How to Apply for a France Schengen Visa in the UK
From the boulevards of Paris to the fashionable seaside resorts of the Côte d’Azur, France is a beautiful country that boasts of spectacular cities with picturesque topography, colourful culture, free-spirited people and delectable cuisine. These scenic places have been the muse to many poets and artists, and continue to make France the world’s most popular tourist destination receiving 82 million foreign tourists annually.
Visitors are attracted by historic cities, a beautiful countryside, the castles of the Loire Valley, and Brittany and Normandy. In addition, France offers an agreeable climate, some excellent beaches on the French Riviera, the Atlantic coast and the island of Corsica, wide possibilities for winter sports, most notably in the Alps and the Pyrenees, and a rich culture with food and wines that are among the most celebrated in the world.
Entry Restrictions in Response to Coronavirus
In early 2020, France was among the Schengen countries that closed their borders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. France started to open its borders back up for travel in June 2020, with restrictions. Since then, the country has updated its restrictions regularly depending on the current situation of the virus in each country.
France has adopted its own national classification of risk areas, therefore travel restrictions for the country are not based on the “EU Traffic Lights” map of other Schengen and EU countries.
It is advisable to check with the official French government website for information on what requirements you will need if you wish to travel to France while COVID-19 restrictions are in place and if you will be able to travel to the country.
Travel to French overseas territories
Regular flights between metropolitan France and its overseas territories resumed in late June. Travellers need to provide a negative RT-PCR test taken in the 72 hours preceding arrival, and complete a self-declaration of absence of COVID-19 symptoms and contact with confirmed cases in the 14 days preceding arrival for entry into all French overseas territories. This is available in English on the site of the French Embassy London.
For travel to French Guiana, French Polynesia, Mayotte, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna you must present an international travel certificate confirming that your journey is essential and that you have not been suffering from a set of listed symptoms associated with COVID-19 or in contact with confirmed cases in the 14 days prior to travel. It is available on the Ministry of Interior website. The certificate is to be presented to transportation companies before boarding, as well as to border control authorities.
International travel certificates are not required for travel to other French overseas territories.
France and the UK Post-Brexit
In January of 2021, Air France-KLM announced that it will require an airport transit visa (ATV) for some passengers connecting to the UK. An ATV is a document which grants access to a traveller to pass through the international zone of an airport, without entering the country’s territory.
Nationals from the following countries will be required to apply for an ATV:
- Africa: Angola, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan.
- Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Philippines, Palestine, Russia, Syria, and Sri Lanka.
- Caribbean and South America: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.
All other passenger transits (changing flights without exiting the airport) through France to the UK remain visa-free.
Who needs a visa to travel to France from the UK?
Any UK citizen who holds either a full UK passport or a BOTC, BOC, BPP or BS passport can travel to France and visa-free. However, many non-EU nationals who reside in the UK are still required to get a Schengen visa to travel to France and other Schengen countries.
Citizens of the following countries residing in the UK and planning to visit France are required to get a French visa in order to be able to enter France.
|Cape Verde||Central African Republic||Chad|
|Dem. Rep. Of Congo||Djibouti||Dominican Republic|
|North Korea||Northern Mariana’s||Oman|
|Pakistan||Papua New Guinea||Philippines|
|Sao Tome And Principe||Saudi Arabia||Senegal|
|Sierra Leone||Somalia||South Africa|
The main requirement is that you must have a UK residence permit valid for at least another three more months beyond the date you plan to leave France / the Schengen Area.
Before starting a visa application, or getting a flight to France, make sure to check whether you need a visa to France or not.
If you have a 3-month UK visa you can extend it for three more months in order to be eligible to apply for a French Schengen visa from within the UK. You must apply for an extension before your visa expires and while you’re still in the UK.
What are the requirements for extension of a Leave to Remain?
When you decide to apply for an extension you must make sure you comply with several situations:
- You must require extension in the same visa type you currently have
- You should apply for an extension at least 8 weeks before the existing visa period exceeds
- You must have not been part of any criminal activity or you must have not broken any UK law or Immigration law during the entire period of stay in the UK
- You have to provide the biometric information – such as the fingerprints and recent photographs for yourself and any depended when applying for the extension
- You must have not been in breach of immigration laws while having a valid UK visa
Note: You can stay in the UK until the decision about extension is taken, but only if you have applied within the visa period.
You should apply for a French visa at the appropriate French Embassy/Consulate or French visa application center in the UK if:
- France is the only Schengen country you plan on visiting
- France is your main destination (the country you will be staying the longest in)
- France is the first Schengen country you are visiting (when spending an equal amount of days in France and another Schengen country)
In case you plan on staying in France for more than 90 days you must apply for a residency permit, not a French Schengen visa.
Please, note that if you are not a resident in the United Kingdom you should apply at the French Embassy/Consulate/VAC in your home country of residence.
- Embassies and Consulates in the UK
- ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorization System
- EU Settlement Scheme for Non-EU/EEA Family Members
- Brexit Reminder: Things that will change in 2021
Steps to applying for a French Schengen visa from the UK
Step 1: Know Your Visa Type and Validity
There are 2 types of visa that you can apply for and the one you need will depend on the duration of your trip and your reason for travelling to France:
- Short-stay (Schengen) Visa – valid for up to 90 days (in a 180-day period) for the purposes of tourism, business, visiting family/friends, conference, EEA/EU national family member
- Residence and work permits (Long stays) – you should apply for this kind of visa if you want to live in France for more than 90 days for employment, family reunification, study, research etc.
Step 2: Identify where to make application and book an appointment
To apply for a French visa in the UK you must book an appointment with the French Consulate General in London.
This can be done in different ways:
- By booking an appointment at the French Consulate General in London. This type of appointment is known as a direct appointment. Direct appointment bookings are free of charge and you should do it in person. You can book a direct appointment only on Wednesday mornings. Processing delays still apply. Please, be aware that there is a longer appointment waiting time for the French Consulate General in London.
- Through TLS contact’s in London, Edinburgh and Manchester, by phone or by filling an online application form.
You can book a French visa appointment at the Consulate General of France in London if you are a UK resident living in:
- Northern Ireland
- The Falkland Islands.
Step 3: Complete your application form
The Schengen Visa application form contains questions about you including:
- Name and surname
- Date and place of birth
- Sex and marital status
- National Identity number
- Passport number
- Home address and email
- Purpose of trip
- Question regarding previous trips to Schengen, if any
- Intended date of arrival in Schengen area you are visiting, and the intended period of stay
- Cost of traveling and remaining in Schengen area you are visiting, who will cover them, etc.
If you intend to travel for business purposes, i.e. visiting a business/company for meetings, recruitments, training or any other work-related activities, then you need to indicate Business the purpose of your travels.
Make sure your answers are correct and that they comply with the information in the rest of the documents. Complete the form, print it twice, and sign both copies at the end.
Find out more about how to complete a Schengen vis application form in this blog post.
Step 4: Prepare your documents
The following list of documents are required in order to obtain a visa to France in the UK:
Note: Photocopies of the original documents should also be submitted and documents should not be more than one month old.
The documents listed above are documents required in all cases, regardless of the purpose of your visit in France.
Depending on your employment status, here is a list of additional documents that are required for your visa application:
- Employment contract
- Current bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Leave permission from the employer
- Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary
For the self-employed:
- A copy of your business license
- Company bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
For foreign students in the UK:
- A copy of your business license
- Company bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
- Pension statement of the latest 6 months
If unemployed and married to an EU citizen:
- A recent (less than 3 months old) Confirmation of Employment letter from their spouse’s employer stating the position held within the company as well as the starting date,
- Spouse’s valid passport
- An officially translated marriage certificate. The translation must be in English or French and must be certified as a true copy by the Embassy of the country where the marriage took place or by the Legalization Bureau of the Foreign Office in the UK
Requirements for children under the age of 18:
Parents or an adult guardian are required to accompany their under-age children at the application centre at the Embassy of France in London. Also, minors who are granted a French visa are not allowed to travel to France by themselves. They should be accompanied by an adult during their stay in France.
Step 5: Attend your appointment
On the day of the interview, show up at the appointment center on time (embassy or consulate). Remember that if you are late even for a few minutes, then they will probably cancel your appointment. Try wearing something a bit more official, but comfortable.
The France visa interview takes around 10 minutes to complete. During this interview, the consular officer will ask you several questions about you and your intended trip. You will also be submitting the required documents throughout the meeting, to the interviewer.
After the verification of your application, the application form information will be entered into the online system of the consulate or embassy and you will receive a printed copy of your application, which process usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes. After you get the printed form, please make sure to verify all the details are correct and sign the form.
Underage applicants must be accompanied by their mother/father/legal guardian.
Visa Fees for UK Residents
The fee must be paid upon submitting the French visa application. After you complete this payment, you will receive a receipt, which shows that payment has been made, which must be offered amongst other documents of the application dossier. You will have to pay a France visa fee in order for your application to be processed.
Since France is a Schengen state, visa fees are the same as any other Schengen visa. These are the costs of a French Schengen Visa when applying from UK:
|Schengen Visa Category (by age)||Fee in UK Pound||Fee in Euro|
|Adult||73 £||80 €|
|Child between 6-12 years of age||36.5 £||40 €|
|Child younger than 6 years of age||Free||Free|
Starting from 24 July 2020 till 31 December 2021, the service fee, mandatory for any visa application, is GBP 32.43. This amount has been decided in agreement with the Consular Authority and corresponds to the different services provided by the TLScontact centre:
- Appointment bookings;
- Visa application reception;
- Information collection;
- Data processing;
- Transfer to the Consulate General of France in London;
- Reception and sorting of passports;
- Contact of applicants upon return of passports from the Consulate General of France in London;
- Handling telephone, online messages or email enquires of applicants by Call Centre.
These fees are payable at TLScontact Visa Application Centre by:
- Debit card;
- Credit card (American Express is not accepted).
Added-value Service Fees
- Premium lounge service: £28 (per applicant);
- Photocopy: £0.20 (per copy);
- Courier return fee via DX: £15.10 (per applicant).
Note: The visa fee and service fee are both non-refundable and non-transferable if the visa application is denied by the Embassy staff or if the applicant decides to terminate his or her application and does not guarantee that you will be granted a visa.
France visa fee exemptions for UK residents
Besides children younger than 6 years of age, these are other applicants that are exempted from a French visa application fee (Source: TLScontact):
- Spouse of a French citizen
- Family member of a UE/EEE national travelling along with the UE/EEE family member
- Children below the age of 21 and financially dependant of a UE national
- Ascendants financially dependant of a UE national
- Pupils, students and accompanying teachers during a school trip
- Scientists (holders of a « convention d’accueil » only for short stays)
- Foreign teachers teaching French (in activity)
- Scholarship holders from the French government, foreign governments, foreign foundations or payees of EU programs (only to travel within the territory designated by the terms of the founding program).
Step 6: Receive your visa
Visa Application Processing Time in UK
You can apply for a France Schengen Visa 6 months before your planned trip. Depending on the nationality of the applicant, the processing time may take at least 15 days from the day of application. In some cases when required documents are missing from the application this process may take longer.
Therefore, to avoid unwanted complications, the French Consulate General in London advises that you provide all required documents and submit your application at least 20 work days (4 weeks) before the day you leave for France.
Once your visa is approved, it will be stamped in your passport. Make sure to carefully check the visa sticker to make sure everything is correct and exactly how you need it.
A person visiting France on a Schengen Visa is allowed by law to extend their visa if they have legitimate reasons. This could be either personal, professional, medical, emergencies or any other. The decisions to approve a Schengen visa extension request are handled case by case.
The duration you are allowed to stay in France will be stated in your Schengen visa sticker. It is important not to overstay during your trip to France or the rest of the Schengen Zone or risk facing penalties like a fine, deportation, being banned from travelling back to the Schengen Zone, and having difficulties in your future Schengen applications.
There are also cases when people do not get any penalties for overstaying, for example a child or a person that cannot travel without a caretaker because of an illness or disability or an unforeseen event that prevents you from leaving the country, like COVID-19.
Find out more about overstaying in the Schengen visa in our blog post.
The overall process of extending your French Schengen Visa will involve:
- Determining whether you have a justified reason to request for an extension
- Submitting all the necessary documents. These include a valid passport that has the Schengen Visa used to get in the Schengen area stamped in it, one passport-sized photo, proof of financial subsistence, Schengen Visa Insurance that covers the extension duration, and all the documents that justify your reason for an extension
- Paying visa fees where applicable
- Attending a visa interview if necessary
- Waiting for the approval
You must apply for a Schengen Visa extension before it expires. It may take a few days to a month for the authorities to process your visa extension request, during which you are legally permitted to stay in the country where you applied for the Schengen visa but cannot travel to other Schengen countries.
If your visa extension request is approved, you can extend your stay in the Schengen Area until the visa validity. However, if your visa extension application is rejected, you will have to leave the Schengen area in a day or two.
Visa application rejection
There are a few common reasons why your visa application might be rejected. For example, if you provide illegitimate or insufficient documents, apply for the wrong type of visa, or fail your immigration interview.
If your visa application is rejected, you will not be refunded for your application. You will need to either appeal or file the application again. To avoid this hassle, make sure your documents are in order and you fill out the form correctly. With a service like IaM, we check your application before submission to ensure the highest possibility of having your visa application approved.
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