What can we help you with ?

If you have further questions about visas to France that are not answered on this website, our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) may help you :


Do I need a Schengen/Long Stay visa?

A: France’s territory in Europe is part of the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area also comprises the territory of other European Union and associated states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

A short stay is a stay in the Schengen Area lasting less than 90 days or a succession of stays totalling less than 90 days in any period of 6 months.

For short stays, European regulations specify the list of countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirement to enter the Schengen Area.

Exempt from visa requirement for France’s territory in Europe are:

Citizens of the EU, the EEA and Switzerland, nationals of the following countries:

Australia – Brazil – Japan – Mexico – Singapore - South Korea - United States - Venezuela – bearers of passports of the Hong Kong special administrative region (People’s Republic of China) and the Macau special administrative region (People’s Republic of China). If you are gainfully employed, the exemption only applies if you can produce a work permit

- nationals of the following countries, whatever the reason for their stay:

Albania* - Andorra - Antigua and Barbuda – Argentina – Barbados – Bosnia* - Brunei Darussalam – Canada – Chile - Costa Rica – Croatia - El Salvador – Guatemala - Holy See – Honduras – Israel – Macedonia* - Malaysia – Mauritius – Monaco – Montenegro* - New Zealand – Nicaragua – Panama – Paraguay - San Marino – Serbia* - Seychelles – Taiwan (passport bearing identity card number) – Uruguay
*bearers of biometric passports only

holders of a valid residence permit for France ;
holders of a residence permit issued by a state applying the Schengen Agreements ;
holders of certain travel documents issued by an EU Member State ;
holders of a British National (Overseas) passport.

If your nationality is exempted from a Short Stay (Schengen) visa, and you stay past the 90 days over a 6 months period allowed, you become an illegal alien.

Only nationals of the following countries are exempt from entry and long-stay visa requirements:

Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Monaco and Switzerland.

The Long Stay visa is mandatory for all other foreigners intending to stay in France for more than 90 days over a 6 months period. It can not be issued in France; you need to have it in your passport prior to departure from the United States.

How can I choose an appropriate visa for my situation?

A: The Visa Section can not give you advice on how to set up your file, or what type of visa you should apply for, unless you formally lodge an application and pay the relevant administrative fees.

The applicant is responsible for determining the appropriate visa type and prepare all required documents prior to booking an appointment at the Consulate.

You may find a complete list of the different types of visas here:


Please read the information pages carefully. Should you still be undetermined as to which visa to apply for, you may send us an e-mail to visas@consulfrance-washington.org explaining your particular situation.


What is the processing time for the visa?

A:Typically, visas are issued whithin 48 hours after your appointment, if your file is complete and the documents provided meet our requirements.
However, for certain types of visa and certain nationalities, a 2-3 weeks processing time is required.
Most Long Stay visas require a processing time. Please check the information page of the visa you are applying for in order to determine if it applies to you.

Citizens of the following countries require a 5 business days processing time for Short Stay applications:
Morocco – Sri Lanka – Tunisia

Citizens of the following countries require a 2-3 weeks processing time for Short Stay applications:
Afghanistan – Algeria – Bahrain – Bangladesh – Belarus – Burundi - Congo DRC – Egypt – Guinea – Iran – Iraq – Jordan – Kuwait – Lebanon – Libya – Mali – Niger – Nigeria – North Korea – Oman– Pakistan – Palestinians – Philippines – Qatar – Rwanda – Saudi Arabia – Somalia – Sudan – Suriname – Syria – United Arab Emirates – Uzbekistan – Vietnam – Yemen – Zimbabwe – US Re-entry permit - US Refugee travel document

Is there an expedited process?

A: No. A visa application can not be expedited. Make sure you apply well in advance of your departure according to your nationality and type of visa you are applying for.

When should I apply for the visa?

A:Visa applications will be accepted up to 90 days before the intended departure date.
It is strongly recommended that you apply for your visa at least 2 weeks before departure for nationalities/visas that do not requirement a processing time.
For nationalities that do require a processing time, make sure you apply at least 3 weeks before your intended departure date.

How can I find out the progress/status of my application?

A:Request for progress on your application only slows down the processing of applications.
After you have submitted your application, the consular authority processes it and will take a decision regarding your file.
The consular authority provides an answer as soon as possible, depending on the elements to study in your file.
There is no point in contacting the consular authority again during this processing period.
However, if you have received no response within 2 months, you may consider that your visa application has been refused (implicit refusal).

I leave in a few days. Can you make an exception?

A: No. Make sure to apply at least 3 weeks before your intended departure date.


What documents do I require to apply for a visa?

A:You may find the complete list of required documents for each type of visa, by checking the information page of the visa you wish to apply for:


Where do I find the Schengen and/or Long Stay application form?

A: You may find and download the Schengen application form here :

short stay application form

You may find the Long Stay application form here :


Can the visa officer request additional non-listed documents from me?

A: The Visa Section reserves the right to ask you to submit any additional documents they judge necessary in order to process your application. In that case, you do not need to submit a new application or pay a further application fee.


I have questions regarding filling out the Schengen application form

A: If you have questions about filling out the Schengen (Short Stay) application form, you may refer to this page for quick tips and advice:


I plan to visit multiple Schengen countries, where should I apply for my visa?

A: The Consulate of the main Schengen country of destination is responsible for issuing the uniform Schengen visa. If main destination cannot be determined, responsibility for issuing the visa lies with the Schengen state of first entry. Please apply at the Consulate of the country where you stay the most nights.

For example:
• You stay 6 days in France and 4 days in Italy : You must apply at the French Consulate
• You stay 5 days in France and 5 days in Germany : You must apply at the French Consulate only if you enter France first
• You stay 4 days in France for business and 10 days in Spain for tourism : you must apply at the French Consulate since the main purpose of your trip is business in France

Is my Schengen visa valid for travel to other European countries?

A: A Schengen visa allows you to travel within the Schengen space (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Lithuania, Poland, and the Czech Republic) unless otherwise stated on your visa.
(example: Schengen “-DK” means you may not travel to Danemark)


What must be the validity of my passport?

A: Your passport must be valid for at least 90 days after your date of return from the Schengen zone and, in case you do need a visa, it must have at least 2 blank “visa” pages. In addition, the date of first issuance of your passport needs to be less than 10 years ago.
No visa may be issued on “amendments” pages.

What are the requirements for my passport?

A:Your passport needs to be valid at least 90 days beyond the applicant’s last day in the Schengen states. Please make sure that:

• Your passport has a minimum of 2 blank “visa” pages
• Your passport is in good condition
• Your passport allows proper identification of the bearer without any doubt
• Your passport has been issued less than 10 years ago

The visa section has full authority to decline a passport that wouldn’t meet the requirements and request a renewed one before you can apply for a visa at the French Consulate.

How can I collect my passport?

Passport are exclusively shipped back by mail. Please provide an USPS express mail prepaid envelop when dropping your application.


When do I need an Attestation d’Accueil (Lodging Certificate)?

A: You need an Attestation d’Accueil if you plan to lodge at a family member or friend’s home in France.

Where can I get an Attestation d’Accueil?

A: This certificate must be obtained by the person you are visiting at the City Hall of their home city in France. Be advised that you must provide the original certificate as it needs to be officially stamped and may requested at the border by French custom authorities.


What type of medical insurance is required?

A: The visa section requires you to provide a letter from your insurance company stating that:

• you will be covered outside the United States, worldwide, or in the Schengen space
• you are covered of at least $ 35,000 or 30,000 euros
• you coverage is valid for any medical care (not only urgent and emergency care) and medical evacuation (rapatriation expenses)

Can the Embassy provide a list of travel insurances to choose from?

A: No. The Embassy does not endorse any specific medical insurance.
You may find several travel insurance providers by doing a simple internet search.


May I send my application by mail?

A: No. Personal appearance and fingerprinting are compulsory.

Can someone else apply for me?

A: No. Travel agents, lawyers, family members, friends or other individuals are not allowed to represent the applicant.

Where do I apply for my visa?

A: You may apply at our French Consulate in Washington, D.C. – 4101 Reservoir, RD, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007 – only if you reside in either Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Delaware.

I live far from the French Consulate that is assigned to me. May I apply at a different French Consulate that is closer?

A: If you are a resident of the Washington, D.C. consular jurisdiction (D.C., MD, VA, WV, PA or DE), you must apply at the French Consulate in Washington, D.C.


Can I come to the Visa Section without an appointment?

A: No. The Visa Section is open to the public on an appointment basis only, with no walk-is allowed.

How do I schedule an appointment?

A: You may schedule your appointment online here:


Can I request an appointment over the phone or by e-mail?

A: No. All appointments need to be scheduled online, by the applicant him/herself.

When is the visa section open for appointments?

A: The Visa Section is open to the public for appointments Monday through Friday from 8:45 am to 12:30 pm. We are closed on all major holidays.

I can’t make an appointment, the link doesn’t work/website is down

A: To use the system, the following configuration is required :

* Firefox 1.0 and higher
* Mozilla 1.7.8 and higher
* Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and higher
* Adobe Acrobat reader 5 or higher
* You need to enable your computer to open pop-ups by changing your browser settings.

I couldn’t print the confirmation for my appointment

A: It is not a problem, as long as your appointment is confirmed in the system. Simply show up on the day and time of your appointment.

I need to make changes to my appointment, but lost my WAS ID number

A: You may e-mail the visa section at visas@consulfrance-washington.org with your full name, date of birth, and passport number so we may retrieve that information for you.

There are no appointments open over the next month, and I need to leave soon, what should I do?

A: Check our appointment schedule frequently, on a daily basis, for possible cancellations and appointment openings.

How long is the visa valid for?

A: The validity of your visa will be determined based on the documents you present in your application file. The decision will be made by the head of the Visa Section.
Applicants should provide a complete set of required documents for their file. No visa will be issued if the file is incomplete, no exceptions.

May I request a multiple entry visa?

A: You may request a multiple entry visa in box 24 of the Schengen Application form. However, ultimately, the decision to grant you a multiple entry visa will be based on the information you provided in your application file.

What is the express mail return envelop used for?

A: For nationalities and types of visa that require a processing time, or if you cannot come the day after the appintement to bring your passport, you have the option to leave with us an express mail prepaid envelop, with your passport, so we may send your passport back in it, with the visa affixed in it, if the visa has been granted.

I am applying for a visa for my family (wife/husband and/or children) Do we all need to be present?

A: All family members need to apply in person. In that case, make sure that each individual has his/her own appointment.

How can I renew my visa?

A: Visas are not renewable. Each visa requires a new application, complete set of required documents and processing fees.

My visa was refused. What should I do?

A: If your application is refused, you may submit a new visa application without waiting. You will need to complete and sign a new form, enclose identity photographs, pay the application fee and support your application with the required evidence and any new items you may have.
However, we strongly recommend that you study the list of required documents again and see if your situation has changed so you may have a better chance at obtaining a visa.
If your visa was refused, you may lodge an appeal with the Commission de Recours contre les Refus de Visa (CRRV) within two months of being notified of the refusal or of an implicit refusal, by addressing your correspondence to:

Secrétariat CRRV
BP 83609

My visa was refused. Can I get a refund?

A: No. There are no refunds for refused visas.

Do I need an airport transit visa?

A: Only citizens of one of the following countries may require an Airport Transit Visa:

Afghanistan – Angola – Bangladesh – Cameroon – Chad – Cuba - Republic of Congo - Democratic Republic of Congo – Dominican Republic – Eritrea – Ethiopia – Ghana – Guinea - Guinea Bissau – Haïti – India – Irak – Iran - Ivory Coast – Libya – Mali – Mauritania – Nigeria – Pakistan – Senegal – Somalia – South Sudan – Sri Lanka – Sudan - Togo - Palestinians holders of a travel document for refugee which has been issued by Egypt, Lebanon or Syria.

If you hold one of the following documents, you DO NOT NEED an airport transit visa, regardless of your nationality:

• Official passport (Diplomatic or service)
• Valid visa (Schengen visa or long stay visa) or residency permit issued by one of the Schengen States
• Residency permit in one of the countries of the European Union or the EEA, Andorra, San Marino, Canada, Japan or the United States of America (green card)
• Re-entry permit
• valid visa issued by one of the countries of the EU or the EEA, Canada, Japan or the United States of America, in your passport

OR if you are:
• a spouse or minor child of a European Union citizen
• a flight crew member - national of a contracting party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.

When and how do I pay to submit my visa application?

A: Fees to submit visa applications are collected on the day and time of your appointment.
The visa section accepts payments by Visa or MasterCard ONLY.

How much does the visa cost?

A: The different visa costs can be found here :


What are the requirements on my U.S. immigration status?

A: In order to apply for a Schengen visa, your U.S. immigration status (resident card, advance parole, or visa sticker) should be still valid at least 90 days after your last intended day in France.

I can not reach the Visa Section by phone. What should I do?

A: Due to high call volumes, the staff at the Visa Section cannot answer your call.
You may contact the Visa Section by e-mail in some specific cases only.

I did not receive an answer to the e-mail I sent

A: Allow the visa section a couple of days before expecting an answer, a few more during the busy seasons such as Summer and Winter holidays. Please read our website carefully, as you’ll probably find an answer to your question.


I am a French Citizen and need to apply/renew my French passport

A: Please contact the French Consulate, “Section française” at info@consulfrance-washington.org

I am a French Citizen and need to apply/extend a visa to stay in the United States

The Visa Section at the Embassy of France in the United States provides service for foreigners traveling to France.
The Visa Section can not in any way answer or give advice regarding U.S. immigration requirements or processes.
Your questions should be directed to the U.S. immigration bureaus.


Please note that the Visa Section will be able to process your request only if the following information is provided at the beginning of your message :

- Gender
- First name / Last name
- Nationality
- Phone number

- Street Address
- City / State / ZIP

- Regular passport
- Diplomatic & Official passport
- Refugee travel document
- Re-entry permit

- US citizen
- Residency card
- Type of US visa

- Short stay visa (Schengen visa) Less than 90 days
- Long stay visa (More than 90 days)

To be mentionned in the subject of your e-mail
- Appointment
- Missing documents
- Medical Emergency Case
- Officials passports
- General Inquiry

Il will not be answerd to e-mails :

- if the informations requested above are not mentioned
- if the information is already on the website
- if the inquiry concerns to consider the visa application
- if the request concerns processing time

Thank you for your understanding.



Last modified on 13/07/2017

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