France Visa Requirements for US Citizens
France has been a popular tourist destination for Americans for decades. In the summertime especially, US citizens present their passports at immigration at Charles de Gaulle Airport and explore the history of Paris: the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the remains of the Bastille. There’s also something incredibly romantic about the city during the winter. With so many tourists coming over at all times of the year, what are the visa requirements for US citizens visiting France?
France visas on arrival
As a member of the European Area, France is under the Schengen Area for visas; US citizens qualify for a tourist visa on arrival for up to 90 days, and may move freely between the other 22 member states without additional visa stamps. There is no fee. The only requirements are to provide a passport valid for at least three months later than the last allowable date of your stay – i.e. six months from arrival – and proof of departure in some cases.
Do I need to apply for a visa to France in advance?
The only time US citizens need to apply for a French visa in advance of their visit at a consulate or embassy is if they intend to work in the country or do business. There are short-term work permits for France available for those who need to stay 90 days or less. However, long-term work visas are available to US citizens who can present a contract from a French employer. These are sent to the French Ministry of Labour, who sends it to immigration, who then sends it to your nearest France embassy or consulate for processing.
Travel Visa Pro staff can assist you with a French work visa if you’re unable to visit the consulate in person or need to apply for a passport prior to your trip. Simply call one of our offices to discuss the best options for your travels.
Using your US passport in France
While it should come as no surprise you will need to present your passport as identification at hotels in France and while making reservations for train tickets and domestic air travel, please be aware that your passport is the only form of identification recognized outside the US. Although not everyone is comfortable carrying this document with them at all times – especially during hot weather – doing so can be an added sense of security if you need to enter the nearest embassy or speak to the police. If you do happen to lose your passport abroad, contact the closest US embassy or consulate about an emergency replacement.
What if I want to stay in the EU longer than three months?
Technically, US citizens visiting France are only allowed to stay for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. This means that it is possible to travel to a nearby country outside the Schengen Area –like the Czech Republic – for three months and then return to France, but often this isn’t practical. Most visitors to the EU staying longer than 90 days are advised to get a work visa. Nevertheless, there have been few if any signs immigration around France or the EU has been cracking down on visa runs between Schengen and non-Schengen areas to prevent those working illegally from returning.
What can I do once I’m in France?
Holiday in the south. Visit the Palace of Versailles. Take the Eurostar over to London. France is a common entryway to Europe for US citizens traveling from the East Coast. With no required visa applications in advance and an immigration policy convenient for Americans (as of now), it’s no wonder it draws in the tourists.
Are you planning a trip to France? What are your plans?