Do I need a visa?

Being exempted from a visa depends on a foreigner’s nationality and eventually on getting a residency document for France or for a country covered by the Schengen agreements. For short stays, European regulations indicate those countries whose nationals are visa-exempted for entry into the Schengen area.

Visa exemption depends on :

- your nationality ;

- possession of a residence permit for France or a Schengen state ;

- the duration of your stay ;

- where on French territory you intend to stay.

For visa purposes, the law divides French territory into three areas where separate regulations apply :

- France’s territory in Europe, which is part of the Schengen Area ;

- the territory of the overseas (Outre-mer) : départements or regions (Reunion Island, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana) ;

- the overseas (Outre-mer) territories: Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Mayotte, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy.

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, Switzerland.

1. Short-stay Schengen visa for a stay up to 90 days per six-month period in the Schengen Area

A short stay is one that takes place within the “Schengen area” for less than 90 days or for a succession of stays having a cumulative length of less than 90 days per six-month period.

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 :

The following persons are not required to have a visa to enter France’s European territory:

- Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland;

EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

EEA: The countries of the European Economic Area are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

- Nationals of the following countries, irrespective of the reasons for their stay (Attention : you may be requested to show elements to the French immigration officers upon arrival as if you need a short stay visa): Andorra, Argentina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Malaysia, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Holy See, Uruguay, Australia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, South Korea, United States, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Venezuela, Mauritius, Seychelles, Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis.

But a work permit is still required to work in France. Your employer in France can get it for you from a DIRECCTE (Direction Régionale des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi).

- Canadian passport holders do not need a short stay visa to go to France for less than 90 days per semester even for working purpose. If you are going to work in France, you just have to make sure that your employer has obtained for you the work authorization by the French Labor Departement (DIRECCTE) before you start working.

Attention: For other nationalities, a work visa is required for income-earning activities in France, even for a short stay.

- Nationals from Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, the United States and Venezuela : If you intend to work in France, you must hold a visa before your departure to France, even if you are not required to apply for a short stay visa as a tourist.

- Holders of passports from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (People’s Republic of China) and the Macau Special Administrative Region (People’s Republic of China). This exemption does not apply to income-earning activities in France;

- Holders of a currently valid residency document for France;

- Holders of a residency document issued by a country applying the Schengen agreements;

- Holders of certain residency documents issued by an EU member country;

- Holders of a “British Nationals Overseas” passport;

- Holders of a biometric passport issued by Montenegro, Serbia or the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Special cases:
Certain nationalities are still required to obtain a short-stay visa in the following cases:

- Nationals from Israel: crew members of a ship or plane performing its mission;

- Nationals from the United States: journalists on assignment, scientists and artists in gainful employment in France.

- Certain nationals from the countries mentioned above need a visa to study, to work (e.g., domestic personnel of private French or foreign employers), to give an artistic performance in France or to carry out a scientific activity.

2. Long stay visa for more than 90 days in France

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.


3. French overseas départements and regions (DROM)

The DROM are :

- Reunion Island

- French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique (the three départements in the Americas).

1. Short stays

A short stay is a stay lasting less than 90 days in the French overseas départements and regions.

Exempt from visa requirements are :

- nationals of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland;

- nationals of the following countries: Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, 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, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*, Seychelles, Taiwan (passport bearing identity card number), Uruguay, and (exempt only for Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Martin only), Anguilla, Tortola, Turks and Caicos Islands ;

*bearers of biometric passports only

- nationals of the following countries: Australia, Brazil (except for French Guiana), Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Venezuela. This exemption does not apply in the case of gainful employment in a DROM ;

- 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). This exemption does not apply in the case of gainful employment in a DROM;

- holders of a valid residence permit issued by a prefecture in Metropolitan France, the Préfet of a French overseas département, the High Commissioner of a French territorial collectivity or a Schengen state ;

- holders of a special card issued by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to the staff of diplomatic and consular missions.

2. Long stays

Only nationals of the following countries are exempt from entry and long-stay visa requirements : Member States of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Monaco and Switzerland.


4. Other French overseas collectivities and territories (CTOM)

The CTOM are :

- Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

- French Polynesia

- New Caledonia

- Wallis and Futuna

- Mayotte

- Saint Barthélemy (same movement control as for the DROM)

- Saint Martin (same movement control as for the DROM)

- French Southern and Antarctic Territories

1. Short stays

The maximum duration of a short-stay visa is 90 days.

Exempt from visa requirements are nationals of the following countries :

- nationals of the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland;

- Albania*, Andorra, Anguilla and British Virgin Islands-Tortola (only Wallis and Futuna), Antigua and Barbuda (except for Wallis and Futuna), Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, 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, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*, Seychelles, Taiwan (passport bearing identity card number), Tonga (only for French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna), Uruguay, Vanuatu (only for French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna) and (except for Mayotte) Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu;

*bearers of biometric passports only

- nationals of the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Venezuela. This exemption does not apply in the case of gainful employment in a CTOM;

- 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). This exemption does not apply in the case of gainful employment in a CTOM;

- holders of a valid residence permit issued by the Préfet of a French overseas département, the High Commissioner of a French territorial collectivity or a Schengen state;

- holders of a special card issued by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to the staff of diplomatic and consular missions.

2. Long stays

Only nationals of the following countries are exempt from entry and long-stay visa requirements : Member States of the European Union(EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Monaco, and Switzerland.

Dernière modification : 31/01/2017

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