New process for French Schengen Visa (guest post)

Guest post by Kunal. He is a US resident, currently in the UK on a short-term visa (6 to 9 months).
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Visa Type: Schengen Visa (tourist)
Issuing Country: France
Application Centre: TLS Contact Center, near Olympia Tube station, London

Duration of Visa Granted: 6 months
Number of days stay granted: 90 days
Time taken for processing: 2 days

Requirements:
All the standard Schengen visa documents — hotel bookings, flight bookings, photo, passport, application form, travel insurance, letter from employer, covering letter, bank statements, paychecks.

Experience:
We were able to make an appointment for one week later. There was a queue at the center and we were issued a number. Our number was not called and we saw people who came in after us being processed. When we brought that to the supervisor’s attention, she blamed it on a glitch and immediately asked us to proceed to the next available counter. The lady at the counter was nice and courteous and confirmed that we had submitted everything on the check list. The process took about 10 minutes.
We had submitted one confirmed itinerary and multiple travel plans over the next 4 months. We also had a one-year travel insurance policy. Our travel plans were for 10-12 days after the appointment. While they did not promise that we would receive the visa by that date, we received it on the third day.
Got an SMS e Email from VFS telling us that the application was sent to the French Embassy, and another SMS and Email when the Embassy returned our passports. Passport collection was painless as well.

Special Circumstances:
Since we are in London for a short-term (6-9 months) only, all our paychecks, bank statements were American. That did not seem to be a problem in obtaining the visa. There was also no problem with submitting printed copies of our paychecks and bank statements. We did have an employment verification letter from my employer in the UK.

Key points to keep in mind:
1. Book an appointment for applying. Plan ahead because appointments fill up fast.
2. Have all documents in order based on the checklist. They follow that checklist very strictly and having your documents in order will mean you spend less time on the counter.
3. List multiple travel plans over the duration that you wish to request visa for. This ensures that your need for a longer-term visa is explicit.
4. Make sure your travel insurance is valid across all planned trips otherwise you might end up with a shorter duration visa.

Tip about France: Get off the beaten path. Skip Paris and go south to the Alps. The pics below show a peak near Chamonix and sunset over Lac Leman.

Sunset over Lac Leman View from St Gervais
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6 thoughts on “New process for French Schengen Visa (guest post)

  1. HELP ON MARRIAGE DOCUMENTS WHEN NOT LIVING TOGETHER…………………I came across marriage certificate for tourist visa to schengen or swiss or france but what can i do if i dont have one and also I am married but separated 1 year after marriage. its more than 1 and half year we are separated but not divorced and no legal process of divorce. what can i do about marrige details or documents for tourist visa. or should I add a letter for my marriage breakdown and proof of marriage photo attached that i was married. please help me. getting marrige certi. wouldnot b possible as me and my wife dont communicate now. IN VISA FORM WHAT TO tick "MARRIED and SEPARATED both or should i use other box for writing married but separated…

  2. Since you are travelling without your wife, you won't need a marriage certificate or any other supporting documents.If you are legally still married, then do tick the 'married' box on the application form.The marriage certificate is generally needed when husband and wife are applying for a visa together, and one spouse is dependant on the other for a living.Note: Please check actual requirements for your individual case with the embassy in question. I can only suggest stuff based on my experience. If you have doubts, double check.

  3. Is itinerary compulsory. And what should be the minimum bank balance .My last 3-4 months bank balance is between 20k-30k INRbut recently got a a loan And now maintaining a balance between 1.2L -1.3L will apply for schengen visa (france ) next weekWill it be sufficient to show.And Means of support what should I tick.Cash,Traveler's cheques and credit card will do

  4. Hi.. I am applying for a Schenen visa from UK! I know the terms and conditions but the visa site says I need to show a balance of £/€ 60 max for each day of stay.. Now is this balance supposed to be Tained for the entire 3 months period that the statement has been demanded for or just the final balance when i produce my statement should be equivalent to this amount!

  5. Deepa – In my experience you only need to have the balance at the end (not the entire statement time of 3 months). Basically you should have the funds at your disposal when you travel. (I'm assuming you are applying for a normal Schengen Tourist visa). But also make sure you give adequate proof of insurance, confirmed hotel and flight bookings. I have also in the past given my credit card statements highlighting what my credit limit is — to show them that I have access to those funds as well.

  6. Raplh — Yes, Itinerary is compulsory. Bank balance of 1.2L should generally be sufficient. Means of transport is whatever you have booked … assuming you are flying to france, tick airplane. Show them proof of what credit card and travellers cheques you have, together with what the credit limit is on the credit cards. Not sure about cash. You also need to show travel insurance.

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