Do I Need a Visa For a Short Stay in France?

Guidelines and Tips by Nationality

US passport and Euros on French map
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Are you wondering whether you need a visa for your upcoming trip to Paris or the rest of France? The truth of the matter is that France has very relaxed entry requirements for visitors from certain countries, and more complicated and stringent ones for other nationalities.

To find out more about what may be required of you for even a short trip to the country, read on for detailed information on your particular case.

Please note that this article addresses only short touristic stays of 90 days or less. If you need to find information on how to obtain visas for long-term stays in France, visit the official website for the French Embassy or consulate in your country or city. 

Travel tip: It's very important that you ensure you have all the documents you need to enter the country before you travel. With security tightened in France due to recent terrorist attacks, being sent home at the French border for not having your papers perfectly in order is more of a possibility than it might have been in the past. 

Read related: Is it Safe to Visit Paris and France After Europe's Terrorist Attacks? 

Citizens from the US and Canada:

If you're a member of one of these North American countries, you're in luck: U.S. and Canadian citizens planning to travel to France for short visits of 90 days or less do not need visas to enter the country.

A valid passport is sufficient. There are, however, exceptions to that rule for the following categories of visitors:

  • Journalists traveling to France on assignment (a special work visa is required)
  • Crew members or workers traveling for short-term professional assignments (members of film crews, etc.)
  • Individuals holding diplomatic or official passports

If you belong to one of the above categories of visitors, you'll need to submit a short-stay visa application to the embassy or consulate closest to you.

U.S. citizens can consult the French Embassy in the United States for more details. Canadian citizens can locate their nearest French consulate here.

What About Travel to Other European Countries? Will I Need a Visa for Those?

Since France is one of the 26 European countries belonging to the Schengen territory, U.S. and Canadian passport holders may transit into France through any of the following countries without a visa or passport (please note that the United Kingdom is not on the list; you will need to pass through immigration inspections at the UK border, by showing officials your valid passport and responding to any queries they may have about the nature and/or duration of your stay):

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

Please also be aware that U.S. and Canadian citizens do not need visas to transit from French airports to non-Schengen territory countries.

However, be sure to verify the visa requirements for the country you will be heading to from your transit point in a French airport. 

European Union Passport Holders: 

European Union passport holders are not required to hold visas to enter France, and may stay, live, and work in France without limitation. You may, however, wish to register with the local police in France and with your country's Embassy: doing both can be a good safety precaution and is recommended for all foreign nationals residing in France, including EU member-state citizens. 

Other Nationalities:

If you are not a Canadian or American citizen, nor a member of the European Union, the visa rules are particular for each country.  You can find visa information corresponding to your situation and country of origin on this page at the French consular website.