Obtaining a French visa: Schengen visa advice for France

Depending on nationality, a person who plans to visit France needs a visa which is issued by the nearest French Consulate or French Embassy in his/her home country before departure. The category of visa that a person requires depends on the duration of stay and the purpose of the visit which can be tourism, studies, professional purposes or family purposes.

Stays up to 90 days

Anybody who is planning to stay for 90 days or less needs to apply for a short-stay visa. The types of visas and the regulations differ according to the French territory that a person intends to visit.

If one is planning to visit European territory (mainland France), France conforms to Schengen regulations that relate to the Schengen Area so it supplies a short-stay Uniform Schengen visa. N.B. France is part of the “Schengen Area” which includes 26 European States that form a shared space of free movement of persons.

If one is planning to visit French overseas territories (non-European), France will give a short-stay national visa.

A person whose flight will pass through a French airport but has no intention of leaving the “international zone,” must find out if he/she needs to get an “A” airport transit Schengen visa.

Short-stay visa

The short-stay visa is generally given for family visits, business trips, tourism, corporate meetings, conferences, internships, short training programs and paid work less than 90 days. It is also needed for simple transit through France if the traveler needs to change airports to continue travel or if the traveler has to wait for a transfer flight at a hotel or an acquaintance’s home.

Stays longer than 90 days

Anybody who is planning to stay longer than 90 days is required to apply for a long-stay national visa. The types of visa and the applicable regulations differ depending on the length of stay and the purpose of staying in France’s European or non-European territories. The guidelines that apply to long-stay visas can be checked in the code governing the entry and stay of foreign nationals and right to asylum (available in French only).

Long-stay visa

For any planned stay in France longer than 90 days, up to a year, the visitor has to apply for a long-stay visa. If the visitor wants to extend the stay beyond the validity of the visa, he/she has to apply for a residence permit in the region.

As long as the long-stay visa is valid, it corresponds to a Schengen visa that enables visitors to travel to, and stay, in the Schengen Area away from France for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. The conditions of a Schengen visa apply.


Most nationalities need a long-stay visa for all French territories except citizens of the European Union, Andorra, Monaco, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. Citizens of New Caledonia, French Polynesia, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) and Wallis-et-Futuna also need visas.

For more information, talk to a French Embassy or French Consulate or a 3rd party service provider such as Favisbook  where you can book a French visa appointment in Sydney or many other cities in the world with ease.