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 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


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:

  • 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.

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.




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