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Securing Your Visa for the 2024 Paris Olympics: Essential Information for Olympic Participants 

Updated: Jul 11

With the 2024 Paris Olympics fast approaching, understanding the visa options available for all attendees is crucial. Whether you are a participant, an official guest, or a spectator, this guide will help you navigate the specific requirements and procedures for obtaining a visa during this prestigious event.


 

Olympic Charter and Visa Regulations 


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The Olympic Charter, specifically Article 52, allows "Members of the Olympic Family" to enter the host country with just a travel document and accreditation. They can stay for up to one month before and one month after the Olympic Games. 


To accommodate this, visas issued by the host states for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (JOP) are subject to specific procedures and conditions detailed in an annex to the visa code (Regulation (EC) No. 810/2009 of the European Parliament and Council, July 13, 2009, Article 49, Annex XI). Before the visa code's implementation, these procedures were governed by Regulation No. 1295/2003 for the Athens 2004 Olympics. 



Who Benefits from the Specific Visa Procedure? 


A "member of the Olympic Family" includes individuals associated with the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, international federations, national Olympic and Paralympic committees, and Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG). It also covers athletes, judges, referees, coaches, sports technicians, medical staff, accredited media, senior executives, donors, patrons, and other official guests. However, spectators do not fall under this special provision and must follow the regular Schengen visa application process. 

Short-stay visas issued to the Olympic Family are also valid for French Polynesia. 



Visa Application Procedures 


Visa applications for Olympic participants are grouped and submitted with the Olympic accreditation card applications to the organizing committee of the host state (Regulation (EC) No. 810/2009, Article 49, Annex XI). For the Paris 2024 Olympics, the process can be facilitated by external service providers like VFS Global, TLS Performance or Capago depending of your country of residence. These are all external providers, contracted by the French authorities. Three categories of visa applicants are distinguished: 

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1. Olympic Family Members: These individuals need only present a travel document and a letter from the Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (COJO) related to their accreditation. They do not need to submit their application on France-visas; the service provider only collects biometric data.  

  • Travel Requirements: Accreditation Card and a Schengen Visa, both obtainable through the "Olympic Consulate." The Schengen Visa is applied for during the Accreditation Card application process. 

  • Procedure: Unlike previous Games, the Accreditation Card for Paris 2024 does not serve as a visa waiver. Accredited individuals who need a visa must follow a special procedure:  i. Visa applicants must affirm their request for visa assistance during the accreditation process. The OCOG manages the visa request as part of this procedure, so applicants should not apply through the France-Visas website.  ii. The virtual "Olympic Consulate," operational since January 2024, centralises all applications in France.  iii. Applicants are only required to complete the in-person biometric data submission at any French Consulate, including those outside their country of residence.  iv.Priority access is provided, with processes varying by country and external visa centre (TLS/VFS/Capago). This can be either without an appointment or through dedicated appointment slots.  v. Minimal documentation is necessary.  vi. No service or application fees are imposed.  vii. Applicants retain their passports throughout the procedure; the visa number will be printed onto the Accreditation Card rather than inserted in the passport. 

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2.OCOG Guests: This includes accredited individuals needing to stay in France outside the accreditation period. They follow the general visa application regime but benefit from an invitation letter from COJO, exemption from visa fees and service charges, and easier appointment scheduling. 


  • Eligibility: Official invitees of the OCOG. 

  • Travel Requirements: Ordinary Schengen visa and a Letter of Invitation. 

  • Procedure: The standard Schengen visa application process with specific steps:  i. Complete a visa application on the France-Visas website.  ii. When booking an appointment, select the visa type “Invited by the Organising Committee of the Paris Olympics 2024” or “short-stay visa application” > “work” project > “sporting event”. The specific type may vary by country and external visa center (TLS/VFS/Capago).  iii. No service or application fees are charged.  iv. Applicants must submit their passport for the standard Schengen visa to be inserted. 

 

3. Spectators: Spectators must follow the general visa application process and provide proof of an entry ticket. 


  • Eligibility: Fans and visitors attending the Olympic Games as tourists. 

  • Travel Requirements: Ordinary Schengen visa. 

  • Procedure: Standard Schengen visa application process. 

 

As of February 1, 2024, the official France-visas site has not published specific information related to Olympic and Paralympic visas. 

 

 

Visa Issuance for Olympic Family Members 

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The visa granted is a uniform visa with multiple entries, allowing a stay of up to 90 days during the Olympic and/or Paralympic Games. This visa is marked by the attachment of two numbers on the Olympic accreditation card. It can be denied if the applicant is flagged for non-admission or considered a threat to public order, national security, or international relations of any member state (Regulation (EC) No. 810/2009, Article 49, Annex XI). 



Competent Authorities for Visa Processing 


For the 2024 Olympics in France, two main authorities are designated for visa issuance: 

  • The Director of French Nationals Abroad and Consular Administration (DFAE) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for foreigners holding diplomatic passports or similar, and specific individual cases related to France's foreign policy. 

  • The Director of Immigration of the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas Territories, handling other cases. 


These authorities can delegate their signature powers (Decree No. 2022-1629, December 23, 2022). 


By understanding these visa options and procedures, Olympic participants and stakeholders can efficiently navigate the requirements for the 2024 Olympic Games, our legal expertise will help you navigate the complexities ensuring a smooth and successful experience in Paris.


Happy Olympics! 




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