France Schengen Visa in 48 hours (Riyadh 2018) – updated 2019 July

It has been 2 years since my last Schengen visa from Swiss. This year 2018 I applied Schengen visa from France and it was issued in 48 hours eventhough it was high season when I applied French government decided this year 2018 to expedite processing of visa application for certain nationalities, and luckily, Philippines is included on the list. After I got my latest UK visa last July 2018, I decided to apply Schengen visa although I have no concrete plans to travel. First, I check the earliest available appointment from Swiss since I wanted to visit Switzerland again, but the earliest appointment I got was 9 days before my intended travel which is dangerously short period to process my visa. So I decided to check France appointment and the earliest was 10 days before my travel. I booked it and immediately revised my travel plans. France has started centralizing their online visa application in one website (www.france-visas.gouv.fr) and you can find all the information you need from this site.

Timeline

18/07/18:

I created an account at France-visas.gouv.fr and booked my hotel at booking.com as you need to book hotel first in order for you to put hotel name and contact details on the online form. You will receive confirmation email with link to activate your account. The form is straight forward without unnecessary questions. Once the online form is completed, it will generate (in PDF) the completed Schengen visa form and barcoded confirmation of your visa application with list of supporting documents you need to submit during your appointment. Print it both, paste 1 photo on the application form (clip 1 extra photo) and put your signature on the form. Next, click the part “submit your application”, it will redirect you to VFS website where you need to create a separate account so you can schedule your appointment. You need to pay by credit card SR120 service charge so you can choose your appointment date and time at VFS. I took the earliest available appointment which will be on 07AUG18. Don’t forget to print the appointment confirmation letter. My planned travel is on 17-25 AUG during Eid Holiday, that is 10 days away after my appointment. It is advisable to check available appointment 3 months prior to your planned travel specially before Eid holidays.

07/08/18:

I went to VFS Centre at 8AM for my 8:30AM appointment. Staff are not yet ready when I arrived. I was their first applicant of the day. VFS staff checked all my documents, took out documents that they didn’t need (they returned copies of my Japan and New Zealand visas + original previous passport). I paid by debit card SR262 for visa fee (or must be exact amount in cash). No extra fees for sms and email updates. Eventhough my biometrics data from Swiss is still valid, they still took my biometrics at VFS. The whole process took me 20mins. While still at the VFS I received sms+email confirming receipt of submission of application at VFS. Late afternoon I received sms+email confirming application forwarded to Embassy of France.

08/08/18:

Received sms+email confirming my application has been received at Embassy of France for processing.

09/08/18:

Thursday at 4PM I received sms+email confirming processed application is ready for collection at VFS Centre. However, I have no more time to collect it that day and decided to collect my passport on Sunday 12/08/18 instead.

Supporting documents as per my personal checklist:

  1. Iqama copy with official English translation + Exit/reEntry visa
  2. Flight booking (not ticket)
  3. Cover Letter + daily itinerary proposal
  4. Travel/Health insurance (my Bupa covers worldwide travel)
  5. Hotel reservation (from booking.com)
  6. Bank statement for the last 4months (I submitted 6months)
  7. Certificate of Employment attested by Chamber of Commerce
  8. Copies of my credit cards + 6 months payslip + copies of valid/expired visas from Schengen, USA, UK, Canada, Australia (they did not take my New Zealand & Japan visas)

I was very satisfied with France 48 hours Schengen visa processing eventhough it’s high season. SMS and email updates are free and up to date, unlike other Embassies which charge extra for it.

Tips:

  • Do not staple together any documents including the 3 pages visa application form. Just place it as per checklist order.
  • Bring exact cash for visa fee, otherwise bring your debit card
  • Book an appointment 3 months in advance to avoid worries

Update July 2019:

I applied again for Schengen visa at VFS France Riyadh on 29/07/2019 and received my passport with visa on 31/07/2019. This year the process at VFS is much slower but visa processing at France Embassy is much faster. The whole VFS process took me 2 hours because of long waiting time for biometrics, which I don’t understand since they’ve already taken my biometrics last year, as I am aware that biometrics data record for Schengen is valid for 5 years. The lady doing the biometrics even told me that I already had it last year in their system yet she still collected my biometrics again. Also, their system is down during my appointment that they were not able to issue all applicants on that day their individual receipts containing reference number. Also, the sms update is delayed. I got the first sms and email late night, unlike last year I got sms while I’m still Infront of the VFS staff assessing my application. I got another sms the following day at 8AM “passport is received at France Embassy for further processing” and at 4:42PM on the same day I got another sms “passport is ready for collection at VFS”. Tip: if you have previous visas of Schengen UK Canada USA, you have to photocopy it individually (1 visa in 1 A4 paper). Since I had so many previous visas, I submitted copy of 2 visas in 1 paper to save on printing, so they asked me to make separate copies of each visa. Good thing photocopy machine is available at reception area free of charge.

P.S.

Please click the ☆ to LIKED this blog if you find it helpful. I will answer comments ONLY from readers who click LIKE button. Thank you for understanding.

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About hunterpm

I'm an Overseas Filipino Worker based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia since January 2007. I love traveling. 25 countries as of January 2019. My favorite countries i visited multiple times are Japan UK France USA. I don't prefer staying at hostel for security & privacy, I'd rather stay at a cheap hotel as long as it has its own toilet and bath. I'm a Top Contributor of TripAdvisor in Riyadh. I used to work in Kapuso network GMA7 in Manila for 6 years before working in KSA. I have this blog to help other travelers the basics & techniques how to apply tourist visas. Hope you enjoy reading my blog... Thanks everyone!!! 😄😘😜
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35 Responses to France Schengen Visa in 48 hours (Riyadh 2018) – updated 2019 July

  1. shaun says:

    you are lucky guy,
    i applied on 29-Aug-18 for France, they took more then week and issued only for 25 days visa 😦
    i’m not sure now i will travel or not 😦

  2. shaun says:

    hi hunterpm question for you,
    as i mentioned in my early comment that i got only 25 days visa, what if i apply again and explain thm that my travelling dates are changed for some personal reason and my new travelling dates are after 2 months please cancel this visa n reissue me again ?
    is this good idea ?
    because we can apply visa 3 months before travel dates.
    suggest me what should i do ?
    thanks.

  3. wintersummer0212 says:

    Hi Hunter!
    I am planning to apply for schengen visa.. one requirement is the iqama with atleast 3 months validity from return date. in my case, it will only be just 2 months from my return, how will i fix this?
    for early renewal, is it possible to renew 5 months before expiry?
    my planned trip is Aug-Sept..
    Iqama expiry: November
    Visa application: by june or july

    Thank you in advance

    • hunterpm says:

      The earliest u can renew your iqama is 3months before expiration. U can still apply in your case as it’s upon their discretion if they will give shorter or longer visa validity if approved.

      • wintersummer0212 says:

        Hi Sir!
        I am planning to book a flight with 2h30 minutes layover in Paris (terminal 2c to 2f). do you think i need to apply for transit Visa? I am a Filipino.
        thanks in advance!

      • hunterpm says:

        Depends on your country of destination. CDG is a huge airport a major hub in Europe. France airports requires an ATV (airport transit visa) for Filipinos if u fly to non-Schengen airport via Paris except if u r transiting Paris on ur way to US Canada Japan or other Schengen country with valid visas from those countries.

      • wintersummer0212 says:

        Itinerary will be…
        Riyadh—Paris— Amsterdam
        Amsterdam—Rome— Riyadh
        for these flights, i don’t need ATV, am I right sir?
        Thanks!

      • hunterpm says:

        No atv needed.

  4. Ali says:

    Mr Hunter.. today I submitted my France visa file along with my wife. for my application, I had all the required documents but for my wife, she had only Application Form, Checklist paper, Iqama + passport copy. my travel agent told me the rest of documents such as travel insurance Hotel booking, flight itinerary & bank statement will be using yours for her. Although on my all these doc my wife’s name was mentioned but the staff asked to make copies for my employment letter, hotel booking & flight booking for her. unfortunately, they forgot to keep a copy of travel insurance with her documents. we had one travel insurance for both us. but they put our doc in a single bag. My question is”
    is that alright if we have a single copy of travel insurance for both us? because she doesn’t have just insurance now with her documents.
    we submitted our biometrics & later I realized it doesn’t feel good . then I went back to VFS from my midway and talked to the same lady who received our file. she took another copy of travel insurance from me & told you may go now I will keep it in your doc later. she didn’t ask for any reference or file number.
    is that normal.. will she keep it or not?
    thanking you in advance for your valuable comments.

    • hunterpm says:

      They should keep all originals with your file and all photocopies with your wife’s file. Just hope that everything will work in your favor. If visa is not issued, read the details of refusal letter and u may sight how the VFS staff handled your application incase of appeal.

      • Ali says:

        Thank you very much for your response, Mr Hunter. hoping for a favourable decision by the embassy.

  5. Hi Hunter! It’s me again..
    Do you think having an hour and 20 minutes layover in Paris/Rome is enough?
    RUH——Amsterdam (layover Paris 1h20m)
    Amsterdam—-RUH (layover Rome 1h20m)

    one thing more, regarding my Iqama expiration.. On the card is 5 yrs validity which is until 2020.. but on MOI it’s Nov. 2019 (yearly renewal). what should i write in the application form?
    Thank you in advance! God bless

    • hunterpm says:

      It could be a problem in Paris CDG if your Gate of arrival is not on the same terminal or ur connecting Gate for ur nxt flight is located in another Terminal since CDG is a huge airport and u will enter Schengen zone in Paris immigration queue might be long so check the connecting Gate & Terminal. In Rome FCO airport isnt that huge so short transit is OK. Just pray that all your flights are on time. U should put ur Iqama’s validity date, not ur MOI validity on the application.

      • For Paris CDG.. Arriving at Terminal 2C –departing At Terminal 2F
        Rome.. Terminal 1 then connecting at terminal 3..
        what do you think sir?

        I will be applying for a Family visit visa from Netherlands Embassy, does it matter ( in visa granting) if i will be entering(france)/leaving(italy) the schengen area in a different country?
        sir, any suggestion where to check flights? as i am just using skyscanner.

      • hunterpm says:

        Both terminals at CDG & FCO you’ve mentioned are just few minutes walk apart so no worries. As long as your itinerary shows u will be staying in Netherlands the longest, no worries if ur airport of arr/dep are different. Just make sure to answer question “Member State of first entry” appropriately on the application form. I normally rely cheap airfare on Google flights.

  6. A million THANKS sir!!
    > Iqama Expiration.. (5 yrs validity, i will write 2020)
    > 1h20m Layover is still manageable..(Sir, will I pass through immigration in Paris and Rome? not anymore in amsterdam?) still enough though?
    > First Entry will be France if ever?
    Thanks again for your patience 🙂

    • hunterpm says:

      Yes thats right. Ur passport will be stamped in Paris on arrival, and in Rome on departure. Ur connecting flight to/from Amsterdam will be a domestic flight.

      • Thank you Sir!
        by the way, have you tried scheduling an appointment in VFS website and then when you choose the visa center, *no seats available* will appear. i’m planning to submit my application last week of may..

      • hunterpm says:

        Pls note that weeks prior to Eid holiday is the busiest time to apply at VFS thats why any Schengen country advise applicants to apply 90 days in advance. Netherlands in particular process visa in 20 days on average, unlike France which process visa in 48hours.

  7. wintersummer0212 says:

    I was checking last week and still saw the whole month of may as available, that’s why i thought it would still be fine to make a schedule this week.. i plan to leave on July.. what can you suggest sir? Can i call vfs so that i can have it this may?

    • hunterpm says:

      Always check VFS website from time to time or maybe theres an option for VIP (for extra fee) with available slots.

      • wintersummer0212 says:

        Hello Sir, thank you! I was lucky enough to get a seat, i think someone cancelled his/her appoinment..
        For my chosen flight, will I recheck-in my bags at CDG, or i will just collect everything in Amsterdam? Flights are under one ticket..
        Thank you!

      • hunterpm says:

        U will collect ur bags in AMS.

  8. Hi Sir Hunter!
    it’s me again.. I just want to ask about some fields in the application form.. what to write in the following:
    **National identity number, where applicable
    ***Entry permit for the final country of destination, where applicable

    I am Applying for family visit visa.. flight will be RUH-Paris CDG- Amsterdam
    Amsterdam-ROme-RUH..
    THank you!

    • hunterpm says:

      If ur country of nationality is implementing the national ID system then put ur ID number, otherwise put N/A. Also N/A for final country if destination.

      • wintersummer0212 says:

        I’m also a Filipino, so it would be N/A..
        Another question sir, regarding Exit/Re-entry Visa here in Saudi.. do I need to renew my Iqama first before I can get my exit/re-entry visa? will iqama expiration be a problem on my case? I will go on July 16 and be back here in Riyadh on Sept. 5, MOI iqama expiration is 3rd week of November. our company is saying that they will check first my Iqama, before getting a visa and i only have 3 more days before my appointment..

        Thanks again sir..

      • hunterpm says:

        U can renew ur iqama 90 days before expiration, in my company if u comeback in ksa 2 months before expiration u can still get exit reEntry valid for 60 days, check with ur HR.

  9. Thank you Sir!
    They were able to process my Visa..
    by the way Sir, have you tried filling-up the application form using Adobe? I can’t write my full address on the space. When I try to print, it will not show the complete address.Also, on the space for iqama number, it will just accept 5 or six numbers. do you know how to fix this sir?

  10. mohsinhafeez16 says:

    Hey hunter,
    Ive stapled all documents which were of more than one page. Including my form. Should i remove the staples or print everything new? Because my appointment is in 3 days.

  11. mohsinhafeez16 says:

    Hey Mr Hunter,
    Can you please explain what to include in the cover letter and what do you mean by daily itinerary? And what do you mean by iqama wirh english translation?

    • hunterpm says:

      Cover letter, say a little background about u, your work and what u plan to do in France. Itinerary is what u plan to do during the first day, second day, third day and so on. Your Iqama is written in Arabic, u need to go to translation office near u to have it translated into English.

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