Visa & Residence card in France

Administrative Aspects

How do I apply for a visa for an ordinary passport ?

The procedure depends on the length of your intended stay :

  • if your stay is equal to or shorter than 90 days in the Schengen Area : you must apply for a short-stay visa
  • if your stay in France is longer than 90 days in France : you must apply for a long-stay visa

Applying for a short-stay visa for an ordinary passport

1. Where do I apply?

The short-stay visa is a visa valid for all countries in the Schengen Area unless marked otherwise on the visa sticker. It is often called a “Schengen visa”.

France’s consular authorities, except for a few offices (see decree of 29/12/08), and those of all the other states applying the Schengen Agreement issue Schengen visas valid for France.

However, you cannot submit your visa application to the consular authority of any Schengen state – you must submit it to the consular authority of your main destination (the state where you intend to stay longest):

If France is your main destination : you must apply to the French consular authority.

If another Schengen state is your main destination : you must apply to the consular authority of that country.

If your stay in various Schengen states is of equal length, you must apply to the consular authority of the country through which you enter the Schengen Area.

2. How do I enter the visa department?

An increasing number of visa departments receive applicants by appointment only. Please consult the website of the consular office where you intend to submit your application to see the procedures they use.

3. How do I complete my visa application?

For a Schengen short-stay visa, you must submit one application for each visa applicant, comprising the following items :

3.1. Items verified before the application fee is charged

  • a passport valid for 3 months beyond the expiry date of the visa requested
  • a short-stay visa application form completed and signed
  • photographs (maximum 3) matching official standards
  • the application fee

The visa application forms for a child under 18 must be signed by a parent or guardian.

3.2. Supporting documents

  • evidence relating to the reason for your stay in the Schengen Area
  • evidence of means of support during your stay and your accommodation
  • evidence of repatriation insurance
  • evidence of your return to your country of residence (return ticket or sufficient personal resources to buy it)

– For children under 18, specific documents are required :

  • documentary evidence to convince the consular authority of your intention to leave the Schengen Area when your visa expires.

The websites of the diplomatic and consular offices authorised to issue visas for ordinary passports may contain more detailed information appropriate to local circumstances. If so, it is the supporting documents stated there that must be submitted to the consular authority.

The consular authority will accept your application as you submit it and will make its decision on the basis of the guarantees and documentary evidence enclosed with your application.

3.3. Additional documents

The consular authority may ask you to submit additional documents within a stated period of time in order to process your application. In that case, you do not need to submit a new application or pay a further application fee.

4. Acknowledgement of visa application

When you submit your visa application, the official at the cash desk will give you a receipt for the exact amount of the application fee you have paid. This proof of payment is an official acknowledgement (récépissé) of your application.

5. Collection of biometric data

When you submit your application the consular authority will collect your biometric data. This data consists of a photograph and the fingerprints of both hands. Exempt from fingerprinting are children under 12.


To gain access to higher education in France, foreign students who have not passed the French baccalauréat must meet two conditions:

  • Be authorised to access higher education in their home country
  • Have a sufficiently good understanding of France to do the desired course

Depending on their situation, foreign students may either enrol directly in the institution of their choice in France or fill out a prior application form.

After receiving the certificate of enrolment or of pre-registration, the French Consulate issues a visa marked “student,” permitting them to enter France, with the proviso that they have adequate means of support.

Nationals of the EC Member States, the European Economic Area, Andorra, Monaco, Poland, San Marino and the Vatican City State are exempt.

To find out more, visit the Web site of the Campus France organization. fake tag heuer

Upon their arrival in France, students from outside the European Union who will be staying for more than three months must pass a mandatory medical examination, organised by the OFII delegations. They must also pay a tax of 55 euros (2007).

Retour au haut de la page