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Question on Visa to France

I know American passport holders are not required to obtain a visa prior to visiting France for up to 90 days per semester (6 months). This rule is quite clear. I will be traveling to France for 44 days. So I am exempt from that.

But I have a question. Say, I will be in France for 90 days from December 1 to March 1, 2014. So I don’t need to get a French visa if I travel to France for 90 days after September 1, 2015?

Does anyone know if an American can apply for a French visa while visiting France? What kinds of documents are needed? And where to go?

Thanks. Sorry for all these dumb questions. I just want to make sure.

Posted by
16866 posts

Your plan to return in September will work. If you were already in the Schengen zone for 90 consecutive days, then you only need to stay out for another 90 days to add up to the 180-day period. See tips from the US government at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/schengen-fact-sheet.html. You'll also find several other Forum posts on the Schengen rules. I believe that trying to apply for a visa while in Europe is against the rules and doomed to failure.

Posted by
21 posts

Thank you very much for your time on your response! I appreciate it.

Posted by
1606 posts

Does the French govt. still have an office in San Francisco? That's where my daughter had to go for her visa.

Posted by
26013 posts

visiting France for up to 90 days per semester (6 months). This rule is quite clear.

The actual law is 90 in any 180 days. A minor difference, but semester or months doesn't work - 180 days is the law.

If you want to apply for another French visa you have to do it while you are outside France.

San Francisco is your nearest consulate, at 88 Kearny St, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94108 / Tel : (415)-397-4330

Be prepared for the process to be quite rigorous.

Posted by
1437 posts

The other thing to remember, as Nigel is very right about the 180 days (not calendar months), is that this is not just for time spent in France. It's total, for all time spent in the countries of the Schengen zone.

If you wants to stay longer than the 90 days in France itself, you will have to apply to the French government for a long-stay visa before you go, one that applies to your status in France for that time (i.e. as a student). Then, on arrival, you will have to register for your residency permit.

Contacting the French Consulate is the first step.

Posted by
9110 posts

There is misleading statement in the first response regarding 'Europe'. Each nation sets it's own policies regarding non-Schengen visas and from where application may be made. France, however, does require that application be made from your country of residence. For other nations, that nation's information is more accurate than a United States governmental source.

Posted by
21 posts

Nigel And/Or (Anyone),

Could you please elaborate on your statement "the actual law is 90 day stay in any 180 days"? Is it possible to provide an example? I tried to contact the San Fran office, but there's no live help. :-<

I am not worried about Schengen zone, since I will only be visiting France. I will stay at my French friend's house as a guest.

So if I only visit France less than 90 'consecutive' days each time and if I plan to go twice a year, say in May and December each year, will this French visa rule apply to me at all?

Sorry for this. I am just a bit confused.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
6353 posts

Julie, you can't use the term 6 months because 6 months may or may not have 180 days (likely 182 or 183) depending on which months you are using. Also if you're talking about mid month arrivals & departures you need to count the days.

If you were to go Dec 1 and stay for 90 days (until Feb 28), you could not go back until May 30. So, as previously stated if you stay 90 days, you need to be gone for 90 days before going back.

If you stay less than 90 days, then you have to look at the 180 days prior to your going again and see when you can go back.

Posted by
21 posts

Thank you very much, Nancy for your response. You have made it very clear with your example.

"If you were to go Dec 1 and stay for 90 days (until Feb 28), you could not go back until May 30. So, as previously stated if you stay 90 days, you need to be gone for 90 days before going back."

So this 180 days include the 90 day stay in France? I thought you have to have 180 days following the end of the prior 90 day stay. I guess I have got it all wrong.

Thanks for your response. I appreciate it.

Posted by
4524 posts

It's 90 in and 90 out. Easy enough when you go in blocks of 90 days. It gets more complicated when you go in shorter segments as the times begin to overlap. In those cases, think of it as a running 180 day calendar and you must have less than 91 days in the previous 180 days at all times.

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks, Douglas. It makes sense to me now. I appreciate your help.

Posted by
1606 posts

On the off chance you need to get a visa, be sure to allow enough time for it. My daughter got her interview quite quickly (July 15th), but didn't get her visa until the middle of Sept.