France Visa Application - Requirements,Cost,Processing Time & Interview Tips

To travel to France you need to get a France visa. Getting a France visa is an easy process,all you need to do is to provide all the necessary requirement needed for the visa processing. So in this post you will get to  know the necessary France visa requirements and the application process.


This post is to answer frequently asked questions such as

How to apply for a France visa

Requirements to apply for France visa

Cost of a France visa

Duration to process a France visa

France visa interview tips



Information about getting a France visa

When submitting and processing visa applications
Regulations on entry to and staying in the French territory differ whether you hold a regular passport, a diplomatic passport or an official duty passport. Your passport must be valid long enough to cover your stay in the Schengen Area. Application or “visa” fees are payable on submitting your application; these application fees are not refunded if the visa is refused. When the visa application is being processed, certain formalities such as the making of appointments or submission of the application may be entrusted to service providers. You should allow additional costs for this. Information is available from the relevant French consulate.

You must tell the visa official the precise reasons for your journey to France. This is because the type of visa required to enter France depends on both the length of your stay and your reasons ; except for special cases :

        for stays equal to or shorter than 90 days, the visa to be issued is a short-stay visa, often known as a “Schengen visa”; 

        for stays longer than 90 days, the visa to be issued is a long-stay visa appropriate to the duration of and reasons for your stay.

This information must be accurate, because:

        once you are in France, you cannot have your visa modified or change your immigration status ;

        in addition, exercising a salaried activity is subject to specific procedures that require getting a work permit before getting a visa. This applies to all employees, including artists and sportspeople.

In the French overseas territories, the rules applicable may vary from those applied in Metropolitan France. When applying for a visa, you must carefully specify the destination and details of your flight.

Documents required when applying for a France visa
To apply for a Schengen short-stay visa, you are required to present one visa application per person, including the following items:

        A passport which is valid for at least 3 months after the date of the requested visa;

        duly completed and signed;

        A maximum of 3 photographs meeting requirements;

        Application fees. Visa application forms for a child under 18 years of age must be signed by a parent or legal guardian

If any of the items you provide do not fulfill our criteria, consular personnel will not accept your application and will ask you to present items which do. If you insist on submitting your application anyway, your application will be recorded but a visa will not be issued and the other items in the application will not be studied.

You must provide a proof of the following when applying for a France visa

        Proof of the purpose of your stay in the Schengen area;

        Proof of your means of support during your stay and accommodation;

        Proof of travel and repatriation insurance;

        Guarantees of repatriation to your country of residence (return ticket or adequate personal means to purchase one);

        For children under 18 years of age, specific proof;

        Any documents helping to convince the consular authority of your intention to leave the Schengen area when your visa expires.

Certain diplomatic and consular authorities that issue visas on ordinary passports may include more detailed information taking local specificities into account. These items providing proof that are are required are to be presented to the consular authority.

The consular authority will accept your application as provided by you and will make his decision on the basis of the guarantees and proof attached to your application. If you have failed to attach the proof included in the list, the consular authority will assume that you are unable to do so unless you effectively explain why such proof was omitted in a separate letter attached to the application.

Cost of a France visa

        60 euros for a short-stay visa (one or more stays totaling to less than 3 months per period of 6 months in the Schengen Area) except for nationals of certain countries who benefit from a special rate agreed with the European Union (Bosnia, Moldavia, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia).

        99 euros for a long-stay visa.

These application fees are not refunded if the visa is refused.

Duration to process a France visa
Processing time varies according to the nationality of the applicant and local conditions of the issuing department. Please consult the consular website. For certain types of visa that require verification or consultation with the French authorities (visas for a stay of more than 3 months in France, adoption visas, for example), response times may be much longer.

How to appeal if denied a France visa
You may appeal against a decision to refuse you a visa by applying to the Commission de recours contre les décisions de refus de visa d’entrée en France (Board of Appeals against decisions to refuse an entry visa to France) within 2 months of the date of notification of the refusal. If your visa is refused, you may also submit a new visa application immediately and at any time.

What to know before applying for a France visa

1) When planning your trip, do not make the mistake of thinking your travel agent or the airline will be able to tell you if you need a visa. Make sure you find out for yourself. You can find out if you need a visa by going to the U.S. State Department website:, there is a lot of terrific information to be found here including notes for Americans on safety and security overseas.

2) Make sure your passport has at least 4-6 blank pages, your visa won't need that many but many of the consulates require at least two blank pages; this is an easy excuse for them to give you a hard time. If you need more pages they're easy to get through the National passport processing office. You can find information the process on the State Department's website.

3) Make sure your passport isn't going to expire for a while. The passport's expiration date must be greater than six months from the date of entry for the visa you are applying for. If your passport does not meet the requirements, you must renew your passport.

4) Your visa application. This is where you really need the assistance of a good travel visa service. You'll find that many of the visa applications are quite confusing. There are language usage differences that may have you scratching your head. If you are not sure, ask, do not guess, errors on forms can be costly.

5) Passport photographs. This is one I had a particularly difficult time getting my boss to do. Go to your post office or perhaps you have a drug store or photo processing store that takes passport photographs, get them, and if you are traveling a lot get a lot of extra photos. Most often you are required to submit two passport photographs with your visa application. You may get away with only providing one, you may get away with submitting a digital you took and printed on photo paper. It's not worth the risk. Get the extra photos.

6) Include your travel itinerary. Most applications require you include your travel plans as proof of entrance and exit dates. This would be the itinerary you get with your tickets or from the airline/travel agent.

7) Make sure you make copies of everything you send the consulate or visa travel service. This doesn't include your passport of course, but it's a good idea to make a copy of the first page in your passport just for your records. You will be sending your passport with your visa application and other paperwork.

8) Include a copy of your driver's license. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but just good policy. A lot of times a country may require this but neglect to mention or they may decide they want more identification information. This is a "Just in Case" preventative measure.

9) Do not forget the fee. If you are using a visa travel service, most likely you can simply provide your credit card number. If you are not, you will most likely have to provide a check for their fee as most of the consulates do not take credit cards.

10) A key challenge is the decision to appear at the embassy or consulate or simply overnight your application and materials to the appropriate place. In many cases, there won't be an option as the embassy or consulate is too far to travel to. If you are doing this on your own and are able, it may be prudent to go to the embassy or consulate yourself. Base your decision dependent on your time and patience level.

11) Finally, hire a travel visa service. These services are reasonable, quick and experienced. You do not save money doing it yourself and you certainly don't save hassle. Your travel visa service is there to help you with everything from completing forms to emergency turn-around times. Don't just go with any service. Investigate. I recommend Visa HQ, for their experience and customer service


The type of visa required to enter France depends on the duration of and reasons for the planned stay, except in the following special cases:

        for stays of less than or not exceeding 90 days (3 months), you need to apply for a short-stay "Schengen" visa;

        for stays exceeding 90 days (3 months) you need to apply for a long-stay visa suited to the duration of and reasons for your stay.

Once the visa holder has entered the French territory, no visa modification or change of status may be obtained. In addition, exercising a salaried occupation is subject to specific procedures that require getting a work permit prior to applying for a visa. As regards French overseas territories, the rules applicable may differ from those applying to the territory of metropolitan France. Applicants are required to specify their destination and flight details very accurately.
If you are a national of a European Union (EU) Member State other than France, of the European Economic Area (EEA) or of Switzerland, or a family member of a national of an EU Member State other than France, the EEA or Switzerland, specific provisions of EU law apply:

        Nationals of EU Member States, the EEA or Switzerland are not subject to the entry and stay visa requirement, whatever the duration of their stay;

        members of the family of a national of Member States of the EU, EEA or Switzerland (spouse, children under 18 or dependent children, dependent parents) are subject to the same regulations governing the movement of persons as other foreigners of their nationality. Family members of a Union national who does not require a short-stay visa, or holding a residence permit for family members of Union citizens, do not require an entry and stay visa, whatever the duration of their stay.

Short stays (less than 90 days in the Schengen Area)
A short stay is a stay in the Schengen Area lasting less than 90 days or a succession of stays totaling less than 90 days in any period of 180 days. For short stays, European regulations specify the list of countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirement to enter the Schengen Area.

This information is gotten from France immigration page. Contact the closest France embassy available for more detailed information and updates.


France visa interview tips

1. Prepare a “grab bag” of documents frequently requested

Get a clearbook to hold all the documents that embassies usually require and make at least five copies of each of these documents. Usually, the embassy will need to look at the original copy for verification purposes and then just keep a photocopy. Make sure that your photocopies are clear. It will save you the trouble of having to photocopy another clearer copy while at the embassy

Documents to include in this clear book are:

·         Birth certificate (must be certified by the National Statistics Office)

·         Marriage certificate* (if annulled, you will probably need a copy of your Marriage Certificate annotated by the NSO certifying that the marriage was declared null and void.

·         Latest Income Tax Return

·         For business owners, include business permits, business license and (audited) financial statements

·         Photocopies of previous visas you have been issued

·         ID pictures: Different embassies will have different size requirements, so when you have your picture taken, have the picture reproduced in different size dimensions. I suggest you get one picture taken in the standard 2x2 white background and one in the US visa size and Schengen size. (Note that for all visa requirements, both ears must be shown and women should not be wearing earrings.)

·         Proof of income and ownership such as land titles and or car registration documents

Keep all your old passports with other visa stamps as reference. It may not fit in the clear book, but it should be made part of your visa app “grab bag.

2. Keep a list of the countries you’ve visited

Update the list of countries you've visited the way you would update your CV. Many embassies require you to list the countries you have visited within a certain number of years. Some embassies will specify a time frame, some will not, so it is best to start from countries you have visited from 5 years back. Keep a soft copy of this list in your computer and update it each time you travel.

3. Make a checklist of the visa application requirements – and triple check that!

When applying for a Schengen visa via the Italian embassy, for example, a checklist of requirements (which you can download along with the visa application form) is mandatory in the list of documents to be presented to the visa processing center. It is not a standard requirement for all countries, but a checklist is definitely a good thing to have on hand. Make one of your own if your destination country does not require it.

Double and triple check each requirement, line by line if you have to. It will be worth the trouble because there are varying specifications for each country.

Look out for fine print like required payment mode: Is a manager’s check required? Can you pay in Philippine pesos, US dollars or Euros? Tip is to pay in US dollars so you will not be subject to currency fluctuations. Remember to check for exact amount, e.g. if it says $58, bring $58 as some embassies will not offer change.

Double check the location of the visa processing centers as their addresses on the application forms may not be updated.

4. Have a standard template for letters of introduction to consuls

Embassies may require you to prepare a letter to the consul to introduce yourself and state your reason for travel. Make a standard template for this letter of introduction, save on your “Travel Docs” folder and just fill in whenever you need to apply for a visa.

This cover letter should have:

·         Header with your name, contact details and if available, your visa application reference number

·         Reason for travel

·         Duration of stay

·         Mention of other countries you have visited

·         How you will fund your trip

·         Day by day travel itinerary as an attachment

5. Make your travel agent your travel buddy

Find a travel agent you can trust and make him or her your travel buddy. She can act as a semi-one-stop shop and help you book tickets and hotels that you won't have to pay for yet (you will want to wait till you get the visa before paying for a ticket or hotel), and facilitate travel insurance.


Hope this post was helpful


Question tags

How to apply for a France visa

Requirements to apply for France visa

Cost of a France visa

Duration to process a France visa
France visa interview tips

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