By continuing to read this article, you agree to double check with the authorities or other concerned entities for the latest updates.

This guide is no longer current. In December 2017, the French Embassy implemented a new Schengen visa application process.

A more updated visa guide can be found here: France Visa


On my last day in Paris, I wanted the moments to last longer, I moved so slowly. It took me 30 minutes to walk from the hotel to the train station to have “one last look”, which became a dozen last looks. Silly, I know, but yeah yeah. I’m childish like that.

That Paris trip was a realization of a life-long dream. Growing up, I was a fan of French Cinema. At Film school, I worshipped Francois Truffaut. I adore French food. I even learned the French language in college. It was as though life had been preparing me for that week-long affair with Paris, one of the most unforgettable journeys I have ever taken.

And none of it would ever be possible if I didn’t have a Schengen Visa. Of all the visa applications I have done, it is definitely one of the most demanding. Yet, it wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be because I already had most of the required documents.

This post will help guide you breeze through the visa process if you’re going to France (and other Schengen countries) as a tourist (short stay). Updated 2017.

This post is for applications via French Embassy. If you’re applying via German Embassy, read this instead: How to Apply for a Schengen Visa via German Embassy

What is a Schengen Visa?

First, a brief intro. The Schengen Visa allows the holder to visit any of the 26 countries within the Schengen area including France. It’s sort of your one-for-all pass, allowing you to enter many of the countries in Europe without having to apply for a visa for each individual country. You can apply at any embassy of a member state. These are the countries who are part of the Schengen Zone:

Czech Republic

Note, however, that you can’t apply just anywhere. You need to apply at the right embassy, which will depend on the purpose of your trip or your overall European itinerary.

Hold on, should you be applying at the French Embassy, in the first place?

Apply at the French Embassy only if ANY of the following is true:

  • You’re going to France only and will not visit any other country.
  • You will visit multiple Schengen countries but you will stay the longest in France.
  • You will visit multiple Schengen countries but the main purpose of your journey is in France. (Example: you will attend a conference in France but you plan on going out to other Schengen countries while you’re there.)
  • You will stay in multiple Schengen countries for exactly the same number of days, but France is your point of entry (first in your itinerary).

There are many pros of applying at the French embassy. Obviously, not all embassies work the same way. Some are stricter than others. Some are faster. In the travel circles (or at least in my travel circle), the French Embassy (along with the Dutch and German embassies) is known to be more considerate to potential tourists, while the Italian and Spanish embassies are regarded more stringent. Many of my friends who initially wanted spending the same amount of time in two or more countries would deliberately change their travel plans to stay longer in France just so the French Embassy would accept their application.


When to apply at the French Embassy

You can apply up to 90 days (3 months) in advance. While the French Embassy works relatively fast, it is wise to give some time allowance just in case something doesn’t go as planned (e.g. they ask for additional documents). I consider “a month before” too tight. Two months should give you enough time to secure a copy of all required documents and fix a problem should it arise.

How to apply for a Schengen visa via French Embassy

The French Embassy has entrusted the receiving, processing, and issuing of most visa applications to VFS Global, which has streamlined the processes. Here’s how.

1. Book an appointment online.

I always recommend getting an appointment before anything else because you’ll never know when the earliest schedule will be. You can always book a much later date if you’re still working on some requirements (which I will discuss later).

To get a schedule, you will need to sign up first. Go to this Appointment System page and click on NEW USER.

If you already have an account, simply log in using your access details.

Once you have an appointment, print out the Appointment Confirmation Letter, which you need to bring to the VFS Global Visa Application Center.

2. Complete the requirements.

While waiting for your appointment day, gather all the required documents. You need to prepare two copies of each: one original and one photocopy.

To speed up the submission process and for your sanity, arrange them in the order specified in the checklist given to you. As of September 2016, here’s the complete list in the right order.

  1. Accomplished application form with passport-size photo (35 x 45mm, white background). You can download it here.
  2. Valid passport. Must be valid for at least 3 months (6 months, to be safe) from the end of intended stay and must have at least 2 empty pages. Photocopy the bio page and all pages with stamps and other visas. If you have visas not on the passport (printed out visas like Australian visa), photocopy them too.
  3. Cover Letter and Daily Itinerary. Be as specific and detailed as possible. Explain the purpose of your trip and why you’re applying at the French Embassy. Here’s a sample cover letter and sample day-to-day itinerary. Page 1 is the letter. Page 2 is the itinerary. (Buttons below to flip to page 2.) schengen-visa-france-letter schengen-visa-france-itinerary

    Make sure you address the letter to:

    16F Pacific Star Building
    Makati Avenue corner Gil Puyat Avenue
    Makati City

  4. Hotel Reservations. You DON’T need to pay for your hotel this early. You can simply reserve rooms via Agoda. Or if you want a travel agency to do it for you, you can get one here: Get Hotel Reservation
  5. Flight reservation. Again, just reservation. DO NOT PAY for flights until your visa is approved. Find a travel agency that can reserve flights for you. You can get one online here: Get Flight Reservations Here
  6. International travel insurance (for medical expenses and repatriation) that covers the entire duration of the trip and valid for all Schengen countries. Coverage must be AT LEAST EUR 30,000. I got mine from Blue Cross. Get Travel Insurance Here
  7. Certificate of Employment (if employee). The monthly salary and leave of absence approval must be indicated.
  8. Leave of absence letter (if employee). Proof that your leave has been approved by your employer. You may get this from your HR or immediate superior.
  9. Business registration documents (if self-employed). This includes DTI permit and SEC documents.
  10. Latest personal ITR (Income tax return)
  11. Bank certificate. Must be issued within at most 30 days before the application.
  12. Bank statement. Must show records of the past 3 months.
  13. If you’re a minor, you must provide: (a) proof of economic means, (b) passport, and (c) affidavit or support and consent of parents or legal guardian.
  14. If you’re a student, provide: (a) proof of enrolment, (b) leave of absence certificate if traveling during school days
  15. If single, birth certificate.
  16. If married, marriage certificate and birth certificate.
  17. If minor traveling with someone other than the parents, copy of DSWD permit.
  18. Visa fee. EUR 60 (or its equivalent in peso that day). Note that you will also be paying the VFS Service Fee, EUR 26.

Where to get flight and hotel reservations and travel insurance?
You can get them online. The one we trust is Gazelle Travel and Tours, a DOT-accredited, DTI-registered travel agency. They offer Flight Reservations + Hotel Reservations + Travel Insurance at a friendly rate! SEE RATES HERE

Get Flight Reservations Here


3. Submit the requirements at the VFS Visa Application Center.

The applicants themselves must show up on the day of appointment. For children below 12, either parent can submit. The exact address is:

VFS Global Office Address:
France Visa Application Centre,
Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg.,
Don Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati City

Again, make sure you bring the Visa Appointment Letter I mentioned at Step 1. You will need it to get in. You’ll go through a security check, and will be waiting for your turn. Once they accept your documents, they will get your biometrics.

You will also be given a choice on how you want to receive your passport (with a visa, hopefully): pick up or by courier. If you choose the latter, expect to pay an additional PhP 330. Finally, settle the visa fee. Make sure you have the exact amount.

That’s it. All you need to do now is wait.

The processing usually takes 5-7 days. However, there have been cases when they got theirs in 3 days. Some unlucky ones got theirs a lot longer. Some will be asked for an interview at the embassy. It really depends on many factors, which probably depend on how strong your case is and how much work load they have. Regardless, it’s out of your hands. Just hope for the best.

According to an ABS-CBN report, starting November 1, 2017, the processing time will be shortened to only 48 hours (2 days)! So that’s good development.

Read it Here: Schengen Visa FAQs


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Agnes May Bantigue

Another tip I got from online forums is to make flight reservations directly with airline offices. Cathay Pacific holds reservations for 2 weeks I think, free of charge.


I’m a former airline employee. Here’s a tip: DO NOT purchase a ticket before applying for a visa. Not being negative, but what if you purchased a very restricted ticket (promo fare, non rebookable, non refundable) then your visa application was denied? That’s why it’s best to CONTACT THE AIRLINE DIRECTLY, make a booking, put it on hold, and request to have the itinerary emailed to you. Sometimes the booking can be held for 2 days, sometimes 5 days, it depends on the type of fare. If it’s very restricted, the ticketing time limit is short (max 2 days). If it’s a regular fare or flexi fare, the deadline is longer. Hope this helps.


PS: Booking on hold meaning you don’t have to pay for it immediately. You are given a deadline to finalize the payment.



You mentioned that the french embassy wasn’t as stringent in providing visas as compared to other embassies, would that still hold true today after many terror attacks in EU/France? I’d imagine it would have some effect, but to what extent do you think?




I just want to ask if intercity tickets (train or plane) will also be submitted during visa application? Is it required?


Hi there, would the bank statement and certificate affect your visa application for france? If for example there’s not a lot in the bank.

Lyn Segovia

Hi there,
Ask ko lng po kc I’m going to submit my documents this march 29 all requirements as listed I have..for 7 days po.. Including bank statement kailangan po b n 120€ per day kc my sponsor po ako ung friend in France But I have stable job and good salary.. She’s my friend do still need a picture or communication records? We met in Thailand just once ..and another question po can I use deed of sale? It’s under my name

Hoping your response po


How much should be your bank deposit?


Hi thepoortraveller. We just came back from our Japan trip, thank you very much for your superp insights, your itineraries were a huge help! Anyway, I wanted to ask, if I’m travelling to France together with a friend, do we need to apply for a schengen visa separately of could we send one cover letter for both of us? Many thanks!!!


hi thepoortraveler. Do you have idea as to how much money you need in your account to have visa approval? i am planning to apply and just visit france for 10 days only. Thank you for your response.


Helps a lot! We’ll do the same. Again, thank you very much!


hi! I just wanna ask if they return Time Deposit certificates? Our Time Dep certs are single original copies provided by the bank and we need them back in time for maturity.



Thepoortraveler, good day! I have a question, i dont have enough in my account, but my boyfriend is willing to pay for everything (flight, hotel, all expenses), he is American and US citizen and working in US but willing to write letter of invitation for me. what are the documents needed from him as my sponsor for the trip? so i can send it also as a support for my visa application. Thank you in advance for your response.

rowena jalosjos

hi there! your guide is so useful and self explanatory that i was actually doing the application while reading it….i just want to ask one question which might be vital to my application…the reason why i opted to apply for france visa is that i was previously denied from Greece application last May 15, 2018…i applied together with my friend…unluckily we didnt make it so i decided to go through french visa…but there is this question being asked in the application about the biometrics….i clicked there yes since my fingerprints were previously taken but there is that question about the biometrics number which i dont know where i will get…should i really tick the box yes to be honest or i can tick no since i was denied. please advise


So I did a French interview on Thursday last week in uganda and they retained ma passport n gave me a receipt showing I come back on Tuesday the next week so today I went n they told me ma passport is not yet ready they will call me does that mean ma visa will be approved


Hi. Is transit train tickets within schengen area required to submit along with the plane ticket? Thanks!


hello.. ask ko lang regarding sa leave of absence., isasama ba ang travel period or date of arrival nalang sa leave of absence? example. dec. 15 ang travel period going to france then arrival is dec 16, dapat kasi dba match sya.. or date of arrival and exit nalang sa leave of absence.

Thanks :)


pahabol : or bali gawin ko nalang na kung ano nalang yung may pasok ako.. ill be arriving in paris by 16 but leave of absence ko is start ng 17 kasi monday yun, 16 is a sunday :) example : Dec. 17-28 ang leave of absence although return ko is Jan. 1 na holiday naman kasi dec 31 and jan. 1 .. right sir?


actually dec. 15 is saturday no work sya and dec 31 is holiday naman sa atin sa pinas ( rizal day ) isama ko nalang sa leave of absence ? para wala na prob? kaya Christmas holiday kinuha ko para marami holidays hehehe. isama ko nalang bali leave of absence ko is dec. 15 – 31? although january arrival ko sa pinas.. dko na isasama kasi obviously holiday naman sya hehehe


may template kasi sa company… pwede cguro if sa cover letter ko i explain nalang ?


salamat sir :)




LASTLY, yung order nh checklist? hinahanap ko sa net.. ala po ako makita.. para ayusin ko na rin sya :)


hello, one last question :) do i have to book my transportation across schengen area such as busses and trains or explain ko nalng sa cover letter na i will be using busses and trains accross the schengen area? kasi i dont have any idea on how to book trains and busses na free cancellation


kailangan ba malaki ang salary mo ? like 40,000 a month para ma aprove ang visa or ok lang naman na 20k Plus a month ang salary ? and example po, sa ITR what if new ka sa work started Sept. then basis of your ITR is sept – dec. ok lang naman ? as long as may itr ka naman ?


pano po questionable ang itr ?? ang salary ko kasi is around 22k pero ang ipon ko naman sa bank since 2009 is nasa 600k nman.. pasa din ako ng contract of employment then bukod don, certicate of employment.. as in complete requirment naman ako.. un lang kasi im new sa work pero may ipon naman na ako from my previous job.. salary ko is arounf 22k 1 yr mahigit na ako sa work…


nag note naman ako sa cover letter tungkol sa itr, then naka explain naman sa contract of employemnt ko about my work,,, malaking help din dba kung may tatak passports dba?


sa travel insurance po, kung 15 days lang ang stay mo sa france, ok lang na 24 days ang avail na insurance instead of 30 days ?


kailangan ba ilagay o explain sa cover letter yung previous job mo ? kasi 1 year pa lang ako sa new job ko now… complete requirments na ako.. isama ko ba ung certification sa previous work ko ?


i have submitted my requirements sa VFS last Friday, and now, im just waiting for my passsport :) Hopefully with a visa ! Wala rin binalik na requirements sakin kahit sobra, I submitted extra docs like certificate of organization and officership / Cert of Stocks / Pictures of me and My friend as proof travelling together etc… There’s a family of four na decline agad sa emabsy kasi mali ang itinerary nila, sabi sa embassy, hindi dapat dun mag apply kasi mas matagal ang number of days nila sa Italy kaya hindi sila nakapag apply.. back to zero sila lalo sa iti.

Raymond Christian

i gotm my visa for 5 days ! approved :) sa sobrang excitement and curiosity ko, ako na kumuha sa 2GO cant wait for the postman to deliver it door to door. they gave me 25 days Multiple entry since i was just requesting a 16 days … i am relieved !!! nakaka torture mag intay hehehe.


thanks.. yun nga balak ko :) hehehe salamat.. free cacnellation… just in case mabago .. salamat.. you’ve been a great help ! :D


hello, its me again, do they check hotel booking records online? for example, sa agoda account mo? will they check it? ksi I changed my itinerary eh… tsaka sa ibang place d na ako nag book, spontaneous trip ako sa germany, amsterdam, belgium kaya i idint book it, cant tell how many days ako dun, although pwede ko pakita bookings ko dun n pinasa ko sa embassy? kaso cancelled na sya eh

Raymond Christian

question uli :) what if okay lang ba na mas matagal kami sa italy kasi baguhin ko iti ko eh.. since sa french kmi nag apply. do they check hotel bookings sa immigration ? chinecheck ba nila kung gaano katagal ung iti each places?

Raymond Christian

di na rin ako nila pinag report back sa embassy pag balik ko ng pinas :)

Raymond Christian

im on my itinerary making.. what can u suggest on transportation? worth it ba eurail pass?

Shela Mae Bahian

Hi Yoshke,
If kasama ko 6-year-old daughter ko, isang cover letter nlang gagawin for both of us? And do I still need to submit those documents you’ve mentioned for minor? Do you have any inputs ano process if my batang kasama?


Where and how do you pay the Visa + VFS fee?

Diane Ocampo

Hello po, i am not employed for almost 5 years, puro extra works and online businesses lang ang naging source of income ko, part timer din if needed, in short i dont have( tax) itr, would still be possible to apply for french visa? I have bank account and properties under my name….


Had my appointment in VFS Global (France) in Manila last tuesday, November 20, 2018.

and to my surprise, the next day, on November 21, 2018, I got a message saying that my passport is couriered to me by 2GO. That was really really fast.

Anyway, I have no tracking no. so I cannot verify where is my passport now. The wait is torturing me hahaha. I have this feeling na disapprove sya:(( because it is way too fast, and the consul did not think twice to disapprove my visa.. Well it is just my thought.. huhuhu.. maybe it is the other way around :)) sana..

May naka experience na ba ng ganito kabilis? and the visa was approved?



Although this is not the first time we’re going to Europe, I seem uncertain regarding which embassy to apply to. I really hope you can assist me on this, our itinerary is as follows:

Dec 23-27 Italy
Dec 27-29 Switzerland
Dec 29-Jan 3 France
Jan 3 -6 Spain

Is it alright if I apply to the French Embassy? This is fairly important to us because we’ll be applying 5 working days before our scheduled departure and we’re praying for the promised 48-hrs release of the visa. Also, is it really feasible for the visa to be released in such a short time?

Thank you so much and I hope this will not inconvenience you in any way.


Hello again!

Thank you for your response! Actually, I called VFS and it’s actually a low season right now. Thus, I really don’t know what’s causing the delay. Before the 48 hours visa processing, we were able to get our previous Schengen visa from the same embassy within 5 working days (We lacked one document so they had to put the processing on hold by day 2 and contacted us. They released it 2 days after we submitted the documents.) We’re quite desperate since we already paid for almost everything.

Do you think it’s better to rearrange the schedule and apply to another embassy? Thank you so much!

Godofredo T. Mabatid

Hi! I am going to attend the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany on June 1 – 5, 2019. I planned to enter Paris/France first as I will be coming from UK after visiting my son (UK RESIDENT). This will be my 2nd visit to my son in UK. He wants to drive me by car to Hamburg passing France, Belgium and Netherlands, then to Hamburg. I intend to stay in these countries for 3 days equally. Which country should be best for me to get my visa? Could I get a visa at the German Embassy even if my first point of entry is France? I am assured of a German Visa as I have already an invitation letter from Rotary International Secretariat for my attendance in Hamburg. Please advise. Thank you.

Godofredo T. Mabatid

If I can secure a Germany Visa, is it compulsory that I have to fly directly to Hamburg? Or could I make France/Paris as my entry point?

Lyn Segovia

Hi good day.. Worried and excited and nervous po ako kc sa march 29 na appointment ko. For traveling Jan France for 7 days sponsored by my friend but I still provided my bank account and statement including deed of sale . Ask ko lng po need pa po ba ung conversation Namin ng friend ko? Di nmn po nklgay sa list of requirements..

Kabado ako.. I’ve been travelled to 6 countries but still kabado parin kasi first time ko mag process n my sponsor..

Lyn Segovia

Un My documents nmn po xa… And letter and leave letter from work.. Bank statement and account.. Pero kabado parin po.. Sa mga nbbasa ko.. Ano po dapat n proof.. Kc we meet once only in Thailand and she’s paying back the help I did to her.. Kabado tlga ako


Hi Lyn!

Just a piece of advice, If I were you wag mo na ideclare na may naginvite sayo lalo na hindi immediate family mo. I was denied a Spanish visa two weeks ago, complete requirements ko, I have a stable job as a nurse here, meron pa akong online business, stock certificate, told them me and my mom only lives alone, and showed 50 pages proof my relationship with my boyfriend (ung naginvite sakin), been to a few countries here in Asia..


Hi! I’ve been following this blog since early this year. And thanks to all the contributors here, we were able to get our visas from French Embassy =)

I have a question though. Since we already got our visas, can we still change our itinerary? Initially, we planned to stay the longest in Paris (our entry is Rome, exit is Amsterdam). However, after finalizing our itinerary details, we have decided to stay the longest in Italy instead. Will that be a problem given that it was France which granted us the visa? Hoping someone can answer/share their insights =) Thank you!


Hi! Thank you for this informative blog! In my experience, although it is said na possible na 2-5 days ang visa processing, in some cases this is really not true. I am one of the unlucky ones, been waiting for my visa result for 16 days na and counting, still no news. So to be sure, maybe it is better to apply more than a month before the actual date of travel.