French Visa

Basic Requirements 

As one of the European states (who number 15 in total) that participate fully in the Schengen Agreement of 1995, successful Schengen visa applicants are able to move freely between the states on a short-term basis for up to 90 days, for either the purpose of tourism or business.

Additionally, as France is an EU member, EU citizens are automatically permitted to visit France for up to three months, without having to apply for a French visa. Residents of other countries are able to visit France without having a French visa, but an application is required.

Processing Times

When applying for a Schengen visa, processing time and fees are very dependent on how the visa is applied for.  Applications can be made in person, by visiting the immigration office, and completed on the day.  However, there will still be a few hours of processing time.  For postal applications, approval can take a number of weeks.  Other French visas can also take a number of weeks to be approved (i.e. work permits and residency applications).

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Temporary French Visas

Schengen Visa

Regardless of whether the intent of the visit is for tourism or business, a Schengen visa acts as the French visa for non-EU citizens. A Schengen visa holder will be eligible to visit France for up to 3 months in total.

While Schengen visas can be issused as valid for either single, double or multiple entry, they still only allow a visit to the country for a maximum of 3 months.  They cannot be extended while in France, and to re-visit the country after the visa's expiry, a new Schengen visa application must be made.

Additionally, when applying for a Schengen visa, the applicant will be required to submit documentation to support their applicaiton.  This includes  the application form, evidence of funds for the duration of the trip and evidence of the applicant's intention to leave before the visa's expiry date (usually in the form of an onward ticket for travel).

Please note: It is a requirement that all documentation for French applications must be original (except where stated).

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Permanent French Visas

French Work Permit

Non-EU citizens wanting to live and work in France will be required to complete a work permit application.  To proceed with the French immigration process, an application for the 'Autorisation de Travail' must be made as a requirement.  Generally, the application for a French work permit will be made by the employer.

French Residency

If the applicant is a resident of an EU country, they will not be required to apply for a work permit application if they wish to live and work in France.  However, after residing in France for the full three months allowed, they will be required to complete an application for a 'Carte de séjour de ressortissant de l'Union Européenne'.  This essentially acts as an application for French residency.  The process for applying for this French visa includes the applicany providing proof of their employment, accommodation, identity and social security payments.

Apply Online for a French Visa


French Embassy Information

French General Consulate
6A Cromwell Place

Telephone: 020 7073 1250
Fax: 020 7073 1246