France is opting for the creation of an “Olympic consulate” from January 1 to centralize the 70,000 visa requests expected from members of the “Olympic family”.
An exceptional event, an exceptional device. France will set up an “Olympic consulate” from January 1 to process all visa applications submitted by members of the “Olympic family” with a view to the Paris Olympics, the Ministry of Defense announced this Thursday, September 21. the Interior. And for good reason, the authorities estimate that “nearly 70,000” applications will be processed “from January 1, 2024” in Nantes, where the visa sub-directorate is located.
The objective of this “consulate” – which will not be materialized by a physical entity – is to prevent visa requests from Olympic delegations or international athletes from being drowned out in the flood of files in prefectures, already clogged, and are processed on time. This Olympic consulate would therefore aim to “guarantee uniform processing” of applications and the issuance of visas “within timeframes compatible with the successful organization of the Games”, and to prevent athletes from being left behind. No fewer than 15,000 athletes are expected in France between the 2024 Olympic Games, which take place between July 26 and August 11, and the Paralympic Games, from August 28 to September 8.
Requests will go through the France-Visas platform, which makes it possible to collect biometric data from applicants “across the entire network of consulates and service providers”. France will thus have the opportunity to test “dematerialized” visas for the first time, since they will be integrated directly into the accreditation card of the people concerned, according to the general directorate for foreigners in France. An innovation which would foreshadow “future modernizations in the issuance of visas” according to the administration.
Since 2019, France has in fact initiated the dematerialization of administrative procedures for foreigners, whether for residence permits or visas. These procedures are accompanied by regular controversies about the difficulties for users in obtaining documents at the end of the procedure. Last year, according to official statistics, 2,337,000 visa applications were submitted in France. These were mainly (1,738,000) short visas like those that athletes and delegations will request for the 2024 Olympic Games.
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