore, the following amounts are only an estimate, and it's recommended that you contact your local embassy to learn about the exact fees.
That being said, we have gathered an average Schengen Visa fee, and most applicants can expect to pay as follows:
For an adult - €80
For children between the age of 6 - 12 years - €40
For children younger than 6 years - Free
Note that paying the visa application fee doesn't guarantee a successful visa application. Instead, the fee you're paying is for the service provided by the Embassy. Also, the payment for your French Schengen Visa is non-refundable.
Fees are liable to change, and we suggest you contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate-General of France to determine the exact fee.
Some foreign nationals don't need to apply for a Schengen Visa to visit France. However, citizens from these nations must still present a few documents upon entry into France.
The following supporting documents must be presented at the request of the Border Police upon your arrival in France:
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date of departure to your home country. Also, it must not be older than 10 years and be in good condition.
French authorities may ask you to present proof of accommodation upon your arrival. You must have the supporting documents that indicate where you'll be staying for the duration of your trip. Proof of accommodation can include hotel reservations, Airbnb bookings, or a rental agreement. You can also provide a Certificate of reception "Attestation d'accueil." This is issued by a person who agrees to provide accommodation for you during your trip.
To be eligible to visit France, you'll need to prove you have the financial means to support yourself during your intended stay. If you don't have prepaid accommodation, you'll need to have a total amount of €120 per day. If you have prepaid accommodation, the amount is reduced to €65 per day. If you can provide cheaper accommodation, the total amount reduces to €32.25 per day. Documents you can use to prove sufficient funds include personal bank statements, payslips, credit card statements, and traveler's cheques.
You must prove to border control that you'll be leaving France once your initial 90 are over. You may be asked to present a return flight ticket that indicates the exact date you'll be traveling back to your home country. Use the Atlys tool to get a free flight itinerary.
If you're on a professional trip, you must present a document detailing your profession or capacity. It must also contain details of the establishment or organization in France that is expecting you.
Another requirement is that you obtain valid medical/health insurance that provides medical coverage across the entire EU for the duration of your intended stay. In addition, your medical insurance must cover all medical and hospital expenses and medical repatriation costs and expenses in the event of death. You can contact your French Embassy or Consulate General of France to learn more about the specific requirements for your medical insurance. In general, your medical insurance should provide minimum coverage of €30,000.
Before we talk about the Schengen Visa application process, we need to look at the required documents for your France Schengen Visa.
Note that different French Embassies may require you to collect and submit various documents. Therefore, we recommend contacting your nearest French Embassy or French Consulate to learn more about their exact document requirements.
The following documents can be used as a guideline for the documents that you'll need to gather and submit:
Ensure that the information you provide on the application form is correct and accurate. Incorrect information may lead to your visa application being denied.
Your passport photos must be in color and not older than 3 months. Ensure that your photos meet the following Schengen requirements.
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the intended date you plan to return to your home country. It must be in good condition and not older than 10 years. Also, your passport must have at least 2 blank pages available for your visa sticker/stamps.
If you have previously obtained visas for other countries, you'll need to provide copies of those visas.
You need to obtain valid medical/health insurance that provides medical coverage across the entire EU for the duration of your intended stay. In addition, your medical insurance must cover all medical and hospital expenses and medical repatriation costs and expenses in the event of death. In general, your medical insurance should provide minimum coverage of €30,000.Contact your French Embassy or Consulate General of France to learn more about the specific requirements for your medical insurance.
You must present an itinerary that indicates a list of things you plan to do during your trip. The itinerary will help support the purpose of your trip. Also, your itinerary will prove to authorities that you intend to depart back to your home country after your visit.
You need to prove that you can financially support yourself during the duration of your stay in France. If you don't have prepaid accommodation, you'll need to have a total amount of €120 per day. If you have prepaid accommodation, the amount is reduced to €65 per day. Note that if you provide proof of cheaper accommodation, the total amount reduces to €32.25 per day. Documents you can use as proof include personal bank statements, payslips, credit card statements, and traveler's cheques.
You need to submit documents that prove where you'll be staying during your visit to France. Documents you can submit include hotel reservations, a rental contract, or an Airbnb reservation. It is also possible to provide a Certificate of reception "Attestation d'accueil." This is issued by a person who agrees to provide accommodation for you during your trip.
You will need to pay a visa fee of €80 for your France Schengen Visa application.
In addition to the documents mentioned above, you'll need to submit a few extra documents that prove your employment status in your country of origin. The documents you need to submit are as follow:
You must provide a letter from your employer confirming you will be leaving for vacation. Also, you can submit your work contract and recent payslips as proof of sufficient funds and proof of employment.
A letter from a solicitor, accountant, or Companies House, which confirms your status.
You'll need to submit a document that proves you are a student. The document you provide must include your personal details, the institution you're studying at, your current major, and must be stamped by the institution. Also, you need to provide proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay. This can be done by providing a work contract, bank statements, or a letter from your sponsor. If you have a sponsor, they should attach all relevant documents to the letter.
You can submit a document or certificate that states you are a retiree. You may also present a pension statement from the last 6 months.
Because most Schengen countries provide public healthcare, travel insurance but not health insurance is required to obtain a French Schengen visa, to ensure that visitors don't become a financial burden on France's health system in the event of unforeseen issues.
The insurance should explicitly meet these financial requirements:
Coverage of at least EUR 30,000.
Be valid in all 26 Schengen States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Cover medical emergency expenses and anything connected with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent health attention, and/or emergency hospital treatment or death.
For those hoping to get a longer-term Schengen visa, it is advisable to provide travel insurance that lasts the whole year as per this EU directive:
"Applicants for a uniform visa for more than two entries (multiple entries) shall prove that they are in possession of adequate and valid travel medical insurance covering the period of their first intended visit. In addition, such applicants shall sign the statement, set out in the application form, declaring that they are aware of the need to be in possession of travel medical insurance for subsequent stays."
Next, we'll discuss how you can apply for your France Schengen Visa in a few simple steps.
The first thing you need to do is gather all the required documents for your Schengen Visa application. If you are unsure about the documents you require, you can contact your nearest French Embassy or Consulate, or you can use this handy tool that will determine the documents you require based on your nationality. We recommend you start gathering your documents as soon as possible. Some documents may take some time to obtain.
Once you have gathered all your required documents, it is time to fill out the France Schengen Visa application form. If your country is eligible, this can be done online. If your country is not eligible, you'll need to download the application form, fill it out, and submit it at the Embassy. When you start filling out the application form, ensure that all details you provide are accurate and correct. Later in this post, we'll walk you through the application form.
After gathering your required documents and filling out your France Schengen Visa application form, you'll need to schedule an appointment at your nearest French Embassy, Consulate, or application center. Ensure that you have all your documents before scheduling your appointment. You'll need to submit your documents at the appointment.
On the day of your appointment, you must travel to the Embassy to attend an in-person interview. Here you'll submit all your supporting documents and answer some simple questions about your trip to France. Ensure that you answer all questions truthfully and to your knowledge.
After your interview, you're required to submit your biometric data. This includes a photo and your fingerprints.
Once your interview is finished and the authorities have collected your biometric data, you'll need to pay the visa application fee. You can expect to pay around €80 for your France Schengen Visa.
Note that paying the fee does not automatically guarantee you your visa. The fee is used for the service being provided by the French Embassy or Consulate.
You're almost finished. Now you need to wait for feedback. Successful applicants will be contacted via mail or email. Once you receive feedback, you can travel back to the Embassy to collect your visa.
Congratulations, you can now legally travel to France with your Schengen Visa.
You can find your visa sticker number on the Schengen visa stamp.
The visa number is the 3-letter country code (issuing country), followed by a 9-digit number. Therefore, in the example above, the visa number is FRA005702202.
The photo requirements for a French Schengen visa follow ICAO standards.
Even children require a Schengen visa to travel to France. In addition to all the standard documents, you've to provide the following.
If the child travels with one of the parents, then there must be an official permission letter issued by a notary in English from the other parent. Furthermore, in case of the parents' absence (divorce, death, etc.), a relevant official certificate (i.e., divorce, death, etc.) must be presented. Additionally, copies of IDs of parents are also required.
While not required, it is preferred that for children who go to school - a reference letter from the relevant school: address and contacts of the school, signature, stamp of the person in charge, and reference to the Embassy should be noted in the letter.
Due to the ongoing global pandemic COVID-19, you'll need to show the following additional documents upon arrival:
Also, during your stay, you may be asked to present your "health pass" or Pass Sanitaire. You can find everything you need about your health pass on the government's official website.
You can expect to receive feedback from the French Embassy within 15 calendar days after you have submitted your application. Note in extreme cases, you may have to wait longer for your visa. This can be due to a sudden demand in the France Schengen Visa, new regulations and laws being implemented, or other political related reasons.
You can expect to pay around €80 for your Schengen Visa Application. If you want to learn more about other visa fees, you can take a look at this document.
France visa applications have to be submitted in person. However, you can schedule an appointment using the tool above or directly on Atlys.
With your France Schengen Visa, you are allowed to visit any one of the following Schengen Countries:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Other countries you can visit with your Schengen Visa include:
Liechtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City.
Many qualify however showing a bank statement is the most straightforward. You can also use one of these:
Short-term work visa: Reference letter of the U.S. employer mentioning profile, salary, date of hire, dates of vacation, and itinerary.
Self-employed: Your business existence proof and the client’s details you intend to meet in France. The proof of income from the business.
Foreign students on F-1 visa: A valid I-20, reference letter from an educational institution, education details, and expected date of the end of graduation course.
Family/friend visit: If you visit a friend or family, get an original and copy of “Attestation d’Accueil” that the host will request at the City Hall in France, known as Mairie.
The visa sticker contains information on the visa’s validity period and the duration of the authorized stay. A visa can be issued for one entry or multiple entries.
The maximum duration of stay is shown on the visa sticker, and it varies according to the reasons for your stay.
You must have left the Schengen area at the latest on the day on which the visa expires. You must not exceed the authorized length of stay during the validity of the visa. If you have an authorized stay of 90 days, you must not stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days in 180 days, this period not having to exceed the duration of the visa and the period of 90 days starting from run on the date of the first entry.
No, France does not provide a visa-on-arrival.
The Member State competent to handle a request visa and decide on it is the one whose territory constitutes the sole destination (or main) or the trips.
When the trip involves several destinations, the competent Member State is the one whose territory constitutes the main destination of the trip (s) in terms of duration. Suppose the main destination cannot be determined. In that case, the competent Member State is the one via the external border from which the applicant intends to enter the Member States territory.
You must apply for your visa at the French consulate because France is the main destination of your trip in terms of duration, even if you enter the Schengen area through another member state.
You must enter the nationality of the passport with which you wish to travel. When you complete your application form, you will need to indicate your nationality of origin and your current nationality (that of your passport).
Only in exceptional cases. We do not recommend this path.