Residence Permit France

Foreign nationals wishing to stay in France for a period of 90 days or more must successfully apply for a residence permit. These documents are usually issued alongside a long stay visa but there are instances in which individuals may be entitled to them standalone.

With so many France visas offering temporary residence, it can be tricky to judge which one is best for you. Call Total Law on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to learn more and help identify the right residence permits for your situation.

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    France Residence Permits Types

    For Australians, there are seven different types of residence permit that allows the holder to live in France legally. Other classes of visa and permit exist for citizens of the European Union, Switzerland, the UK and Algeria. The relevant types of residence permit for other foreign citizens are:

    • Long stay visa
    • Long stay visa as a residence permit (VLS-TS)
    • Temporary residence permit (APS)
    • Temporary or multi-annual residence card
    • Multi-annual residence card
    • Resident card
    • Retired residence card

    Each are designed for different situations and so the eligibility criteria vary.

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      The Eligibility Criteria & Requirements Of France Residence Permits For Australians

      Overview

      The variety of visas and residence permits on offer from the French authorities for foreign nationals mean that there’s something to cover off most reasons for travelling to, and staying in, the country, legally. For Australians, the journey is a long one and so it’s imperative that the most appropriate type of visa is applied for and granted in order to avoid a wasted trip. Total Law can help you identify the best residence permit for your circumstances – and support you through applying for it. Give us a call on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to learn more.

      Long stay visa

      The most common visa type for those looking to stay in France for 90 days or more is a Type D visa. Granted by French Consular Authorities, this visa class is typically issued for foreign nationals travelling to the country to work on a temporary assignment, study a course at a French educational establishment or to visit family who already legally reside there.

      There are a variety of long stay visas available, each dependent on the reason for the stay, the length or stay and the individual’s intention to apply for a residence permit covering them for a longer trip duration. However, long stay visas all do have some things in common. They are valid across every Schengen country, and so visa holders may travel around these states (as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City) without further travel permissions. All last up to one year, but may be extended after this period.

      Long stay visa holders must visit their local prefecture (Police HQ) upon their arrival in France to apply for and pay for a residence permit. Simply speaking, their visa covers them for travel to and entry into France and their residence permit covers them for actually living there.

      The exact application process and the documents to be provided depend on the type of visa being applied for. French authorities also reserve the right to pause the application process at any given time to request further supporting documents. However, the following documents can be submitted as standard:

      • A valid passport, expiring no sooner than three months after the intended end of the visa, and no more than 10 years old
      • 2x standard passport photos (some visa applications may specify three)
      • Copies of any previously granted French visas
      • Proof of health insurance covering the whole Schengen zone with a cover level of at least €30,000
      • Proof of accommodation in France (either a hotel reservation or letter from a family member or host who will house the applicant for at least part of their stay)
      • Proof of return travel (usually a flight reservation)
      • Proof of adequate financial means to not rely on French state benefits (this amount varies dependent on visa type but is generally at least equivalent to the French minimum wage)
      • A certificate issued from the applicant’s home country proving they hold a clean criminal record.

      Long stay visa as a residence permit (VLS-TS)

      A certain class of long stay visa, the VLS-TS, is valid as a residence permit as well as for travel purposes. This means that visa holders of this type do not need to apply for a separate permit when they arrive in France. Instead, a VLS-TS must be validated online with three months of arrival and a small tax paid.

      VLS-TS visas are issued in several different circumstances, but most commonly to students, foreign nationals married to a French national (whether or not they are applying for French nationality themselves), employees of French companies who are on an indefinitely defined duration of contract, and those issued with a ‘Talent Passport’ class of visa.

      A VLS-TS visa is issued to those married to or in a legal civil partnership with a French national without them having to meet any other eligibility criteria. For other applicants though, certain requirements will need to be met and the following documents submitted:

      • A valid passport, expiring no sooner than three months after the intended end of the visa, and no more than 10 years old
      • 2x standard passport photos (some visa applications may specify three)
      • Copies of any previously granted French visas
      • Proof of health insurance covering the whole Schengen zone with a cover level of at least €30,000
      • Proof of accommodation in France (either a hotel reservation or letter from a family member or host who will house the applicant for at least part of their stay)
      • Proof of return travel (usually a flight reservation)
      • Proof of adequate financial means to not rely on French state benefits (this amount varies dependent on visa type but is generally at least equivalent to the French minimum wage)
      • A certificate issued from the applicant’s home country proving they hold a clean criminal record
      • (In the case of an application due to marriage) A valid marriage and/or civil partnership certificate
      • (In the case of an application due to marriage, if the marriage took place abroad) Proof that the marriage has been registered with French authorities. This can be done retrospectively if it wasn’t filed at the time of the wedding.

      Temporary residence permit (APS)

      There are two types of French temporary residence permits that Australians can apply for: foreign national parent of a sick child and voluntary mission.

      If an Australian parent who usually lives in France with their child, who is a minor, finds they fall sick, they may apply for a temporary residency permit to stay past the period of their already agreed residence. Their child must be receiving medical care in France and must be either unable to access the same care in their country of origin or be too unwell to travel to that country.

      If a foreign national is travelling to France to carry out a voluntary mission, they may apply for a temporary residence permit providing that French authorities recognise the organisation for which they are volunteering as being in the public interest. A contract for voluntary services must have been signed before their travel to France.

      To apply for a temporary residence permit, the following supporting documents must be provided:

      • A valid passport, expiring no sooner than three months after the intended end of the visa, and no more than 10 years old
      • 3x standard passport photos
      • (In the case of application due to sick child) Full copy of the child’s birth certificate
      • (In the case of application due to sick child) Medical certificates from the child’s doctor/s
      • (In the case of application due to sick child) Proof of the current French residence with the child
      • (In the case of application due to voluntary mission) A copy of the signed voluntary contract

      A temporary residence permit for voluntary purposes is unlikely to be extended at the end of its tenure, but a temporary residence permit for the parent of a sick child may be extended dependent on the ongoing medical situation.

      Temporary or multiannual residence card

      Unlike a temporary residence permit, a temporary residence card can be issued for a variety of reasons: personal, professional and educational. Such cards are intended to grant temporary residency to a foreign national at the end of their existing stay, depending on which valid visa they already hold and what the circumstances are for them staying in France.

      Temporary residence cards are issued to those with family connections in France (through marriage or having a child), those unwell and in need of long term medical care, students who wish to continue their studies past an initial qualification period, those training to be or working as family assistants (au pairs), and those moving to France for work on either a salaried or temporary basis.

      As temporary residence cards are so varied, there is no set list of supporting documents to be submitted. Each circumstance dictates individual requirements, but the following documents can be considered mandatory no matter what type is being applied for:

      • A valid passport, expiring no sooner than three months after the intended end of the visa, and no more than 10 years old
      • Details of the applicant’s existing visa/residency
      • Proof of the applicant’s current French residence.

      Multiannual residence card

      Multiannual residence cards are granted to those who hold a professional visa for France that the country considers to be ‘desirable’ – that is, bringing in overseas workers for the benefit of the French economy. In most cases, these people will be holders of a Talent Passport visa.

      Talent passport visas are fast-track visas for those who hold particular skills or work within specific business types. These include those in ‘highly skilled’ employment, those recruited by a firm designated ‘innovative’ by the French state and those working on professional activities particularly beneficial to French culture or art. With a focus on the IT sector and tech in recent years, talent passports have also been granted to those working in or seconded to certain tech companies.

      The multiannual residence card granted alongside a talent passport visa allows visa holders to live legally in France over a period of years rather than a single one, and facilitates easy extension of their stay as required.

      Talent passport applications are judged on a case-by-case basis and so the requirements for supporting documents vary. The following documents can be considered standard and should always be included along with a visa application:

      • A valid passport, expiring no sooner than three months after the intended end of the visa, and no more than 10 years old
      • 2x standard passport photos (some visa applications may specify three)
      • Copies of any previously granted French visas
      • Proof of health insurance covering the whole Schengen zone with a cover level of at least €30,000
      • A copy of the signed and dated employment contract with a French business or French branch of a business.

      10-year resident card

      A 10-year residence card is issued in very particular circumstances to foreign nationals. Despite popular misconception, such a card does not grant permanent residence but can be renewed after its decade tenure. Such a residence permit may be issued if the applicant:

      • Is married to a French national
      • Is the child of a French national
      • Has rendered services to France (such as foreign legion engagement)
      • Benefits from international humanitarian protection or holds refugee status

      A 10-year resident card can be issued either as an applicant’s first French residence permit or as a renewal or a temporary or multiannual residence permit.

      The application process for each resident card varies dependent on the circumstances in which the applicant is eligible, but the most common requirements for supporting information to an application are the following documents:

      • A valid passport, expiring no sooner than three months after the intended end of the visa, and no more than 10 years old
      • 3x standard passport photos
      • (In the case of an application due to marriage) A valid marriage and/or civil partnership certificate
      • (In the case of application due to being a child of a French national) Full copy of the applicant’s birth certificate with the French national named on it
      • (In the case of application due to services rendered to France) Proof of services rendered, dated
      • (In the case of application due to humanitarian protection or refugee status) Documents confirming the status of the applicant.

      A 10-year resident card is often considered a route to applying for French nationality, as the individual’s value to the state has already been demonstrated by the ability to gain such a long-term residence permit.

      Retired residence card

      When an Australian retiree wishes to travel to France, they may do so and stay for one year under a retired residence card. This does not involve any visa application and is a standalone short term residency solution. Retired residence card holders may not work to earn money while in France.

      To apply for a retirement residence card, the following documents must be supplied:

      • A valid passport, expiring no sooner than three months after the intended end of the visa, and no more than 10 years old
      • 3x standard passport photos
      • Proof of habitual residence outside of France
      • Proof of payment/s received from a retirement pension

      If the non-French national is spouse to or family member of a French national or other foreign citizen already legally resident in France, they may be able to apply for a retired residence card; but this usually incurs additional criteria to be met.

      How To Obtain a Residence Permit In France As An Australian

      All French residence permits are subject to different application processes and requirements, but in most cases, a valid visa holder must visit their local prefecture (police station) within a set time frame after their arrival in France.

      Long stay visa holders must apply for a Carte de Sejour residence permit within the first three months of their arrival into the country. The process involves taking with them all documentation they hold on their current valid visa along with some personal identification, a birth certificate from their country of origin, and proof of both accommodation and income. The same process is followed for those applying for or renewing a multi-annual residence permit or retiree residence permit.

      VLS-TS holders technically have their residence permit as part of their visa, and so do not need to take part in any further application process. However, they must register their arrival in France with their local OFII office, and this must be done in the first three months of their stay.

      Applications for all classes of temporary residence permits can be made online no sooner than four months before the applicant’s intended arrival in France. Supporting documents required along with the application are a valid long stay visa, birth certificate, passport, proof of accommodation and three standardised passport photos. As soon as the application is submitted online, the applicant receives a dematerialised certificate deposit, which acts as a receipt of application.

      For a 10 year residence permit, the application process is dependent upon the applicant’s location. If outside of France, an appointment must be made at their home country’s Embassy or Consulate General. If already resident in France, an appointment for a change of status can be made at the local prefecture no sooner than two months before the expiry date of the current residence card. The applicant will need to take with them their current permit, personal identification and proof of both accommodation and income.

      It’s always recommended that expert advice is sought to guide applicants through the process. Total Law can help – whether you’re applying for a VSL-TS, standalone residence permit or believe you may be eligible to enter France due to a French parent or other family member, get in touch. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375.

      French Residence Permit Processing Times

      Where a French residence permit is being applied for at a local prefecture after the applicant’s arrival in France, there is no processing time per se; as the application will be processed in-person at their pre-booked appointment. Providing all supporting documents are supplied and any required fees are paid, the residence permit will be issued immediately.

      Where a French residence permit is being applied for prior to arrival in France, processing times may vary. Generally speaking, a decision is granted within a maximum of a six-week period – but this is subject to seasonal fluctuations in demand. Where the French authorities request further information or additional documents, the application process will be considered paused until such time as they receive what has been requested.

      French Residence Permit Costs

      Residence permits usually incur a non-refundable fee for their issue. It should be noted that these fees are separate to those payable for visa applications. As of November 2023, French residence permit fees are as follows:

      • VLS-TS – ‘registration’ fee of €250 (€60 for students or trainees)
      • All residence permits under private or family allocation – €250
      • All residence permits under ‘family of French national’ status – €25
      • All residence permits under ‘Talent Passports’ – €269
      • Retirement residence permit – €19
      • 10-year residence permit – €269

      There are some exceptions to residency permit fees, including holders of a diplomatic passport, some language teachers and scientific researchers.

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        How Can Total Law Help?

        Total Law are immigration specialists and help Australians successfully apply for a whole host of long stay visa, short stay visa and residence permit options. Whether you’re looking to enter France to take part in personal or professional activities, we can help.

        Total Law’s team guide you through every aspect of your residence permit application journey – from requesting copies of your birth certificate, negotiating an employment contract with a French business, finding up details of a French family member or just needing information on which residency permit type is right for you, we can support you. Call our office today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  French citizens are automatically entitled to reside in France and so do not require a residence permit.

                  Under international law, no person should be rendered stateless. If you believe you may be and want to apply for a French residence permit as a refugee, seek legal advice.

                  A ‘titre de séjour’ is simply reference to a foreign national’s right to reside in France, while the ‘carte de séjour’ is the visa or permit document that they use to demonstrate that right.