Immigrate To France: How To Move To France

Are you interested in moving to a country with a vibrant culture, welcoming people and irresistible cuisines? Then you should consider moving to France. The country is a great place to work, live, and retire.

To know more on how to permanently move to France, including details about the language, visa requirements and advice about life in France, contact us by calling +44 (0)333 305 9375 or send a message online.

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    Why Move To France?

    France is one of the countries in Western Europe steeped in history and known for its stunning beauty. People from all over the world come to France to soak in the culture of the French and their food.

    Below are some of the reasons why you should consider living, studying, working or retiring in France:

    World-class Educational System

    The French educational system has produced some of the world-renowned scholars. This is a testament to how effective their education is.

    Many students from around the globe flock to the country yearly to get a quality education. International students are moving to France from their country because the cost of studying in France is affordable.

    Most public schools in France do not charge tuition fees. Students are only required to make semester contributions to the school. So, if you want to study abroad, you should look into France.

    Excellent Healthcare System

    The healthcare system in France is one of the best in the world. Citizens and residents of France enjoy health insurance provided by the government. This public Insurance covers up to 70% of medical costs.

    Free Movement

    France is a member of the EU and Schengen. If you have a valid permit to stay in France, you can visit other countries in the EU and Schengen area without applying for a visa.

    If you eventually become a French citizen, you get a passport that gives you visa-free entry into more than 180 countries.

    Effective Transport System

    The transport system in France is affordable and effective. Residents and citizens can easily access transportation from any part of the country. There are many options for you to choose from when moving around France.

    You can use the tram, bus, metro or rail system. France has a good network of roads that even links to other countries.

    Beautiful Scenery

    France is blessed with breathtaking views. The country’s sheer beauty is enough to captivate your senses and have you retire in the country.

    French People and Culture

    The French are very polite people, always welcoming and willing to lend a helping hand. They have a beautiful culture that combines art, music, sports and history. You’ll enjoy French football and fandom if you are a football fan.


    You cannot talk about the upsides of France without mentioning the mouth-watering cuisines that keep attracting visitors yearly to France. You are in for a treat if you are living in France.

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      Can Anyone Immigrate To France?

      French immigration is for everyone. However, the process you will undergo before moving to France depends on where you are from. These rules may be more stringent if you are not an EU citizen.

      Below are categories of people that can immigrate to France and the conditions attached:

      EU Citizens

      If you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you don’t need to apply for a visa to move to France. You only need to show your national identity card or passport at the border to gain entry. However, you must register with the local authority and get a carte de séjour (residence permit).

      Once you get your residence permit sorted, you can live, work, study, raise a family and do business in France without restrictions.

      Non-EU Citizens

      If you are not from the EU, you may need a short-stay visa to stay in France for 90 days or less. Some countries like Canada and the US have an agreement with the EU, and Schengen countries like France. This agreement permits their citizens to visit and stay for a maximum of 90 days.

      If your country does not have this kind of agreement with France, you’ll need to apply for a short-stay or Schengen visa.

      Anyone not from the EU/EEA/Switzerland who wants to stay longer than 90 days in France will apply for a visa.


      If you are a non-EU international student looking to undertake study that will last for less than 90 days in France, then you have to apply for the Schengen visa.

      If your studies take longer than 90 days, you’ll have to apply for a student resident permit. The student resident permit allows you to work for some hours in France.


      You can also choose to retire in France. To do this, you’ll have to obtain a residence permit. You can only get a residence permit if you have a long-stay visa.

      Family Members of French Citizens or Residents

      A French family visa is also available for the family members of French citizens and residents. You can get your family to join you in France as a dependent if they are your:

      • Spouse
      • Child who is less than 21 years of age.
      • Parents, if they are financially and physically dependent on you.

      If you want your family to join you in France, you must prove you are financially buoyant to care for them.

      France Visa Types

      There are many French visa types. The type of visa you need to enter France depends on your purpose for entering the country.

      Below are visas you can apply for if you want to move to France:

      Schengen or Tourist Visa

      The most famous French visa is the Schengen visa, also known as the French tourist visa. This short-stay visa permits you to stay in France for a maximum of 30 days. With this visa, you can also visit other countries in the Schengen region.

      The Schengen visa is up for application if you want to:

      • Study a course in France that will not take more than 90 days to finish.
      • Get medical treatment in a French hospital.
      • Attend a business meeting or work-related conference.
      • Attend a religious conference or meeting.
      • Go on an official visit to France.
      • Visit family or friends living in France.
      • Tour or holiday in France.

      The Schengen visa is not extendable and does not permit the holder to take up any form of employment, whether paid or unpaid.

      Transit Visa

      The transit visa is needed if you intend to land on French soil on your way to a country not part of the EU or Schengen.

      Work Visa

      Another kind of visa you can apply for is a work visa. The French work visa permits you to work temporarily or permanently in France. It is also a route towards French permanent residency.

      There are various kinds of work visas, depending on the work you are coming to do.

      There are visas for the self-employed, the investor, the professional assistant and the seasonal worker.

      Student Visa

      If you want to take up studies in France that will last more than 3 months, you must apply for a student visa.

      Visa for Family Reunification

      If you are already in France, your family can join you. They can stay with you in France for as long as your visa is valid.

      Visa for Retirees

      If you intend to retire in France, you can apply for a visa in that regard.

      Spousal Visa

      If your spouse is a French citizen or resident, you can apply for a spousal visa to join them in the country.

      Eligibility Requirements For Moving In France

      If you’d like to move to France, here are the general eligibility requirements you must meet:

      • Signed and completed visa application form from the French government website.
      • Two recent passport photographs that meet the EU visa photograph standard.
      • Valid passport. It must not be older than 10 years and must still be valid 3 months after your visa expires.
      • Medical Insurance valid throughout the EU and valued at a minimum of €30,000.
      • Copies of former visas issued to you.
      • Cover letter outlining your reason for going to France.
      • Flight itinerary.
      • Evidence of accommodation in France. This could be a hotel or Airbnb booking, rental agreement or property deed.
      • Birth and marriage certificates if you have a family.
      • Proof of financial means. You must show you have €65 daily if your accommodation is sorted. Otherwise, you’ll have to show €120.
      • Employment contract, if it applies.
      • Admission letter or evidence of enrollment from a French school, if it applies.
      • Pension statement from your bank, if it applies.
      • Invitation letter, if it applies.
      • Medical attestation from a doctor in France, if it applies.
      • Corporate bank statement, if it applies.
      • Evidence of tax returns, if it applies.

      Immigrating to France For Work


      There are many employment opportunities in the French job market. The most common jobs are teaching, IT, marketing, hospitality and management.

      To work in France, you’ll need to obtain a work permit that authorises you to stay in France for up to 1 year.

      There are various work permits, and the type you’ll apply for depends on what you are coming to do.

      Here are the various types of work permits:

      • Work permit for salaried employees.
      • Work permit to create or run a business.
      • Work permit for independent and professional workers.
      • Work permit for sportspeople.
      • Work permit for volunteer work.
      • Work permit for people working in international organisations in France.


      Before applying for a work permit, you must submit these documents to prove your eligibility:

      • Work visa application form.
      • Valid passport.
      • Two passport photographs.
      • Proof of funds, e.g. bank statements.
      • Employment contract authorised by the DIRECCTE.
      • Criminal record certificate from your country and every other country you have spent at least 3 months in the past 5 years.
      • Receipt of application fee payment.
      • OFII (the French Office for Immigration and Integration)form for residence permits longer than 3 months.
      • Tax clearance.
      • Certificate of business registration.
      • Business plan.
      • Evidence of your professional status.

      It is important to note that to perform well in the French job market, you’ll need some basic knowledge of the French language.

      How to Apply

      To apply for a work visa, follow these steps:

      1. Get your documents ready.
      2. Complete the visa application form.
      3. Pay the application fee of €99 and include the receipt with your other supporting documents.
      4. Set up an appointment with the French Embassy or Consulate and go with your supporting documents.
      5. Attend your interview.

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        Immigrating to France to Study


        France boasts of many institutions of learning. Some of the most popular ones include the University of Paris-Saclay, University of Paris, Nantes University, University Montpellier, University of Bordeaux and University of Rennes. Some of these schools partner with NGOs to give scholarships to outstanding international students. This is how to move to France with no money.


        To apply for a study visa, submit these documents to prove your eligibility:

        • Signed and completed French study visa application form.
        • Two recent digital passport photographs.
        • Valid passport.
        • Copies of former visas.
        • Bank statement showing you have enough money to cater to your stay.
        • Evidence that you have enrolled in a French institution.
        • Evidence you have somewhere to stay.
        • Criminal record certificate from your country.
        • Evidence that you have paid the visa fee.
        • Medical insurance policy certificate.
        • Cover letter outlining your study project.
        • Certificate of previously attended institutions.

        To apply for the study visa, take the following steps:

        1. Gather your documents.
        2. Complete the application form.
        3. Pay the visa application fee of €50-€99, depending on your country.
        4. Schedule and attend an interview with the French Embassy with your supporting documents.
        5. Pick up your visa.
        6. Apply for a residence permit at the OFII within 2 months of entering France.

        If you want to study in France, you have to know that some courses are taught in French. Hence, you’ll need to prove you can understand French before you are admitted into a French school. Some schools teach some courses entirely in English. You may apply for these schools instead.

        Immigrating In France for Family Reunification

        If you are already in France with a valid visa, your family members can apply to join you in France. The duration of their visa will be tied to yours.

        There are different categories of family reunification visas. The type your family member will apply for depends on your status in France. Your status in France also determines the family member that you can sponsor.

        Below are the categories:

        Family Visa for the Family Members of French Citizens

        As a citizen, your family members that can join you are:

        • Your spouse.
        • Your child below 21.
        • Your older sibling or older sibling of your spouse.
        • Your parents or grandparents.
        • Your spouse’s parents or grandparents.

        Family Visa for the Family Members of EU Citizens

        The family members that can apply to join you are:

        • Your spouse.
        • Your child or dependent under 21.
        • Your siblings.
        • Your spouse’s siblings.

        Family Visa for family members of non-EU Citizens

        Here are the family members that can join you in France if you are a non-EU member:

        • Your spouse.
        • Your child that is younger than 21.

        There are 2 primary criteria that you or your family member must meet to get this visa. First, you have to prove that there is a genuine relationship between you. You do this by submitting a marriage or birth certificate.

        Secondly, you must show you can financially fend for them in France.

        Here are the documents you have to present to the Embassy:

        • Visa application form.
        • Two passport photographs.
        • Valid passport.
        • Copies of former visas.
        • Criminal record certificate.
        • Marriage or birth certificate to prove a relationship with the French resident or citizen.
        • Receipt of application fee payment.

        To apply for the family reunification visa, take the following steps:

        1. Complete and sign the visa application form.
        2. Gather your supporting documents.
        3. Pay the application fee of €99.
        4. Schedule and attend an interview with the French Embassy

        Total Law's immigration team can be on your side guiding you through the application process of your visas and permits. Contact Us

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          Moving In France To Marry

          There is no visa for marriage in France. To marry in France, you must have been in France on another type of visa. You can apply for a French tourist visa and then get married in France.

          Note that at least one person in the union must reside in France for the marriage to be held.

          The primary requirement you are required to meet is the certificate of celibacy. You must prove to the local authorities in charge of weddings that you are not in any marriage or that your previous spouse has passed.

          The weddings must be conducted in a local town hall to be legally recognised. Religious weddings alone do not have legal backing in France.

          Immigrating In France To Retire

          To obtain a retirement visa in France, you must first be a resident holding a long-stay visa.

          Retirees will need to apply for Carte de Sejour for Retirees after living in France for at least 4 years. You can apply for this visa at the sub-prefecture or prefecture near you.

          This visa is valid for 1 year and is renewable.

          The condition for applying for this visa is that you will not do any work or earn any money from work in France. You can, however, still receive your pension.

          If you want to retire in France, you must show you have a pension that pays you between €1500 to €2500 monthly. The exact amount you need depends on your family size.

          Retirees must also show they have medical Insurance and a clear criminal record.

          Obtaining French Citizenship

          There are many routes to obtaining French citizenship, and here they are below:

          Citizenship by Descent

          If you have at least one parent who is a French citizen at the time of your birth, then you can claim citizenship by descent. Note, your French parent must recognise you as their child for this to be possible.

          Citizenship by Marriage

          To acquire citizenship by marriage, you must have been the spouse of a French citizen for at least 4 years.

          You must have also lived in France for at least 3 years since you married the French citizen and have lived in France for 1 uninterrupted year.

          Citizenship by Naturalisation

          You can acquire citizenship if you have lived in France for at least 5 years.

          Citizenship by Birth or Adoption

          You can claim French citizenship by adoption if you were born to or adopted in France by a French parent.

          Eligibility Criteria

          You have to use the documents below to prove you are eligible to get French citizenship:

          • Apart from citizenship by birth or adoption, you can only claim citizenship if you are at least 18.
          • Birth certificate of parents.
          • Proof of residence in France.
          • Proof of proficiency in French.
          • Certificate of higher education in France.
          • Adoption/birth certificates
          • Evidence of identity like the passport.
          • Two passport photographs.
          • Evidence of residence in France like rental contract, property deed, utility bills.
          • Criminal record certificate from your country and any other country you have spent at least 3 months in the past 5 years.

          Application Process

          To obtain French citizenship, do the following:

          1. Prepare your documents
          2. Submit the documents to the Embassy or French government near you.
          3. Schedule your interview with the Embassy.
          4. Take the French proficiency class.
          5. After approval, attend your citizenship ceremony and swear to be loyal to the French government.
          6. Get a French passport.

          How Total Law Can Help You?

          Immigrating to France is worth it. However, the application process can be complex, and the complexity varies depending on the kind of French visa you wish to apply for. This, and the much paperwork required, are often discouraging factors for people who want to migrate.

          However, the complexity of the visa application process should not put you off because we are capable of helping you get that proper visa. At Total Law, we boast of expert and experienced lawyers who have helped apply for French visas for many people.

          If you are at a loss as to which French visa to apply for, we can help you decide which visa is best suited for you. Our ability to assess your eligibility prevents you from wasting time and resources pursuing visas you may not be eligible for.

          If you need more information about the services we offer and how we can make your France immigration dreams come true, call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or send a message online.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    You can work in France as a foreigner. However, you must get the proper visa for you to do so.

                    You can bring your pet with you when moving to France. The government of France permits immigrants to come with a maximum of 5 pets per person. You must also carry out health checks once they get into France.

                    If you have a residence permit in France, you can open an account with any bank in France. When going for this, you’ll need to present the following documents:

                    • Residence permit.
                    • Passport.
                    • Address in France.
                    • Evidence of employment or enrolment in a French school.