Do I need a Schengen Visa to go to France?

If you are a U.S., Canadian, Australian, Brazilian, or Mexican citizen you will not need a Schengen Visa for France, as these countries are among those with visa-free arrangements with the European Union (EU). However, it is worth noting that from 2021, citizens will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver before they travel, which can be obtained online and will cost €7 ($7.82). Many other countries also have this arrangement.

Citizens of countries without a visa waiver deal, including China, India, and all African nations, even those who are permanent residents of the U.S. or Canada or green card holders, will require a France Schengen Visa to travel to France. This covers travel in all countries within the Schengen Area of Europe (countries which have abolished border controls between each other).

I’m applying for a Schengen Visa to France from the U.S. - where do I do this?

1. Information about preparing, submitting and then tracking your application is available on France-visas.gouv.fr, France’s official visa application website. The site also has an online portal, where you will be guided through the process of creating an account and completing an online application.

2. Once you have completed your online application, you will need to submit it to your nearest VFS Global visa center, details of which can be found on the France-visas website. There are nine of these centers in the U.S. - in Washington, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. From there, it will be passed on to the French Consulate in Washington D.C., where all decisions about visa applications from the U.S. are made.

3. Using the France-Visas website, you can track each step of your application, including important information like when to collect your passport and how to get ready for your trip to France. On the day of your appointment at the VFS Global visa center, you must present a final paper version of your application - as completed on the France-visas website.

You are advised that during busy periods, appointments might not be immediately available, so it’s recommended you try to secure one at least 15 days before your date of departure if traveling on a short-stay visa, and a month for a long-stay visa. However, applications cannot be submitted more than 90 days before your departure date.

For more information on visa applications and other consular services head to the French Consulate in Washington website: washington.consulfrance.org/spip.php?rubrique2.

I'm applying for a France Schengen Visa from the U.K. or another country - where do I do this?

Please visit our page about the France visa procedure from the U.K.

Please visit our page about the France visa procedure from the U.A.E.

Please visit our page about the France visa for Indians

Please visit our page about the France visa procedure from Philippines

What documents do I need to apply for a France Schengen Visa?

To obtain a France Schengen Visa you will need to arrange a France visa appointment and provide the supporting documents:

  • Application form, dated and signed

  • A travel document, issued less than 10 years ago, containing at least two blank pages, with a period of validity at least 3 months longer than the date on which you intend to leave the Schengen Area or, in the case of a long stay, at least three months longer than the expiry date of the visa requested.

  • France-Visas receipt.

  • ID photograph
  • If you are not a US citizen, please provide proof of your legal status (green card, visa and I94 or endorsed I20 for F1 visa holders or endorsed DS2019 for J1 visa holders. The "travel endorsment" signature is valid for one year and must not expire before the date of return to the USA).

  • Purpose of travel/stay

    • Document describing the planned programme (letter of presentation, reservation confirmation of an organised trip )

    • Pre-booked round-trip ticket.

  • Travel health insurance

    • Travel health insurance certificate issued by the insurance company (covering any possible costs for medical repatriation, and emergency and/or hospital treatment, for a minimum amount of €30,000, valid in all the Schengen area. A copy of your national health insurance card is not an acceptable proof of adequate coverage).

  • Accommodation

    • “Attestation d’accueil” (in case of accommodation by a private individual) or hotel reservation or certificate of ownership of real estate or lease agreement

  • Funds

    • Copies of bank statements for the last three months (with the name and address of the account holder(s), printed copies from online accounts are accepted) and copies of pay stubs from the last 3 months, or last year's income tax return or proof of prior economic activity and income during previous fiscal year, or proof of pension

  • Socio-professional situation

    • Letter from the employer or proof of business ownership / business license (if self employed). If retired, pension certificate. If student, certificate of enrollment.

Your passport should be less than 10 years old and be valid for three months beyond the end of your stay. Proof of accommodation could take the form of a booking, a rental or lease agreement, or an attestation d’accueil (accommodation certificate) if you are staying with family or friends, stating that they will be hosting you. To show you can fund your trip, you should provide your last three months of bank statements, as well as a letter from your employer or proof of business ownership.

What is the cost of a France tourist visa?

The fees for a type C Schengen visa have increased since February 3rd 2020:

  • A visa for France now costs €80 ($88).
  • For children aged 6 to 12: €40 ($44)
  • For children under age 6: free

When should you apply for France visa?

Since the implementation of the new Visa Code (February 2020) you can now apply for your France Schengen visa at the earliest 3 to 6 months prior to the date of your trip and at the latest 15 calendar days before your departure date.

In average it is recommended to start your visa application process 6 weeks before the beginning of your trip.

Anything else I need to know about applying for a France Schengen Visa?

To obtain your France Schengen Visa you will need to prove you can support yourself during your stay. Without pre-paid accommodation, you will need to show you have €120 to spend per day of your stay. With pre-booked accommodation, this falls to €65, or €32.25 if you can show you have booked a cheap means of accommodation.

What do I need from my travel and health insurance?

To obtain a France Schengen Visa, your travel and medical insurance must be valid for the whole Schengen Area, even countries you have no plans to visit, and cover accidents, illnesses, and emergency treatment, as well as repatriation to the U.S. in case of death, for costs up to a minimum of €30,000 ($33,000).

I want to apply for a visa to travel to France, where do I go to in my home country?

Find out the list of the French consulates and Visa Centers in the U.K., U.S.A., Philippines, and India : axa-schengen.com/en/french-consulate

Why choose AXA Schengen Insurance?

To obtain your visa you will need travel and medical insurance. AXA’s Low Cost Travel Insurance only costs €0.99 ($1.11) per day of your trip, and will meet your visa requirements, as well as ensuring you’re covered for any mishaps and accidents you or your loved ones might have.

For those who need more comprehensive cover, AXA Schengen Europe Travel Insurance offers extended coverage up to €100,000 wherever you travel in France, the Schengen Area or in the wider EU region. It also provides the mandatory insurance certificate needed for a Schengen Visa. The countries covered include the Schengen Area and all European Union countries (Ireland included) + Liechtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City.

Those seeking a multiple-entry visa can purchase our Multi Trip insurance from €298 per year, which again covers you for expenses up to €100,000.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about obtaining a Schengen Visa to travel to France

Can I use my Schengen valid visa to enter and stay in a French overseas department or territory?

A France Schengen Visa does not authorize you to enter and stay in any of the French overseas departments or territories unless you possess a visa that specifically allows you to.

Can I change my visa type or my residence status once in France?

After you enter France, you cannot make any changes to your visa type or residence status - so you need to make sure you apply for the correct type of France Schengen Visa.

As a French short-stay visa holder, can I extend my visa while in France?

You can extend your France Schengen visa but only in exceptional circumstances.