‘8,000 apply for visa in ’24 1st quarter; France Kuwaitis’ favorite destination

‘Cascade’ visa facilitates travel to Europe: Ambassador Le Flécher

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KUWAIT CITY, April 27: The French Ambassador to Kuwait, Claire Le Flécher, expressed her appreciation about the fact that France continues to be one of the favorite tourist destinations for Kuwaitis. In a press conference held to talk about the Schengen visa with the approaching summer season, Ambassador Le Flécher said, “In 2022, the Consular Section received approximately 41,000 visa applications. In 2023, the Consular Section received approximately 42,000 visa applications. During the first three months of 2024, nearly 8,000 visa applications were received. In line with the historical friendship between our two countries, the large number of Kuwaitis who choose France to spend their holidays is evidence of the vitality of economic and cultural exchanges between us.”

French Ambassador Claire Le Flécher

Ambassador Le Flécher highlighted the European Commission’s decision in September 2023 to implement the “cascade” visa, which constitutes an important step towards facilitating the travel of Kuwaiti citizens to Europe. She explained that, as of the first application, Kuwaiti citizens can obtain a five-year visa valid for all Schengen countries, provided that the passport has sufficient validity and the duration of each stay does not exceed 90 days out of every 180 days. The applicant must apply for a visa at the embassy of the country in which he plans to spend most of his first visit, and subsequent visits can then be made in any other country in the Schengen area. The “cascade” visa is only for Kuwaiti citizens, and citizens of other nationalities residing in Kuwait must apply for a new visa for each visit to France. With France hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, coinciding with the peak of the tourist season, visa applications for France will witness a significant increase globally. Hence, the waiting period for visas is likely to increase significantly.

In order to avoid any difficulty in obtaining a visa, the French Embassy strongly recommends that the visa processing procedures be carried out well before the travel date. The visa application can also be submitted up to six months before the travel date. The applicant must first verify the validity of his application on the France visa website – https://france-visas.gouv.fr and then schedule an appointment on the website of the visa services company through https://fr-kw.capago.eu Ambassador Le Flécher invited those wishing to attend the Olympic Games as spectators to purchase their tickets now on the official website of the Paris 2024 ticket office, and then apply for a tourist visa as soon as possible through the usual procedures on the France visa website. She indicated that the embassy’s consular team processes about 150 applications daily, and this number can reach 300 application files in the summer. Ambassador Le Flécher explained that the period for a visa may take six weeks. Therefore those wishing to travel to France during the summer must submit their applications as soon as possible, The visa file for Kuwaitis requires a valid passport, an airline ticket, and a health insurance certificate covering the duration of stay, as well as a hotel reservation.

To obtain a five-year visa, the passport must be valid for more than five years. If the validity of the passport is less than five years, the duration of the visa will be reduced to match the passport. A multiple-entry visa is then issued, ranging from six months to four years. The duration of the visa is calculated so that it expires three months before the expiry date of the applicant’s passport. Ambassador Le Flécher said, “About 95 percent of visa applications for Kuwaiti citizens are approved every year. Most of the rejection cases are related to a problem in the application itself. Therefore, we invite applicants to check that their application file contains all the required documents and correct information.” She highlighted the mandatory presence of the applicant at the Capago office, as the applicant’s photo and fingerprints must be taken in the building. Ambassador Le Flécher said, “Since France will host the 2024 Olympic Games during the upcoming tourist season, visa applications for France will witness a sharp increase on a global scale, and the waiting time to secure visas may increase. To avoid any difficulty in the visa application process, the applicant must take into account that about six weeks are needed to issue the visa, in addition to the waiting time before the appointment, which can reach 3 weeks, depending on the period. In general, the applicant must begin the process at least nine weeks before the scheduled departure date. The sooner, the better, especially since the visa application can be submitted up to six months before the scheduled trip.”

By Fares Al-Abdan
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff

This news has been read 2058 times!

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