France Visa UK – Applying for a French Schengen Visa From the UK

British citizens can travel to France visa-free. However, if you’re a non-British citizen living in the UK and intend to visit France for tourism, business, or family reasons for up to 90 days, you may need to apply for a French Short-stay visa, also known as the France Schengen visa. The exact requirements vary based on your citizenship.

Our Schengen visa experts have crafted the following guide to assist you at every stage of the French Schengen visa application process in the UK.

Step by Step French Visa Application Process From the UK

How to Apply for a French Schengen Visa in the UK?

Here’s the step-by-step process for how to obtain a visa to visit France from the UK:

  1. Check if you need a visa. 
  2. Understand the type of visa you need. 
  3. Determine where to lodge your visa application.
  4. Complete and download the visa application form. 
  5. Schedule your French visa appointment. 
  6. Prepare the required documents. 
  7. Attend your visa appointment. 
  8. Wait for the visa to process. 
  9. Collect your passport. 

Check if You Need a Visa for France

Not everyone travelling from the UK to France needs a visa. Before you travel, check the information below to determine whether you must apply for a visa.

Who Needs a Visa?

You will have to apply for a visa when travelling to France if you are:

  • A legal resident of the UK, but you hold a passport from a non-EU country that has not reached a visa liberalisation agreement with the EU.
  • A UK citizen, but you were denied entry into France or any other Schengen country without a visa.
  • A citizen of a non-EU country that has reached a visa liberalisation agreement with the EU, but you were rejected from entering France or any other Schengen country visa-free.

Exemptions from Visa Requirements

You are exempt from applying for a visa to enter France if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • You are a UK passport holder.
  • You are a citizen of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland.
  • You hold a passport from the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, or any other country with a visa liberalisation agreement with the EU.
  • You possess a valid residence permit from any country within the Schengen area.

For those exempt from a visa, check out the required documents for entry into France. It’s always good to be prepared!

British citizens are encouraged to read the following article for detailed information:

Understand the Visa Type You Need to Enter France

If your plan involves a short trip to France, lasting up to 90 days, whether it’s for tourism, visiting friends and family, or business, you’ll need to get a Schengen Visa.

However, if your visit involves other purposes or you plan to stay in France for more than 90 days, you’ll need a long-stay visa, also known as a D-type visa.

For visits to non-European territories (DROM-COM), France provides a short-stay national visa.

Short-Stay Visa – Schengen Visa

A France Schengen visa is a standardized visa with a uniform application process. While there is only one type of visa, it can be granted for the purposes as listed below:

Short-Stay National Visa

If you plan to visit France’s non-European territories (DROM-COM), you need to apply for a Short-stay national visa.

It’s important to note that none of France’s territories outside Europe are part of the Schengen Area. These territories include:

    1. The overseas départements and regions of France (DROM):
      • Reunion
      • French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique (three départements in the Americas)
      • Mayotte
      • Saint-Barthélemy
      • Saint-Martin
    2. Other local municipalities and territories of the French Republic located overseas (COM):
      • French Polynesia
      • New Caledonia
      • Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
      • Wallis-et-Futuna
      • The French Southern and Antarctic Lands

Long-Stay Visa

If your intended stay in France or in French non-European territories (DROM-COM), exceeds 90 days, you’ll need to obtain a French long-stay visa.

The visa duration should fall within the range of three months to one year. To prolong your stay beyond the visa’s validity, you must request a residence permit at a French prefecture.

Long-stay visas in France are categorized based on the duration of the intended stay.

Temporary Long-Stay Visa: 4 to 6 Months Duration

This visa allows you to stay in France for a maximum period of 4 to 6 months. It is a temporary authorization granted for specific purposes, including:

  • Short courses,
  • Engaging in artistic activities,
  • Visiting (provided you can sustain yourself financially).

While your visa is valid, there is no need to apply for a residence card at the prefecture. However, upon expiration, you must return to your country of origin.

Long-Stay Visa Equivalent to Residence Permit (VLS-TS)

The VLS-TS, or a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit, not only grants entry into France but also allows individuals to reside in the country for a period ranging from 3 to 12 months, eliminating the need for a separate residence permit application.

Various types of VLS-TS are available, including:

  1. Employee VLS-TS: Designed for foreign nationals hired by companies based in France for a duration of one year or more.
  2. Temporary Worker VLS-TS: This is intended for employees permitted to work in France for 3 to 12 months, such as those dispatched by a foreign company to provide services at a client company’s site in France.
  3. Research Scientist VLS-TS: Issued to foreigners engaged in research work or teaching at the university level.
  4. Student VLS-TS: Specifically for students.
  5. ICT (Intra-Company Transferees) VLS-TS: For intra-company transferees and their families staying less than 12 months.
  6. Talent Passport VLS-TS: Applicable for stays less than 12 months in the following categories:
    • Business investors
    • Company directors
    • Employees on assignment
    • Highly skilled workers (European Union Blue Card)
    • Skilled young graduate employees or employees of an innovative new company (jeune entreprise innovante – JEI)
    • Researchers
    • Founders of a startup business
    • Owners of innovative business projects recognized by a public agency
    • Performing artists
    • Foreigners nationally or internationally recognized as experts in their field (scientific, literary, artistic, intellectual, educational, or sporting fields)

To learn more about long-stay visas, please visit the official website of the French government.

When you complete the application form online, you must specify the reason for your visit under ‘Details about your plans’.

Determine Where to Lodge Your French Visa Application in the UK

Visa applications to go to France from the UK (including England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man, the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands) are processed by the French Consulate General in London, where all decisions are made.

The French authorities in the UK have designated TLS Contact to assist the public, receive their applications, and return their passports at their three visa application centres located in London, Manchester, and Edinburgh.

UK residents can freely apply at any of these three centres as there are no restrictions based on consular areas.

Who Should Apply for a Schengen Visa at the French Embassy/Consulate/VAC?

  • If France is the only country in the Schengen Area you plan to visit, it’s straightforward—apply for a French visa at one of the TLS contact centres in the UK: London, Manchester, or Edinburgh.

However, if your journey includes France and at least one more Schengen state, apply for a French visa at one of the TLS contact centres in the UK

only if:

  • You will spend more days in France than in the other Schengen countries.
  • You will spend an equal amount of time in each country, but you are starting your Schengen adventure by entering through France.

You can’t apply for a French visa from the UK if you are currently on a short-stay/visitor visa. You must hold a valid UK residence permit. Issued as a biometric card (BRP) or endorsed in the passport. Additionally, the permit must remain valid for at least one month beyond the conclusion of your trip to the Schengen Area.

For more in-depth details, please refer to: How to Choose the Right Embassy/Consulate/VAC to Submit the Visa Application

French Misions in the UK: Address & Opening Hours

French Consulate in London

French Consulate in Edinburgh

Consulate General of France in Edinburgh
West Parliament Square

As indicated on their official website, the most efficient method of contacting the Consulate General of France in Edinburgh is through email.
Duty officers actively monitor emails during office hours and will respond promptly.

Email: [email protected]

Complete the French Visa Application Form

You must complete the online application form and print it to submit it with the other documents. You must also create an online account to start the application process and book an appointment to submit your application.

When Should I Schedule My French Visa Appointment?

The recommended time for scheduling a French visa appointment in the UK is at least 15 days before you intend to travel to France, but no more than six months before. Remember that sometimes, there are waiting times for an appointment. 

French Visa Appointment Waiting Times in the UK

According to the French government’s official website, appointments are typically available within 48 working hours, though this can vary during peak times.

In practice, however, booking an appointment for a French visa in the UK often takes much longer. Reports from Reddit users and other social media platforms indicate that slots may not be available for weeks before becoming accessible. 

Prepare the Required Documents for a French Visa

In order to obtain a French Schengen visa in the UK, applicants need to follow a standardized set of documents specified in the Schengen visa code, though there may be some variations for each member country.

To meet the short-term stay visa requirements for France, applicants must submit the following documents to the French consulate in the UK:

  • The French Schengen visa application form.
  • Documents generally required for any Schengen visa application.
  • A valid UK Residence permit (original) must be issued as a biometric card (BRP) or endorsed in the passport. A UK visitor visa is not acceptable.
  • One photocopy of the BRP (front and back) or endorsement
  • Travel insurance from a UK or Schengen-based company. The insurance should have a minimum coverage of €30,000 (£26,000) for medical emergencies and include repatriation in the event of death.

    UK residents applying for a French Schengen visa can get travel insurance from either Europ Assistance or, a European insurance comparison website, comparing insurance policies of AXA, Allianz, Europ Assistance and Mutuaide. These insurance providers are acknowledged and accepted by French authorities in the UK. Moreover, you can cancel the insurance at no cost by submitting proof of a French visa rejection.

Except for the documents mentioned above, you must provide the following documents for specific French short-stay visas:

  • Business: Employed in the service of a foreign or French national – Employer commitment form to pay social contributions.
  • Cultural, artistic, scientific and sports events, including one-off assignments:
    • For audit and expertise missions, certificate of the social security or sworn statement of your affiliation to the URSSAF.
    • In the event of recruitment by a French modelling agency: Cerfa form regarding the cooperation agreement for a foreign model to provide one or more services in France, copies of the cooperation agreement and the decree granting a modelling licence.
    • Professional work placement: Tripartite internship agreement (“convention de stage”) signed by the foreign employer, the hosting French company and the trainee.
  • Visiting family: Certificate of Reception (Attestation d’accueil) issued by your host, which must be officially stamped by the city hall.

BRP must be valid for at least one month after the end date of the trip to the Schengen member states. If your BRP expires on 31 December 2024: please submit the UKVI outcome letter confirming until when you have been granted permission to stay in the UK. Please also provide the share code for your “right to work” or “Prove your immigration status”.

Make sure you provide all the documents required by French authorities to avoid any chance of your application being refused.

Each visa application undergoes a personalized review, so the required documents may differ. In some cases, the French authorities in the UK may also ask for additional documentation.

How Much Money Do I Need to Visit France?

To obtain a French Schengen visa in the UK, you are required to have a minimum amount of money, depending on your situation:

  • €65 (£56 )per day – if you provide a hotel booking.
  • €120 (£103 ) per day – if you do not provide a hotel booking.
  • €65 (£56 ) per day for the booked period and €120 per day for the remaining stay – if you provide partial hotel booking.
  • €32.50 (£28 ) per day – If you are staying with a host.

Attend Your French Visa Appointment

You must attend your France visa appointment (which you booked during the online application) to submit your printed application form and required documents, pay the visa application fee, and provide your biometric data. Completing the application at one of the TLS visa centres in London, Manchester, or Edinburgh will take about 20 minutes.

Biometric Data

During the appointment, you must submit your biometric photo, and they will digitally scan your fingerprints. If you have provided these within the last five years, you may be exempt, and children may also be exempt.

The purpose of collecting and storing biometric data is to verify identities and prevent document fraud. This biometric information is stored in the Visa Information System (VIS).

Can Someone Else Apply for a Schengen Visa on My Behalf?

Yes, generally someone else can apply on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. You would have to provide them with an official letter of authorization. However, you may still have to appear to submit your biometric information.

This is not the same as when a visa application centre or tourist agency, which is authorized to submit applications to French embassies on behalf of the applicants, applies for you.

Wait for the French Visa to Process

Once you submit your French visa application in the UK, you will need to wait at least 15 working days for your visa to be processed. Please keep in mind that this processing time can take up to 30 days or more.

Track Your French Visa Application

You can track the status of your France visa application through the official France visa website. Simply select the location in which you submitted your application, and you will be redirected to the relevant tracking tool.

If Your Visa Is Granted

If you receive your visa, you can travel to France within the dates specified on the visa sticker. Your visa can be issued for single, double, or multiple entries. The consular authorities which process your application will decide how long you can stay; visas are issued for a maximum of 90 days but may also be issued for a shorter period.

If Your Visa Is Refused

If your French visa is refused, the reason why it was refused will be stated in the decision letter. Afterwards, you have two options on how to proceed:

  • You can appeal the decision within 30 days. If you believe the reason for refusal is not justifiable, you can submit a decision appeal to the French Deputy Director of Visas. The appeal must be signed and written in French. See how to write a visa appeal letter.
  • You can apply for a new visa. If the reasons for the refusal were justifiable, then you can only apply for a new visa and correct the mistake you made.

Can I Get a Refund of the Visa Fee If My Application Is Denied?

The French visa fee is non-refundable. It covers the costs associated with processing your application, regardless of whether it is approved or denied.

Collect Your Passport

Depending on which location you submitted your France visa application, you will either be asked to collect your passport personally or they will courier it back to you. The French embassy, consulate, or visa application centre will let you know how to proceed. If your passport is sent to you via courier, you will likely have to pay the courier fees yourself.

How to Enter France?

Once you have collected your passport, you will see the dates during which you are allowed to enter France on the visa sticker. You must enter and depart the Schengen Area within those dates. When you arrive in France, you must have the following documents with you, which you have to present to the Border Police:

  • A valid passport. The passport must be issued within the previous 10 years and valid for at least 3 more months after the planned departure date; it must contain the visa sticker.
  • Proof of accommodation. You need a hotel reservation or a certificate of staying with a relative, which has been validated in the town hall. It must cover the entire duration of your stay.
  • Sufficient financial means. You need to show proof you have enough financial means to cover your stay in France. See “How Much Money Do I Need to Visit France?” above.
  • Your return ticket or the proof you have the financial means to acquire one at the planned return date.
  • If you are on a business trip: Any document with details of your profession or capacity as well details about the establishments or organization located in France which are expecting you.
  • Valid Schengen insurance, valid for the entire duration of stay.
  • If you are in transit: Proof you meet the entry conditions in the final destination country (stay and accommodation during transit, onward ticket and visa for the destination country).

Entering French Overseas Territories

If you want to travel to French non-European territories, you will be issued a specific short-stay national visa because a Schengen visa will not allow you to enter these territories. The visa permits a stay of up to three months, indicating the territory of the intended stay.

However, if you belong to one of the categories listed below, you can enter without a visa:

  • European Economic Area (EEA), European Union (EU), or Swiss citizen.
  • Citizens of the country on the Ministerial orders belonging to each territory.
  • French or Schengen residence permit holder.
  • Long-stay Schengen visa holder.
  • Diplomatic and consular mission personnel holding a diplomatic card issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

As a tourist visiting the UK, am I eligible to apply for a French Visa from the UK?

If you’re visiting the U.K. as a tourist and don’t hold a U.K. residence permit, you’re unable to apply for a French Schengen visa from within the U.K. You must apply from your home country instead.

Can an Indian passport holder apply for a French Schengen visa from the UK?

Yes, Indian citizens and passport holders can apply for a French Schengen visa in the UK, if they have been legally residing in the United Kingdom for more than three months.

Non-residents, such as Indian travellers and tourists who plan on staying in the UK for three months or less, should be discouraged from applying for a French visa from within the UK. Instead, they should apply for a French Schengen visa in India.

Can I work in France with a Schengen visa?

No, you cannot work in France with a Schengen visa. This visa is typically for short-term visits, tourism, business, or other non-employment purposes.

Can I use a Schengen Visa to travel to a French non-EU territory?

No, you cannot travel with a Schengen Visa to a French non-EU territory. While both are under French jurisdiction, French non-EU territories are not part of the Schengen Area. Therefore, a Schengen Visa issued by any Schengen member state does not automatically grant you entry to these territories.

Other information:

Data Protection

Your personal data during the visa application process is protected and stored in accordance with Articles 13 and 14 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation).

If you have any concerns about the security of your data, you can contact the Federal Foreign Office Data Protection Commissioner as follows:

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