Coming to France

Prior to your arrival, you must ensure that you have met all the requirements for your visa and/or residence permit.

Many non-EEA nationals need a visa to enter France (unless they qualify for an exemption).  However, if you are a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national, you are exempt from visa requirements, whatever the duration of your stay. If you are not a EEA or Swiss national, the type of visa required will depend on the duration and reasons of your stay.


List of the countries within the EEA


1. You are a EEA or Swiss national

As a national of the EEA or Switzerland, you can travel, live and work in France for an unlimited period of time. You do not need a visa or a residence permit. You only need a valid passport or ID. Your family members have the same rights (i.e. spouse, children, parents and/or grandparents) if they also are EEA or Swiss nationals. Otherwise, they must apply for a visa and a residence permit. For more information, visit the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website or contact the French Consulate of your country of residence.

 


2. You are a non-EEA national: What type of visa should you apply for? 

The type of visa required to enter France depends on both the duration and the reason of your stay.

Icone AttentionPlease note that once in France, you cannot change your immigration status or your visa. To do so, you must return to your home country and reapply for a new visa.

Certain countries' nationals are exempt from visa requirements for short-term stays of 90 days or less. Verify if you qualify for an exemption.

If you hold a passport from a country exempt from visa requirements, you can enter and stay in France and the Schengen area for up to 90 days. Please note that if you want to extend your stay beyond 90 days, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa. You cannot apply for a long-stay visa in France. You must return to your home country to reapply. Therefore, if you think you may stay in France for over 90 days, you must apply for a long-stay visa at the Consulate before arriving in France.

You are coming to France:

    If you are coming to France to complete a Bachelor's or Master’s degree

    You are eligible to apply for a VLS-TS étudiant. This long-stay D visa worth residence permit is intended for international students wishing to pursue academic studies in France.

    • To apply for a VLS-TS étudiant, you will need your lettre d’acceptation (letter of acceptance) from a French university or a higher education institution.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the VLS-TS étudiant application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate).
    • Upon receipt of your letter of acceptance, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.

    More information on the VLS-TS visa

     

    If you are enrolled at a foreign university (outside the Schengen area)  and are coming to France within the framework of an exchange program

    If you are coming for a period of 90 days or less:

    You are eligible to apply for a  visa court séjour mention “étudiant”. This short-stay C visa is intended for international students wishing to pursue academic studies in France (unless they qualify for an exemption).

    • To apply for a visa court séjour étudiant, you will need your lettre d’acceptation (letter of acceptance) from a French university or a higher education institution.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the visa court séjour étudiant application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate).
    • Upon receipt of your letter of acceptance, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.

     

    If you are coming for a period of 90 days or longer:

    You are eligible to apply for a VLS-TS étudiant. This long-stay D visa worth residence permit is intended for international students wishing to pursue academic studies in France.

    • To apply for a VLS-TS étudiant, you will need your lettre d’acceptation (letter of acceptance) from a French university or a higher education institution.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the VLS-TS étudiant application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate).
    • Upon receipt of your letter of acceptance, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.

    More information on the VLS-TS visa

     

    If you are enrolled at a foreign university (Schengen area)  and are coming to France within the framework of an exchange program

    If you are coming for 90 days or less over a period of 180 days:

    If you live and study in a member country of the Schengen area and are coming to France within the framework of an exchange program for 90 days or less over a period of 180 days, you do not need to apply for a visa. All you have to do is bring the original of your letter of acceptance, the long-stay visa and the residence permit issued to you by the authorities of your country of residence. Please note: your residence permit must be valid for the complete duration of your stay.

     

    If you are coming for a period of 90 days or longer:

    For all stays over 90 days a visa is compulsory. You must apply for the same visa as a student enrolled in a university outside the Schengen area: a VLS-TS étudiant.

     

    If you are enrolled at a foreign university and are coming to France within the framework of an internship

    If you are coming for a period of 90 days or less:

    You are eligible to apply for a visa court séjour mention “stagiaire”. This short-stay C visa is intended for international students wishing to work in France within the framework of an internship.

    • To apply for a visa court séjour "stagiaire", you will need your convention de stage (internship agreement). The internship agreement will be sent to you by the institution where you will be completing your internship.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the visa court séjour stagiaire application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate).
    • Upon receipt of your internship agreement, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.

     

    If you are coming for a period comprised between 3 to 6 months:

    You are eligible to apply for a VLS-TS stagiaire. This long-stay D visa worth residence permit is intended for international students wishing to work in France within the framework of an internship.

    • To apply for a VLS-TS stagiaire, you will need your convention de stage (internship agreement). The internship agreement will be sent to you by the institution where you will be completing your internship.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the VLS-TS stagiaire application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate).
    • Upon receipt of your internship agreement, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.

    More information on the VLS-TS visa

     

    If you are coming to France to complete a PhD : you will be enrolled at a French higher education institution

    You are eligible to apply for a long-stay visa VLS passeport-talent.

    • To apply for a VLS passeport-talent, you will need your convention d’accueil (hosting agreement). The hosting agreement will be sent to you by the institution where you will be completing your PhD.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the VLS "passeport-talent" application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate).
    • Upon receipt of your hosting agreement, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.
    • If your situation does not allow you to benefit from a hosting agreement, please contact your host laboratory prior to undertaking any procedure.

    More information on the VLS passeport-talent

     

    If you are coming to France for a doctoral stay: you are not enrolled at a French higher education institution

    If you are coming for a period of 90 days or less to a French laboratory as part of your doctorate that you are completing in a country outside the Schengen area:

    You are eligible to apply for a visa court séjourscientifique-chercheur”. This short-stay C visa is intended for international scientists and researchers.

    • To apply for a visa court séjour scientifique-chercheur, you will need your convention d’accueil (hosting agreement). The hosting agreement will be sent to you by the laboratory where you will be performing your research. Please note that despite qualifying for a visa exemption, the hosting agreement is compulsory.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the visa court séjourscientifique-chercheur” application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate). If you are accompanied by your family (spouse and/or children), make sure to inform the Consulate on your initial contact, as your spouse and/or children will need a visa as well.
    • Upon receipt of your hosting agreement, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.
    • If your situation does not allow you to benefit from a hosting agreement, please contact your host laboratory prior to undertaking any procedure.

     

    If you are coming for a period comprised between 3 months and 1 year to a French laboratory as part of your doctorate that you are completing in a country outside the Schengen area:

    You are eligible to apply for a VLS-TS passeport-talent. This long-stay visa worth residence permit bears the mention passeport-talent.

    • To apply for a VLS-TS passeport-talent, you will need your convention d’accueil (hosting agreement). The hosting agreement will be sent to you by the laboratory where you will be performing your research.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the VLS-TS passeport-talent application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate).If you are accompanied by your family (spouse and/or children), make sure to inform the Consulate on your initial contact, as your spouse and/or children will need a visa as well.
    • Upon receipt of your hosting agreement, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.
    • If your situation does not allow you to benefit from a hosting agreement, please contact your host laboratory prior to undertaking any procedure.

    More information on the VLS-TS visa

     

    If you are coming for 90 days or less over a period of 180 days to a French laboratory as part of your doctorate that you are completing in a country within the Schengen area:

    If you are currently living and completing your PhD in a member state of the Schengen area and are coming to work in a French laboratory for 90 days or less over a period of 180 days, you do not need to apply for a visa. All you have to do is bring the original of your convention d’accueil (hosting agreement), the long-stay visa and the residence permit issued to you by the authorities of your country of residence. Please note: your residence permit must be valid for the complete duration of your stay.

     

    If you are coming for a period comprised between 3 months and 1 year to a French laboratory as part of your doctorate that you are completing in a country within the Schengen area:

    For all stays over 90 days a visa is compulsory. You must apply for the same visa as a doctoral student enrolled in a university outside the Schengen area: a VLS-TS passeport-talent.

     

     

    If you are a researcher coming to work in France

    If you are currently working in a country outside the Schengen area and are coming for a period of 90 days or less:

    You are eligible to apply for a visa court séjourscientifique-chercheur”. This short-stay C visa is intended for international scientists and researchers (unless they qualify for an exemption).

    • To apply for a visa court séjour scientifique-chercheur, you will need your convention d’accueil (hosting agreement). The hosting agreement will be sent to you by the laboratory where you will be performing your research.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the visa court séjourscientifique-chercheur” application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate). If you are accompanied by your family (spouse and/or children), make sure to inform the Consulate on your initial contact, as your spouse and/or children will need a visa as well.
    • Upon receipt of your hosting agreement, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.

     

    If you are currently working in a country outside the Schengen area and are coming for a period comprised between 3 months and 1 year:

    You are eligible to apply for a VLS-TS passeport-talent (unless in a specific case). This long-stay visa worth residence permit bears the mention passeport-talent.

    • To apply for a VLS-TS "passeport-talent", you will need your convention d’accueil (hosting agreement). The hosting agreement will be sent to you by the laboratory where you will be performing your research.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the VLS-TS passeport-talent application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate).If you are accompanied by your family (spouse and/or children), make sure to inform the Consulate on your initial contact, as your spouse and/or children will need a visa as well.
    • Upon receipt of your hosting agreement, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.

    More information on the VLS-TS visa

     

    If you are currently working in a member state of the Schengen area and are coming for 90 days or less over a period of 180 days: 

    If you are currently living and working in a member state of the Schengen area and are coming to work in a French laboratory for 90 days or less over a period of 180 days, you do not need to apply for a visa. All you have to do is bring the original of your convention d’accueil (hosting agreement), the long-stay visa and the residence permit issued to you by the authorities of your country of residence. Please note: your residence permit must be valid for the complete duration of your stay.

     

    If you are currently working in a member state of the Schengen are and are coming for a period comprised between 3 months and 1 year: 

    For all stays over 90 days a visa is compulsory. You must apply for the same visa as a researcher living and working outside the Schengen area: a VLS-TS passeport-talent.

     

    If the duration of your stay is longer than one year :

    You are eligible to apply for a long-stay visa VLS passeport-talent.

    • To apply for a VLS passeport-talent, you will need your convention d’accueil (hosting agreement). The hosting agreement will be sent to you by the laboratory where you will be performing your research.
    • For complete information about the documents that you must submit for the VLS passeport-talent application process, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence (document requirements may vary according to the Consulate). If you are accompanied by your family (spouse and/or children), make sure to inform the Consulate on your initial contact, as your spouse and/or children will need a visa as well.
    • Upon receipt of your hosting agreement, make an appointment with your Consulate to submit your visa application.
    • Ask for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to easily travel outside the Schengen area and come back to France.

    More information on the VLS passeport-talent

     

    If you will be accompanied by members of your family

    If you are coming with your family for over 90 days (spouse, children under 18 and/or children over 18 who are dependent on you - i.e. they are unmarried, studying or looking for a job and/or handicaped -), they are eligible for a VLS "passeport-talent famille" or a VLS-TS "passeport-talent famille", depending on the case. Applications for this type of visa must be submitted at the same time as yours. Please note that VLS "passeport-talent famille" can only be granted to your spouse if you are married !

    For any other family members, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence or visit the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information.

    If you are coming with your family for a period of 90 days or less, contact the French Consulate of your country of residence or visit the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information.

    If you are coming to France with a scholarship or a grant and are not eligible for a VLS passeport-talent, contact as soon as possible your host laboratory for more information.

    More information on the VLS "passeport-talent famille"

     

    The VLS-TS visa

    VLS-TS holders are eligible for a total maximum stay of one year. If you are granted this type of visa and are staying in France for over 90 days, you are required to register with the Office Français de l’Immigration et l’intégration – OFII (French Office for Immigration and Integration) within the first two months following your arrival. The Consulate will issue a Demande d’attestation OFII (OFII certificate application). Once you have arrived in France, you will need to send your application to your local OFII agency as soon as possible by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. For further information on the OFII procedure, please refer to our page "Validating your visa and requesting a residence and/or work permit".

     

     

    The VLS passeport-talent

    If you are granted this type of visa and are staying in France for over 90 days, you will need to carry out certain procedures at the Préfecture of your place of residence within the first two months following your arrival. The Préfecture will issue a multiannual passeport-talent residence permit (carte de séjour passeport-talent pluriannuelle) with a validity period ranging from 2 to 4 years, depending on your contract length. You will not have to renew it during your stay. If you are accompanied by your spouse and/or children under 18, they are eligible to apply for a VLS "passeport-talent famille". Therefore, they will benefit from the same rights as you and must carry out the same procedure at the Préfecture. For further information on the passeport-talent residence permit application, please refer to our page "Validating your visa and requesting a residence and/or work permit".