Entering France from neighboring countries is generally a breeze – no border checkpoints and no customs – thanks to the Schengen Agreement, signed by all of France’s neighbors (except the UK). United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and Andorra).
Things are not always that simple if you are traveling outside of the Schengen area or planning to stay for a while. Here is everything you need to know about visas when traveling to France.
What you need to know about visas in France
EU nationals and citizens of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland only need a passport or national identity card to enter France. For tourists from around 60 non-EU countries, visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days. This includes citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, South and many Latin American countries. For stays longer than 90 days (for example to study), contact the nearest French embassy or consulate and start your request well in advance as this can take months.
Other people wishing to come to France as tourists must apply for a Schengen visa, named after the agreements that abolished passport controls between 26 European countries. It allows unlimited travel throughout the area for a period of 90 days. Apply at the consulate of the country you are entering first or your main destination. Among other things, you will need travel and repatriation insurance and must be able to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself.
Tourist visas cannot be changed to student visas after arrival. However, short-term visas are available for students taking university entrance exams in France. Tourist visas cannot be extended except in cases of emergency (such as medical issues). When your visa expires, you will need to reapply from outside of France.
Visa information is subject to change, so for up to date details visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The visa assistant can indicate whether you need a visa or not based on your home country, travel documents and length of stay.
Working holiday visa
Citizens of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan and a number of South American countries between the ages of 18 and 30 (35 for Argentines, Australians and Canadians) can benefit from a – an entry working holiday visa (Working Holiday Permit), allowing to combine tourism and employment in France. Apply at the French embassy or consulate in your home country (Australians can do this online). Do it early because there are annual quotas.
You must apply for a working holiday visa for France for the first time. You will need comprehensive travel insurance for the duration of your stay and you must meet all health and character requirements. You’ll also need a round-trip plane ticket and proof of sufficient funds (usually around € 2,500) to get you through the start of your stay.
Once you arrive in France and have found a job, you must apply for a temporary work permit (temporary work permit), which will only be valid for the duration of the proposed employment. The permit can be renewed under the same conditions within the limit of the authorized length of stay.
You can also study or take training programs, but the visa cannot be extended, nor turned into a student visa. After a year you have to go home.
EU passport holders and Swiss, Icelandic and Norwegian citizens do not need a residence permit (residence permit) to reside or work in France. Nationals of other countries who have obtained long-stay visas should contact the town hall (town hall) or prefecture (prefecture) to request a residence permit. Usually, you are required to do this within eight days of your arrival in France. Make sure you have all the necessary documents before you arrive. Students of all nationalities studying in France need a residence permit.
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