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What type of visa do I need to transit through an airport in France ?

Three possibilities :

1. You are coming from a foreign country and are transiting through an airport in France to travel to another airport in France or the Schengen Area;

2. You are coming from a foreign country and are transiting through an airport in France to travel to an airport outside the Schengen Area without leaving the International Zone of the French airport;

3. You are coming from a foreign country and are transiting through an airport in France to travel to an airport outside the Schengen Area and you need to leave the International Zone of the French airport.

If you are transiting through an airport in France to travel to another airport in France or the Schengen Area

You enter the Schengen Area at your arrival airport in France. You pass border police control at this point. Unless you are exempt, you are required to have an entry and short-stay visa for the Schengen Area.

Examples :

-  You arrive at Roissy-CDG airport to change planes for Nice, Bordeaux, Madrid, Berlin or Athens. Since these cities are within the Schengen Area, immigration control is carried out at Roissy-CDG airport by the French border police. Your onward flight from Roissy-CDG to Nice, Bordeaux, Madrid, Berlin or Athens is a domestic flight for immigration purposes ;

-  You arrive at Roissy-CDG airport to change planes for Amsterdam and then New York. You enter the Schengen Area for the Roissy-CDG-Amsterdam leg of your journey. Immigration control is carried out at Roissy-CDG airport by the French border police. Your Roissy-CDG-Amsterdam flight is a domestic flight for immigration purposes.

If you are transiting through an airport in France to travel to an airport outside the Schengen Area without leaving the International Zone of the French airport

As a foreign national, you do not enter the Schengen Area. In principle, you are not subject to entry visa requirements, with some exceptions. Certain nationalities are subject to visa requirements to transit through an airport in France (Airport Transit Visa or ATV).

French regulations divide the foreign nationals requiring an ATV into two groups, for whom different exemptions may apply.

First group

-  Nationals of the following states: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka;

-  Persons who are not nationals of the above countries but are holders of travel documents issued by the authorities of one of these countries;

-  Statutory refugees from these countries;

-  Holders of Palestinian refugee travel documents.

Exempt from Airport Transit Visa

Exempted by France from ATV are :

-  aircrew members, nationals of a state party to the Chicago Convention ;

-  holders of diplomatic passports ;

-  holders of a valid residence permit issued by a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area ;

-  holders of a residence permit issued by the Principality of Andorra, Canada, Japan, Principality of Monaco, Republic of San Marino, or the United States, that guarantees unrestricted right of return ;

-  holders of a visa valid for a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area, Canada, Japan or the United States ;

-  Members of the family of a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland ;

-  Holders of a valid uniform visa, national long-stay visa or residence permit issued by a Schengen state.

Second group

-  Nationals of the following states holding ordinary passports:Angola, Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guinea (Conakry), Haïti, India, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sudan, South Sudan, Syrie, chad, Togo ;

-  Persons who are not nationals of the above countries but are holders of travel documents issued by the authorities of one of these countries ;

-  Statutory refugees from these countries ;

-  Holders of service passports issued by Guinea (Conakry)

-  Holders of ordinary Russian passport arriving from an airport located in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Turkey and Egypt

-  Holders of Palestinian refugee travel documents issued by the Egyptian, Lebanese or Syrian authorities.

Exempt from Airport Transit Visa : the same exemptions as above currently apply.

If you are transiting through an airport in France to travel to an airport outside the Schengen Area and you need to leave the International Zone of the French airport

You may need to leave the International Zone :

-  because you need to change airports in Paris (e.g. Roissy-CDG to Orly) ;

-  or because your connecting flight does not leave on the same day and you need to spend the night in a hotel outside the International Zone ;

-  or because you are transiting through an airport in France to travel by some other form of transport to another destination.
E.g. : you are arriving at Roissy-CDG to take the Eurostar train to London. You leave the International Zone to travel on to the railway station;

-  or for any other reason.

In all these cases, you enter the Schengen Area, and, unless you are exempt from short-stay visa requirements, you must apply in advance for an entry and stay visa in order to transit through France.

Updated April 2013


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