Applying for a short-stay visa

Applying for a short-stay visa

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The category of visa mainly depends on the duration of and reason for the stay.

Entry visas can be broken down into two main categories:

  • A short-stay visa authorizes foreign nationals to enter and stay in French territory for up to 3 months. Short-stay visas can be single-entry for one short stay or multiple-entry for several successive short stays.
  • A long-stay visa allows foreign nationals to stay in France for longer than three months, with the aim of enabling the holder to obtain a residence permit so they can live in France for a specified period.

Meanwhile, a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour – VLS-TS) allows the holder not only to enter France but also to live in the country for between three and 12 months without applying for a separate residence permit.



Are you looking to stay in France for a short period? Typically, you should apply for a short-stay visa.

Are you required to hold a short-stay visa?

For all stays of up to 3 months in France, unless you are exempt, you must apply for a short-stay visa.

The ordinary short-stay visa, commonly known as a ‘uniform stay visa’ or a ‘type C Schengen visa’, also allows the holder to move freely between all 26 Schengen countries.

This type of visa is granted for the following reasons:

  • Tourist visits.
  • Pleasure, family or personal visits.
  • Business trips.
  • Short courses or internships.
  • Engaging in paid employment, subject to certain conditions.

It does not allow the holder to settle in France long-term or bring their family. Paid employment is also restricted to the situations listed above.

For further details, please see the ‘Working in France’ section.

Short-stay visas are single-entry only: once the holder has left the Schengen Area, they cannot re-enter. A new visa application may be submitted after a waiting period of 180 days from the first date of entry.

There is also a multiple-entry short-stay visa: the travel visa. This allows the holder, during a given period (ranging from six months to five years), to enter France and travel within the Schengen Area for short stays limited to 90 days in any 180-day period.


Helpful tip: These visas are only valid for French territory within Europe. Foreign nationals wishing to travel to overseas départements, territories and communities must apply for an overseas visa; Schengen visas are not valid for such travel. More details can be found at the website of the Ministry of the Interior.

Are you exempt from the short-stay visa requirement?

A number of other foreign nationals (‘third country nationals’) are exempt from the requirement to obtain a short-stay visa depending on their reason for entering France, in accordance with the Schengen Agreement:

  • Nationals of the following countries:
Albania Holy See Saint Kitts and Nevis
Andorra Honduras Saint Lucia
Antigua and Barbuda Hong Kong Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Argentina Israel Samoa
Australia Japan San Marino
Bahamas Macao Serbia
Barbados Macedonia Samoa
Bosnia Herzegovina Malaysia Seychelles
Brazil Mauritius Singapore
Brunei Darussalam Mexico South Korea
Canada Monaco Switzerland
Chile Montenegro Taiwan
Colombia New Zealand Tonga
Costa Rica Nicaragua Trinidad and Tobago
Dominica Northern Mariana Islands United Arab Emirates
East Timor Palau United States
El Salvador Panama Uruguay
Grenada Paraguay Vanuatu
Guatemala   Venezuela


  • Passport holders of the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao (People’s Republic of China).
  • Holders of a visa or residence permit issued by France or another Schengen country.

These visa exemptions do not waive the requirement for nationals listed above to present proof of the reason for and conditions of their stay, their financial means and repatriation guarantees, as laid down in legislation and regulations.

Foreign nationals of countries not listed above wishing to enter France must obtain a short-stay visa.

Length of stay and visa validity period


Visa validity period

Short-stay visas are valid for the period shown on the sticker, up to five years at most.

Length of stay

Single-entry short-stay visas are issued for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. They are valid in all territories of Schengen countries.

The European Commission has created a travel day calculator to help travelers keep accurate records.


Helpful tip: There is also a visa with limited territorial validity (visa à validité territoriale limitée – VLT), which is limited to its country of issue, with the possible addition of one or two other Schengen countries.

Obtaining a short-stay visa


Where to apply

Applications must be submitted to the French embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of residence.

Find the relevant diplomatic or consular authority


When processing visa applications, the visa authorities normally invite applicants to attend their premises in person. Some formalities, such as arranging appointments and submitting applications, may be outsourced to external service providers.


Helpful tip: Where to apply if you are thinking about visiting more than one country in the Schengen Area
For successive short stays in more than one Schengen country, the authorities that can issue short-stay visas are as follows:

  • Those of the country that is the main destination for the trip, which will assess the purpose and duration of the stay.
  • If the main destination cannot be clearly determined, those of the country identified as the foreign national’s point of entry into the Schengen Area.


When to begin applying

Processing timescales for short-stay visas can vary from one embassy or consulate to another.

Applicants are advised to apply relatively early, but no earlier than three months before the planned date of arrival in France.

Documents required

Helpful tip: All documents must be submitted in French (originals together with a set of photocopies). Visa applications are not processed until a complete application has been received.


To submit a short-stay visa application, applicants should typically present the following documents:

  • A passport (or other travel document) meeting both the following conditions:
    • Issued in the last 10 years.
    • Valid for at least three months after the planned date of departure from French territory.
  • Short-stay visa application form (Cerfa no. 14076*01) duly completed, signed and dated.
  • Two standardized passport photos.
  • Evidence of sufficient financial means:
    • €32.50 a day for foreigners with an accommodation certificate.
    • €65 a day for foreigners with proof of a hotel room booking.
    • €120 a day for foreigners without proof of a hotel room booking.
  • Proof of a guarantee of repatriation to the foreign national’s usual place of residence.
  • Proof of insurance covering medical and hospital expenses up to at least €30,000.
  • Evidence of the reasons for and conditions of the stay:
    • Tourist visits: Hotel booking showing the applicant’s name, lease agreement, etc.
    • Family or personal visit: Original and photocopy of proof of accommodation (accommodation certificate).
    • Transit: Travel bookings, visa for final destination, etc.
    • Business travel: Letter of invitation from the host (company, seminar or conference organizer, etc.).
    • Internships and training: Internship agreement.

A full list of specific supporting documents to be submitted with a visa application, depending on the purpose of the stay and the foreign national’s personal circumstances, is freely available to the public at French consulates and embassies or from their websites.

For further details, please visit the relevant authority’s website.

Helpful tip: Proof of accommodation
Any foreigner wishing to stay in France for no longer than three months, especially for a family or personal visit, must provide proof of accommodation.

This can take the form of a hotel booking or an accommodation certificate supplied by a person hosting the foreign national in their home. The host must apply in person to the town hall in their place of residence, signing Cerfa form no. 10798*03.
Cost: €30

Cost of a short-stay visa

Application and visa fees are charged when the application is submitted. They range from €35 to €60 depending on the nationality of the applicant, to whom a receipt is issued. Fees can be found on website.

Fees are not refunded if a visa application is unsuccessful.


Helpful tip: Some formalities, such as arranging appointments and submitting applications, may be outsourced to external service providers. Any fees they charge are in addition to standard application fees, and are payable by the applicant.

Extending your stay


Upon expiry of a short-stay visa, the holder must leave the country unless they have applied to the relevant authorities for a residence permit.

If for some extraordinary reasons, you wish to extend your stay, you must contact the Préfecture (office of the Prefect, the local representative of national government) in your place of residence before your visa expires.

Find the relevant Préfecture


Successive short stays: travel visas


If you are planning a number of short stays in France, a travel visa allows you to make return trips.

Who should apply for a travel visa

A travel visa is a multiple-entry type C short-stay visa allowing an unlimited number of entries into the Schengen Area.

The visa sticker bears the word Circulation (‘Travel’).

What does my visa sticker mean?

Are you exempt from the short-stay visa requirement?

Foreign nationals who are exempt from the short-stay visa requirement are also exempt from the travel visa requirement.

Visa validity period

Travel visas are valid for between six months and five years, as stated on the visa sticker.

Length of stay

As for ordinary short-stay visas, the maximum length of stay is 90 days per half-year. A travel day calculator is available on the European Commission website.

Holders of this type of visa have a total of 180 days to complete either:

  • A single uninterrupted 90-day stay in France or within the territory of other Schengen countries.
  • Or several stays totaling up to 90 days per half-year.


Obtaining a travel visa

The application procedure is the same as for an ordinary short-stay visa (documents, requirements, extension, etc.).

Cost of visa is also the same. Fees can be found on website.

Completing the short-stay visa application form

Completing the short-stay visa application form

Cerfa form 14076*01 and its explanatory notes




































































What does my visa sticker mean?


For further information, please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development.

For further information

Useful links:

Legal and regulatory texts: