6 Easy Steps to Apply for France Schengen Visa at French Consulate in Chicago, Illinois
It’s not surprising that France is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. The country has 7 cultural regions with romantic cities and picturesque villages, spectacular mountain ranges, and plenty of historical sites. That’s not all, the country boasts miles of sandy beaches, world-famous food, and delicious wine. With all this on offer, it should be on any would-be visitor’s itinerary. In this article learn more about how to apply for France Visa at the Chicago consulate, French visa appointment booking, Processing time at the French visa center and France Visa Application Process at the Chicago consulate.
In 2017, a massive 3,684,404 French Schengen visas were issued and of that 86% were issued worldwide. The Consulate General of France in Chicago received a total of 3,533 French visa applications and only 33 were rejected.
Applying for Schengen Visa from the United States
You should apply for a French Schengen visa if you are a non-US citizen and/or a permanent resident of the US or a green card holder. You must not hold a B1/B2 visa. If you do, you are only eligible to apply for an Airport Transit visa which must be applied for in your home country.
If you are applying for a French Schengen Visa at a French embassy or consulate, you should know that the Consulate General of France in Chicago is now closed for visa applications. Visas are now reviewed at the Consulate General of France in Washington. However, don’t worry if you don’t live anywhere near Washington. The whole process is done on France-Visas website and you can submit your application to VFS Global in Chicago.
Applicants who reside in the following areas are free to submit their application to the VFS Visa Application Center (VAC) for France in Chicago. However, you must make an appointment on the France-Visas website.
Types of Schengen Visas Offered at the French Consulate
French Schengen visas are valid for a maximum of 90 days and there are different types of visas depending on your reason for travel. The visas available are:
a) Tourism – Vacation only
b) Professional Purpose – Business and/or employment, events, religious worker
c) Study – Study and/or training
d) Family purpose – Visit family
e) Medical – Receive medical treatment
f) Airport Transit Visa (ATV) – Change planes on French territory
Please note, if you are planning to go to France for longer than 90 days, you’ll need to apply for a national visa.
Each of these visas can be:
1) Single entry – Maximum of 1 entry during 90 day period
2) Double entry – Maximum of 2 entries during the 90 day period
3) Multiple entry – Unlimited entries during the 90 day period
Schengen Visa Application Process at France-Visas
The process for applying for a French Schengen visa at France-Visas is simple. It’s very important that you follow each step in order to ensure that your application gets accepted.
Step 1: Gather information on your situation
To apply for a French Schengen visa at France-Visas, you must first use their visa wizard to establish:
- Visa requirements for your personal circumstances
- What fee to pay
- The required documents
Step 2: Set up an online application
The next step is to set up your online application at France-Visas. This is the official website for applying for a French Schengen visa, so please don’t trust any others that you may come across. In order to apply, you must create an account.
The system saves your information as you proceed through the application, so you can easily retrieve it if you need to. The application must be completed in full, but don’t worry if you are not computer savvy, there are easy to understand on-screen explanations.
Once you have completed the online application, you’ll receive an acknowledgment letter and a list of required documents. You should print the documents for signing. Then you’ll have the opportunity to book your appointment at VFS Global in Chicago.
Step 3: Booking an appointment
When you are ready, please go ahead and book your appointment on the France-Visas website. You should make sure that you have enough time before your trip for your French visa application to be considered. Depending on how busy the VFS center is, you may have to wait for an appointment. It’s best if you can submit your application at least 15 days prior to your travel dates. Applications made more than 90 days before your trip will not be accepted.
If this is your first time using this online visa service, you’ll need to register as a new user.
If you’re running short of time, then we can also help you book a visa appointment for a small service fee!
Step 4: Preparing your documents
Once your appointment has been booked, you should prepare your documentation in preparation for submitting your application.
1) Fully completed and signed Schengen Visa application form
– In good condition
– Valid for 3 months after the trip
– Issued within the last 10 years.
– 2 free pages
3) Non-US resident visa/Residence card/I-94/I-20/I-797/Advance Parole/IAP66
– Please note in addition to the above documents, all non-US citizens must provide proof of residence
4) 2 x recent photos
– Passport-size, 3.5 x 4.5 cm
– Not older than 6 months
– Close up of head and top of shoulders (face should take up 70%-80% of frame)
– Sharp focus and clear
– Good quality
5) Purpose of Stay
– Pre-booked round-trip ticket
– Trip itineraries
– Employment contract/internship agreement
– Proof of student registration
– Medical certificate/Proof of medical cost payment and/or insurance cover /Sworn affidavit for the responsibility of additional costs/Agreement of hospital admission
– Proof of event participation
– €30,000 to cover medical emergencies and repatriation
7) Proof of accommodation
– Hotel reservation and/or proof of sufficient funds (€120 per day)
– 3 months bank statements
– 3 months payslips
– Income tax return or proof of previous financial activity
– Scholarship details
9) Socio-professional situation
– Employed: Employer letter and/or proof of business
– Self-employed: Business license
– Students: Certificate of attendance
– Retired: Pension certificate
10) Birth and/or marriage certificate
If you’re planning to obtain your flight reservation for visa without paying for the ticket, all you have to do is follow the 3 simple steps below:
- Visit the Visa Reservation website to choose the right package
- Submit the travel details and make the payment online
- Receive flight itinerary in email
Step 5: Submit your file
On the day of your appointment, you must go to the VFS Visa Application Center in Chicago in person with all of your documents. Please arrive early, so you can make sure you have everything. If you are late, this won’t look good and may affect the outcome of your application. It’s also advisable to dress appropriately – you should aim to give a good first impression.
You must provide originals and photocopies of everything. The center will review your documents and take the fee. They will then submit your application to the French consulate in Washington.
You may also be required to provide biometric data which includes a photo and fingerprints.
Schengen visa fees:
|Visa Type||Fee||Reduced Fee||Free of Charge|
|Schengen visa and|
Airport transit visa
the age of 6 and 12)
-Children under the age of 6
-Foreign spouse of French national
-Foreign members of families of nationals of other Member States of the EU/EEA and Switzerland
Reduced rate for students
-Foreign spouse of French national
There is an additional fee of $29.79 charged by the VFS Visa Application Center which you will have to pay this when you submit your documents.
The visa officer may wish to confirm the details of your application to satisfy themselves that you are trustworthy and you have honest reasons for wishing to go to France. Don’t be alarmed if they start asking your questions, just answer them truthfully, be precise and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Some of the most common questions are:
- Is this your first trip to a Schengen area?
- Can you reschedule a shorter trip? Why do you need a 3-month visa?
- Can you show me your bank statement?
- Do you have any family members or friends living in EU countries?
- Do you have any relation with any involved person in the latest terrorist activities?
At the end of the appointment, you will get a tracking number which you can use to find out what stage your visa application has reached.
Step 6: Tracking your visa
You are able to track the progress of your French Schengen visa application with VFS Global’s tracking tool.
You’ll also be notified when your passport is ready for collection from the visa center in Chicago. If you prefer, your passport can be returned to you by courier service. If you opt for this service, you’ll need to provide a self-addressed, pre-paid envelope when you submit your documents.
The time it takes to process your visa application is different depending on your nationality and the purpose of your stay.
The application process for a French Schengen visa may seem a little overwhelming, but the online process is designed to make it as simple as possible. If you follow these 5 easy steps, you should have no problems in having your application accepted.
However, you must be prepared if your French visa application is refused for some reason. The most common reasons why this may happen include:
- No visa application form
- Insufficient reasons for purpose of the trip
- Lack of travel health insurance
- Invalid passport
- Insufficient funds
- Accommodation cannot be established
The way to avoid these mistakes is to make sure you have printed the application form and provide all the necessary paperwork, duly completed and signed. If your visa application is rejected you have the right to appeal the decision within 2 months.
Contact detail for the VFS Global in Chicago:
Address: 142 E Ontario Street, Suite #1700, Chicago, IL 60611
Visa application call center: 1-212-784-6157/1-347-252-3055
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.
The best way to ensure your French visa application is accepted is to follow these easy steps, make sure you have all the required documents to hand, submit them at your appointment, and answer any additional questions. Once you’ve done that, hopefully, you’ll soon be on your way to France to enjoy your holiday.
At Visa Reservation, we strive to simplify the visa process by providing free visa consultations, cover letter templates and no objection letter templates for our clients from US, UK, Canada, Philippines, India, China, UAE, Europe, Nigeria and globally. We also offer flight itinerary for visa, travel medical insurance, hotel reservations for visa and much more. To learn more about how we can help you with our visa services, please feel free to contact us today.