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1. What is a "Schengen visa" ?

A Schengen visa, also called "C" visa, is a short stay visa (up to 90 days by semester) valid for the 25 States member of the Schengen agreement :

Austria Belgium Czech Republic Denmark Estonia
Finland France Germany Greece Hungary
Iceland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg
Malta The Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal
Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland

Therefore, you don’t need to apply twice when you travel to 2 or more different Schengen countries.

  • If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, you must apply at the Consulate of that specific country.
  • If you intend to visit several Schengen countries, you must apply at the Consulate of the country of your main destination, or the country where you will be staying the longest.
  • If you intend to visit several Schengen for the same amount of time, you must apply at the Consulate of your first entry.

Duration of stay : you may stay up to 90 days in the "Schengen space" with such a visa.

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2. Do you need a visa to visit France as a tourist ?

YES, if you are a citizen of the following countries even if you hold a US Permanent Resident Card ("Green Card") :

Afghanistan Albania Algeria
Angola Armenia Azerbaidjan
Bahrein Bangladesh Belize
Benin Bhutan Belarus
Bolivia Bosnia Botswana
Burkina Faso Burma Burundi
Cambodia Cameroon Cape Verde
Central Africa Chad China
Colombia Comoros Congo
D.R. Congo (ex-Zaïre) Cuba Djibouti
Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Eritrea
Ethiopia Fiji Gabon
Gambia Georgia Ghana
Grenada Guinea Guinea Bissau
Guyana Haiti Hong Kong (except S.A.R.)
India Indonesia Iran
Iraq Ivory Coast Jamaica
Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya
Kirghizistan Kiribati Kuweit
Laos Lebanon Lesotho
Liberia Libya Macao (except S.A.R.)
Macedonia* Madagascar Malawi
Maldives Mali Marshall Islands
Mauritania Micronesia Moldavia
Mongolia Montenegro* Morocco
Mozambique Namibia Nauru
Nepal Niger Nigeria
North Korea Oman Pakistan
Palau Palestine Papua
Peru Philippines Qatar
Refugees Russia Rwanda
Solomon Samoa Saudi Arabia
Senegal Serbia* Sierra Leone
Somalia South Africa Sri Lanka
St Lucia St Thomas St Vincent
Sudan Surinam Swaziland
Syria Tadjikistan Taiwan
Tanzania Thailand Togo
Tonga Trinidad & Tobago Tunisia
Turkey Turkmenistan Tuvalu
Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan Vanuatu Vietnam
Yemen former Yugoslavia Zambia

*Biometric passports holders of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are no longer required to obtain a visa for stays under 90 days.

NO, if you hold a passport issued by a country NOT listed above, you do not need any visa to enter France for tourism, business or family visit.

However, if the purpose of your trip is NOT tourism, business or family visit then you may still be required to get a visa before your departure. Note that not needing a visa for France does NOT necessarily mean that you do not need one to visit the other Schengen countries.

Citizens from the following countries : USA, Australia, Brasil, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea and Venezuela are no longer required to obtain a short stay visa for work, provided they hold a valid work authorization at the time of their travel.
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3. How to make an appointment ?

For security reasons, all applicants, except children under the age of 6, have to appear personally at the Consulate General of France in San Francisco.

The visa section is open to the public on an appointment basis, with no walk-ins allowed.

Make an appointment by clicking here


Simply show up on the date and time of your appointment .

No appointment can be made by phone or by e-mailing us. If you are not able to attend, please free a slot by canceling your appointment. Make sure you bring all the required documents when coming to the Consulate General.

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4. Processing time

Processing time depends on your citizenship.

2 weeks is the average processing time if you are a citizen from :

Afghanistan Algeria Bahrain
Bangladesh Belarus Burma
Burundi Congo DRC Egypt
Indonesia Iran Iraq
Jordan Kazakhstan North Korea
Kuwait Lebanon Libya
Mauritania Nigeria Oman
Pakistan Palestinians Philippines
Qatar US Re-entry permit US Refugee travel doc
Rwanda Saudi Arabia Sudan
Surinam Syria Yemen
United Arab Emirates Vietnam Zimbabwe

Applications cannot be processed more than 3 months ahead of time.

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5. Requirements

Please provide us with the original + 1 copy of each document.
The visa section does not make any copies. You must bring your documents and the required copies

1. Original passport or travel document (+ ONE COPY of the identity pages). Your passport must have been issued less than 10 years ago, be valid for at least three months after your return to the US and have at least 2 blank visas pages left.

2. Processing fees

3. One application form filled out completely and signed by the applicant (please read carefully the explanations).

4. One ID picture glued/stapled onto the application form

5. A valid U.S. permanent residence card ("green card") or a valid US visa with valid I-94 / valid I-20 + 1 photocopy , or an Advance Parole document.
We do NOT accept applications from B1/B2 visa holders. They must apply in their country of residence.

6. If the country of final destination is not the applicant’s country of citizenship, please submit a valid visa, a resident permit, a work permit or any other document showing that the applicant is allowed to enter or reside in such country.

7. Proof of socio-professional status :

  • letter of employment in the U.S confirming your salary, hire date, position and dates of vacation (business registration if self employed)
  • and your last 2 pay-stubs
  • or letter from your school or university confirming your enrollment status, attendance and expected graduation date

8. Proof of financial means : your last 2 bank statements

9. Your travel itinerary : you MUST BOOK your airline ticket but do not purchase until the visa has been approved.

10. Proof of medical coverage abroad : a letter from your insurance company stating that you are covered abroad or a travel insurance to be purchased from a travel agency (minimum amount of 50,000 US$)

11. Proof of accomodation :

  • Confirmed hotel reservations for your entire stay in the Schengen states
  • or a letter from your travel agent stating that you are part of a tour.
  • or, if you are staying with friends or family, original of "Attestation d’Accueil" that your host has to request at the City Hall (Mairie) in France
  • For a business trip : please also provide a letter from your employer in the US or from your host company in France stating that you are in France on behalf of the company, giving the name and address of the contact person(s) in France and guaranteeing full responsibility for expenses, lodging, and return to the United States

12. If the applicant is under 18 years old and travelling without his parents :

  • notarized copy of his (her) birth certificate
  • notarized authorization from both parents allowing their child to travel to France or from the parent exercising full custody of the child according to the divorce decree.
  • if you are divorced : certified copy of divorce decree stating that you have full custody of the child(ren).

13. A self-addressed prepaid EXPRESS MAIL envelope from the US POST OFFICE ONLY - NO FEDEX / UPS / AIRBORNE EXPRESS accepted. You may use one envelope per family if you buy `flat rate`

Please do NOT stick the mailing label on the envelope and fill out as follows :

530 Bush Street
TO :
Your full name
Your address
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6. Important information

  • The consular administration has full authority to evaluate and request more documents than those submitted by the applicant.
  • Please be aware that submitting the aforementioned documents does not guarantee the approval of the visa.


[1-* Please note that holders of Schengen visas are still subject to immigration control upon first entry into a Schengen country. The visa itself does not grant the right to enter the Schengen space.

Dernière modification : 15/11/2011

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