KUWAIT: 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 producers, 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.
By Faten Omar