Understanding French Visa is important because it is the first step in planning a vacation. So, summer vacation is rapidly approaching and it is time to figure out your holiday plans!
However, it is understandable that planning out a vacation can be pretty stressful when all one wants to do is to bask in the river in the South of France or go to the Eiffel tower. From the hotel/flight bookings to getting transport and packing, and most importantly getting the proper VISA to travel can get overwhelming!
Besides, luckily this article will prep you with all you need to know about the French Schengen visa. Everything is explained from its purpose to the application process so that you can have a smooth, safe trip!
What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa (up to ninety days) that gives allowance for a foreign traveler to travel. Also, it allows cross national borders in the (Schengen area & EU) for free travel without having to get multiple visas.
Thus, it is helpful for tourists to avoid multiple visas or multiple passport controls.
More specifically, the Schengen Visa applies to the following twenty-six 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.
Types of French Visas
Besides the Schengen Visa, there are also specific French visas if you only wish to travel to France. They include:
1- Short-stay visa (up to 90 days)
Granted for the purpose of tourism or business trips that are not meant to exceed the stay of ninety days. Short-stay visas in France depend on the region of France that you wish to visit.
For instance, mainland France complies with a Schengen visa. On the other hand, if you wish to visit non-European territories, you will have to apply for a short-stay national visa.
Additionally, It works if you plan to only transit through France and not leave its borders. You may have to apply for a “A” airport Schengen transport visa.
2- Long-stay visas (more than three months and up to a year)
These visas usually interests foreigners who wish to visit France for longer than a ninety-day period. The type of long-stay visa one applies for also depends on the purpose of stay. Moreover, it depends on one’s nationality as specific passport holders may be exempt from having to apply for a visa.
For instance, if you are an EU national, or have been studying in France since the primary years of your schooling, etc. Typically, those who apply for long-stay visas apply for France Family Visa, Professional Visas, Study Visas, etc.
France Family Visas
This visa applies to a spouse who wishes to live in France with their French citizen
French Work Visas
This visa applies to individuals who are intending to work in Paris (specifically paid work) for a duration longer than 90 days.
France Study Visas
This visa applies to foreign students who are wishing to continue their higher education from France. This education can take the form of a French language course or schooling from a private or public institution within France.
This visa applies to individuals who plan to go to France for talent purposes.
French long-stay Religious Orders Visa
This visa applies to those of Christian, specifically Catholic or Protestant faith who plan to come to France to practice some of their religious duties. In order to attain this visa, the individual must have a letter of recognition/invitation from a religious institute in France.
Documents required for French Schengen Visa
To apply for a French Schengen Visa, you should gather the following documents:
- A duly completed application form + Paid Application Fee
The French Schengen Visa application form is available on the official French visa website. Make sure to print it out either after electronically filling it out, or fill it out in real-time. It also has to be authentically signed by the applicant themselves.
- Two Recent Passport photos
The specific requirements for the passport photos are as follows:
- Must be two identical photos in 35x44mm size
- No black and white photo
- Have to be six months old, or newer
- Valid Passport
Before applying for your visa appointment, make sure that your passport is valid up to three months after your intended stay. Additionally, your passport also must have two blank pages.
- Proof of Address
It is smart to bring a copy of your lease or your apartment/house. You can also show other utility bills such as electricity, water, and gas.
- Proof of a plane ticket that has a round-trip black
You might be alarmed of needing to have this documentation but you do not actually need to buy the plane ticket. Rather, book the plane ticket in advance. Make sure you have documentation of the specific airline company you are flying on. It includes flight numbers, destination and days of your trip.
- Proof of a Travel Visa Insurance
To ensure safety of the application, the French government also requires you to show proof of financial stability. You need to show at least 30,000 euros that can be used in case of emergency during your time abroad.
- Cover Letter
A cover letter is a brief one to two paragraph letter that describes your purpose of applying for the visa. For instance, it is smart to mention where you plan on living, or places you plan on visiting.
- Proof of a Booked Accommodation
Similar to the booked air ticket, you do not actually need to purchase a suite within a hotel. Rather make a booking or reservation so that the embassy is secure in knowing where you are planning to stay.
- Means of Subsistence
To make sure that applicants are willing to take on financial costs during their trips, the embassy requires a means of subsistence detailing how much money you earn. You can collect this from your place of employment.
France Visa Application Process
If you are planning to apply for a French visa, here are the simple steps to take:
Select right type of French visa
Do some research about the specific type of Visa you require and whether you even need to apply for a visa. This is because, as mentioned above the visa type heavily depends on your purpose for travelling as well as your duration.
Additionally, certain nationalities and passport holders are also exempt from having to apply for a visa or even having to go to visa appointments. Thus, make sure to check the official French government, or country embassy website to see if you qualify for exemption.
Fill online French Visa Application
Set up an online application and fill out the visa application form available on the French website. This includes the specific documents outlined above as well as the documents detailed within the application such as a travel document and two recent passport pictures.
Most importantly, when printing out your application you must also print one out in French as well. When you are done paying your application fee, you will also have to create a personal account. This account is attached to your email to save an electronic copy of your form.
Upon completing this, you will also receive more specific instructions about the types of documents you must prepare and how to book your appointment.
Book an appointment at French Embassy
Book your appointment with the local French embassy or consulate near you. However, make sure to book a slot in advance in case your visa gets rejected. This will prevent in case your turn does not come in time for your expected travel date.
To find more specific information, it is best to search the embassy’s website page which is located in your country to see how to submit specific documents and also how to apply.
Go to submit your application in person. Upon confirming your appointment, you will have to meet with a member of the consulate who will collect all your required documents including your passport, ID and passport pictures.
This process is fairly short but the consulate member will access your application, collect your fingerprints as well as photo and then forward all of your documentation to the consulate to review.
Keep track of your French Visa
Once you have submitted your documents in real time, you are able to track the progress of your visa application and are also able to recollect your passport. To track the progress, go to your application page as you will be notified when to collect your belongings.
How Long Does It Take to get French Schengen Visa?
Typically, there is no right or wrong answer to how long it takes to get your visa approved. It heavily depends on the embassy you are going to, and in which country. However, typically the visa gets processed within fifteen working days, or even less sometimes depending upon the season.
Once again though, this time can vary according to how long you have to wait for a visa appointment in your specific embassy.
Is French visa different from Schengen Visa?
Holder of a Schengen Visa can travel to twenty six different countries that come under the Schengen area, of which includes France. However, it only includes specific parts of France as non-European territories do not qualify under the visa.
On the other hand, French visa is specifically only for France, and getting a visa for non-European territories does not grant one travel access to other areas in the Schengen area.
How much bank balance is required for French Visa?
The amount of bank balance you need to show typically depends on the type of visa you apply for. However, typically for a tourist visa, you must be able to show that you are able to spend a daily amount of 120 euros (23,690.18pkr).
Additionally, if you are applying for a student visa you must show at least one full year of already funded tuition/living cost or the ability to pay 615 euros (121412.15pkr) per month.
Which countries can enter France without Visa?
The following countries are exempt from having to apply for a French visa:
- Nationals of the countries that qualify as being in the Schengen Area do not have to apply for a short-term visa.
As well as the following people:
- Holders of France resident permit, residence permit of a Schengen country, valid long-stay visa of a Schengen country, long term EU resident, holder of a British over-seas passport
Short-term French Visa
As mentioned above, short-term French Visa are specifically for tourist or business purposes. Its total duration can last up to 90 days. Specific countries are also exempt from having to apply for a short term visa, but the application process stays primarily the same as a long term visa.
Long-term French Visa
Also as mentioned earlier, long-term French Visas grant applicants to enter France and also remain there for more than three months but less than a year.
The specific nationals that do not need to apply for a French long-term visa include those who have a short-stay visa but qualify as a family of a French nation, EU nationals, EEA nationals, those processing the nationalities of Monaco, Andorra, San Marino and Holysee.
Additionally, those who have long-term residence status in another EU country does not need French visa. Additionally, students, who are studying in France since the age of 16, do not need to apply for a long-stay visa. However, this also varies for territories outside of Europe that are located within France.
To get more specific information, it is best to check with your local embassy before you apply.
To sum it all up, this article gives you all the information you need to safely plan your trip to France. From the visa application process, to more specific information about what type of Visas to apply for – keep this article in your bookmarked tab so you can frequently refer back to it!
Rest assured, following the guidelines presented in this article you will enjoy champagne at Eiffel tower in no time! Thereby, what are you waiting for? Apply for your visa now!