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We hold a Schengen visa for 10 days to travel in April 2020. However, later both France and India closed their borders and still under lockdown.

What will happen to my visa or visa charges?

Traveling to the EU is uncertain in the near future, what is the best option available to me?

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  • I think this situation is so new to everyone, and obviously out of any one person's control, that no one really knows what may happen to visas during this time. My suggestion, and likely your best option, is to contact the French Embassy (or whatever embassy issued your visa) to discuss a possible solution.
    – Ozzy
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 8:14

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The official France Visas website provides the following information on Covid-19 and visas:

Because of the COVID-19 health crisis, France has stopped issuing visas until further notice. This decision applies to all visa requests (Schengen short-stay visas, long-stay visas for France, and visas for overseas France). It also applies to applications for which appointments have already been made.

The validity of French residence permits, long-stay visas and receipts for applications to renew residence permits expiring between 16 March and 15 May 2020 has been extended for three months. If you have one of these documents and are stuck outside of France because of disruption to air travel, you will therefore be able to enter or return to France once the situation allows.

If you are in France on a short-stay visa which is going to expire and you cannot return to your country of origin, either because that country has prohibited entry from France for health reasons or because flights have been suspended, for example, you can, in case of justified urgency, enjoy an extension of your short-stay visa (up to 90 days) or a provisional residence permit. You are invited to make contact with the prefecture in the area where you are living to extend your short-stay visa or receive a provisional residence permit.

There are special provisions for people stuck in France (even on short-stay visas) and for people who were about to move or return to France (with a long-stay visa or residence permit) but nothing regarding short-stay visas that have not been used. This strongly suggests your visa will simply expire and you will have to reapply (and pay the fee again) whenever this becomes possible again.

Of course, other measures could be adopted later but it's likely that this won't be considered a priority. It's also conceivable that restrictions would be lifted gradually and the French ministry for Foreign Affairs would then want to reevaluate your application in light of the new rules rather than let you travel on a visa granted before the scale of the pandemic became clear.

So the only option available to you at the moment is to wait and to consider than all fees you paid are lost.

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  • Any C-Visa will be considered non essential. The temporary travel restriction applies to all non-essential travel from third countries to the EU+ area. On 8 April, the Commission invited Member States and non-EU Schengen countries to extend the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 May. European Commission Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 10:10
  • @MarkJohnson The documents do list a few exceptions: healthcare workers, transport personnel, even imperative family reasons. The distinction between a visa-free stay and a short-stay visa is based solely on citizenship and the distinction between a long-stay and a short-stay visa is based solely on duration so even essential travel might require a short-stay visa.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 13:13
  • I would suggest you look at the presently issued visas. The a field named 'type', which can contain either C or D. Was was dropped many years ago was A (formally transit). It is still very much is use. Sample: Schengen - Visa - Extension Schengen visas (visa category C) can be issued for short-term stays of up to 90 days in the Schengen region Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 13:16
  • A D-Visa can also be issued for less than 3 months, especially when permission is granted for someone to work. A C-Visa generally does not allow working, other than a business trip. Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 13:29
  • @MarkJohnson That's a second-hand source from some provincial authority. Yes, you will still see references to “C visa” all over the web. More importantly, the letter is still on the stickers. But that terminology is outdated, it's not in the Schengen Visa Code anymore and the A/B/C distinction is no more. The proper terminology is “uniform short-stay visa” and “airport transit visa”. Incidentally, the visa that was dropped is the former type B, type A still exists under the name “airport transit visa”.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 13:32

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