France is located in Western Europe and is one of the largest economies there besides Germany and the United Kingdom (UK). It is bordered with six other countries namely Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. Besides this location on the European continent, France also has other territories such as some islands located in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans as well as the French Guiana located in South America.
As at June 2016, the population of France stood at 66 million people. Paris is the capital city of France with other major cities being Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lille, Nice and Toulouse.
France is a member of the 28 country European Union and also a member of the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area, which consists of 26 European countries, is an area where there are no internal borders and where citizens of this area is able to move freely between countries without the constraint of checks at the border.
Depending on your reason the visit the country, there are many types of visas in France. Below are some of the documents that you will need to prepare to apply for a French Visa –
- Application form – The form is available online. You would need to fill up a copy of the form.
- Two recent passport sized photographs.
- Passport – Your passport must have at least two blank pages remaining.
- A copy of your return flight ticket reservation. You don’t need to purchase the actual ticket prior to securing your visa.
- A copy of your travel insurance.
- A supporting letter to show your purpose of visit to France and preferably your duration of stay.
- Proof of stay while in France.
- Proof of your financial capability during your stay in France.
These are additional documents for the following categories –
- If you’re employed – proof of employment, latest 6 months bank statements, permission of leave from employer.
- If you are self-employed – a copy of your business registration, latest 6 months bank statement and income tax return form.
- For students – proof of enrolment from the school, college or university, and letter of no objection.
- For those that are retired – latest 6 months bank statements.
Types of visas
- Tourist visas
This is the most common type of visa. There were more than 84.5 million people who visited France in 2015. This is also known as the short stay visa and normally is only valid for three months.
France is also well known as a destination for students. Some of the more common types of students are culinary, fashion, science relating to nuclear, space and aviation and art.
This type of visa is also known as a long stay visa. If the visa is marked as ‘student’ the applicant doesn’t need to apply for a temporary permanent resident permit.
- Long stay visa
Besides the long stay visa for students, there are also other types of long stay visas. They are issued mainly for –
- a) Those whose one of the spouse is French
- b) Those who are attending a training program in France
- c) Scientist and researchers
- d) Employees – those who have a contract of employment of one year or more
- e) Visitors to France – who are visiting the country but are able to sustain themselves financially during the period without working there.
- Visa for medical purposes
If you need to visit France for medical purposes such as for treatment of certain illnesses, for an operation etc, you can apply for a medical visa. This can be a long stay or short stay visa depending on the advice of the doctors. You would need to state this is your application form and provide proof such as medical reports and a supporting letter from the hospital.
- Visa for sports, culture or religious purposes
This is also a short stay visa. Any reason for the visit must always be stated on the application form and the necessary support documents must always be enclosed. Some of the items that you will need to state will be a support letter from the authority that invited you, the duration of stay and your schedule of travel while in France.
Fees for the visas
There are some fees that need to be paid for these visas. They are as follows –
- Airport Transit, Ordinary Transit short stay – A fee of EUR60 is imposed.
- Department D’Outre-Mer (DROM) – These departments are actually an administrative division of France which is outside the European France. They are such as the French Guiana (South America), Guadeloupe (Caribbean), Martinique (Caribbean), Mayotte (Indian Ocean) and Reunion (Indian Ocean). Fees imposed are EUR60.
- Territoire D’Outre-Mer (CTOM) – These were states previously ruled by the French and are also outside of European France. These states are mainly located in the African continent. Fees to be paid are EUR9.
- Children from age 6 to below 12 – For a short stay visa, the fee is EUR35.
- For students – Fees are EUR50.
- For long stay visas – Feed are EUR99.
These are the different types of visas in France. These visas may require some time to be processed. As such please apply it in advance of your visit to France.