Getting a tourist visa for France

The type of visa you need to visit France depends upon your nationality and your length of stay. France allows citizens of many countries to visit without a tourist visa for 3 months. If you need a Schengen or long-stay visa to enter France, then you must make an appointment with your local French consulate and provide the appropriate documents.

Check whether you need a tourist visa depending upon your home country

If your native country is part of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), then you do not need a tourist visa to France for any length of time.

You will not need a 3-month tourist visa if you hold a passport from one of the following countries: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.
If your country is not listed, then you will most likely need to apply for a 3-month Schengen visa to visit France. The Schengen visa is based on an agreement between 25 European countries that allows tourists to enter 1 of the 25 countries and go between other Schengen countries without showing their passport.

If you need to stay longer than 3 months, apply for a long-term stay visa. This is required for any nationality outside of the EU and EEA. Most often, the applicants for long-stay visas are applying to work, study or attend a family reunion.

How to get a tourist visa

Make an appointment at your region's French consulate. This appointment should be 1 to 3 months before your departure, but after you have bought your plane tickets and made travel arrangements. Your visa may not be accepted if you plan to depart less than 3 weeks after your appointment.

Documents needed:

  • 2 copies of a Schengen Visa application form. These free forms are available online under the "Getting a Visa" Section of the Diplomatie.gouv.fr website.
  • Your passport must also have 2 blank pages and be valid for at least 90 days after your departure date from France.
  • 3 1.4 by 1.7 inch (3.5 by 4.5 cm) passport photographs.
  • Your hotel or tour reservations and your departure and return flight information.
  • Proof of medical insurance coverage while you are traveling in France.
  • Original bank statements from the last 3 months, to show proof of funds while you are traveling in France.
  • Proof of residence in the region where you are applying. A utility bill and an identification card with that address listed may work as proof of residence.
  • Bring the application fee to your appointment in cash. The application fee for a short term visa is currently 60€.

You will wait approximately 2 to 3 weeks to receive a short-term visa.

Warning: There are a number of private companies who submit your Schengen visa for you. You do not need to use a company or pay for an application in order to get a Schengen visa.

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