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Reciprocity Change on E Visas for France

The U.S.Department of State has issued the following announcement which represents a significant change in the validity period for E visas for French citizens:

“Please note effective August 29, the reciprocity schedule for France will be revised for E visas.  This change will decrease the validity commensurate to the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by the Government of France.  E visas will be valid for 15 months.”

 Until now, the validity period of E visa stamps for French citizens has been five (5) years. This meant that the French E visa holder could expect to receive an E visa in his/her passport valid for a period of 5 years.  Upon arrival in the U.S., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent would admit the individual  for a period of up to two years, provided that the E visa stamp continued to be valid (i.e., had not yet expired).

With this change, beginning August 29, the State Department is reducing the validity period of the E visa stamp to just 15 months. While the individual may still seek admission to the U.S. with such a visa for a period of up to 2 years, he or she will need to apply for a new E visa at the U.S. consulate in Paris when the visa stamp expires 15 months later.  This will require another E visa application with updates on any corporate and/or financial changes as well as  justification for the individual’s continued presence in the United States. This change also will mean careful advance planning to allow sufficient time to prepare a new E visa application, to schedule the E visa appointment, to submit the application for consular review, and finally, for the individual to appear in person to apply for the visa at the consulate.

While the State Department announcement references “treatment of U.S. citizens” who seek visas for France, we have been unable to identify any change in French visa processing that would have prompted this sudden change in the validity period of E visas for French citizens.

We will be monitoring the application of this change and keep you informed of any developments.