Getting a France visa: Your fullest guide
France is one of the founding members of the Schengen Agreement, a treaty that includes at the current day almost all of the EU and allows the residents and visitors of one country to travel to the rest of them with minimal checks and waiting.
The way it works is when you obtain a visa to France, you are allowed to also visit Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and a number of other polities within Europe. Moreover, several states that are not members of the EU also allow entrance without a requirement of their national visas if you have a Schengen one, such as Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland.
As you can see, a French visa is, therefore, an incredibly useful document that will help you travel to a lot of destinations. But how should one proceed with getting it?
Worry not, as Smart System Holidays prepared this succinct yet detailed guide. And if any questions remain by the time you finish reading, we will be most glad to answer them for you!
Step 1. Deciding on the basics
Before the real work on obtaining a French visa starts, one should think their trip through. That should include:
- The date on which you want to enter France;
- The duration of your desired stay;
- Whether or not you plan to visit other Schengen countries as well and if so, when and for how long.
Thinking about all these aspects of your travel in advance will help you to prevent any last- minute problems.
The first one is supremely important, as it determines not only when you will go, but also when you should apply for a visa. The processing time comes up to 15 working days, so it is dangerous to apply when you only have a week left until the day you want to go, for example. The best practice here would be to apply as early as you can, namely 6 months in advance, which is the earliest date allowed.
Knowing the duration of your stay will help you choose the right type of visa (more on that later).
If you wish to visit more than one Schengen country with the help of the same visa, you will need to apply through the consulate or mission of the country you will be spending the most time in.
Step 2. Selecting where to apply
Once you’ve decided on the basics of your trip, you need to choose the visa application center you will be working with.
In the UAE, one can apply for a French visa at the Dubai VFS Center or the Abu Dhabi VFS Center depending on which is closer to your location. However, there are no harsh restrictions placed here, and you are allowed to apply at your desired center no matter where your home is.
Step 3. Deciding on the visa type
This step is crucial in the process, because France asks for all visitors to provide a reason for travelling there. There are a plethora of purposes and visa types based on them:
- Tourist If your intention is just to see the sights France has to offer, spend time at a resort, participate in the cultural life, and otherwise in recreational activities, you must pick this type.
- Visas for UAE nationals. If you are one, then this is the visa type for you to apply for.
- Work permits. For those who aim to come into employ in France and stay there working, working visas are necessary.
- Medical visas. If the reason for going to France is to undergo medical procedures or treatment, this kind of visa will give one an easier and faster time getting
- Dependent visas. For children under 18 as well as spouses of the European Union citizens, dependent visas are
Failing to truthfully provide the purpose of your visit will result in legal problems and may even get you disqualified from being able to apply for a French visa for several years in the future.
Once the type of the visa is settled, you also should think about the entry category. The thing is, besides its duration, every visa also grants you a certain number of entries into France.
A single-entry visa, as you can tell, only allows you to cross the French border once on the way in. Even if you still have some time left during which your visa remains valid, it will not let you come in more than once if you have exited the Schengen area.
So, if you want to be able to leave France and the Schengen area and then come back using the same visa, you will need a double- or multiple-entry one.
Step 4. Gathering the paperwork
Now is the time to actually collect all the necessary documents that you will hand in with your application. These documents include:
- Your passport, valid for no less than 6 months since the day your stated trip
- The UAE residency permit, valid for no less than 3 months since the day your stated trip
- 2 pictures – passport-sized.
- A bank statement or similar proof of your finances (such as a letter from your employer confirming your salary).
- No Objection Certificate from your local
- Your proof of This can be your hotel reservation, tour provider contract, or other documents like that.
- Your proof of leave – most often it is your return
- Your medical insurance covering
- Birth certificate (must be translated and attested) for persons below 18 years of age. In certain cases, more documents may be required. Smart System Holidays LLC will study your situation and let you know if you need any additional
Step 5. Filling in the application form
With all your documents gathered, you need to complete the form on the France-Visas website. To do that, you must create an account or sign into an existing one.
The form itself needs to be printed out and submitted along with the rest of the documents when you visit the VFS Center of your choosing.
Step 6. Making an appointment
Now you need to schedule an appointment at the center, during which you will hand in your documents. The rules do not permit one to simply walk into a VFS Center as soon as they are ready unless you are eligible for a dependent visa or are applying for a long-stay (90 days to 1 year) visa.
The scheduled date can be removed from the current one by 2 months or even more, if the purpose of your visit is not medical. However, Smart System Holidays provides the service of preferential appointment slot booking, which makes the wait period much shorter.
Step 7. Attending the appointment
On the scheduled day you will visit the visa application center with all the documents you have gathered. There you will hand them in and provide your biometric information to the center.
This includes submitting your photos as well as your fingerprints. The latter is done with the help of a digital scanner, so you don’t need to worry about the ink.
While at the VFS Center, you will also be required to pay the visa fee.
Step 8. Waiting to get approved
The last thing you need to do is be patient and wait for up to 15 working days until the decision is made. If all of the data you have provided checks out and your documents are valid, your application should be approved.
This is a non-government site and whilst every endeavor is made to ensure the information is correct and up to date, there may be changes which we are not aware of. It is always a good idea to check the latest regulations. You should confirm details with your local French Visa Application Center.
What do I do if my French visa application is denied?
In this case, if they deem you eligible you can make an appeal to the commission responsible via mail. If you get a refusal, it will specify how to proceed with that.
Can I make the approval process faster?
No, unfortunately, there is no way to speed it up, as it is controlled by a computer system.
Is it possible not to go to the visa center in person?
No, you must visit it because it is necessary that your biometric information is taken.