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France Visa

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France is part of the Schengen Zone, so tourists from 25 or so countries (mostly class A passport countries, Central America, and a few Balkan states) can enter visa free for stays of up to 90 days out of any 180 day period. For other nationalities, student, business, work, or other visas, the applicant must apply for a visa in advance of entry with the specific Schengen country they plan to base themselves in.

Reader questions about visas to France

Can I go to England, return to France and get a new visa?
Dear Wade,

So here’s my situation

I’m an Australian on a student visa in France, my student visa expired as of the 7th of February it is now the 23rd of February, however I was planning to wander around France and London for the next three months, and my flight is booked home on the 27th of May.

However after hearing this and that, here and there I am utterly confused. If I was to go to a non Schengen state such as London and the return, will I be granted 3 months Holiday Visa or is this a little too easy. Alternatively if I was to go to America for two weeks then return, would this allow me to travel around…

I would thoroughly appreciate and advice you have to give, I love france oh so much and would hate to banned for eternity.

Merci monsieur

Charli

Hello,

As you are on a student visa it is my interpretation that you can go to England and return to the Schengen region on a tourist visa without needing to be outside of the zone for any specified amount of time. But, as you have already overstayed your French student visa, there is a chance that you may be denied re-entry on these grounds.


Hi there.  I’m happy to find your website and hoping you can help me.  I’m American and have lived in France illegally for the past 5 years.  I’ve never had a problem at immigration points when coming and going back to the US for short visits there, even in Germany, but lately I’ve been concerned about having a problem in regards to the visa overstay.  I absent mindedly booked a round trip ticket to the US via Germany (found a good price and wasn’t concerned about this when I purchased the ticket).  I wouldn’t be terribly concerned if I was leaving Europe out of France but the German style has me concerned.  I’m a woman in my 40’s and look pretty average.  I need to return to France a month after leaving Europe.  Do you think I should look into cancelling my Lusfthansa flight and buy a ticket that leaves and returns via France?  It could mean a great deal of money lost, and I make a modest income.  Hoping to hear from you soon! -Jill

Hello Jill,

It is my impression, arrived at from receiving hundreds of letters from readers, that the German authorities are spot on as far as busting visa overstayers. If you take the flight that exits through Germany it seems to me that you should expect a three year ban from the Schengen zone and a possible fine. Even if you exit Europe on a flight out of France there is still a chance of you being busted for the overstay, but this chance is upgraded to almost definite if you go through Germany. Schengen visa is an index of pages that have more information about overstaying your visa in Europe.

Another idea is to lose my passport, if the French system cannot computer scan entry dates into Germany in 2009.  Do you think I should get a temporary passport replacement to be totally sure?

Technically, a new passport should not help your case much. This is a VERY common move for people who have overstayed their visas in Europe and it would seem to me that the US consulates should be getting pretty wise to it. But some travelers say that it works, others say that their entries and exits into the Schengen zone are put into the computer system and they get busted anyway.

Officially on the site I say don’t take the intentionally lost passport route as I suppose it is a form of fraud and could land you in trouble, but, on the other hand, some travelers claim that it worked for them. So I suppose this is your call. I have not yet received a report from anyone who tried the lost passport route and got busted with the US consulate. They all have been able to get new passports, seemingly without question.

At any rate, a new passport may be a good idea before returning to France, as you don’t intend to be out for the required 90 days.

Hi Wade

Thanks for your reply.  I have an appointment at the consulate for Wednesday and it’s already making me nervous.  Not sure if I’ll go through with it.  I appreciate getting your feedback. So you think it’s possible that the French database would have my entry date into Germany 13 months ago?  I didnt think they had things set up like that at this point. I will for sure have a new passport coming back into France – that is if all goes smoothly at the border on the way out next Monday. Again, many thanks – am looking forward to getting my situation fully normalized so that this will be the final year of this business.

It seems pretty hit and miss as to how complete their immigration systems are at this point. Some travelers have reported to me that they have been busted on stored computer data alone, but this does not seem to be very prevalent. Generally, they are going off of the dates in the passports.


Hi, I’m a filipino citizen,am married with French natinonal in thailand. We planned to travel to France crossing syria, turkey and jordan and as ell we will pass by some of the europe country. My question goes this way, since we are going to stay any longer in the said countries which I have mentioned, what are the visas that I’ll be needing aside from Schengen that I need Schengen countries. Your Immediate response will be highly appreciated. -Mylove

Hello Mylove,

As far as I know there are no ways to extend a tourist visa to the Schengen zone. You can get a temporary residency permit by enrolling in a university or being sponsored for work, but to staying longer than 90 days within 180 in the Schengen zone is not permitted. But as you are married to a French national, why don’t you just apply for a marriage visa prior to leaving for Europe?

Do you have a Schengen visa question?

If so, then take a look at our Schengen visa community forum. It’s a community just for people who have questions or concerns related to Europe’s Schengen immigration zone.
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Filed under: France, Visas

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3054 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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