France Tourist Visa From USA

France is a beautiful country with plenty of history and culture to explore as a tourist; however, it is important that any travelers check how to legally enter and stay in France before they leave the USA.

For expert immigration advice on what visa you should apply for and what documents you need to provide, contact Total Law today at +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.

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    Do I Need a Tourist Visa to Visit France From the USA?

    Less Than 90 Days

    American citizens, of any age, with valid passports traveling from the USA for tourism or business purposes can enter France, or a French territory, without a visa for less than 90 days in every 180 days.

    This exemption doesn’t apply to journalists on a mission, who will have to apply for a visa to travel.

    More Than 90 Days

    If you hold an American passport and wish to stay in France or a French territory for longer than 90 days, you will have to apply for a Long Stay visa.

    You will have to have this visa validated within 3 months once you arrive in France via the French government portal. If you don’t validate your Long Stay visa within the time limit, you will be unable to re-enter France or the Schengen area. The French Office for Immigration and Integration may also call you to organize a meeting, should they have any questions about your stay.

    Once your visa is validated, it will be transferred into a residence permit to allow you to receive certain benefits.

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    Documents Required


    Whether you need a visa or not to enter France, you will still need to meet certain conditions to enter the Schengen area. On arrival to France, you will need to provide the following documents to the Border Police:

    • A valid passport, which is less than 10 years old and has three months validity remaining after the date you leave France.
    • A valid visa, if you need one.
    • Evidence of accommodation for the duration of your stay, for example, a hotel reservation or town hall validated certificate saying you are staying with a relative.
    • A sufficient amount of money to fund your stay, which is judged based on your duration of stay, purpose of stay, and approximate price of food and accommodation in the area you are staying. Typically, this is €65 per day if you already have a hotel booking, €120 per day if you don’t have a hotel booking.
    • Either a return ticket or funds to buy one for your departure date.
    • Details on your profession or capacity as a traveler, including details on any organizations expecting you if you are on a business trip.
    • An insurance certificate that will cover all medical expenses, including repatriation costs in the event of death.

    For non-US citizens, you will have to provide proof of your legal status, for example using:

    • A green card
    • US visa and I94
    • An endorsed I20 for F1 visa holders
    • An endorsed DS2019 for J1 visa holders

    The endorsed signatures for travel are valid for one year and must not expire before you return to the USA from France.

    Please note that the French government doesn’t accept a US emergency passport as a valid travel document and you may be refused entry to France.


    Any US citizens traveling to France will not have to provide these documents if they hold a French residence permit or Long Stay visa, are married to a French citizen, or are traveling on business related to certain government or aircraft crew activities.

    Reach out to us for assistance with applying for the appropriate France tourist visa for your scenario. Contact Us

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      Tourist Visa France - Non-US Citizen

      If you are not a US citizen but are traveling to France from the USA, you may need to have an approved visa before leaving America. Your visa will outline the sorts of activities you can engage in while in France and the time limit you are allowed to stay for.

      Even if you are only stopping over in France for an airport transfer, you may also need to apply for an Airport Transit visa to allow you to legally enter the country during your stopover.

      If you are visiting France for tourism reasons only, then you will need to apply for a Tourist visa or a Private visa; these visas will cover you for general holiday purposes.

      These visas are for a maximum of 90 days every 180 days and, depending on where in France you are staying, you will be issued either a Short-Stay Uniform Schengen visa or a National visa.

      Please note that with this visa you will not be able to engage in any professional activities nor stay for over 90 days.

      If you are a young traveler, you may be eligible to take part in the French working holiday program.

      For any advice on the visa process or to check if you are required to apply for a visa to travel to France, Total Law can provide expert legal advice on your travel to and activities in France. Call us today at +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online.

      Short Stay Visa

      If you are looking to travel to France as a tourist for less than 90 days, but are also interested in taking part in a short training program, internship, conference, professional meeting, or any activity where you will receive remuneration, you will have to apply for a Short Stay visa instead.

      This type of visa is typically issued for tourists, business trips, family visits, or if you are traveling to receive medical care from a French hospital.

      Medical Care

      A French Short Stay visa will also allow you to travel to France if you are seeking medical care outside the USA; this can include:

      • Consulting a doctor or specialist
      • Receiving treatment in hospital
      • Receiving aftercare

      If you are traveling for medical care, you are still allowed to engage in tourist activities outside of your medical activities.

      Please note that your medical care will not be covered by the French health insurance system and you will have to pay for your healthcare.

      Circulation Visa

      The French government also offers multiple entry visas for anyone who will be staying in France more than once, provided each stay is not longer than 90 days in every 180-day period.

      Skyline view of city buildings in Paris, France

      France Tourist Visa Application Requirements

      When applying through the French visa website, you will need to provide the following documents:

      • A passport, which must be in good condition, be less than 10 years old, have at least two blank pages, and have three months validity remaining after the date to plan to leave France or the Schengen Area. All pages that contain visas, entry and exit stamps must be scanned.
      • Two recent photos in PDF format.
      • A document describing what you have planned; for example, reservations for any organized trips.
      • Pre Booked return travel.
      • If you are employed: A letter from your employer or proof of business ownership; if you are retired: A pension certificate; if you are a student: A certificate of enrollment.
      • Bank statement copies or pay cheques from the last 3 months, last year’s tax return, or proof of pension.
      • Evidence of accommodation for the duration of your stay.
      • Travel insurance covering any medical costs, including repatriation in the case of death.

      Please note that if you are planning on engaging in any professional activities, you will have to state this when applying for your visa. If your plans change while you are in France, you will have to apply for a new visa to cover these professional activities.

      The French authorities will request commercial documents as evidence of your professional activities and additional fees will apply.

      How Do I Apply For a France Tourist Visa From the USA?

      First, you will have to check if and what type of French visas you need to enter France, which will depend on your situation and intentions in France.

      Next, if you need a visa, you will complete your online application on the French visa application portal.

      Following your online application, you will submit your visa application to a local visa center. Applications for some French territories can only be submitted to certain visa centers; for example, if you are a US citizen traveling to Monaco, you will have to submit your application to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Seattle or Washington.

      Finally, you will be able to track your application using the portal and check when you can collect your passport and begin planning for your travels.

      Our legal experts can help navigate the intricacies involved with securing a French tourist visa. Contact Us

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        Processing Times and Application Fees

        Depending on your nationality and the time of year, the amount of time it takes to process your visa application will vary from under 15 days to up to 45 days.

        Typically, a Short Stay visa will cost €35 and a Long Stay visa will be €99; however, individual cases may affect the price.

        Can I Extend My Tourist Visa?

        If you decide you want to stay in France as a tourist for longer than the 90-day limit, you can apply for a Long Stay Visitor visa provided that you will not engage in any professional activities while you are in the country.

        The French government may issue you with a Temporary Long Stay visa (VLS-T) if they are certain you won’t extend your stay beyond the length of your visa.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        The process for applying for visas or any permits in France can be especially complicated and many steps are involved before you are legally allowed to enter France. Even if you are a US citizen, you will still have to provide evidence to the French government despite not needing a visa to enter the country for short visits.

        Instructing an immigration expert to help you with applying for any visas and permits can make the process simple and ensure all steps are completed correctly. Total Law is a team of dedicated lawyers with extensive expertise in immigration law who are happy to support you with any visa queries you may have. Contact us today at +1 844 290 6312 or message us online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  France does reject a small proportion of visa applications; however, if you receive a rejection, you will be able to contest this decision within 30 days.

                  It was reported that one in 10 visa applications to France were rejected in 2023, typically due to applicants not fulfilling the visa application criteria.

                  If you are already in France and would like to renew or extend your visa, you will have to contact the authority for the area you are staying in.

                  You will have to apply for a French work permit on top of your Long Stay visa, which requires you to submit a number of documents additional to your original visa. Applications can take up to three months to process.

                  If you stay longer than your visa allows, you may receive a fine, be deported and even be banned from ever returning to France again. If you overstay your Work visa, you may be fined and face prison time.