Frequently Asked Questions
top Do I need a Schengen visa?Lebanese passport holders
All Lebanese nationals must have a valid visa to enter the Schengen Area, regardless of the duration of their stay and no matter what kind of travel document they have, except if they have a valid residence permit which enables them to stay in the Schengen Area.Nationals of other countries
Citizens of some countries are exempt from the requirement for a visa to enter the Schengen Area for a short stay or transit:
- Nationals of the European Economic Area: the EEA includes the 28 Member States of the European Union as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
- No visa is required for a short stay of less than 3 months as part of a trip for tourist or business purposes (no work allowed) for citizens of some countries (click here for the list)
- The holders of a blue or red United Nations "laissez-passer" travel document, whatever their nationality, are exempted from short-stay visas for:
- France metropolitan area
Albania and Bosnia biometric passports holders are exempted from short stay visas since December 15th, 2010.
Holders of non-biometric Bosnian passports still need a visa.
As from the Schengen Border Code (article 5§1 a)), third-country nationals who do not require a short-stay visa (when travelling for intended stays of no more than 90 days per period of 180 days in the Schengen area), must hold a valid travel document satisfying the following criteria:
- its validity shall extend at least three months after the intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States or, in the case of several visits, after the last intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States.
- it shall have been issued within the previous 10 years.
top Where can I apply for a visa?
Visa applications for France are now received by TLScontact, except for some categories that are still received by the General Consulate of France in Beirut directly (see Jurisdiction).
- If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, you must apply at the Embassy or Consulate of this country.
- If you intend to visit several Schengen countries, you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country in which you will stay the longest.
- If you intend to visit several Schengen countries but do not have a main destination (i.e. the duration of your stay is the same in different countries), you should apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country that is your first point of entry.
top How do I apply for a visa?
top When should I apply for a visa?
You may only submit your visa application within 90 days before your date of departure. We recommend that you apply at least 20 working days before the date you intend to travel.
top What kind of visa do I need to apply for?
- Less than 90 days, see short stay visa.
- More than 90 days, see long stay visa.
- Transit-only and airport transit, if your nationality requires this type of visa, see airport transit visa.
top Where can I get a visa application form?Visa application forms (short stay) can be downloaded here.
top What are the required documents for a visa?
In order to prepare all the documents required for your application, you should visit the TLScontact website and register to obtain an individualized list of required documents, according to the purpose of your stay in France. All documents must be provided in English or French and if the original document is in any other language it must be provided with certified translations into English or French. To get your individualized document list, please register on our website.
top Could the Visa Section request me to provide additional documents or informations?Yes, the Embassy may request you to provide additional documents or informations, according to your personal situation, even after you have submitted your application at TLScontact. Please note that any additional document, which is not required in the basic list according to your type of visa, must also be accompanied with a certified translation into either English or French if it is in any other language.
You should provide additional documents to TLScontact from Monday till Friday from 9:00am to 2:00pm, and 3:00pm to 4:00pm.
top What are the requirements for insurance?
Due to a regulation of the European Union (Decision 2004/17/CE of December 22nd 2003), there is a requirement to hold travel insurance, which is a compulsory document.The travel insurance should be:
- Valid for Schengen area if you apply for short stay visa
- Valid for France if it is required in the document list and you apply for long stay visa
- Valid for DROM/CTOM according to your itinerary
Your travel insurance must be valid with a minimum cover of €30,000 in order to face any expenses that may arise in connection with your repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention or emergency hospital treatment. The travel insurance should fully cover the period of your stay in the Schengen Area.
top How can I obtain a new Circulation Visa?
If you had a circulation visa within the last 5 years, you can benefit from a simplified procedure. A child listed on a parent's passport cannot make an application for a circulation visa renewal, as the circulation visa must be stamped on an individual's passport under their own name.
Furthermore, parents having children on their passport will not be able to get a circulation visa.
Please note that this simplified procedure does not apply if your previous circulation visa was stamped on a diplomatic passport, a service passport or a passport for public affairs.
top In which case do I need to provide the Lodging attestation?
You have to provide the proof of accomodation if you apply for a short stay visa and a friend or a relative will host you in their apartment or house.
top What are the requirements for visa applications of domestic staff?
No visa for France can now be issued to domestic staff without the submission of approval of the French labor office of the host's place of residence. No other documents or statement of convenience can replace them.
top How can I collect my passport?
Passports can be collected from Monday to Friday, from 08:30am to 02:00pm and from 03:00pm to 04:00pm at TLScontact. When your passport is ready to be collected, you will be notified online on your personal account page and by SMS, informing you to come to the TLScontact center with your visa application checklist and the original and a copy of your identity card.
top Can someone else pick up my passport for me?
Yes, a representative may retrieve your passport on your behalf provided that they bring:
- Your application checklist
- A copy of your ID card
- The original and a copy of your representative's ID card
- An authorization letter signed by you
top Can someone else apply for a visa on my behalf?
Each applicant should come by himself to TLScontact center, except:
- Children under twelve years old.
- Persons who have been issued a Schengen Visa from Beirut after May 10th, 2012
Please note that for these persons, their documents can be submitted by a representative (direct relatives).
In this case, the representative has to provide a signed letter of authorization with complete and correct information as well as the original and copy of his/her ID card and most important the certificate signed by the applicant as proof that he already did a biometric data capture in Beirut after May 10th, 2012.
top Can I collect my passport during the Visa processing?
After submitting your application, your passport will remain at the Consulate during all the process period (15 working days).
Only applicants who have urgent business trip during the same period can ask to retrieve their passport after 48 hours.
In this case, the applicant must necessarily provide a letter from the company mentioning that the person must travel during this period & include clear dates. This letter must be signed and certified by the seal of the company.
Kindly note that from 03-04-2013, no more letters can be sent to the consulate after submitting your visa application, to ask for the passport, accelerate the process or to retrieve the passport for an urgent trip.
The only letter accepted is the letter asking to cancel the entire application, and the applicant can retrieve his passport without any Visa.
N.B: In this case, the visa fee and the service fee are both non-refundable.
top What is the difference between a Schengen visa and a national visa?
A Schengen visa (Type C) is a visa issued by one of the member countries of the Schengen Area and is valid for a short stay, limited to 90 days within any 180 days period, only for Schengen countries.
European competence to receive and issue such visas is made by the consulate of the country of destination. In case of a trip in multiple Schengen countries, the main destination is determined by the purpose of the trip or duration of the stay. Professional reasons for a stay in a Schengen country outweigh its jurisdiction on the grounds against tourism, family or private visit in another state.
A national long stay visa (Type D) is only valid for an establishment or a stay of more than 90 days in the country which issued the visa. The national visa allows, however, transit through other Schengen countries and for some (long stay French citizen's spouse, workers, students or visitors), it also allows traveling freely throughout the Schengen area.
top Closing dates of TLScontact CentersClosing dates of TLScontact Centers in year 2015.