- French Business Visa: Overview
- Eligibility Criteria
- How To Apply for a France Business Visa From UAE
- Documents Needed For French Business Visa Application
- The France Business Visa Application Fees & Costs
- The Processing Timeline of The France Business Visa Application
- Longer Stays: Long-Term Work Visa
- What a Business Visa Holder in France Can And Cannot Do
- Unsuccessful Applications
- Renewing or Extending a Business Visa in France
- Total Law Can Help You
- Frequently Asked Questions
French Business Visa: Overview
French business visas are Short-Stay visas which are valid for 6 months and allow the holder to work in France for up to 90 days. If you are a UAE employer looking to temporarily send a representative to France, a self-employed UAE resident, or a French company looking to temporarily hire a UAE resident, it may be that a business visa will be necessary.
This visa type does not allow the holder to eventually settle in France. It also does not allow the holder to bring their family.
This visa type is typically single-entry, meaning that, after entry, the visa ceases to be valid if the holder leaves the Schengen Area. In some cases, however, it may permit multiple entries across a short period of time.
Note that citizens of the UAE do not require a visa in order to enter the Schengen Area for up to 90 days. However, residents of the UAE who are from a country which does not grant the right to visa-free entry to the Schengen Area will likely require a business visa.
There are a number of eligibility criteria which must be satisfied in order to obtain a French business visa.
UAE citizens will not require a visa in order to enter the Schengen Area for up to 90 days. However, if they are based in the UAE and fall into one of the following categories, they will likely still require a visa:
- UAE citizens who hold a UAE passport but have previously been refused visa-free entry to the Schengen Area
- Non-UAE citizens who are living in the UAE on a residence permit and fall into one of the following categories:
- Are citizens of a country which does not allow visa-free access to the Schengen Area
- Are citizens of a country which does allow visa-free access to the Schengen Area, but have previously been refused visa-free entry
Note that a number of countries are exempt from needing a visa to enter the Schengen Area, such as members of the European Union and the European Economic Area. In such cases, a visa will not be required in order to visit France for a short stay of 90 days or under.
As French business visas generally refer to Short-Stay visas, the holder’s business in France should be temporary and able to be completed in 90 days. The applicant will need to provide evidence of the work which they will be completing in France, such as a letter from the prospective employer or the schedule of a conference at which they will be presenting.
How To Apply for a France Business Visa From UAE
There are numerous steps involved in obtaining a short-stay French visa. These steps are generally as follows:
First, you will need to fill in the relevant application form. Then you will need to apply to the consular services in your home country. In the UAE, the only visa processing centre is located in Abu Dhabi. You will generally need to make an appointment and attend an interview at this centre. However, the Abu Dhabi centre also offers a ‘visa at your doorstep’ service, through which you can complete the entire process online, without needing to visit the centre in person.
At the time of writing in December 2023, waiting times for an appointment at the Abu Dhabi visa centre are at approximately 2 months, except in the case of emergency travel. Walk-ins are generally not permitted, although there are some exceptions to this rule.
At their interview, applicants will be asked about their reasons for visiting France. They will need to provide the necessary documents listed in the next section. The required documents should be provided alongside a French translation, where necessary.
Once the appointment is completed, the application will then be processed. If the application is successful, the applicant will be granted a visa and will then be able to legally enter France.
Documents Needed For French Business Visa Application
There are a number of documents which you will require in order to obtain a French Business visa. This includes the following:
- Completed application form
- Payment receipt for the application fee
- 2 passport photos, to the French specifications
- Confirmation from the company for which you will be completing work (if applicable)
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of travel
- French travel insurance
- Proof of sponsorship (if applicable)
- Evidence of admission to the event in question (in case of seminar, conference, trade fair, etc.)
- Evidence that you have sufficient financial means to support yourself for the duration of your stay in France
However, the exact documents which are required will depend on the particular grounds for your visit. As a general rule, it is important to make sure that you provide evidence of the work which you will be completing in France and of your ability to support yourself whilst there, including housing, insurance, and enough money to cover your stay.
The France Business Visa Application Fees & Costs
The Short-Stay visa fee for France is generally €80. You will need to provide evidence that you have paid this cost when submitting your application.
There may also be other costs associated with the application. For example, it may be necessary for applicants to pay for French translations of their necessary documents.
Applicants may also choose to pay for legal assistance with their application, in order to make the process as smooth as possible. Contact Total Law today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to learn more about how our own services can help with this, whether in terms of helping your employee to secure their documents or if you are a business owner looking to complete temporary work in France.
The Processing Timeline of The France Business Visa Application
In general, the processing time for a French Business visa is 5-15 days. However, this is subject to change based on a number of factors, such as how many other applications are simultaneously being processed and whether or not the applicant is required to provide further information.
An application is more likely to be processed as quickly as possible if all necessary documents are submitted correctly at the time of application and if any additional information which is requested is promptly provided. Delays in returning this information can lead to an application taking longer to process or being unsuccessful.
Longer Stays: Long-Term Work Visa
If the applicant is required to stay in France for longer than 90 days, they will need to instead apply for a Long-Stay visa. This visa type allows the holder to engage in long-term professional activity in France. Examples of the type of work which they may perform include:
- Acting as a posted employee as part of an intra-company transfer
- Working in a capacity covered by one of the different types of Talent Passport:
- Qualified employee
- Recruitment in an innovative company
- Highly skilled employee
- Employee on assignment
- Creating a company
- Innovative project recognised by a public body
- Social agent
- Artistic and cultural profession
- Person of international renown
- Working Holiday
- Internship or Training
Note that, in the case of Long-Stay visas, the validity period is usually 3 months. The holder will generally then have to apply for a residence permit upon arriving in France. This allows them to stay in France for longer than the period of time covered by the visa itself. Residence permits are obtained by contacting the local Prefecture.
In the case of certain Long-Stay visas, the visa itself acts as a residence permit, such as with the VLS-TS visa.
Whilst citizens of the UAE do not require a visa in order to enter France for up to 90 days, they will require a Long-Stay visa if their stay will exceed 90 days. This is also true of UAE residents who do not already have the right to live and work in France.
What a Business Visa Holder in France Can And Cannot Do
There are a number of activities in which the holder of a business visa can engage. These include:
- Attending or participating in conferences, meetings, trade fairs, or seminars
- Running or attending training sessions
- Performing internal audits for French companies, branches, or offices
- Providing temporary services, such as installing equipment or acting as a consultant
However, there are a number of restrictions on Short-Stay work visas. For example, they do not generally allow the holder to extend their stay or to be joined by their family in France. They also do not provide a route to permanent residence in France unless the holder first changes to an eligible Long-Stay visa.
If in France on a Long-Stay work visa, however, it will generally be possible for the holder to extend their stay, assuming that they continue to satisfy the eligibility criteria. It is also sometimes possible for their dependent family members to join them.
Long-Stay visas also often provide a potential route to permanent residence in France. However, there are a number of conditions which must be filled in order for applicants to be eligible, including a sufficient period of French residence and demonstrable integration into French life.
Eventually, applying for French citizenship may also be an option. This would allow the holder to vote and to apply for a French passport, at which point they would also be able to access the travel benefits associated with EU membership. Citizens of the EU are eligible to live, work, and study in any other EU member state.
There are a number of reasons why visa applications may be unsuccessful. This can include failure to satisfy the eligibility criteria, inability to provide the necessary documents, or delays in providing additional requested information.
In the case of unsuccessful visa applications, it is often possible for the applicant to appeal the decision. This must be done within 30 days of receiving the initial decision.
In the case of a Short-Stay visa, the appeal should be sent to the ‘Sous-Directeur des Visas’ (Head of the French Central Visa Department). The appeal must be written in French, signed, and must clearly state the grounds for the appeal.
If this is also unsuccessful, the applicant can then appeal to the administrative judge.
Renewing or Extending a Business Visa in France
Short-Stay visas are not eligible for renewal or extension. If the holder wishes to extend their stay in France, they will need to return to their home country and apply for a long-term visa.
However, in exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to extend the stay. This might be because poor health prevents the holder from leaving the country, for example. In such cases, the holder should contact their local Prefecture (the local representative of the national government) in order to discuss extension options. They should make sure to do so before their current visa expires, in order to ensure that they maintain legal status in the country.
In the case of Long-Stay work visas, it is often possible to extend one’s stay. This will depend on the specific visa type in question and the applicant’s continued satisfaction of the eligibility criteria.
France is a European country with a thriving economy and easy travel access to the rest of the Schengen Area. It is also a country which has strong economic ties with the United Arab Emirates. As such, many UAE citizens work in France, and many businesses hire or send UAE workers to France or to the Schengen Area more generally. Whether you are a business based in France or the UAE, or you are a self-employed UAE citizen, you may find yourself needing to secure a French work visa for your employees or for yourself.
If this applies to you, contact Total Law today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to learn more. Our immigration experts have years of experience in offering bespoke legal advice on cases exactly like this. Our services extend across the entire application process, from gathering the required documents to navigating your arrival in France.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
The main difference between a Short-Stay and Long-Stay visa in France is the duration for which they allow the holder to stay in France. Short-Stay visas are only valid for 6 months, only allow stays of up to 90 days, cannot generally be extended, and do not provide a direct route to permanent settlement.
Long-Stay visas, on the other hand, allow multi-year stays, can often be extended, and generally allow the holder’s immediate family members to join them. They also often provide a route to eventual permanent settlement or citizenship.
In all cases, the application process for a French visa generally starts online, via the website of the applicant’s local French consulate or embassy.
In the case of the United Arab Emirates in particular, it is often possible to complete the entire process online. This is through using the ‘Visa at your doorstep’ (VAYD) service. This allows the applicant to complete the entire application process without visiting the Abu Dhabi visa processing centre in person. Note that there is an additional fee associated with using this service.
You can indeed attend a business meeting or conference on a French business visa. In this case, you will require a Short-Stay visa. You will need to make sure that you provide evidence of your attendance or participation at the event, for example the schedule of speakers if you yourself will be participating.
Note that citizens of the UAE do not require a visa in order to enter the Schengen Area for 90 days or under. As such, they are unlikely to require a visa in order to attend a conference or business meeting, unless the commitment requires them to stay in France for longer than 90 days.
The exact evidence which is required for a French business visa will generally depend on the nature of the work which is due to be completed in France. If you are a French business planning to hire a resident of the UAE, you will need to provide them with evidence of the prospective employment. This will generally involve a letter confirming employment, how much they will be paid, and an outline of the duties which they will be performing.
If you will be attending a conference, seminar, or trade fair in France, you will need to provide evidence of your attendance or participation.
The Short-Stay business visa is generally valid for 6 months and allows the holder to remain in France for up to 90 days. It cannot generally be extended, except in emergencies (for example if the holder is too unwell to travel).
If the applicant needs to stay in France for longer than 90 days, they should instead apply for a Long-Stay visa. There are a number of these visas, each of which have different conditions and durations. Generally, however, these visas allow the holder to stay in France for a number of years, often when combined with a residence permit. They can also often be extended, so long as the holder continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria.