Obtaining a visa to enter France depends largely on the purpose of the visit, the duration of stay, and the nationality of the applicant. France offers various types of visas, including short-stay Schengen visas, long-stay visas, and special visas like the Talent Passport or Student visas, each with specific requirements and application processes.


General Rules:

  1. Visa Types:
    • Short-stay Schengen Visa: Allows for stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism, business, or family visits.
    • Long-stay Visa: Required for stays longer than 90 days, for purposes such as work, study, family reunification, or retirement.
    • Special Visas: Such as the Talent Passport, intended for highly skilled workers, researchers, and business investors.
  2. Schengen Area Rules:
    • France is part of the Schengen Area, which allows those who enter France on a Schengen visa to travel freely within other Schengen countries under the same visa.


Application Process:

  1. Application Submission:
    • Visa applications must generally be submitted to a French consulate or embassy in the applicant’s home country or country of legal residence.
    • An appointment is usually required, and applicants need to submit their application in person.
  2. Entry Requirements:
    • For most visa types, applicants must provide justification for the purpose of their stay, proof of accommodation, and sufficient financial means.
  3. Visa Approval:
    • The decision time can vary depending on the visa type. Schengen visas typically take about 15 calendar days, but long-stay visas might take longer, especially if additional documentation or a more thorough review is necessary.


Documents Needed:

  1. Standard Documents:
    • A valid passport with at least two blank pages and validity extending beyond the return date.
    • Visa application form, fully completed and signed.
    • Recent passport-size photographs.
  2. Supporting Documents:
    • Proof of financial means (e.g., bank statements, sponsorship letters).
    • Proof of accommodation (hotel bookings, rental agreements, or a letter of invitation from a host in France).
    • Travel insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation.
  3. Specific Documents Based on Visa Type:
    • Tourist Visa: Itinerary, return ticket reservations.
    • Business Visa: Invitation letter from a company in France, details of business activities.
    • Student Visa: Admission letter from a French institution, proof of tuition fee payment, proof of accommodation.
    • Work Visa: Employment contract approved by the French labor authorities, relevant qualifications.


Additional Considerations:

In summary, applying for a French visa involves careful preparation to meet the specific requirements of the chosen visa category. Accurate and complete documentation is crucial for a successful application. Applicants should also be prepared for possible in-person interviews and should apply well in advance of their planned travel date to accommodate any delays in processing.


What to Do in Case of a Visa Denial by the French Administration

If your visa application is denied by the French administration, it can be a frustrating experience. However, you have several avenues for recourse. Understanding the specific procedures in France for dealing with a visa denial is crucial for effectively addressing the issue. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Understand the Reasons for Denial: Upon denial, the French authorities provide a written explanation for the decision. This explanation will detail the specific reasons for the refusal based on the Common Consular Instructions, which can include issues like insufficient documentation, security concerns, or failure to meet the visa criteria. Reviewing these reasons carefully is the first step in determining how to proceed.
  2. Administrative Appeal: In France, if your visa application is rejected, you have the right to an administrative appeal. This appeal should be directed to the Commission for the Appeal of Visa Refusals (Commission de Recours contre les Décisions de Refus de Visa d’Entrée en France). The appeal must be filed within two months of receiving the denial. It should clearly address the reasons for refusal cited by the consulate and include any additional documents or evidence that supports your case. This could involve providing further details that were perhaps overlooked or not available during the initial application process.
  3. Judicial Appeal: If the administrative appeal does not resolve the issue, or if you do not receive a response within two months, you have the option to escalate the matter to the administrative court. This judicial appeal typically requires the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in immigration law. The lawyer can help prepare your case, ensuring that all procedural requirements are met and that your appeal is as persuasive as possible.
  4. Prepare and Resubmit Your Application (if applicable): Depending on the reasons for your visa denial, it may be advisable to reapply rather than pursue an appeal, especially if you can easily rectify the issues pointed out in the denial (e.g., missing documents or incomplete application forms). Ensure that you address all the concerns that were raised in the original refusal to improve the chances of approval on your subsequent application.
  5. Consult an Immigration Lawyer: Navigating the complexities of French immigration law and the appeals process can be challenging. Consulting with an immigration lawyer can provide valuable insights and guidance. A lawyer can help you understand the nuances of the law, the likelihood of success in an appeal, and the best strategy moving forward.


Appeal against a decision to refuse a French visa


In cases where a visa application is delayed due to administrative inefficiencies in the French prefecture, applicants can file an administrative injunction, known as a référé-liberté, if the delay exceeds the standard processing times generally expected for visa decisions. According to official guidelines, visa processing should typically be completed within a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the visa type. However, if applicants experience unreasonable delays beyond these timelines, they have the option to pursue legal recourse.


The référé-liberté is lodged with the Administrative Court (Tribunal Administratif) and is designed to address situations where administrative inaction violates basic rights. This emergency procedure is swift, often seeing a resolution within 48 hours after the case is brought before the court. It requires demonstrating a sense of urgency and a significant infringement on the applicant’s rights due to the delay.


Lexial Lawyers has experience in handling such cases. They have successfully represented numerous clients, achieving a remarkable 90% success rate in cases involving administrative injunctions for delayed visa applications. This success underscores Lexial’s expertise in navigating the complexities of French immigration law and their effectiveness in expediting delayed processes through judicial means.


For those facing prolonged delays in their visa application processing by the French administration, consulting with experienced legal professionals like Lexial Lawyers can be a decisive step towards resolving the issue efficiently and effectively. Their proven track record not only reassures potential clients of their capabilities but also highlights their proficiency in achieving positive outcomes in the face of administrative challenges.

French, Belgian and Swiss business immigration & criminal lawyers

Our law firm was created in a spirit of innovation and with the desire to implement a distinctly modern approach to the practice of law. Lexial’s innovative geographical footprint allows the firm to serve customers in Brussels, Paris and Geneva dealing with European and international legal issues.

The firm focuses on specific areas of law. With Lexial, you are not a “number”, our team is voluntarily restricted in size because a customized relationship with our clients is a priority.

In addition to a selection of traditional legal services offered business and employment law, the firm has developed a specialized practice in international immigration law as well as in international criminal and political law. Lexial is every year classified as a leader among immigration lawyers and international criminal lawyers.

Thanks to its French and Belgian immigration lawyers, the firm possesses expertise in the area of international mobility in Belgium and France (especially French Talent Passport and Belgian Professional Card). We are also active in Switzerland.

Within this framework, we have developed strong relationships with Middle Eastern countries, in particular Gulf States (UAE, Kuwait and Qatar), Asia and North America.

The Firm applies the standard rules of ethics of European lawyers (CCBE).

WE DO NOT provide any legal opinion by telephone: please use our “on-line” consultation form.

Business immigration and criminal lawyers in France, Belgium and Switzerland


Créé en 2007 dans un esprit d’innovation et de modernité, Lexial est actif dans un nombre restreint de spécialités.

C’est tout d’abord en droit international et européen de l’immigration d’affaires que le cabinet s’est distingué compte tenu de l’expérience de ses avocats dans les domaines de la mobilité internationale, de l’immigration professionnelle et des problématiques propres à l’expatriation.

Le cabinet est à ce titre recommandé par différents organismes internationaux de référencement, mentionnés par ailleurs dans ce site.

Plus spécifiquement, nous conseillons nos clients en matière de permis de travail, de carte professionnelle pour indépendant, de permis de résidence et de nationalité dans les pays dans lesquels nous sommes présents.

Présent à Paris comme à Bruxelles depuis 2007, Lexial est depuis lors le cabinet de référence des Français de Belgique. Outre cette activité dominante, nous assistons les entreprises et les particuliers dans toutes les branches du droit des affaires, en droit du travail, ainsi qu’en droit pénal.

Ons advocatenkantoor werd opgericht met een innovatiegeest en de wens van een andere moderne aanpak van de rechtspraktijk in te voeren.

Het innovatieve geografische bedekkingsgebied van Lexial laat het kantoor toe, cliënten te bedienen van kantoren in Brussel, Parijs en Geneva, die met Europese en internationale rechtsaangelegenheden te doen hebben.

Het kantoor concentreert zich op een beperkt aantal deskundig rechtsvakken. Benevens de kleine selectie van traditionele rechtsdiensten die het voorstelt – strafrechtelijk, politiek, zaken- en tewerkstellingsrecht-, resulteerde de unieke aanpak van het kantoor in een enge scherpstelling op internationaal en Europees zakenimmigratierecht.

Het kantoor beschikt over erkende expertise op vlak van internationale mobiliteit, uitgewekenenzaken en beroepsimmigratie en kan aan cliënten raadgeven op specifieke materiën, m.i.v. werkvergunning, beroepskaart, nationaliteit en verblijftoelating in België, Frankrijk en Zwitserland.

Binnen dit raam ontwikkelden wij sterke betrekkingen met landen van het Midden-Oosten, in het bijzonder de Golfstaten (VAE en Qatar), maar eveneens met Azië en Rusland.

Наша компания была создана в духе новаторства и с желанием реализовать современный подход к юридической практике. Географическое положение офисов Lexial позволяет компании обслуживать клиентов в Брюсселе, Париже и Женеве по вопросам европейского и международного права. Компания сосредотачивает свою деятельность на ограниченных областяx права. В дополнении k более традиционным юридическим услугам – в уголовном, политическом, деловом и трудовом праве – компания развила со временем уникальный подход в облaсти миграции бизнеса на фоне европейского и международного законодательства. Компания обладает также большим опытом в области международной мобильности включая профессиональную иммиграцию, и может консультировать клиентов по конкретным вопросам, в том числе разрешение на работу, запрос на получение профессиональной карты, гражданства и вид на жительство в Бельгии, Франции и Швейцарии. В рамках нашей деятельности, мы разработали прочные партнерские отношения со странами Ближнего Востока, в частности государствами Персидского залива (ОАЭ и Катар), но и со странами Азии и России.


Lexial 律师事务所革新的地理位置让我们在布鲁塞尔, 巴黎和日内瓦的办事处能为客户们提供各种在欧洲和国际上的合法服务。

我们的律师事务所是针对有限量的地区和专业领域加上少量选择性的传统法律业务如 : 刑事案件,政治,商业和劳工司法官司等。

公司独一的专长是针对 国际和欧洲的商业移民业务。公司具有处理国际流动性移民和职业移民的能力同时也能为客户提供各种有关的专业咨询,包括申请工卡,职业卡和在比利时,法国和瑞士申请公民和居留证等业务。

在这个工作框架内, 我们和中东的国家, 特别是海湾国家(阿联酋和卡塔尔)和亚洲, 俄罗斯等国家也发展了强大的业务关系。

تم إنشاء شركتنا القانونية بروح الابتكار مع الرغبة في تنفيذ نهج واضح وحديث لممارسة الأنشطة القانونية ‘لكزيال’ وموقعها الجغرافي المبتكر الذي يسمح للشركة لخدمة الزبائن من خلال المكاتب الموجودة في بروكسل وباريس وجنيف التي تتعامل مع المسائل القانونية الأوروبية والدولية تركز الشركة على عدد محدود من مجالات الخبرة القانونية. بالإضافة إلى مجموعة صغيرة من الخدمات القانونية التقليدية المقدمة – الجنائية والسياسية والتجارية وقانون العمل- فقد أدى نهج الشركة الفريد من نوعه في العمل إلى التركيز الدقيق على قانون هجرة الأعمال الأوروبي والدولي تمتلك الشركة الخبرة المؤكدة في مجال التحركية الدولية، وقضايا العمالة الوافدة والهجرة المهنية، كما يمكنها تقديم المشورة للزبائن في مسائل محددة بما في ذلك رخصة العمل، البطاقة المهنية، المواطنة والإقامة في بلجيكا وفرنسا وسويسرا في هذا الإطار، قمنا بتطوير علاقات قوية مع دول الشرق الأوسط، خاصة مع دول الخليج (الإمارات العربية المتحدة وقطر)، وأيضا مع آسيا وروسيا