I am an Indian citizen with F-1 status travelling from the U.S. to India. I am going to have a layover of 12 hours in Paris while on my way to India and another layover of 6 hours in Amsterdam while returning from India. Do I need any visas for sightseeing Paris and Amsterdam during the respective layovers?
Yes, you need a visa, called the “Uniform Schengen” short-stay visa. You can see all the details on the French Embassy's website, but your case is the following:
- You wish to visit France and other Member States of the Schengen Area (including France) for a maximum period of 90 days per semester for various purposes (tourism, shopping, business trip, visiting a relative/friend, participation in an exhibition/ fair/ conference, studies, internships, artistic events, research, etc.): “Uniform Schengen” short-stay visa
Note that, even if you didn't leave there airport in Paris, you would still need a transit visa:
- You simply wish to transit through a French airport (without accessing French national territory): Airport transit visa