France Retirement Visa & Residency Routes

France is one of the most popular European Union countries for retirees. If you are considering a move you need to understand the immigration process and the obligations when embarking on a new life in France.

With its reputation for complex and copious paperwork, the French administrative system can become overwhelming, particularly when combined with the language barrier. Contact Total Law on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or via our online form.

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    What Are The Ways To Retire In France?

    If you want to retire in France you will first need to apply for a Long Stay Visa from the French embassy or consulate in your home country. When you arrive in France you must apply for a Residence Permit at your local préfecture within two to three months.

    After you have been in France for more than five years you can apply for a Residency Card. Each of these steps needs to be followed and each visa or permit lasts a set time, after which it must be renewed or exchanged. You must have the correct permit to live legally in France long term.

    Most people choose the Long Stay Visitor Visa option when retiring, although if you want to invest in France you may be eligible for the Talent Passport Business Investor category.

    The minimum investment, either as an individual or through a company you control or in which you have a minimum 30% shareholding, is €300,000.

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    Requirements To Retire In France

    Many retirees coming to France have stopped working and intend to live off their passive income. Proof of this income, e.g. pensions, investments, and/or savings, will be required for people retiring to France.

    When you apply for your Long Stay Visa equivalent to a Residence Permit or Visa de Long Séjour valant Titre de Séjour (VLS-TS), you must obtain the Visitor category. This means you have no right to work in France and must prove you have sufficient financial means to support yourself.

    Your income must be at least equivalent to the French minimum wage, which is currently €1,766.92 per month before tax. Evidence in the form of bank statements, pension receipts or a portfolio report will be required.

    If you want to work in France, for example, if you have retired early, you can apply for a Work Visa. In France, it is relatively easy to set up as an entrepreneur and work for yourself, which many early retirees do.

    However, your Long Stay Visa must allow this kind of activity for your retirement in France to be legal.

    As part of the process of retiring in France, you will need private health insurance with a minimum of €30,000 coverage until you are part of the state system as a French resident. You need evidence of this medical insurance to apply for a Long Stay Visa.

    The insurance must cover you for the length of your stay in France.

    When you receive your social security number you can apply for a Carte Vitale. This card transmits all your payment information to Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM), the French organisation that handles health insurance entitlements.

    It allows automatic reimbursements of medical expenses when linked to your bank account.

    You need to provide proof of accommodation when retiring to France. Whether you intend to live in rental accommodation while searching for a property to buy or already have a house or apartment you will be asked for documentary evidence of where you will live in France.

    To be eligible for the Talent Passport Business Investor category, you can purchase a property for €300,000 or more.

    Property is a fixed tangible asset and is eligible as an investment under this scheme.

    If you have a property already, you will need to show ownership, while if you want to rent you must provide a rental agreement as proof of your accommodation.

    Apply for a retirement visa in France with our specialist advisors. Contact Us

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      Retirement Visa France Documents

      The documents that you must provide when applying for a Retirement Visa and then a Residence Permit include:

      • Valid passport
      • Long Stay Visa application form (Cerfa 14571*05)
      • l’Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII) form
      • Three recent passport photos
      • Evidence of health insurance
      • Birth certificate
      • Evidence of address, less than six months old
      • OFII medical certificate
      • Signed Republican Integration Contract (CIR)
      • Documents proving sufficient financial resources
      • Handwritten declaration of honour not to work in France
      • Receipt for payment of the Residence Permit tax

      For your OFII medical appointment, you must bring your passport, a recent passport photo and proof of your accommodation in France.

      When your Long Stay Visitor Visa is about to expire and you apply for your Residence Permit you will need to provide evidence of your accommodation in France and evidence of your financial resources.

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      The Process Of Obtaining Residency In France For Retirement

      If you are unsure of how to retire to France the following are the steps that you need to take.

      First, you must apply for a Long Stay Visa equivalent to a Residence Permit (VS-TLS) valid for between 4 months to one year. This is done via the French embassy or consulate in your home country.

      For retirees who will be living off their passive income, the Visitor Long Stay Visa is sufficient. If you intend to work in France you must apply for a Work Visa. The cost of a VLS-TS is €250.

      You must validate your VLS-TS online with OFII within three months of arriving in France. Only once it is registered with OFII is the VLS-TS recognised as a Residence Permit.

      Following registration of the VLS-TS, the holder will be invited to a medical examination by OFII and will be asked to sign a CIR.

      When your VLS-TS is close to expiry, you can apply for a Temporary Residence Carte de Séjour. This must be done at your local préfecture at least two months before your VLS-TS expires.

      However, it’s a good idea to check with the préfecture about processing times as these can vary across different departments in France.

      Your Carte de Séjour Temporaire is valid for a year. The documents you need to supply will be the same as your VLS-TS and this Residence Permit costs €225.

      Once you have been living in France for a couple of years and before your Carte de Séjour Temporaire expires, you can request a Carte de Séjour Pluriannuelle. This Residence Permit is valid for four years and costs €225.

      For those who want to live in France permanently, a Carte de Résident is the long-term solution. This renewable Residency Card is valid for ten years, and you may apply after living legally in France for five years.

      It is issued automatically to foreign nationals who have held two Residence Permits consecutively and are aged over 60. Residence Cards typically take about two months to process and cost €225.

      We can help simplify the application process of a French retirement visa. Speak with our experts today. Contact Us

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        Obtaining French Permanent Residency & Citizenship


        If you wish to make France your home country you can apply to become a French citizen after five years of continuous residency.

        This is not a mandatory step but gives you benefits you would not have with a Residence Card. These benefits include being entitled to a French passport and the right to vote in French elections.

        With all of these steps, it can be difficult for retirees to navigate the process of moving to France. If you need help with your application, contact Total Law on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or use our online portal. We can advise, guide and check your application to make sure you have not missed anything.

        Becoming a Tax Resident in France

        Once you make France your home you will become a tax resident of the country. As such, you must file an annual tax return and declare your worldwide income, including any bank accounts held abroad, to the French authorities. Failure to do so is a serious offence, and there are large fines for not completing these requirements. Fiscal residency is determined by where your main and permanent home is and not by how long you spend in the country.

        As a holder of a VLS-TS Visitor and subsequently of a Residence Permit, you do not have the automatic right to take family with you to France. However, your spouse can apply for their right to retire to France.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        French administrative procedures are notoriously complex and often ambiguous, which can leave many people confused and frustrated when trying to apply for a visa or Residence Permit. Total Law can assist you with retiring to France by checking your documents, advising on the best route and answering any questions.

        Call Total Law today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or use our online contact form and let us help you realise your dream of retiring in France.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Your Long Stay Visa allows you to travel anywhere within the European Union and Schengen Area. With your Residence Permit, you may also travel to other European countries without the need for a visa.

                  You can live in any part of France if you have the correct visa and subsequent Residence Permit. French overseas territories are not part of the Schengen Area, and your Residence Permit does not give you the same rights as in mainland France.