Am­bas­sador ex­plains visa con­di­tions to travel to France

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Faten Omar

As the sum­mer travel sea­son ap­proaches, the French Em­bassy to Kuwait held a press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day to high­light the visa pro­ce­dures for trav­el­ers to France this sum­mer in or­der to help them avoid de­lays or re­jec­tions. Ca­pago In­ter­na­tional has been man­dated by the French Em­bassy in Kuwait to process all ap­pli­ca­tions for Schen­gen visas by Kuwaiti na­tion­als and per­ma­nent res­i­dents wish­ing to visit France and French overseas ter­ri­to­ries.

“25,000 visas have been is­sued since the be­gin­ning of 2017,” French Am­bas­sador Chris­tian Nakhla said. “The per­cent­age of re­jected ap­pli­ca­tions reached less than one per­cent for Kuwaitis and two per­cent for ex­pats. We want Kuwaitis, non-Kuwaitis and even bedoons to be ex­cited about trav­el­ing to France and be sure that the visa will be ready for them with­out any com­pli­ca­tions.”

Dur­ing the sum­mer sea­son, trav­el­ers used to take ap­point­ments by call­ing the em­bassy, but now, peo­ple do not need to book an ap­point­ment any­more to ap­ply for a visa to France. “We now work on a first come first serve ba­sis,” Nakhla added. “Trav­el­ers should re­fer to the in­dica­tive wait­ing time that is dis­played on our In­sta­gram’s ac­count where they can know when is the best time for them to ap­ply for their visa. The wait­ing time is up­dated on a weekly ba­sis, where red means long wait, while green in­di­cates the best time to ap­ply from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.”

About the pro­ce­dres, the am­bas­sador con­firmed that the tick­ets are oblig­a­tory to get a French visa to make sure that France is the sin­gle or main des­ti­na­tion. If the main des­ti­na­tion in Schen­gen is not de­ter­mined, the point of en­try into the Schen­gen area be­comes France by de­fault. The am­bas­sador added that the ho­tel reser­va­tion is not a nec­es­sary con­di­tion any­more. The visa ap­pli­ca­tion only re­quires the pass­port, ticket, in­sur­ance and two pass­port size pho­tos, he ex­plained.

For house­maids, Nakhla pointed out that the maids must travel with the spon­sor. “We ac­cept the visa for a maid if she is work­ing for the fam­ily for more than one year, and the num­ber of ser­vants should be pro­por­tional to the num­ber of fam­ily mem­bers. It looks sus­pi­cious if one per­son is trav­el­ing with three maids,” he said. Af­ter an ap­pli­ca­tion for Schen­gen visa has been sub­mit­ted, pro­cess­ing nor­mally takes less than 48 hours if the ap­pli­cant is a Kuwaiti na­tional or up to 15 days if the ap­pli­cant has a dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­ity to re­ceive the nec­es­sary clear­ances. “Trav­el­ers may re­ceive a short mes­sage on their phone to know that their visa is ready or they can re­ceive their pass­port through DHL de­liv­ered to their homes,” he said.

For Kuwaitis who have the new elec­tronic pass­port but they have the Schen­gen visa for France in their old one, Nakhla ex­plained that they should travel with both the old pass­port that con­tains the valid visa and the new one. The am­bas­sador fur­ther noted that France is the world’s top tourist des­ti­na­tion, with more than 80 mil­lion tourists, which shows why France takes all the se­cu­rity mea­sures.

KUWAIT: French Am­bas­sador Chris­tian Nakhla speaks dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

—Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

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