Frequently asked questions
REMINDER: Following the chronology of steps allows you to easily access the information you need to apply for a visa.
Visa renewal / extension
I am in France and I wish to renew or extend my visa, I must contact the prefecture of my place of residence. If I am in my country of residence, I contact the consular services or the competent service provider
You can create groups of up to 6 applications with a limit of 50 groups per account.
Please find below 2 tutorials on the application process:
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Managing your account
Please go to the "My Account" space or start your online visa application and enter your surname, first name and a valid email address (your email address must not exceed 70 characters) as well as your preferred language.
In a few minutes, you will receive an email containing an activation link for your France-Visas account. You will then receive a second email with your temporary password, which you should change as soon as you have logged in. The activation link will direct you to France-Visas where you can validate your email address using the code you received in the email.
Your account is now active and you can access all France-Visas services.
Some emailing programmes do not recognise links over several lines; the link can be broken and not work. Simply copy/paste the entire link into your browser's address bar.
- Click on “Forgot your password?” in the login area;
- Enter your email address defined when you set up the account;
- In a few minutes, you will receive an activation link enabling you to reset your password.
You can create a new account:
- With the same email address after deleting it.
- By using a new email address.
You can change the language of your account at any time: My account > Change my account
Schengen area: entering and staying
All foreign nationals require a visa to enter the Schengen area unless exempt. This exemption depends on:
- The nationality of the applicant;
- The type of passport;
- Whether the traveller has a residence permit or a long-stay visa valid in France or a State that applies the Schengen accords;
- The duration of stay;
- The part of the French Republic the traveller plans to visit (France’s European or non-European territories).
Important: not being required to obtain a visa or be in possession of a visa is not sufficient to grant automatic right of entry and does not exempt you from proving the purpose of your stay and your means of subsistence during a Border controls.
I have a French residence permit. Do I need a visa?
If you have a valid residence permit authorising you to reside in France, you do not need an entry visa. However, if members of your family do not have residence permits, they must apply for a visa unless exempt.
I hold a French residence permit but I’ve mislaid it. Do I need a visa?
Foreign nationals holding a residence permit in France and who have declared this document lost or stolen to the local authorities must apply for a return visa from the consulate in order to enter France again. It is recommended that foreign nationals holding a French residence permit keep this document safely at all times when travelling overseas.
Unless stated differently on the visa stamp, short-stay visas are valid for all the 27 States in the Schengen area i.e. the following countries (in alphabetical order): Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
There are no border controls between Schengen countries except in special circumstances.
Important: the United Kingdom and Ireland are not part of the Schengen scheme.
"Schengen" visas do not allow entry to France’s non-European territories as they are not part of the Schengen area.
Similarly, visas for France’s non-European territories do not allow entry to the Schengen area.
I want to visit France and already have a valid short-stay Schengen visa issued by another Schengen State. Do I need a new visa?
A Schengen visa (issued by a Schengen State embassy or consulate) is valid for all 27 States in the Schengen area unless indicated otherwise on the visa stamp. If your visa is still valid, you do not need to apply for another visa to visit France. However, you must be able to provide supporting documentation as to the purpose of your stay and your means of subsistence upon your arrival in France.
Foreign nationals who are authorised to enter mainland France for a short stay without a visa are also authorised to enter Monaco without a visa as are holders of residence permits issued by a Schengen State. The holder of a Schengen visa valid in France is also authorised to enter and stay in Monaco.
When a short-stay visa is required and the main destination is Monaco, the consulate in France will issue a Schengen visa valid for Monaco and the Schengen area.
Your application will be passed on to the Monegasque authorities. The visa will be issued by the Monegasque authorities following their agreement.
The visa application file must include:
- Three long-stay visa application forms;
- Three recent passport photographs;
- Your original passport (and photocopies of the main pages).
You will also have to provide:
- A copy of your criminal record;
- A sworn statement indicating that the applicant has never been sentenced in his/her country of origin or elsewhere, has not been declared bankrupt, and is not involved in any on-going legal or criminal proceedings.
- Supporting documents as to the purpose of the trip:
- An employment contract signed by the Principality's Employment Department;
- An application to set up a business or a company;
- A marriage licence for spouses of French, Monegasque or foreign nationals residing in Monaco;
- A bank statement showing sufficient means of subsistence: verification of the amount of these means falls under the sole remit of the Monegasque authorities; a bank certificate certifying that the applicant is able to live in Monaco without exercising any gainful activity is deemed sufficient.
- Proof of accommodation:
- A lease or pre-tenancy agreement;
- A property deed;
- Or a proof of residency letter;
- Or a written undertaking by the interested party to produce one of these three documents within three months of his/her arrival in the Principality.
You must contact the visa department or centre responsible for taking your visa application directly.
The visa stamp indicates the validity of the visa and the authorised length of stay. A visa may be issued for a single entry or multiple entries.
The maximum length of a stay is that which is indicated on the visa and will vary depending on the purpose of your stay.
- You must leave the Schengen area no later than the expiry date shown on your visa;
- You must not exceed the authorised length of stay during the validity of the visa;
- If you have been authorised to stay for 90 days, you must not remain in the Schengen area for over 90 days in any 180-day period; this period must not exceed the duration of the visa or the 90-day period, which commences on the date of the first entry into the Schengen area.
Compliance with these durations and the validity of the visa are checked when entering or leaving the Schengen area. Should you fail to comply, you may be refused entry/exit at the border.
A Type D long-stay visa issued in France or by another Schengen country allows you to travel in the Schengen area for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period during your visa’s validity period subject to presenting supporting documents as to the purpose of your visit and your means of subsistence.
This is valid for all long-stay visas indicating the letter ‘D’ during the validity period.
You have to transit in an airport in France in order to travel to another airport in France or to an airport in a Schengen country.
You are entering the Schengen area via a French airport. The border police will carry out controls in this airport. Unless exempt from having a visa, you must have an entry visa and a short-stay visa for the Schengen area.
You have to transit via an airport located in France to an airport located outside the Schengen area without leaving the international zone of this French airport.
Foreign nationals making this type of transit do not enter into the Schengen area. In principle, foreign nationals are not required to have an airport transit visa subject to exceptions. Certain nationalities must obtain a visa to make this type of transit in airports in France.
If you were granted a short-stay visa or were exempt from obtaining a short-stay visa during your arrival in France, you must be able to satisfy all the border police’s requests:
- Your passport (with a visa, if this applies to your situation);
- Supporting documents as to the purpose of your trip to France, your means of subsistence during your stay, and the means to return to your country of origin.
- You must have an insurance certificate covering all medical and hospital expenses for which you may be liable for the duration of your stay in France, as well as medical repatriation costs and expenses in the event of death.
Holders of multiple-entry visas must carry a health insurance certificate during every trip.
Having a visa in your passport does not necessarily guarantee that the holder will be authorised to enter the Schengen area. The border police may refuse your entry. If you were granted a long-stay visa, the border police will only ask to see your passport containing the visa. It must have a stamp showing the date of entry into France.
No. France authorities don't issue visa at your arrival.
Unless exempt from having a visa, you must have a visa issued before your arrival in France or within the Schengen area. As a reminder, having a visa in your passport does not necessarily guarantee that the holder will be authorised to enter the Schengen area. The border police may refuse your entry.
You must fill out a new form. No need to delete this form or your account. Print the good version of your form and add it to the required documents.
For the Schengen short-stay visa, the European Commission website has created a calculator that can help you check how many days are left on your visa (Reminder: the total length of your stay must not exceed a total of 90 days over a period of 180 days).
The picture must be recent and conform to reality. The photo should be between 35 and 40 mm wide. The size of the face should be 32 to 36 mm (70 to 80% of the picture) from chin to forehead (excluding hair).
A biometric passport is a passport with an electronic chip that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder. It uses a contactless smart card technology. Passport information is both printed on the passport data page and stored in the chip. The biometric passport contains personal data of the passport holder, digital photo ID and fingerprints.
Information about submitting your visa application
You must submit your visa application to the French consulate (or Embassy) or with a certified service provider (differs from country to country) in the country where you legally reside.
However, if you are in another country and you can explain why your application could not be submitted to the consulate in your legal place of residence (unexpected circumstances, etc.), your visa application may be accepted.
The Member State authorised to process and rule on visa applications is the one whose territory constitutes the sole (or main) destination of your journey.
I plan to visit several Schengen countries during my trip: which countries can process my visa application?
When visiting several countries, the competente Member State is the one whose territory constitutes the main destination of your journey in terms of duration. If the main destination can not be determined, the competente Member State is the one the applicant intends to enter first.
I plan to spend six days in France and fifteen in another Schengen area country. Should I submit my visa application to the French Consulate?
In this case, the authorised Member State is the one whose territory constitutes the main destination of the journey in terms of duration.
I plan to travel to France but my flight will arrive in a different country. Where should I apply for my visa?
You must apply for your visa at the French consulate as France constitutes the main destination of your journey in terms of duration even though you are entering the Schengen area via another Member State.
Visa processing times vary depending on the nationality of the applicant, the purpose of the stay and the local visa issuing conditions.
To apply for a short-stay visa, the application must be submitted at least two weeks prior to your planned visit; however, it can not be submitted more than 6 months prior to your planned visit. It is the responsibility of the applicant to take the necessary precautions in terms of respecting deadlines when an appointment system is in place.
Certain types of visa require special checks (e.g. civil status, etc.) or consulting different French authorities, which may extend the processing time.
Those applying for a visa must cover the administrative costs (i.e. costs linked to processing your application) i.e. €80 for short-stay visas and €99 for long-stay visas. In certain cases, certain categories of applicants may be wholly or partially exonerated from paying these fees (children under six years of age, children aged between six and twelve years of age, spouses of French nationals, students whose applications have been inspected by a study centre in France, etc.). Visa fees are not reimbursed even if your application is refused or you withdraw your applicat
You must use the passport you intend to travel with. When you fill in the application form, you must indicate your original nationality as well as your current nationality (i.e. that shown on your passport).
The purpose you indicated for your trip determines which supporting documents you will have to provide to support your visa application. You must choose the purpose of your stay for which specific documents are requested (e.g. letter of invitation, employer attestation, etc.), so the “working” reason should take precedence.
Similarly, if you are coming to France to study and for tourism purposes, the “Studying” reason should take precedence.
Individuals who have obtained a Schengen visa and have submitted biometric data (fingerprints and photograph) are not required to submit this biometric data again if they possess a photocopy of their previous Schengen visa, if the biometric data was submitted less than 59 months ago.
However, you must submit a passport photograph in your application.
The biometric visa number can be in the following formats:
- XXX : code of the issuing country
- D : This is the code for Germany only
- 000000000 : 9 digit visa number
For stays not exceeding 90 days (unless exempt), trips for tourism or business require valid travel insurance covering any possible costs for medical repatriation, and emergency and/or hospital treatment. This is mandatory. This insurance must be valid throughout the Member States’ territory in the Schengen area, which fully apply the provisions of the Schengen accord and for the duration of your stay. It must allow you to access services in the Schengen area.
This insurance must also provide coverage of €30,000 minimum including medical repatriation, and emergency and/or hospital treatment.
If your application is for a school group, we recommend you contact the consulate, which will arrange an appointment for you; you will be told where to submit the applications (e.g. an external service provider or the consulate).
Visa applications for the purposes of a school trip are free of charge.
The visa number is composed of the 3-letter country code (country of issuance), followed by a 9-digit number.
The person hosting you must go to their local town hall in France to obtain the proof of accommodation document on your behalf (more information about which documents to provide can be found on the following website: servicepublic.gouv.fr - in French only).
The proof of accommodation document is mandatory for persons being hosted by private individuals.
When submitting your visa application, you must be in possession of the original document as it must be stamped by the consulate and be presented when you enter the country.
We need to provide an acceptable proof of funds that shows your financial ability to travel and bear expenditures during your stay in the Schengen area (personal bank statements for the last 3 months, last 3 pay slips, credit/debit cards statements, travelers cheques etc.).
If you have a long-stay visa serving as a residence permit, you must validate it within 3 months of arriving in France at https://administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr/.
This quick and easy step ensures you are a legal resident of France following your relocation to the country. You will need:
- A valid email address;
- Your visa information;
- Your date of arrival in France;
- Your address in France;
- Your card details for the online payment of the fee for issuing your residence permit (for other payment methods, please check the website).
If you do not complete this step within three months, you will no longer be a legal resident of France or be able to re-enter the Schengen Area.
If your long-stay visa bears the words “carte de séjour à solliciter” (request residence permit), you must apply for a residence permit at the Prefecture of your place of residence, without first contacting the OFII, within two months of your arrival in France, unless you are a minor (aged under 18).
N.B. minors aged between 16 and 18 who work must request a residence permit.
Your residence permit has expired
The consulate is not authorized to renew expired residence permits. This is the responsibility of the Prefecture of your place of residence in France. You can travel with your expired residence permit if it is accompanied by the certificate of renewal application.
A return visa (in France) is a type of long-stay visa issued under special circumstances to individuals able to prove they have a French residence permit. The granting of this type of visa is subject to authorisation from the relevant police station.
The “visa de retour” allows you to enter France:
- Foreign nationals holding a residence permit (which authorises them to enter France without a visa) or, for minors, a travel document for under-age children “(DCEM)” or a republican identity document “(TIR)” having declared they have lost or mislaid this document or that it has been stolen;
- Minors usually residing in France and who have left French territory without applying for a DCEM or TIR prior to their departure;
- Foreign nationals in possession of the initial residence permit receipt who have left France before obtaining their residence permit;
- Foreign nationals with temporary residence authorisation issued in the context of a request for asylum or a receipt for an application issued in the same framework.
The visa application file must include the following documents:
- Three long-stay visa application forms;
- Three passport photographs;
- A valid passport;
- The long-stay visa fees;
- A letter explaining why you are applying for a return visa;
- Proof of address in France (utility bill, etc.)
If your valid residence permit has been lost or stolen:
- Original declaration of the loss/theft from the local authorities (+ photocopy of the declaration of the loss/theft: the original will be returned to you).
If you are in possession of the initial residence permit receipt:
- Original receipt of the first application for a valid residence card (+ photocopy: the original will be returned to you).
Travel document for under-age children (DCEM)
Under-age children living in France do not need a residence permit. However, to enable travel outside France, travel documents for foreign minors can be obtained (DCEM). This document allows the minor (following a trip abroad) to prove his/her right to reside in France and to be readmitted without a visa into France or the Schengen area. This document must be presented with a valid passport.
Foreign minors born in France: republican identity certificate (TIR)
The republican identity document (TIR) enables certain foreign minors residing in France to travel and prove their identity. The person with parental authority for the child must make the application and provide the supporting documents. The document is issued and can be renewed or replaced by the police station (préfecture or sous-préfecture).
What can I do if my visa is refused?
In accordance with the provisions of French law and European law, decisions to refuse a visa to enter France must be justifiable.
The applicant who has been refused a visa may contest the decision within 30 days by lodging an appeal :
- Before the Commission for Appeals against Visa Refusal Decisions in the case of a long-stay visa (CRRV – BP 83609 – 44036 NANTES CEDEX 1). This prior appeal, which must be justifiable, written in French and signed, is mandatory before any appeal to the administrative judge.
- Before the Deputy Director of Visas in the case of a short-stay visa refused from 1 January 2023 (BP 83609 44036 Nantes Cedex 01). This prior appeal, which must be justifiable, written in French and signed, is mandatory before any appeal to the administrative judge.
If no decision has been transmitted to the applicant within two months after the date of submission, the application is deemed to be an implicit decision of refusal and may be appealed before the CRRV or the Deputy Director of Visas, depending on the nature of the visa applied for.