7,372 short-stay French visas refused by London consulate in 2023

The UK is seventh-highest country for Schengen visa applications for France… and has one of the best acceptance rates. We look at possible reasons for refusal

Visas involve a sticker being placed in the traveller's passport, which is checked at the border

People in the UK made more than 130,000 short-term Schengen visa applications to France in 2023, with the vast majority being accepted. 

However, 7,372 requests – 5.6% – were refused. This can happen for a number of reasons, usually relating to mistakes during the application process.

Applications from the UK were the seventh-highest for a French short-stay visa in 2023, with Morocco (310,057 applicants), Algeria (279,005), China (271,111), India (176,237), Saudi Arabia (145,096), and Turkey (140,104) all ranking higher. 

However, unlike many of these countries, the UK's own nationals have visa-free access to the EU for short stays, meaning that the applications to France's London consulate would have been from other countries' nationals who live in the country and who benefit neither from EU free movement nor a short-stay visa-waiver for the Schengen area.

Britons, as well as several other nationalities, can benefit from up to 90 days of visa-free access to the Schengen area.

Read more: How does EU's 90/180-day rule work when visiting France?

The data comes from the EU Commission and shows information on visa requests for several EU countries.

People in America made just over 50,000 visa applications.

There were 2,387 from Australia and 11,272 from Canada. All of these countries' nationals also benefit from visa-free access for short-stays of less than 90 days.

Read more: READER EXPERIENCES: French residency permit delays

Why can these visas be refused? 

The main reasons for a short-stay visa refusal listed on France's Service public website include:

  • Not being able to provide the correct documents (proof of accommodation, resources, medical insurance, etc)

  • Attaching the wrong – or poor quality versions of the correct – documents, that do not provide the necessary details

  • Being on a list of people unauthorised to enter the Schengen area

  • Not being able to show proof of your plans to leave France at the end of the visa period

  • Not being able to provide a strong enough justification for your visit

If your visa request is refused, the French government must provide a valid justification for the refusal (usually one of the points above). 

You have 30 days to contest the decision. More information can be found on the France Visas website.

Numbers remain similar to 2022

Overall, there were 130,181 short-term visa applications by UK residents to France in 2023, of which 94.4% were accepted. 

This was the highest rate among the top ten countries in which applications were made to visit France.

In 2022, 91,702 short-term visa requests were made by UK residents and 95.9% were accepted.

Britons in France and residency cards

Note these are only the statistics for short-stay visas, issued to people living in the UK who benefit from neither a visa waiver nor EU free movement (eg. Russians, Chinese people, Pakistanis, South Africans etc).

They are different from long-stay visa applications, or residency card applictions (which are used to extend a long stay).

'Long stay' refers to coming for more than three months, often as part of a move to France.

A huge spike in applications for long-term residency permits for Britons in France came in 2020 and 2021, as such a permit became mandatory due to Brexit. Prior to this, Britons did not need visas or residency cards, though they could, optionally, apply for a card as EU citizens if they wanted proof of their residency in France.

Read more: How many residency cards are being issued to Britons post-Brexit?

However by 2022, these numbers had fallen sharply.

Preliminary figures for 2023 show that 8,700 Britons applied for a long-term French residency permit that year (full data is usually released by the French government on immigration figures at the end of June).