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Frequently Asked Questions

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Schengen visa information

Application procedure

Visa document requirements

Biometric data capture

Prepare your trip

General information

Do I need a Schengen visa?

You may click here to check if you need a visa.

Chinese passport holders

All Chinese nationals must have a valid visa to enter the Schengen Area, regardless of the duration of their stay and no matter what kind of travel document they have, except if they have a valid residence permit which enables them to stay in the Schengen Area.

Nationals of other countries

Citizens of some countries are exempt from the requirement for a visa to enter the Schengen Area for a short stay or transit:

  • Nationals of the European Economic Area: the EEA includes the 28 Member States of the European Union as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway;
  • No visa is required for a short stay of less than 3 months as part of a trip for tourist or business purposes (no work allowed) for citizens of some countries (click here for more information);
  • The holders of a blue or red United Nations “laissez-passer” travel document, whatever their nationality, are exempted from short-stay visas for:
    • France metropolitan area;
    • DROM;
    • CTOM.

Nationals of Albania and Bosnia

As of December 15th, 2010, Albania and Bosnia biometric passport holders are exempted from short stay visas. Holders of non-biometric Bosnian passports will still need to apply for a short stay visa.

Nationals of Tuvalu

As of July 18th, 2016, Tuvalu passport holders are exempted from short stay Schengen visa.

As from the Schengen Border Code (article 5§1 a)), third-country nationals who do not require a short-stay visa (when travelling for intended stays of no more than 90 days per period of 180 days in the Schengen area), must hold a valid travel document satisfying the following criteria:

  • Its validity shall extend at least three months after the intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States or, in the case of several visits, after the last intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States;
  • It shall have been issued within the previous 10 years.
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What is the difference between a Schengen visa and a national visa?

A Schengen visa (Type C) is a visa issued by one of the member countries of the Schengen Area and is valid for a short stay, limited to 90 days within any 180 days period, only for Schengen countries. European competence to receive and issue such visas is made by the consulate of the country of destination. In case of a trip in multiple Schengen countries, the main destination is determined by the purpose of the trip or duration of the stay. Professional reasons for a stay in a Schengen country outweigh its jurisdiction on the grounds against tourism, family or private visit in another state.

A national long stay visa (Type D) is only valid for an establishment or a stay of more than 90 days in the country which issued the visa. The national visa allows, however, transit through other Schengen countries and for some (long stay French citizen’s spouse, workers, students or visitors), it also allows traveling freely throughout the Schengen area.

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How to read the visa sticker?

Please check What does my sticker visa mean?

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Where can I apply for a visa?

The TLScontact application procedure, established in conjunction with the Embassy and Consulates General of France in China, aims to receive applicants in better conditions, handle visa applications and assist the Embassy and Consulates General of France in China in processing applications in a timely manner.

For more information, please click on Jurisdiction.

The Embassy and Consulates General of France in China are competent to process visa application from residents in China.

Visa application from non-residents (including Chinese nationals who live in another country), can only be accepted if applicants provide supporting evidence for not being able to lodge the application in their country of residence due to urgent and unforeseen reasons.

  • If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, you must apply at the Embassy or Consulate of this country;
  • If you intend to visit several Schengen countries, you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country of your longest stay;
  • If you intend to visit several Schengen countries but do not have a main destination (i.e. the duration of your stay is the same in different countries), you should apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country that is your first point of entry.
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When should I apply for a visa?

Short stay visa: You may only submit your visa application in 6 months (9 months for seamen) before your scheduled date of arrival in Schengen area/French Overseas(DROM-CTOM).

Long stay visa: You may only submit your visa application in 3 months before your scheduled date of arrival in France.

Please plan your visa application as far in advance as possible.

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How do I apply for a visa?

To apply for a visa, you should first register on our website, and then follow the instructions provided. For more details about the procedure, please click here.

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What kind of visa do I need to apply for?

Less than 90 days, see short stay visa.

More than 90 days, see long stay visa.

Transit-only and airport transit, if your nationality requires this type of visa, see airport transit visa.

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Can foreign passport holders apply for a Schengen visa in China?

Please notice that citizens of some countries are exempt from the requirement for a visa to enter the Schengen Area for a short stay or transit. For further reference, please click here.

A valid Chinese residence permit (not less than 6 months of validity) is mandatory for a foreigner to apply for a Schengen visa at the Embassy of France in Beijing. Holders of a Chinese visa with single or multiple entries are not allowed to apply for any visa except for airport transit visa.

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Do I need to enroll for biometrics in the visa application center?

All visa applicants have to provide their biometric information when applying for a visa, including long stay visa applicants. This includes a digital finger scan of 10 fingerprints and a photograph. The finger scan procedure uses an electronic scanner. In order to ensure acceptable finger scans, please make sure that your fingertips are free from any form of decoration or cuts. Your digital photograph must be taken with full face. Wearing contact lenses altering the appearance of your eye is strictly prohibited during the biometric data capture (color contact lenses, magnifying contact lenses). For more information on the biometric enrolment process, please refer to the Biometric data capture section.

Further information on the data protection in VIS is available on the following link.

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What are the required documents for a visa?

You can receive a personalized list of required documents, according to the purpose of your stay in France, as well as additional information by visiting our website.

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Where can I get a visa application form?

Visa application forms for short stay and long stay can be downloaded on Links and Downloads page.

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Visa refusals and appeals

Please follow this link to find information about Visa refusals and appeals.

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Will the original documents I submitted during my visa application be returned by the Embassy/consulate?

Only the original documents which must be stamped by the Embassy or Consulate of France will be sealed in an envelope together with applicant’s passport and be returned to Visa Application Center.

The original documents that should be returned are generally as follows:

  • Attestation d’accueil (lodging certificate issued by a French town hall, click here to view sample);
  • Convention d’accueil (click here to view sample);
  • Working permit issued by French Labor Ministry (DIRECCTE) (click here to view sample).

If you have submitted an above-mentioned original document, please check, when you pick up your passport, if the original document has been duly returned and stamped by Embassy/consulate. In case of any problem, please contact immediately customer service staff of Visa Application Center.

If you have chosen EMS service for passport delivery, please contact our call center (click here to contact us), upon reception of EMS, by indicating Reference No of your application and the original document which was not returned or stamped.

Note: Mandatory original documents according to document lists (including notarial certificates legalized or not by MFA or local foreign affairs office, working certificate, invitation letter, etc.) as well as original bank fixed deposit certificate or certificate of tax submitted voluntarily by applicant/representative are archived by French Embassy/consulate, will therefore not be returned to applicant.

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Could the Visa Section request me to provide additional documents or information?

Yes, the Consulate may request you to provide additional documents or informations, according to your personal situation, even after you have submitted your application at TLScontact. Please note that any additional document, which is not required in the basic list according to your type of visa, must also be accompanied with a certified translation into either English or French if it is in any other language.

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How can I renew my circulation visa?

The "circulation visa renewal" simplified procedure applies only if you have previously obtained a circulation visa on an ordinary passport. A child listed on a parent’s passport cannot make an application for a circulation visa renewal, as the circulation visa must be stamped on an individual’s passport under their own name. The circulation visa issued by France can only be renewed within 3 months before the expiration of the current circulation visa and before one year after it has expired.

Please note that this simplified procedure does not apply if your previous circulation visa was stamped on a diplomatic passport, a service passport or a passport for public affairs.

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Apart from my passport with a visa (except for exempted nationals), do I need to bring any documents to enter the Schengen area?

Every foreigner should be in a position to produce to the Immigration Officer the following supporting documents:

  • Purpose of stay: invitation letter or entry card to an exhibition or conference for a professional stay, a registration certificate from a school for a study stay, documents from a travel agency when participating in a tour etc;
  • Lodging: hotel reservation (without booking document, the traveler must provide financial proof justifying a resource of 120 euros per day), «attestation d’accueil» if staying with a friend or relative;
  • Return: return or round trip ticket to the country of usual stay;
  • Means of living: for the stay in France and, if necessary, in other Schengen countries, not only for the duration of the proposed stay (120€ per day if not supported by the host, half if the host stated he/she will support you on the “attestation d’accueil”) but also for return to the origin country (return ticket) or transit to a third country (ticket and, if needed, visa) : cash, traveler’s checks, international valid credit card, official evidence of external financial support.

Travellers who cannot provide these supporting documents can be refused entry into the Schengen area, even if they’re holding valid visas. They will have to go back to their starting point by the next available flight.

For more information:

  1. European law;
  2. French law.

The «Code de l’entrée des étrangers et du droit d’asile» includes the following articles pertaining to entry into France (The “Légifrance” website provides the full updated text):

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In which case do I need to provide the Lodging attestation?

You have to provide the Lodging attestation if you apply for a short stay visa and a friend or a relative will host you in their apartment or house.

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How can I collect my passport?

Passports can be collected in TLScontact Visa Application Centres during the opening hours to the public.

Once your passport is back from the Embassy you will be notified online on your personal account page and by SMS notification.

There are three ways to get the passport back:

1. Express Courier Return

You may have your passport returned to you by express delivery service. It will be sent directly to your convenient chosen address. Please click here to check the service availability.

2. Passport self-pick up

Please provide the following documents if you would like to retrieve the passport by yourself:

  • Visa Application Checklist (obtained upon submission of your visa application at Visa center), original;
  • ID card of applicant (or legal guardian of minor applicant), original and copy;

3. Passport pick-up by a representative

A representative may retrieve your passport on your behalf. The representative must provide:

  • Visa Application Checklist (obtained upon submission of your visa application at Visa center), original;
  • Authorization letter signed by applicant (or legal guardian of minor applicant), original;
  • ID card/passport of representative, original and copy;
  • ID card/passport of applicant (or legal guardian of minor applicant), copy;
  • For minor applicant: copy of family relationship proof between minor and legal guardian signing authorization letter for picking up minor’s passport.

Please kindly note that passports which have been returned by the Consular Authority to TLScontact and have not been collected from TLScontact within a period of 6 months from the moment of application submission will be returned to the Consular Authority.

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Can someone else apply for a visa on my behalf?

Personal appearance is mandatory for all visa applicants, unless you are exempted from biometric data capturing.

Personal appearance exemption conditions:

  • Children up to 12 years of age. Finger scans are not required;
  • Applicants applying for a Schengen visa and who have had a previous Schengen visa delivered within the past 59 months and with the remarks ”VIS” on the visa sticker.

Notice: If applicant’s latest Schengen visa mentions ‘’VIS 0”, applicant is still required to provide their biometric data, as “VIS 0” visa means only alphanumeric data and a photograph are provided, but no fingerprint.

This rule does not apply to long stay visa applicants and applicants visiting the DROM-CTOM. Applicants have to go through the biometric data capture step for any new long stay visa and any new visa to visit the DROM-CTOM, even if they already submitted their fingerprints for a previous visa application. Therefore the applicant has to appear in person.

If you are exempted from biometric data capture, a representative can apply on your behalf. The representative has to provide a signed letter of authorization (Please click here to download) with complete and correct information as well as the original and copy of his /her ID card. The representative cannot be a minor.

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May I lodge my visa application through a travel agency?

Please note that some travel agencies are authorized to organize touristic travel for groups to France, those travelers are issued a Schengen visa with the mention "SDA" (Authorized Destination Status).

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How to book an appointment on TLScontact website?

You can find more detail information on how to take an appointment on TLScontact website here.

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Which browsers does TLScontact support?

TLScontact supports the latest versions of these browsers:

  • Chrome (Win 10 and Android for Mobile / Tablet);
  • Edge (Win 10);
  • Firefox (Win 7);
  • Safari (OS X and iOS for Mobile / Tablet).

Make sure your browser is up to date and get into the habit of installing software updates whenever they are available.

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Why isn’t Internet Explorer supported?

Internet Explorer (IE) 11 was released in 2013, and no feature updates released by Microsoft in years, which puts this browser behind others in terms of its ability to support new technologies. While Microsoft will continue to provide support for users of IE 11 for a few more years, the new default browser is Microsoft Edge.

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Passport

Before applying for a visa you must make sure that your passport is valid.

  1. Check the expiration date on your passport.
    • For a short stay visa (less than 90 days), the expiration date must be no earlier than 3 months after the date of your return from the Schengen Area;
    • For a renewal of circulation visa, the expiration date must be 15 months after the day you apply for a visa;
    • For a regular long stay visa (more than 90 days), the expiration date must be 15 months after the day you plan to leave China.
  2. Make sure your passport has two or more completely blank and unmarked visa pages.
  3. Make sure your passport has not been altered.
    • Check if the original laminated film (the transparent safety film that covers the passport photo) has been tampered with. If this is the case, you must ask a passport-issuing authority to re-tamper proof your passport;
    • Make sure no pages or surfaces have been laminated (as this will invalidate your passport);
    • Check for scratching or alteration.
  4. If your passport was issued over 10 years ago, even if it is still valid at the time you submit your visa application, you must apply for a new passport from the Chinese authorities or the Embassy or Consulate of your country of origin, before being able to apply for a visa.

It is advised that you do not apply for a visa on a passport issued for multiple persons (e.g. parent and children together).

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Bank statements

Bank statements are supporting documents for a visa application. There are different kinds of bank statement requirements, depending on the type of visa.

Bank statements general requirements:

  • Statement of credit card is not applicable;
  • The bank statement should be issued by a bank while the type of banks and balance are not required;
  • Original bank statements can be printed on a paper of any size, but should be folded into size of A4;
  • Translation of bank statement is not required;
  • Missing bank history for last 3 months may be accepted, but there is no guarantee. If the bank history does not meet the minimum requirements of the consulate, the applicant should write an explanation letter and the final decision will be made by the consulate;
  • Bank statement is not the original bank certificate of deposit. Bank statements must show the exact dates of depositing and withdrawing money;
  • The name of the applicant must clearly appear on the bank statements, and should be printed by the bank. If it is handwritten by the applicant, it does not meet the general requirements. If the bank statements of the parents or spouse are provided, their name should show on them accordingly;
  • If the minor applicant’s parents or the applicant is the legal representative of a company, he/she could provide the bank statements of this company. As a proof, business license copy of the company should be provided;
  • If you are a minor, a student or an unemployed, you can provide the bank statements covering the last three months (except credit card record) of your sponsor (parents or spouse) together with the proof of family relationship accordingly (Hukou, marriage certificate or birth certificate). Please check your personalized documents list after registration for the detailed requirements;
  • The bank statement should cover the full account history for the last 3 months to meet the minimum requirements of the Embassy or Consulate. If the history is incomplete the applicant should provide an explanation letter. The final decision will be made by the Embassy or Consulate;
  • The applicant can provide extra documents to prove additional financial resources, for instance, stock, fund accounts, etc. However, these additional documents cannot be replaced with bank statements;
  • It is suggested by the Embassy for you to present a bank statement with an indication of your monthly salary, pension, etc.
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Photo

The photograph required for any visa application must be:

  • Color photo on a white background;
  • Format 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm;
  • Taken from the front - without obstruction;
  • Recent (less than 6 months old);
  • With the mouth closed.

For more information, please visit the link here.

In the eventuality that you need to provide a recent compliant photograph to complete your application, a self-service photo booth is at your disposal inside the Visa Application Centre. For more information, please click here.

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Travel health insurance

Due to a regulation of the European Union (Decision 2004/17/CE of December 22nd 2003), there is a requirement to hold travel insurance, which is a compulsory document. The travel insurance should be:

  • Valid for Schengen area if you apply for short stay visa;
  • Valid for France if it is required in the document list and you apply for long stay visa;
  • Valid for DROM/CTOM according to your itinerary.

Your travel insurance must be valid with a minimum cover of 30,000 EURO in order to face any expenses that may arise in connection with your repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention or emergency hospital treatment. The insurance coverage should cover the first period of your stay in Schengen area ( this point does not remove the requirement of the obligation of presenting an insurance for subsequent trips, as the periods indicated on application form) . Please kindly note that the visa holders have the obligation to present such insurance on each of their trips.

A self-service insurance desk is available in TLScontact for the applicants who wish to purchase Schengen insurance for their visa application. Insurance products offered by the website meet Schengen insurance requirements. For more information, you are invited to visit the Travel health insurance page. Service provided by third party.

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Domestic staff visa applications

Since 1st November 2016, domestic workers accompanying their private French or foreign employer in France are exempted from work permits.

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I have already submitted my biometric data when I last applied for a visa. Do I have to come in person and submit them again if I apply for a new visa?

Biometric data already collected for a Schengen visa are valid for 59 months from the date the biometric data capture was done. If you have already provided your biometric data for a previous successful Schengen visa application with one Schengen country, then you do not need to come in person to submit them again if you apply for a new Schengen visa, even with a different Schengen country. You will only have to provide the visa sticker number and photocopy of the visa as a proof during the new visa application procedure. The VIS is a common database to all Schengen countries. After expiry of 59 months, you have to provide fingerprint scans again. You can view the list of Schengen countries here.

This exemption does not apply to long stay visa applicants and applicants visiting the DROM-CTOM. Applicants have to go through the biometric data capture step for any new long stay visa application, even if they already submitted their fingerprints for a previous visa application.

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I got a refusal for my last visa application and I had provided my biometric data during the application process. Do I have to come in person and submit them again if I apply for a new visa?

Yes. If you got a refusal to a short or long stay visa application and your biometric data had been collected during the application process, you still have to come in person and submit your biometric data again for any new visa application.

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In which cases can I be exempted of biometric data capture?

There are 3 cases of exemption:

  • Children strictly under the age of 12;
  • Applicants who are physically unable to submit their fingerprints for scan. However, if it is possible to scan at least one fingertip, then applicants have to go through the biometric step. In the case of a temporary inability to provide the fingerprints (plaster, bandage, etc.), then the applicant will have to come in person to allow the fingerprints scan the next time they apply for a visa;
  • Applicants who are applying for a new Schengen visa and have already submitted their biometric data during a past successful Schengen visa application. Applicants in this case will have to provide the visa sticker number and a photocopy of the previous visa. This exemption does not apply to long stay visa applicants and applicants visiting the DROM-CTOM, for whom any new visa application requires the biometric data capture.
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Do children have to provide their biometric data?

Minors aged strictly under 12 years old on the day of the application submission do not have to provide their biometric data and therefore do not have to appear in person. Minors aged between 12 and 18 have to come in person to the visa center and provide their biometric data on the day of the application (or following day for ADS applicants). They can choose to submit their application by a representative, and the letter of authorization must be signed by at least one parent or a legal guardian.

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Can the application be firstly submitted by a representative and the fingerprints provided at a later stage (for example: one day after the application submission)?

No. The submission of the complete application and the fingerprint data capture form a unit and cannot be separated temporally for a non-ADS application. The biometric data collection (fingerprint and photo) is a simple and discrete electronic procedure in the visa application center. It takes only a few minutes. Apart from that, the visa application procedure remains the same. With the introduction of VIS, there are neither changes in the application form nor competence regulations nor changes in fundamental requirements for the issuance of visas.

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Will the visas which have been issued before the 15th of November remain valid?

Yes. Visas which have been issued before the 15th of November 2015 will remain valid even after the VIS implementation. This applies also to multiple entry visas which have been issued with a validity of one or more than one year.

If you have never provided your biometric data before, you will have to appear in person to provide your biometric data only when you renew your visa or apply for a new visa.

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Can fingerprints from a previous national visa be copied into a Schengen visa?

No, because the data belong to different databases. Fingerprints provided for a national visa application cannot be used for a Schengen visa application.

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Can fingerprints from a previous Schengen visa be copied into a national visa?

No, because the data belong to different databases. Fingerprints provided for a Schengen visa application cannot be used for a national visa application, even if that country is part of the Schengen area.

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Can fingerprints be copied from a previous UK- or US-Visa into a Schengen visa?

VIS is a system for the exchange of visa-data between Schengen countries for the issuance of Schengen visas. If fingerprints have been previously provided for a visa application to the US or UK, the fingerprints cannot be used for the Schengen visa application.

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Prepare your trip

Please click here to obtain the list of Chinese travel agencies which have accreditation to organize trips to French Polynesia or Reunion Island for a duration of less than 15 days.

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Schengen Area

The Schengen Area is composed of 26 countries.

  • At present, 22 European Union Member States enforce the Schengen Convention (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.)
  • Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland integrally enforce the Schengen Convention, but are not members of the European Union.

The six other European Union Member States still outside the Schengen Area are the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.

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European Union

The following is the list of countries that are currently members of the European Union:

  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
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DROM-CTOM

France includes several territories that are outside the European continent, with varying legal statuses and levels of autonomy.

  • DROM, French overseas “Départements” and “Régions” are: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte**, and Réunion;
  • CTOM, French overseas territories are: French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia and its dependencies, Saint Martin*, Saint Barthélémy* and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

If you are going to a DROM or CTOM the visa fee may be different, please see the visa fees section.

The requirements for a short stay in a DROM and CTOM are the same as for a Schengen visa. You may not apply more than 90 days prior to your departure.

The Schengen visa does not grant entry to a DROM or a CTOM, unless mentioned otherwise on the visa sticker. If you are planning to go to a DROM or a CTOM, you must clearly state it at the time you apply.

Requirements for a long stay in the DROM or CTOM are the same as for a long stay visitor visa. Please note that the processing time can take up to 6 months for CTOM.

*Please note that Saint Martin, Saint Barthélémy are under the DROM visa regime, and the visa fee for those destinations is the equivalent of 60 Euros.

**Since March 31st,2011, Mayotte has changed its status from CTOM to DROM. However, Mayotte is still under the visa regime of a CTOM.

Cases of visa waiving to DROM and/or CTOM

  1. Holders of a multi-entries visa issued by a French consular authority valid for 6 months to 5 years are waived of a short stay DROM-CTOM visa, only if they are nationals of the following countries: South Africa, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Kuwait, India, Oman, Qatar, Russia and Ukraine(applicable to DROM.CTOM);
  2. Bearers of an official passport (diplomatic, service and/or special) for the following countries are exempt from requiring a DROM/CTOM visa: Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Thailand;
  3. Bearers of a biometric passport from the following countries are exempt from requiring a DROM/CTOM visa: Macedonia, Montenegro Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia (excluding bearers of Serbian passports delivered to “Kosovarians”);
  4. Bearers of a long stay visa from a Schengen country are exempt from requiring a DROM/CTOM visa;
  5. Citizens of Taiwan and Northern Mariana are exempt from requiring a DROM/CTOM visa;
  6. Holders of a valid Residence card (carte de sejour) or long stay visa delivered by France (national territory, DROM, Saint Pierre or Miquelon) are exempt from requiring a short stay DROM/CTOM visa;
  7. In case of paid activity, removal of the double procedure of working authorization and short stay visa for citizens of the following countries Australia, Brazil (while maintaining the short stay for Guyana), South Korea, USA, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Venezuela The visa exemption applies if both conditions are met simultaneously.
    • A work authorization is requested by the regulation to carry out this activity;
    • The foreigner is able to show this authorization at the frontier.
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Territory jurisdiction

The Embassy and Consulates General of France in China are competent to process visa application from residents in China. Visa application from non-residents (including Chinese nationals who live in another country), can only be accepted if applicants provide supporting evidence for not being able to lodge the application in their country of residence due to urgent and unforeseen reasons.

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Schengen Visa

A Schengen visa is required when staying in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days.

A Schengen visa is granted in the form of a sticker affixed to the passport, travel document or other valid document that entitles the holder to cross the border between Schengen countries. Possession of a Schengen visa does not confer automatic right of entry. Entry will only be granted if the other conditions laid down by the Schengen Convention are met, i.e. the justification of the purpose and conditions of the trip, minimum amount of funds travelers must have at their disposal and the possession of valid travel insurance.

With a Schengen visa, you may enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen Area. It is issued to citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering the Schengen Area.

A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen Area for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in any 180 days period. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days you will need a national long stay visa or a residence permit.

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Short Stay Visa

Short stay visa allows the traveler, assuming all other conditions are met, to enter the territories of any Schengen country to pay a single continuous visit or multiple visits, the duration of which does not exceed 90 days in any 180 days period. A short stay visa can be issued for either single entry or multiple entries into the Schengen zone.

  • Single entry visas allow the visa holder to enter and stay in the Schengen area continuously for the length of the visa duration, to a maximum of 90 days (e.g.: from July 1st to September 28th).
  • Multiple entry visas allow several entries and stays in the Schengen Area, of which the total duration cannot exceed 90 days in any 180 days period. The stay can be continuous or divided into several periods within the length of your visa’s validity. A Schengen circulation visa is a special type of multi-entry visa that is generally valid from 1 to 5 years, decided by the Embassy or Consulate General.
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Long Stay Visa

If you plan to stay in France for more than 90 days, you should apply for a long stay visa.

Any stay longer than 90 days falls under national jurisdiction and is not part of the Schengen Agreement.

Long Stay Visas are known as "Type D" visas and are divided in two categories: temporary long stay and regular long stay.

  • A temporary long stay is a stay longer than 90 days but shorter than 6 months;
  • A regular long stay is a stay longer than 6 months in France.

There are different types of long stay visas:

  1. Study
    • Studying in a French university or in a language school;
    • Studying in Monaco;
    • Training at a company based in France;
    • Working as an "Au Pair" in France.
  2. Work
    • Working in France;
    • Working in Monaco;
    • Independent activity in France.
  3. Residency
    • Settling or retiring in France, Monaco, or Andorra;
    • You are the foreign spouse of a French or European Union citizen and wish to settle together in France.

According to the law of July 24th, 2006, family members of French citizens must have a long stay visa in order to apply for a residence permit in France. This does not apply, however, to citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Algeria.

Please note that if you stay longer than 6 months, you will have to apply for a residence permit ("Carte de Séjour") at the local Préfecture of your place of residence within 2 months of arrival in France.

If you plan to work in France, your future employer in France must contact the OFII (ex-ANAEM) ("Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration").

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Airport Transit Visa

An airport transit visa is mandatory for some travelers and allows them to remain in the international area of an airport while transiting between one international flight and another. This requirement is an exception to the general privilege of transit without visa for international areas. An airport transit visa does not allow the applicant to enter and stay in any Schengen member state.

Airport transit visas do not apply to Chinese citizens. However, if their transit involves a change of airport, they should apply for a transit visa.

This visa is mandatory only for the below nationalities and in the specified sets of personal circumstances if they wish to transit through the international zone of a French airport:

  1. The following nationalities, except for diplomatic passports holders:
    Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka;
  2. Holders of ordinary passports issued by the following countries:
    Angola, Cameroon, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Cote d´Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Sierra Leone;
  3. Holders of all types of passports issued by Guinea(Conakry), except for diplomatic passports;
  4. Holders of a travel document for Palestinian refugees;
  5. From the 15th January 2013, Syrian Nationals are required to apply for an Airport Transit Visa;
  6. From the 23rd July 2018, Cuba Nationals are required to apply for an Airport Transit Visa.

The above mentioned foreigners do not need to apply for an airport transit visa in the following cases:

  1. Holders of a valid visa, a national long stay visa or a residence permit issued by a Schengen State;
  2. Holders of a valid residence permit issued by a European Union member that has not fully implemented the Schengen Agreement (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania, United Kingdom, Ireland); a State party to the agreement of 2 May 1992 on the European Economic Area that has not fully implemented the Schengen Agreement (Liechtenstein, Andorra, San Marino); Canada, Japan or the United States of America, having granted the holder a right of unconditional return;
  3. Holders of a valid visa for a European Union member or member of the European Economic Area that have not fully implemented the Schengen Agreement (see point b. above), Canada, Japan or the United States of America or citizens returning from these countries after using the visa, even if this visa is no longer valid, to any destination;
  4. Family members of a citizen of the European Union or an associated country (state members of the European Economic Area and Switzerland);
  5. Holders of diplomatic passports;
  6. Plane crew members holding licenses and certificates according to the appendix of the Chicago Convention.
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Circulation Visa

A circulation visa is a short stay Schengen visa, allowing multiple entries to the Schengen area, valid from 1 to 5 years. The circulation visa grants the applicant a maximum stay of 90 days per period of any 180 days.

Reminder: The circulation visa issued by France can only be renewed within 3 months before the expiration of the current circulation visa and within one year after it has expired.

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Justifying Your Return

The Consulate may ask you to justify the date you returned to China by appearing personally at the Consulate and producing the following papers:

  • Your passport with the stamps "exit from France" and "entry into China";
  • The stub of your boarding pass, which must bear your name.

Not appearing at the Consulate, or not producing the requested papers when requested to do so, will be taken into consideration by the Consulate if a new application is submitted by the same person or mentioning the same host.

Please follow this advice:

  • Make sure your passport is properly stamped by the border police as you leave France (or by the border police of another Schengen country);
  • Make sure your passport is properly stamped when you return to China;
  • Keep the boarding pass of the return flight.
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DIRECCTE

DIRECCTE (ex D.D.T.E.F.P.) are the initials for "Direction régionale des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi", which is responsible for work and professional training regulation and authorization.

List of DIRECCTE (ex D.D.T.E.F.P.).

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Attestation d’accueil

Every foreigner should be in a position to produce to the Immigration Officer the following supporting documents:

  • Purpose of stay: invitation letter or entry card to an exhibition or conference for a professional stay, a registration certificate from a school for a study stay, documents from a travel agency when participating in a tour etc;
  • Lodging: hotel reservation (without booking document, the traveler must provide financial proof justifying a resource of 120 euros per day), «attestation d’accueil» if staying with a friend or relative;
  • Return: return or round trip ticket to the country of usual stay;
  • Means of living: for the stay in France and, if necessary, in other Schengen countries, not only for the duration of the proposed stay (120€ per day if not supported by the host, half if the host stated he/she will support you on the “attestation d’accueil”) but also for return to the origin country (return ticket) or transit to a third country (ticket and, if needed, visa) : cash, traveler’s checks, international valid credit card, official evidence of external financial support.

Travellers who cannot provide these supporting documents can be refused entry into the Schengen area, even if they’re holding valid visas. They will have to go back to their starting point by the next available flight.

For more information:

  1. European law;
  2. French law.

The «Code de l’entrée des étrangers et du droit d’asile» includes the following articles pertaining to entry into France (The “Légifrance” website provides the full updated text):

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Convention d’accueil

The “Convention d’Accueil” (formerly known as “Protocole d’Accueil”) (specimen) is an official document obtained from the local police station of your host research institute in France and is similar to a working contract. This document is mandatory for scientists who wish to go to France for the purpose of scientific research. It allows the scientist to apply for a “scientist visa” and, if the stay is longer than 90 days, to obtain a residence permit which mentions “scientist”.

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Jurisdiction

Applications processed by TLScontact

By agreement with the Embassy and the Consulates of France in China, applicants for the visas listed below could apply at TLScontact Visa Application Centres:

  • Business;
  • Tourism;
  • Visit friend;
  • Visit family;
  • Transit;
  • Airport transit;
  • Employees and accompanying spouse and children of entities accredited by the Consulate.

The accredited entity may contact TLScontact Visa Application Centre via email by providing the entity’s full name and contact details in order to get a special account for accredited entity. Please note that only email requests relevant to the applications of accredited entities will be processed.

Consular zone Email
Beijing comp.bjs2fr@tlscontact.com
Shanghai comp.sha2fr@tlscontact.com
Guangzhou comp.can2fr@tlscontact.com
Chengdu comp.cng2fr@tlscontact.com
Wuhan comp.wuh2fr@tlscontact.com
Shenyang comp.she2fr@tlscontact.com
  • Student (short stay);
  • Student (entrance examination);
  • Student (long stay for minor);
  • Student (long stay);
  • Student (au pair);
  • For those who have a scholarship from French or Chinese government (Including the applicants who go through CSCSE);
  • Scientist (short stay);
  • Scientist (long stay);
  • Scientist spouse (short stay);
  • Scientist spouse(long stay);
  • Scientist child (short stay)
  • Scientist child (long stay);
  • Ascendants of French citizen (short stay);
  • Ascendants of French citizen (long stay);
  • Visiting a relative who is an E.U. citizen or the spouse of an E.U. citizen;
  • Foreign child of French citizen (short stay);
  • Foreign child of French citizen (long stay);
  • Foreign child of French citizen spouse (short stay);
  • Foreign child of French citizen spouse (long stay);
  • Family reunion OFII (long stay);
  • Work OFII (long stay);
  • Visitor;
  • Journalists;
  • Sailors;
  • Artistic and cultural professions;
  • Self-employed professions;
  • Marriage with a French citizen in France (except Beijing and Shenyang consular areas where applicants should submit their application at the Embassy and Consulates General of France without appointment).

N.B. The TLScontact procedure is not compulsory. Applicants may also submit their applications directly to the Embassy and Consulates General of France in China with prior appointment through TLScontact call centre. The estimated time to get an appointment is 20 days.


Applications processed directly by the Embassy and Consulates General of France in China

For the visa types listed below, applicants should apply directly at the Embassy and Consulates General of France in China after booking an appointment through TLScontact call centre.

  • Spouse and Children of a French citizen (short stay and long stay);
  • Adoption;
  • Commercial, industrial and handcraft professions;
  • PRO-MAE cards;
  • Scientists invited by ITER;
  • Return visa.

For more information on Opening hours & Addresses of the Embassy and the Consulates General of France in China, please visit La France en Chine.

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OFII on-line procedure

You have just been issued a long-stay visa serving as a residence permit enabling you to legally stay in France.

Within the first three months following your arrival, you must register and validate your visa at the following address: https://administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr/

This quick and simple process will ensure that you are registered as a legal resident in France in order to complete your relocation. For more information, please click here.

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