I would like to travel to France before the starting date of my long sejour visa. I thought it will be no problem since I can travel to the Schengen only with my passport without asking any permission for three months as tourist, but now I was told I have to enter France exactly the date that my long sejour visa says. Is it true?

I have read this post but I am not sure I found the answer.

Note: I have been calling the French consulate in my country since last Thursday but no one is answering the phone. I suppose they are in holidays, but my flight is very soon so I have to know what to do as soon as possible.

Edit ten years later: It's been a long time since I posted this. Finally, it wasn't a problem in France. I asked at the airport, immigration office, and they told me it wasn't a problem, so I didn't do anything special. That being said, immigration policies are changing in France and I don't know if it will be the same now, ten years later.

  • What passport do you have? and are you going to stay for more than a year? in other words will you need the residence permit (carte de séjour)? Dec 24, 2012 at 21:53
  • I have a passport that allows me to visit France for no more than 3 months in a row. Now, the consulate has gave me a visa for one year, since I am staying for about 3 years. That visa starts January 7th, the question is if I am able to enter before that date as a tourist. Dec 24, 2012 at 22:06
  • Knowing your nationality may help in better answers. Dec 24, 2012 at 22:30
  • It does not. It is valid for one year and it says: type of visa: D, duration of stay: XXX days; however, I do think I have to ask the carte de séjour. Thank you very much for your help. Dec 24, 2012 at 23:12
  • @RafaelAngarita did you end up entering visa-free before your visas valid date? How did it go??
    – Ozzy
    Jul 29, 2019 at 4:15

2 Answers 2


Reading all over the internet suggests that you go to the UK and re-enter again with your long sejour visa. In addition to that the official website of the French Ministry of Interior says:

• A valid visa corresponding to the reason for and duration of the intended stay (except for visa waivers);

and in the required documents upon arrival section (Family or Private Visit):

Proof of Accommodations (accommodations affidavit validated by the mayor of the municipality where the host resides) Exemptions: - Humanitarian trip or forming part of a cultural exchange (the accommodations affidavit may be replaced by an affidavit from the host organization or by an invitation if the organization is accredited) – affidavit exemption by the consular authority (if the stay is justified by an urgent medical reason or by the funeral of a relative)

It looks like you will have a different process of entry for the long stay visas and entering with Schengen visa does not cover that, therefore you will have two options, either postpone your arrival in France, or go early and then go to the UK and re-enter again.

  • Not necessarily the UK, depending on where you are in France it could be much more convenient to re-enter from any of the surrounding countries, all of which are in the Schengen area. A short drive to drive to Spain/Italy would be a lot better from the South for instance
    – user61942
    Jan 8, 2019 at 19:49

Old question but I see it linked a lot so I'm going to add some information I believe is pertinent. I received the following email from the Austrian BMI regarding entering visa-fee before a Visa D is valid. Keep in mind this is a translation from the original email in german:

"If the visa-free stay is short or the travel purpose for the visa-free stay is different from the one for the visa D stay (eg first tourism, then study/employment), the entry would be lawful. Whereby a visa-free entry (observing the rule: 90 days per period of 180 days) and the subsequent stay with a visa D is seamlessly possible."

Suggesting that a third-country national with visa-free privileges may enter before validity date on the D Visa and that a "Visa Run" to the UK is not technically necessary

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