6 Easy Steps to Apply for France Schengen Visa at French Consulate in Houston, Texas
France is a destination with lots of art and culture including a number of World Heritage sites – such as the Bourges cathedral and Mont Saint Michel. Every city is bursting with museums and galleries, impressive architecture, and some of the finest cuisine in the world. With chateaux and castles to explore, WWII sites and battlefields to visit, and glamorous resorts and beaches to feel the sun on your back, France is a country that will excite you from the moment you arrive. In this article learn more about how to apply for France visa at the French consulate in Houston, French visa appointment booking, Processing time at the French visa application center and French Visa Application Process at the Houston consulate.
In 2017, the highest number of Schengen visas were for France with 3,684,404 applications. Only 13% of these were rejected. The Consulate General of France in Houston received 2,895 applications and of these 2,828 French visas were issued.
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. 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.
First of all, you have to make sure you apply at the right French embassy and consulates. If you wish to apply for a French Schengen visa, your application will be processed by VFS Visa Application Center in Houston. The whole process is done on France-Visas website and you can submit your application by appointment to VFS Global in Houston.
Applicants who reside in the following areas are free to submit their application to the VFS Visa Application Center (VAC) in Houston, but your appointment must be made on France-Visas website.
Types of Schengen Visas Offered at the French Consulate in Houston
French Schengen visas are valid for a maximum of 90 days and there are a variety of visas available. This depends on your personal circumstances. You should make sure you apply for the correct one.
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, the visa wizard will give you the following information:
- Visa requirements for your personal circumstances
- What fee to pay
- The required documents
Step 2: Set up an online application
Next, you should set up your online application at France-Visas. There are many websites that may seem genuine for applying for your French Schengen visa, but this is the official site to use. The first part of the process is to create an account.
At the end of each page, you have the opportunity to save your information. You should do this in order to go back to your application if you can’t complete it in one sitting. This way you won’t lose the data you have input already. There are on-screen explanations as to what information is required to make it as easy as possible to complete.
In the end, you’ll get an acknowledgement letter and a list of what you need to prepare before your appointment. The documents should be printed ready for you to sign them. The next stage is to book your appointment at VFS Global in Houston.
Step 3: Booking an appointment
The France-Visas website has its own appointment booking system, so you should find the center in Houston and click on “Book an appointment.” You’ll then be asked to provide your email address and password or register as a new user if you have never used this system before. Please bear in mind, you may have to wait for an appointment if the VFS application center is busy and you should apply at least 15 days prior to your travel dates in order for your application to be processed. You should not apply more than 3 months before your trip. If you do, your application will be rejected.
Making appointments with the embassy or visa application center is generally free and can be done yourself. However, If you are running short of time or not sure which consulate to apply to or have no idea on how to get this done yourself then not to worry, we will make the appointment for you for a small service fee!
Step 4: Preparing your documents
Now, it’s time to prepare your paperwork and ensure you have everything you need before your appointment.
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
– 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, arrive at the VFS Visa Application Center in Houston early and make sure you have not forgotten anything. Try to relax and dress in formal clothing. How you behave and appear at this interview could have an effect on the decision made about your application – first impressions are everything in this situation.
The documents presented to the visa official should be originals, but you must also provide photocopies of everything. The visa official will evaluate your paperwork and you will pay the relevant fee. Once they have done that, your application for your French visa will be sent to the consulate in Houston who will review it.
You may also be required to provide biometric data which includes a photo and fingerprints.
Schengen visa fees:
|Free of Charge
Schengen visa and
Airport transit visa
for children between
the age of 6 and 12
-Children under the age of 6
-Foreign spouse of the French national
-Foreign members of families of nationals of other Member States of the EU/EEA and Switzerland
€50/$59 -Reduced rate for students
-Foreign spouse of the French national
The VFS Visa Application Center also charges an additional fee of $29.79 which you should pay on the day of your appointment.
As part of this interview, you may be asked extra questions regarding your application. The best thing to do is to stay calm and respond honestly and to the point. The official is only trying to establish that you are an honorable person that has sincere reasons for wishing to travel to France.
Some of the most common questions are:
- Are you married? If yes, what does your spouse do? How long have you been married?
- Are you traveling with someone else?
- Have you ever travelled to other places?
- How do we know you will return home within the visa allowed period?
- Is this your first trip to a Schengen area?
Once the interview ends, you will receive a tracking number for you to check on the status of your application.
Don’t jeopardize your Schengen visa interview at the last minute. Use this comprehensive and thorough visa interview guide to crack the visa interview!
Step 6: Tracking your visa
You can use VFS Global’s tracking tool to check on the progress of your application.
Once your passport with your French visa is ready to collect, you’ll be notified that you can collect it from the visa center in Houston. You also have the option of having it mailed by courier service in a self-addressed, pre-paid envelope which you would have provided at the appointment stage.
There is no set time on how long it takes for your French visa application to be processed because it depends on your nationality and the purpose of your stay. However, you can easily check the status by using your tracking number.
The application process for a French Schengen visa through France-Visas is set up to make it easy to complete. You shouldn’t have any problems in getting your application accepted if you stick to these 5 steps.
The French consulate in Houston has a low application rejection rate, but you need to be aware of some of the reasons that applications may still be refused.
- Insufficient reasons for planned trip
- Failing to establish financial means
- Can’t show proof of accommodation
- Insufficient time for processing
- No visa application form
- Passport has been issued more than 10 years ago
Hopefully, your application won’t be among those that are refused, but you must ensure you have all documents together, completed fully and signed. In the case that your application is refused, you can appeal the decision within 2 months.
Contact detail for the VFS Global in Houston
Address: 25 West Loop S, Suite 330, Houston, Texas, TX 77027
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 process of getting your French Schengen visa appears as an enormous task, but if you follow each of these steps exactly, you will be presented with no problems. Then you can sit back and relax before it’s time to embark on your holiday to France.
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.