France Schengen Visa Guide | Processing & Requirements
Oh, the land of romance and heavenly patisserie. The country of grand historical gestures and world-renowned cuisine. The place where fermented grape drinks and a slice of exquisite aged cheese is a daily combination to be enjoyed. Yes, if it wasn’t obvious thus far, I am talking about France! And you are reading these lines because all of the above-mentioned treats and way more have enticed your curiosity. You could see yourself amidst all of this but are not sure if you are required to apply for France Schengen visa. Or maybe you are not sure how much is a Schengen visa for France, and what will happen in the France Schengen visa appointment. You are in the right place because I have combined the most important information you help you understand how to apply for France Schengen visa and what requirements will get you through the process smoothly. But first things first.
What does a Schengen visa to France entitle with?
The Schengen zone is the largest visa-free travel area in the world. Anyone who holds a visa to this zone can freely move in this territory for up to 90 days if their travel is related mostly to tourism, business, family, or other reasons that do not include any paid activities. It might allow single or multiple entries in the zone.
What is specific about this visa for France? It means you have to fulfil one of the two requirements for France Schengen visa. First is - you will spend most days of your Schengen trip within France. Alternatively, you are eligible if the number of days in each Schengen country is to be the same. In this case, France should be the first landing point in the Schengen area. Not too complicated, is it?
Frequent travellers often look for information about 5 year Schengen visa France, but that fits within the category of long-term visas. With that said, 5 year Schengen visa France is a new and trendy topic for a whole other article. This blog is rather about short-term Schengen visas, so I will not talk much about visa types anymore. Let's talk a bit more about the process itself.
Who needs to obtain a Schengen visa to France?
Well, for short-term travel to France the list of visa-free countries is quite long. The easiest way to answer is - about half of the world’s nationalities are exempt from visas in this case. This means that about half of the countries are on the list that states the necessity for a visa. You can check your eligibility with either French or your national immigration services.
How to apply for France Schengen visa?
The procedures to obtain a visa for the Schengen area are usually quite uniform. It always starts with understanding where your application should land - an embassy or other Visa Application Centre in your country. You can find the information with the national migration services. Or, if you know there is a French embassy in the country of your residence, try contacting them directly.
When you know who is going to receive your formalities, find out all the requirements. You can see a brief insight in the following paragraphs or ask the embassy what exact formalities apply in your situation. Additionally, you can fill the online application form (or do it in person later during the visit to the embassy). Collect all the documents required for Schengen visa France and schedule an interview. Below you will see how you can get prepared for the meeting. Being on the top of your game can increase the chances of receiving a visa; take into consideration the information from the next paragraph!
After going through all the questions and formalities, you will need to pay the Schengen visa fee France embassy asks, and you are free to go. You will hear more about the France Schengen visa processing time by the end of this article.
What happens during the France Schengen visa appointment?
If you have decided to apply for a France Schengen visa, then it is very likely you will get an interview in person with someone at the embassy or consulate. So what should you keep in mind when attending the interview? Always show up on time, or better, a few minutes before. Your appointment will probably get cancelled if you are even just a few minutes late. Dress somewhat official, but make sure you feel comfortable. The meeting will last about 10 minutes, and you will get asked questions about your trip. The key to this part is answering honestly and staying calm. You have nothing to be afraid of if you are truthful.
What are the requirements for France Schengen visa?
Here is the very basic list of documents required for Schengen visa France application that is required for tourism-related travel. It is smart to get this information/papers ready, so whenever you apply, it takes less time to figure out what's what.
First, you need a filled and signed France Schengen visa application form (you can do it online and print it out). Then prepare two coloured passport-type photos, a passport valid at least 3 months after departing Schengen, and a copy of the main page. Additionally, you will need copies of all previous Schengen visas. To submit the application, you will need all the possible proof of your travel - flight ticket reservation, accommodation booking, and travel insurance with coverage of at least 30 000 EUR. They will ask to prove your civil status (marriage, kids, etc.), professional status, and the financial means that ensure you can take care of your expenses during the trip (a minimum of 120 EUR per day).
This is the basic list of France Schengen visa requirements, but the officials might ask for some additional information, too. Just be ready that sometimes the process does not go through with the first attempt, and be ready for a longer processing time if you need to submit something more. Last but not least - the technical details about the process.
How much is a Schengen visa for France?
It is quite nice to know that belonging to the Schengen zone has also unified the visa processing details, including the fees. Just as in any other country belonging to this zone, also the standard Schengen visa fee France requires to pay is 80 EUR. For 6 - 12 years old kids, it is half the amount - 40 EUR. And in this particular case, some countries are granted a possibility to pay a reduced fee. Nationals of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia and citizens of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Albania, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro who DO NOT hold biometric passports yet will pay just 35 EUR to get their Schengen visa to France.
What is France Schengen visa processing time?
The processing time might differ depending on your nationality, the quality of your submitted documents required for Schengen visa France, and the place where you apply. But generally, you can expect to have your answer for a short-term visa in 3-25 calendar days.
A few last words before we part. Planning will get you far - be ready for things that might be required during the France Schengen visa application process. Plan the travel too, because that will make it easier to show them your intentions. And the second thing - remember that the officials just want to make sure if you are applying for the reasons you say you are. Provide them with all the necessary information from the get-go, and you will get your very desired document way easier and sooner.
Well. I hope you have understood the most important France Schengen visa requirements and the processing of the whole bunch of formalities, too. I aimed to help you to understand what is there to prepare before you apply for France Schengen visa, and hopefully, it will happen in no time! Besides that, I wish you an amazing trip to this land of small and big pleasures. Bon voyage, my friend!
* Currently, the world is still going through a major crisis caused by Covid-19, and one of the areas affected the most is the travel industry. Wherever you decide to go, always check the local rules and restrictions before arrival. Additionally, I suggest opting for bookings that allow free reimbursements in case of cancellation because the health concerns change day by day. The travel plans might get interrupted on a whim, and you might lose money. Better safe than sorry, right? Please, also keep in mind that all of the information mentioned in this article applies to the standard times and procedures. The embassies might require a different application procedure or deny entry of foreign travellers altogether. Just check the latest procedures with the immigration services of the country you are travelling to, or ask the embassy you intend to apply to.
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.