Thousands of people travel to the United States from France every year for sightseeing, business, employment, and many other reasons. In 2022 alone, over 1.3 million foreigners from France visited the US, and this number keeps increasing every year. After all, the US and France enjoy cordial relations dating back to the 18th century when both countries were fighting for civil liberties and discarding the yoke of monarchy.
No wonder America enjoys the second-highest approval rating among Europeans in France (75%), right after Italy (78%). So, what’s stopping you from traveling to the New World to explore all the famous tourist spots and vacation destinations in America? Try the flavors and diversity of American cuisine. Experience the warmth of Southern hospitality. Check out the Grand Canyon or hike through the heart of the Great Smokies.
This article will help you cover all visa requirements for traveling from France to the US.
Do I Need a Visa to Travel from France to the US?
You may be thinking, “How to apply for a US visa from France?” We got you covered, pas besoin de s’inquiéter. First, you’ve got to understand when a French person needs to obtain a visa before they can board the next flight to LAX. Apply for a visa well in advance if you plan to travel to the US from the beautiful country of France in the following cases:
- Studying in the US
- Getting a job in the US
- Working as a French journalist
- Seeking permanent residence in the US
For further information, do contact the American embassy in France: https://fr.usembassy.gov/visas/
When does a French Citizen not need a Visa to Visit the US?
The friendship between Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty is of legend. Just consider the fact that the French make up the 6th largest nation to visit the US in 2022. You might be wondering in what cases a French person doesn’t need a visa to travel to America. Lucky for you, you may not need to get a visa to go to the US and have a wonderful time there in some cases. The VWP allows French citizens to go to America for 90 days for the following purposes:
It means holidays, visiting your family, or medical treatment.
It means talking to business associates or attending a conference.
In all these cases, a US visa for French citizens is not necessary. But how do you enter the US without a visa? Here, we’ll introduce the ESTA to our readers.
Making Sense of the VWP and the ESTA
In the 1980s, the US government gave the citizens of some countries an exemption from getting a visa to travel to America under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). France became a part of this program in 1989. Some other countries in this program include the EU nations, Chile, S. Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, and others.
However, since 2008, all VWP citizens must go through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to make sure that criminals don’t misuse the no-visa privileges to infiltrate the US. To put it simply, an ESTA is necessary for the VWP, and the VWP allows French citizens to travel to the US for 90 days. So, ne prolongez pas votre accueil!
US Visa from France: Eligibility Criteria
Are you eligible to visit the US? Yes, you are eligible if:
- You’re a French national
- You have a valid email ID
- You can pay via Debit/Credit card
So, start making preparations for visiting the United States.
What Disqualifies French Citizens from Traveling to the US?
However, the Visa Waiver Program isn’t applicable to you if:
- You’re also a national of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, N. Korea, Syria, or Sudan
- You have been to Cuba, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, N. Korea, Libya, or Yemen after March 1, 2011
But don’t worry if you have traveled to those countries as a journalist, soldier, diplomat, or businessperson.
Different Types of US Visas for French Citizens
Are you planning to visit the US from France anytime soon? The first question to ask yourself is: “Why am I visiting America?” You see, a US visa comes in different types, and the purpose of your visit determines which type you’re eligible for. To make it brief, here are five major types of US visas from France:
Work visa for French entrepreneurs
Study visa for French students
The typical US work visa for French citizens
Understand all these different visa types so you can accelerate the process of getting a US visa from France. If there’s a conflict between your visa type and the purpose of the visit, the US embassy may refuse your application. Now, let’s review a step-by-step process of getting your visa from France to the USA.
Getting my US Visa: A Step-by-step Process
Now, let’s move on to the million-dollar question. How do I get a US visa from France? Let’s start with the easy one, i.e., an ESTA. Bear in mind that an ESTA is only applicable for B-type visits (business trips and tourism). It lets you stay in the US for 90 days. Here’s how you can apply for it:
- Fill out the application form online: https://www.evisa-us.org/application-for-esta-us-visa-online
- Pay the Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) fee, i.e., $185
- Make sure you have a machine-readable passport
- Insert all the required information correctly
- Submit your application successfully
How to get a US Visa from France the Traditional Way?
If you aren’t eligible for an ESTA (most probably because you intend to stay in the US for more than 90 days or are applying for a visa type other than B-1/B-2), get a traditional visa. Getting a simple visa is relatively easy. You have to attend a visa interview because, unlike an ESTA, you can’t apply for one online. So, here’s a simplified way of navigating the complexities of obtaining a US visa:
- Determine what type of visa you’re getting (e.g., F-1 or E-2) based on the purpose of your visit.
- Complete the online form DS-160 (or DS-260 if you are applying for an immigration visa)
- Schedule an interview at the US embassy in Paris via the online appointment system.
- Pay the visa application fee ($185 for non-immigration visas)
- Gather all the required documents and have them translated into English for easy comprehension
- Attend your interview and answer all the questions; make sure that the staff knows you plan to return to your homeland eventually
- Give your biometric data, e.g., your fingerprints and photographs, for ID verification
- Wait for their response; don’t hesitate to follow up by calling the embassy
- Get your approved visa and make preparations for travel
- Comply with all the conditions of visiting the US as a French citizen; so, don’t try to get a job if you are vacationing in the US
US Visa Processing Time in France
Getting a US visa for French citizens is relatively easy and not a time-consuming process. But you must bear in mind that visa approval is a sensitive procedure and requires due diligence by the US embassy to make sure you’re eligible to enter their country. The processing time for a US visa depends on different factors, including:
- The purpose of your visit to the US
- The type of visa you’re applying for
- The specific policies of the US embassy
- The volume of visa applications from France
As a general rule of thumb, however, visa processing takes 1 to 2 weeks after the interview, and then it’s delivered to you via La Poste. The US embassy says you shouldn’t bring a Chronopost envelope to your visa interview. Just wait patiently for one week.
US Visa from France: Tips and Suggestions
Please keep these simple tips in mind when applying for a US visa from France. I hope that you have a happy journey from La Belle, France, to the United States.
Have your Documents Translated
Many people forgo this step despite its utmost importance. You have to translate your original French documents into English so the embassy staff can understand them and process your visa faster. When hiring a professional translator, check their credentials and make sure they’re right for this job.
Start the process very early.
Don’t dilly-dally your visa application. The US embassy requests all French citizens to apply for a visa as early as possible. Also, make travel plans only if you get approval to travel to the US.
Be Mindful of your Appearance
Dress appropriately when attending your visa interview. Be mindful of your mannerisms and bring all the necessary documents. Answer questions honestly and admit it if you don’t know the answer.
Plan your American Travels
Keep in mind how many days you have to visit the US. So, make plans while keeping the number of days in your mind. Overstaying one’s welcome isn’t something Americans admire in foreigners.
Know How to Contact the Embassies
Find out where the US and French embassies are located and how to contact them.
US embassy in France
Its address is 2 Av. Gabriel, 75008 Paris. Its phone is  (1)43122222.
French embassy in the US
Its address is 4101 Reservoir Road NW. 20007Washington DC. Its phone is +1-202-944-6000.
We explained how to apply for a US visa from France in 2024. In short, French citizens can visit the US without a visa under the VWP; fill out an ESTA application first. This facility lets you stay in the US for tourism or business purposes for the next 90 days. However, if you want to stay longer than 90 days, study, or find work in America, apply for a regular visa.
Usual visa requirements include submitting your documents to the embassy. If you need any assistance translating these docs from English to French, try TranslateSwift. This user-friendly platform will convert your French documents into good old Yankee English clearly and accurately.
A translation service will streamline your journey of obtaining a US visa from France. You can order a quick translation online and let expert linguists work their magic on your documents.
FAQs – How to Apply for a US Visa from France?
How do French people become US citizens?
If you want to become a US citizen, then immigrate to America. You have to apply for an immigration visa under the form DS-260 (unlike DS-160). Then, it would help if you kept living in the US before you could become a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Can French citizens work in the United States?
Yes, a French citizen can apply for a work visa in the United States and become a part of America’s ever-growing economy. If you want to get a job in the US, please look into E2 and H1-B visas. But a long-term stay on US soil doesn’t fall under the ESTA.
Is an ESTA the same as a typical US visa from France?
No, an ESTA is only needed when you’re traveling from France to the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), i.e., for less than 90 days on vacation or a business trip. People applying for a typical US visa from France don’t have to go through the ESTA process.
How much does an ESTA application cost?
You have to pay a modest sum of $4 when applying for an ESTA from France (or any other part of the world). If your application is approved, you’ll pay another $17. So, a successful ESTA application will set you back $21 and remain valid for the next two years.
Can French citizens travel to the US without a passport?
No, French citizens can only visit the US for 90 days without any visa requirements under the VWP. But they still need to show a valid passport for entry into the US. If you wish to travel to the US from France, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months.