Immigrate To France: How To Move To France From USA

US citizens may want to immigrate to France for various reasons, including quality of life, education and career opportunities. Depending on the reason for relocation, there are different visa types you should apply for.

The immigration lawyers at Total Law can help you determine the right visa type based on your circumstances. Call us at +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online to learn more about how we can provide support.

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    Moving to France from the USA

    France is a country in Europe that is home to many attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Palace of Versailles.

    However, in addition to these famous landmarks, the country also offers a good standard of education and economic opportunities.

    The country is home to a number of industries including technology, automobile, fashion, and hospitality feature plenty of career opportunities.

    In addition, the entrepreneurial culture and business opportunities attract many workers from around the world.

    Overseas workers may also be attracted by the good standard of living in France and the affordable cost of medical care compared to other developed countries.

    Citizens from the USA looking to relocate to France can also look to benefit from the European country’s wine and shopping industries.

    Another notable benefit of living in France is that it is a Schengen country. Meaning you can seamlessly travel across the member states in the Schengen area without being subject to border checks.

    Our immigration team has helped hundreds of cases secure a visa to France. Speak to our team today. Contact Us

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      What Visas Do US Citizens Need in Order to Immigrate to France?

      A US citizen needs a visa if they wish to move to France. However, the type of visa required will depend on the purpose of the stay, duration, and other factors. The most common types of French visas include:

      Short Stay Visas (Schengen Visa)

      US citizens planning to enter French territory for under 90 days within a 180-day period can apply for a Short Stay Visa, also known as the Schengen Visa. There are two sub-categories under the Short Stay Visa – Tourist Visa and Business Visa.

      The Tourist Visa is for general tourists and travellers, whereas the Business Visa applies specifically to those coming to France for business meetings, conferences or other business-related events.

      Besides France, this type of visa also allows you to travel freely within other countries in the Schengen area.

      Long Stay Visas

      US citizens require a Long Stay Visa to remain in France for a duration exceeding 90 days within a 180-day period. Long Stay Visas are also divided into categories based on the reason for stay, such as Student Visa (Long Stay VLS-TS) or Work Visa (Long Stay VLS-T).

      The Student Visa covers the duration of the academic program for a particular course, while a French Work Visa is designed for those under an employment contract or looking for career opportunities in France.

      French Talent Visa

      This visa category is designed to attract skilled professionals from across the world.

      Those interested in this visa category and who meet the requirements can enter France with a special visa called Passeport Talent – Salarié en Mission or Talent Passport – Employee on Assignment. The visa allows you to stay in France and look for work for a specific duration, typically six months.

      Au Pair Visa

      This French au pair visa category is designed for individuals who wish to work as au pairs in France.

      Au pairs provide childcare services to the host family and also do light household duties. Typically, au pair contracts last for up to 12 months.

      Scientific Researcher Visa

      American citizens who wish to enter France for scientific research should apply for a Scientific Researcher Visa.

      This visa type is issued in collaboration with research institutes in France and can be either short or long-term.

      Application requirements may include a letter of acceptance from the hosting institution, proof of funding or a research project description.

      Retirement Visa

      While this isn’t specifically a visa category, it applies to those who wish to retire to France with their family members.

      It is, in essence, a Long Stay Visa, but for retirement. You will have to apply with health insurance, proof of accommodation and evidence of financial means.

      It is important to choose the right French visa category based on your individual circumstances. Because most of these visa types, like possibilities, come with limitations too.

      For instance, a non-European Union (EU) citizen on a Student Visa cannot start a new business in France.

      Instead, they will have to apply for a Business Visa or obtain a residence permit before they can start a venture in the country.

      A challenging factor, however, is that the specific requirements and procedures for French visa types keep changing with time.

      You can reach out to us at Total Law if you need assistance or have queries about the correct visa type.

      We can help you determine a suitable French visa based on your specific circumstances and goals. In addition, we will also help you enjoy a smooth and faster application process.

      French Residency Permit Requirements

      Acquiring a French Residence Permit (Carte de Séjour) involves abiding by a set of strict guidelines. These requirements vary depending on the visa type but applicants will need to usually provide the following:

      • Completed application form
      • Valid passport
      • Proof of purpose such as an employment contract or study invitation
      • Proof of funds such as a bank statement
      • Evidence of accommodation such as a rental agreement or purchase contract
      • Health insurance
      • Demonstrate proficiency in the French language (if applicable for the required visa)

      Documents proving you have sufficient financial means to support yourself are particularly important if you plan to settle in France post-retirement.

      The fees for obtaining a Carte de Séjour range from approximately €300 to €500. However, these fees are subject to change depending on immigration policies set by the Office Français de l’immigration.

      The Process of Obtaining a Temporary France Residence Permit

      Acquiring a temporary France residence permit involves a specific process, with requirements and steps slightly varying based on your purpose of stay.

      The first step to obtaining a temporary residence permit is determining the right visa type.

      Depending on your purpose, you will be eligible for a job, study, family reunion, or other French visas. If you’re a non-EU citizen and you plan to stay in France for longer than 90 days, you will likely require a Long Stay Visa to be eligible to apply for a temporary residence permit.

      You can apply for one at a French consulate or embassy in your home country.

      After entering France, you should begin the visa application procedure for a temporary residence permit by contacting and scheduling an appointment with the local French immigration office (Prefecture) or the relevant office in your area. Before the appointment, prepare the required documents such as:

      • Valid passport and Long Term Visa (plus a copy of each)
      • Completed application form
      • Proof of residence
      • Proof of income/ bank account statements
      • Health insurance (valid for six months or up to a year)
      • Employment or enrollment contract (if appropriate)

      At the interview, you will need to submit all the documents and pay the application fee. You might also be asked to undergo biometric verification, such as fingerprints.

      You will be given an acknowledgment receipt allowing you to stay in France. The processing time varies but typically ranges from a few weeks to a few months.

      You will be notified when your temporary residence permit is approved. You can then collect your physical residence card from the designated office.

      The specific requirements will vary based on your individual circumstances and the type of French visa you hold. If you have questions about how to apply for a residence card, contact our immigration specialists at Total Law for help and support in relocating to France from the US.

      For all immigration assistance, permits and visas, contact our team of specialists today. Contact Us

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        Routes to Permanent Residency in France

        Acquiring a residence permit in France is a gradual process. Sometimes, the entire process is confusing because there are different pathways to permanent residence. Each of these routes has its own set of peculiarities.

        In general, obtaining a residence permit in France begins with applying for one of the Long Stay Visas suitable for your circumstances.

        Once you get the visa, apply for a temporary residence permit. The temporary residence card is often valid for a specific period, after which it should be renewed.

        After five years of staying in France as a temporary resident, you will be eligible to apply for a long-term residence permit (Carte de Résident). This duration can vary in some instances.

        The long-term residence card is typically valid for ten years. But after five years of holding a long-term residence permit, you can apply for the Carte de Résident de Longue Durée-EU, which is also renewable. While holding permanent residence, you can apply for French citizenship through naturalization.

        The requirements for naturalization involve demonstrating an understanding of French culture, laws, politics, and language.

        Benefits of Living in France

        From affordable medical care to quality education and plenty of career opportunities, there are many aspects of living in France that appeal to American citizens.

        France is also well-connected in terms of available transport options. Whether you live in big cities or remote areas, getting around is convenient and affordable.

        While living in France, US citizens should keep their permits up-to-date and abide by local immigration laws.

        If you plan to stay there for a longer period, familiarize yourself with tenant rights, especially if you are renting accommodation. Also, familiarize yourself with the tax obligations and benefits available to residents if you plan to apply for a permanent residence permit.

        Living in France is a combination of cultural experiences, high-quality public services, and a laid-back lifestyle.

        Nonetheless, it is important to understand the legal framework. If you have queries or concerns about the French legal system, our immigration lawyers can help.

        Cost of living in France Compared to the USA

        Comparing the expenses of living in France with those in the US will give you a better idea about the moving costs plus expenses associated with living abroad. Some of the differences in major costs include:

        Accommodation – In major cities like Paris, expect to spend around $1,000 to $1,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. However, the cost is significantly lower in remote areas and can be as low as $550-600. In the US, accommodation is a major expense. In cities like New York or San Francisco, a one-bedroom apartment costs between $2,500 and $4,000 per month. In smaller towns, the rent is around $1400-1500.

        Bills and Utilities – There is no major difference between France and the USA when it comes to utilities and allied services (like electricity, gas, hot water, internet, garbage, etc.). The approximate cost ranges around $100-120.

        Groceries – The average grocery bill for an individual in France is around $70-120. It is subject to individual preferences. In the US, grocery-related costs are slightly higher in bigger cities, ranging from $100 to 150.

        Transportation – Gas prices are generally lower in France, averaging around $3.00 to $4.00 per gallon. Hence, transportation costs are lower. In addition, the public transportation infrastructure is brilliant. On average, a monthly transportation pass in Paris costs around $75.

        Entertainment – A cinema ticket in France is around $10, and dining out might cost anything between $15 to $40 per head. The costs are not much lower than in the US. However, there are more options for cultural events, restaurants, and cafes in France.

        How Our Total Law Immigration Lawyers Can Help

        Whether you plan to enter France by applying for a Short Stay Visa or a Long Stay Visa, the process can be complex and confusing. Total Law has extensive experience helping American citizens move to France, and we can help you with the same.

        Our immigration experts have in-depth knowledge of the French immigration system and the different visa types. They will walk with you every step of the way, helping you to successfully apply for a French visa, answering your queries, and addressing your concerns.

        Call us today at +1 844 290 6312 or contact us through our online chat, and we will help you move to France as less time-consuming and affordable as possible.

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                  Related pages for your continued reading.


                  While it is good to have a job offer or a work permit lined up before planning your move to France, it isn’t obligatory. If career opportunities are your main focus, you can apply for a French Work Visa or another suitable visa type and look for jobs upon landing. It is essential to keep your application errorless and be as honest and sincere in your approach as possible.

                  The immigration policies in EU countries undergo amendments from time to time. Generally, countries like Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, and Poland are believed to have strict immigration laws and protocols. Obtaining a residence permit in these countries might be challenging.

                  Different categories of visas come with different fees. In addition, there would often be additional costs associated with accommodation, health insurance (mandatory in France), initial set-up costs, travel, etc. Therefore, the exact cost will depend on your circumstances. On average, expect to spend anywhere between $3000-6000 when you move to France.

                  The immigration laws in France are not as stringent as in other EU countries. Nonetheless, different visa categories have different requirements, and the complexity of obtaining them varies. For instance, Long Stay Visas or Work Visas might need you to be proficient in French.

                  An experienced guide like Total Law can help you navigate the road smoothly. Get in touch with us at +1 844 290 6312 to understand the specific requisites for your application.