Fact sheet: short-stay visa

Date of update

 

Nationals of a State third to The European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, are you looking to stay in France for a short period? Typically, you should apply for a short-stay visa.

 

Short-stay visa requirement

 

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

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.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.

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 valid only on the so-called European territory of France and therefore in mainland France. These visas allow circulation within the Schengen Area.

Foreign nationals wishing to enter overseas departments, territories and communities must apply for a specific short-stay visa allowing access to the overseas territory of the place of stay, as a Schengen visa is not valid.

 

See the procedure in our separate fact sheet “Applying for a short-stay visa”

Visa validity period and lenght 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.

Exemptions

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.

 

Access to mainland France and the Schengen Area

 

In accordance with the Schengen agreements, for the Schengen short-stay visa, the following are exempted from the visa requirement

  • Holders of a visa or residence permit issued by France or another Schengen country ;
  • Passport holders of the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao (People’s Republic of China). ;
      • 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 Singapour
Brunei Darussalam Mexico South Korea
Canada Monaco Switzerland
Chile Montenegro Taïwan
Colombia New Zealand Tonga
Costa Rica Nicaragua Trinidad and Tobago
DominicaCosta Rica Northern Mariana Islands United Arab Emirates
East Timor Palau United States
El Savador Panama Uruguay
Grenada Paraguay Vanuatu
Guatemala Venezuela

These visa exemptions do not waive the requirement for nationalslisted 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 apply for a short-stay visa.

Entering the overseas departments

 

To access the French Overseas Departments, short-stay visa exemptions apply:

  • Holders of a valid residence permit or long-stay visa issued by France or another Schengen Area State;
  • Holders of passports from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region;
  • Holders of a circulation visa valid for 6 months to 5 years and wishing to enter one of the overseas territories for: South Africa, Bahrain, Belarus, China, the United Arab Emirates, India, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Russia and Ukraine.
  • Nationals of the Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia for stays of up to fifteen days, not to exceed one hundred and twenty days total over twelve months, exclusively in Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy;
  • Nationals of the Islands of Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago for stays in Guadeloupe and Martinique;
  • Nationals of Ecuador and Peru for stays in Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana;
  • Nationals of the following States:
Albania* Canada Nicaragua
Andorra Chile New Zealand
Antigua and Barbuda South Korea Panama
Argentina Costa Rica Paraguay
Republic of Macedonia* El Salvador Saint Knitts and Nevis
Australia Guatemala San Marino
Bahamas Honduras Holy See
Barbados Israel Serbia*
Bolivia Japan Seychelles
Bosnia and Herzegovina* Mauritius Singapore
Brazil** Mexico Taiwan
Brunei Monaco Uruguay
Montenegro* Venezuela

*Nationals of Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia benefit from this exemption only if they hold a biometric passport.

*Brazilian nationals, if they are exempt from the obligation to hold a short-stay visa to access the Schengen Area, must apply for a short-stay visa when they wish to reside in an overseas department, particularly in French Guiana, though it borders the nation. Exemptions are offered only for very short stays and are specified on the website of the French Embassy in Brazil.

These visa exemptions do not waive the requirement for nationalslisted 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 apply for a short-stay visa.

Extending your stay

 

A short-stay visa does not allow to settle in France.

Upon expiry of a short-stay visa, the holder must leave the country. The renewal of a short-stay visa or the application for a residence permit is impossible.

If the holder of a short-stay visa wishes to settle in France, an application should be made back in the holder’s country of residence for a long-stay visa enbaling him to obtain a residence permit once in France.

If for some extraordinary reasons you wish to extend your stay, , for health reasons for example, 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