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Foreign nationals holding ordinary passports exempt from visa requirements

Visa exemption depends on:

  • your nationality;
  • possession of a residence permit for France or a Schengen state;
  • the duration of your stay;
  • where on French territory you intend to stay.

For visa purposes, the law divides French territory into three areas where separate regulations apply:

  • France’s territory in Europe, which is part of the Schengen Area;
  • the territory of the overseas (Outre-mer): départements or regions (Reunion Island, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana);
  • the overseas (Outre-mer) territories: Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Mayotte, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy.

1. France’s territory in Europe

France’s territory in Europe is part of the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area also comprises the territory of other European Union and associated states : Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

1.1. Short stays (less than 90 days in the Schengen Area)

A short stay is a stay in the Schengen Area lasting less than 90 days or a succession of stays totalling less than 90 days in any period of 180 days.

For short stays, European regulations specify the list of countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirement to enter the Schengen Area.

Exempt from visa requirement for France’s territory in Europe are :

  • citizens of the EU, the EEA and Switzerland;
  • nationals of the following countries, whatever the reason for their stay: Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, East Timor, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Israel, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, Montenegro*, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Serbia*, Seychelles, Taiwan (passport bearing identity card number), Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, and Vanuatu;
    *bearers of biometric passports only
  • nationals of the following countries: Australia, Brazil, United States, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Venezuela. If you are gainfully employed, the exemption only applies if you can produce a work permit;
  • bearers of passports of the Hong Kong special administrative region (People’s Republic of China) and the Macau special administrative region (People’s Republic of China);
  • holders of a valid residence permit for France ;
  • holders of a residence permit issued by a state applying the Schengen Agreements ;
  • holders of a valid long-stay “D” visa issued by France or another Schengen State;
  • holders of certain travel documents issued by a Member State of the European Union (EU family member’s residence card or EU long term residence permit);
  • holders of “British National (Overseas)”, “British Overseas Territories Citizen”, “British Protected Person” and “British Subject” passports;
  • holders of a special card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to staff of a diplomatic mission and consular.

Special cases

Certain nationals remain subject to short-stay visa requirements in the following cases :

- nationals of the United States: journalists on assignment.

1.2. Long stays (over 90 days in France)

Only nationals of the following countries are exempt from entry and long-stay visa requirements: Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Monaco and Switzerland.

2. French overseas départements and regions (DROM)

The DROM are:

  • Reunion Island
  • French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique (the three départements in the Americas)
  • Mayotte
  • Saint-Barthélemy
  • Saint-Martin
  • Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

Order of 26 July 2011 on the documents and visas required for the entry of foreign nationals to the territory of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, La Réunion and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (Official Journal of 28 July 2011), as amended by order of 7 February 2013 (Official Journal of 28 February 2013).

Order of 18 April 2012 on the documents and visas required for entry to Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy (Official Journal of 26 April 2012).

Order of 26 July 2011 on the documents and visas required for entry to Mayotte (Official Journal of 28 July 2011).

2.1. Short stays

A short stay is a stay lasting less than 90 days in the French overseas départements and regions.

Exempt from visa requirements are:

  • nationals of the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland;
  • nationals of the following countries: Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Bosnia*, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)*, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Israel, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, Montenegro*, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*, Seychelles, Taiwan (passport bearing the number of the identity card), Uruguay;
    *bearers of biometric passports only
  • nationals of the following countries: Australia, Brazil (except for French Guiana), Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Venezuela. If you are gainfully employed, the exemption only applies if you can produce a work permit;
  • bearers of passports of the Hong Kong special administrative region (People’s Republic of China) and the Macau special administrative region (People’s Republic of China);
  • nationals holding a British passport marked "British Overseas Territories Citizen" or "British Dependent Territories Citizen" and the reference to the territory following countries: Bermuda (except for Mayotte); Anguilla, Cayman Islands (exemption for Guadeloupe and Martinique); Montserrat (exemption for Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy), Turkey and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands (exemption for Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy);
  • nationals of the following countries: Dominica, Saint Lucia exemption for stays of less than or equal to 15 days within 120 days cumulative 12-month exemption for Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy;
  • nationals of the following countries: Grenada , Saint Vincent and the Grenadines , Trinidad and Tobago: exemption for Guadeloupe and Martinique only;
  • nationals of the following countries: Ecuador and Peru: exemption for Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana only;
  • nationals of the following countries: South Africa, Bahrain, Belarus, China, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, India, Oman, Qatar, Russia and Ukraine, holders of a travel visa issued by a French consular authority;
  • nationals of South Africa : exemption for Reunion only;
  • nationals of China and India: visa exemption for La Réunion for a period not exceeding 15 days where the trip and stay are organized via an approved agency. The visa exemption for La Réunion for Chinese nationals going via an approved agency, for a period not exceeding 15 days, has been extended to Chinese nationals residing in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore;
  • olders of a British passport marked "nationality": "British Nationals (Overseas)" or "British Subject" and mention that the passport holder has the right of abode (mention) in the United Kingdom;
  • holders of a residence permit valid issued by a province in France, by the prefect of an overseas department and by a Schengen Member State;
  • holders of a valid long-stay “D” visa issued by France or another Schengen State;
  • holders of a special card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to staff of a diplomatic mission and consular.

2.2. Long stays

Only nationals of the following countries are exempt from entry and long-stay visa requirements : Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Monaco and Switzerland.

3. Other French overseas collectivities and territories (CTOM)

The CTOM are:

  • French Polynesia
  • New Caledonia
  • Wallis and Futuna
  • French Southern and Antarctic Territories

Order of 22 July 2011 on the documents and visas required for entry to the territory of New Caledonia (Official Journal of 24 July 2011).

Order of 29 December 2011 on the documents and visas required for entry to French Polynesia (Official Journal of 5 January 2012).

Order of 26 July 2011 on the documents and visas required for entry to Wallis and Futuna (Official Journal of 28 July 2011).

3.1. Short stays

The maximum duration of a short-stay visa is 90 days.

Exempt from visa requirements are nationals of the following countries:

  • nationals of the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland;
  • nationals of the following countries: Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brunei, Bolivia, Bosnia*, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Solomon Islands, Israel, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Malaysia, Mauritius, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro*, Nauru, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea (only for New Caledonia), Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*, Seychelles, Taiwan (passport bearing the number of the identity card), Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Western Samoa;
    *bearers of biometric passports only
  • nationals of the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Venezuela. If you are gainfully employed, the exemption only applies if you can produce a work permit;
  • nationals of the following countries: Bahrain, Belarus, China, Kuwait, India, Oman, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates, with a short-stay travel visa issued by a French consular authority;
  • nationals of China: visa exemption for French Polynesia for a period not exceeding 15 days where the trip and stay are organized via an approved agency. The visa exemption for French Polynesia for Chinese nationals going via an approved agency, for a period not exceeding 15 days, has been extended to Chinese nationals residing in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore;
  • bearers of passports of the Hong Kong special administrative region (People’s Republic of China) and the Macau special administrative region (People’s Republic of China);
  • holders of a British passport marked "nationality": "British Nationals (Overseas)" or "British Subject" and mention that the passport holder has the right of abode (mention) in the United Kingdom;
  • holders of a valid residence permit issued by the Préfet of a French overseas département, the High Commissioner of a French territorial collectivity or a Schengen state;
  • holders of a valid long-stay “D” visa issued by France or another Schengen State;
  • holders of a special card issued by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to the staff of diplomatic and consular missions.

3.2. Long stays

Only nationals of the following countries are exempt from entry and long-stay visa requirements : Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra and Monaco.

Updated: January 2016


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