French Efficiency (Schengen visa application experience – France)

Target Country: France (Schengen Zone)
Passport: Indian Passport
Visa Type: Tourist Visa (Schengen Visa)
Processing Consulate/Embassy: French Embassy, London, UK
Documents submitted:

Tickets to and from France (electronic itinerary was acceptable).
Hotel bookings for every night spent in Schengen Zone (must be direct email/fax from the hotel, not from a travel agency).
As I applied for a multiple entry visa, I submitted supporting documents for 2 trips (to the Schengen zone), but they only took the documents for France and ignored the rest. So, I bought air tickets and accommodation for Germany in a hurry for nothing!

GBP £52 (approx) fee in Cash or Card (credit & debit accepted).
Filled application form
2 additional filled forms

Valid passport (at least 3 months validity)
Letter from my School saying that I’m a student (less than 1 month old!!)
Bank statements for the last 1 month (online printout acceptable).
1 Photo
Proof of Travel Insurance for the entire period you wish to have a visa for(Certificate stating my name and details of policy).

Experience:
Quite smooth. Appointment was made online. They release new appointments every Thursday at 3 PM. By 3.30 PM all slots are taken. So be quick!

There was a long queue to enter the embassy. Despite an “appointment” I had to wait 30 mins to enter the embassy. Then it took about 1.5 hours further to pay the fee and submit the application. After submitting, I got my passport with the visa in 45 mins. The whole process from Queuing to getting the visa took under 3 hours. Very impressive!! Compare this to Czech republic and Finland.

They gave me only a 2 month multiple entry Schengen visa – despite my having insurance for the next 18 months!
The staff were very nice enough. I did not try contacting them before the appointment, so I can’t comment on their responsiveness.

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