France opens visa applicaion centre in Kingston

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

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APPLICANTS for visas for stays over 90 days in mainland France and all visas for French overseas territories no longer have to travel to Panama to have their applications processed.

Since August 7, this is being done through the Consulate General of France in Washington, DC, through a visa application centre opened by VFS Global, at the offices of DHL at 19 Haining Road in Kingston.

Speaking at the inauguration of the VFS visa application centre at DHL yesterday, French Ambassador to Jamaica Denys Wibaux said the centre represents a milestone in relations between Jamaican and France, and will facilitate more travel for Jamaican nationals to French territories.

“It should facilitate the travel of the people who want to visit France. As you may know, we have the Schengen agreement for more than 20 years… we have Martinique, Guadeloupe [and] other islands [and] we have some which are divided between France and the Netherlands. There are a number of Jamaicans who want to know these islands, [and] want to spend some time there. Their visa applications will be processed here by VFS. The same applies to students or others who wish to stay in France for more than three months — they will go through here,” Ambassador Wibaux explained.

Since 2015, after the consular sector of the French Embassy here was closed, applicants have had to travel to the French Embassy in Panama to submit their applications in person.

VFS Global Regional Head for the Americas Bernard Vijaykumar said that as the world-leading outsourcing service specialist for diplomatic missions worldwide VFS has partnered with the Government of France for diplomatic missions in 21 countries, including Jamaica.

Applicants should visit the French visa official website at https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en_US/web/france-visas, and enter the required information, then create an account and fill out the application form online. They can then create an account on the VFS Global website to schedule an appointment and pay the service fee, then return to their France visa account to confirm the appointment, download and print the visa application form, and receipt of visa application, which includes a checklist of supporting documents that will be required by the French consular authorities.

Applicants are then required to visit the VFS Visa Application Centre for France at DHL's head office with their passport and other specified documents.

“On the appointment date, 15 minutes before the time they visit the office here…we have an officer who will go through the application to ensure that we are completely in compliance with the requirements of the French consulate, we accept the applications, we collect the appropriate visa fees,” Vijaykumar outlined.

The documents are then sent to Washington, DC, United State and the applicant is given a unique reference number which allows tracking. He noted that the processing time is 12 days, including transit time.

The applicant has the choice of collecting their passport in person or having the document delivered to their home or office. Persons were advised to submit their visa applications at least 15 days before their travel dates to avoid undue delays.

Meanwhile, the French authorities have emphasised that visa applications for Jamaican nationals who wish to travel to mainland France for less than 90 days, remain the same, as they must apply for a Schengen visa at the Spanish Embassy in Kingston.

— Alphea Saunders

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