Visas In France Including French Long Stay Visas
We have put together this short article to give you an overview of the main visas available in France, and a number of useful links to speed up your research and application. We will keep adding to this article as we learn more from further reading and experiences that clients feed back to us.
The article is for information purposes only, and we recommend you make your own enquiries, and take professional advice where necessary before acting on your application. Unless you are an EU citizen, obtaining a visa is not a right and you may be refused.
There are three main types of visas available in France:
• Short-stay visas
• Long-stay visas
• Residency permits
This is the main website for general French visa information.
This section of the French visa government website provides useful information according to which country you resident in.
French Short-Stay Visas
Short-stay visas (visa de court séjour) are designed for stays of up to three months (90 days) and enable you to travel within France and the Schengen Area.
Visitors to France from the UK, United States, Canada, New Zealand, as well as a number other countries do not need to apply for such a visa. You will be given a 90-day visa when you arrive, which is stamped in your passport on arrival.
This useful link will allow you to see how much time you have left on your Schengen allocation.
Which Countries Need A Schengen Visa To Go To Europe?
Long-Stay Temporary Visa (Visa de long séjour temporaire visiteur – VLS-T)
Citizens from the UK, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well as a number of other countries can apply for a long-stay visa to live in France.
Who this visa suitable for?
Anyone looking to study, work or live in France for more than three months will need a long-stay visa.
Important: All those seeking residency in France, including those looking to retire to France or join a spouse or family member must hold a long-stay visa before being able to apply for a residency card (carte de séjour).
The Long-Stay Visa which is equivalent to a Residence Permit – Visa de Long Séjour Valant Titre de Séjour or VLS-TS – enables you to stay in France for up to one year, and as mentioned above is required before you can apply for the French residency/ Carte de Séjour.
You can apply for this visa before you arrive in France, and application processing times vary, so it is better to apply as early as possible.
There are two types of long stay visa – they are Temporary or Residence Long-Stay Visas.
• Temporary visas are suitable for people looking to spend up to 6 months in France without becoming resident.
You cannot renew these visas, but can leave the country when it expires and apply again the next year.
• Long stay visa (Visa de Long Séjour Valant Titre de Séjour or VLS-TS) is the option for other situations and will be valid for 12 months, following which you can apply for a residency permit/ carte de sejour. You MUST validate your VLS-TS within three months of arriving in France. If you fail to do so, you will no longer be legally present in France and will be unable to re-enter the Schengen Area.
• The second Long-stay visa is with the obligation to apply for a residence permit.
If the visa issued to you is a long-stay visa indicating an obligation to apply for a residence permit, you must complete this process within two months of arrival and contact the prefecture of your place of residence .
Tourism / Private stay
Travel for private stay or tourism reasons does not entitle you to engage in any professional activity unless you are a young traveller eligible to take part in the working holiday programme. The reason for your visit or stay may be:
• Tourism or private stay.
• Medical care given by a hospital.
Engaging in a professional activity in France is subject to different formalities depending on your situation, whether you are self-employed, an employee, your business and the length of your stay.
As a self-employed person, you can:
Come to France for business to meet your commercial and professional obligations.
You want to start or take part in a self-employed activity or in a liberal activity.
You want to study in France as part of your university studies or as part of an exchange scheme or cooperation programme.
If you want to visit your family without settling permanently, check the conditions below by referring to the tourist and private stay section.
French Residency Permits
Residency permits in France known as a Carte de Séjour or Titre de Séjour, allow you to live in France for the duration of the permit
You can see all the latest visa information for France, and make your application following the link below:
The Step By Step Guide To Applying For Your French Visa
STEP 1 – Get together all your information and check if you need a visa or not.
There is a wizard tool on the French government visa website below that will help you here. It will cover visa requirements, fees and supporting documents etc.
STEP 2 – Fill out the visa application form – https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en/web/france-visas/ma-demande-en-ligne
STEP 3 – Make an appointment with the visa application centre.
STEP 4 – You must attend your application appointment in person, with all the required documents.
STEP 5 – Track and collect your passport.
French Visa FAQs (source – https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en/web/france-visas/faq):
• How long does it take to get a visa?
Visa processing times vary depending on the nationality of the applicant, the purpose of the stay and any 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, but no more than 6 months prior to your planned visit.
• How much does a visa cost?
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 application.
• What sort of insurance must I have?
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.
• What are means of subsistence?
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, travellers cheques etc.).