France Residence Permits

American citizens who want to enter France and stay for more than 3 months must obtain a residence permit in France. This residence permit will make you a beneficiary of the state’s aid during your stay in France.

If you need more clarifications about residence permits for EU citizens, its application process, what you must do once you arrive in France or other services we offer, Total Law can help. Get in touch with us on +1 844 290 6312 or message us online.

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    France Residence Permit Overview

    US nationals and other non-European Union citizens must apply for a French residence permit if they wish to enter France and stay for more than 3 months.

    The only people exempted from living in France without obtaining French residence permits are citizens of the EU, EEA, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, or the Vatican.

    There are different types of residence permits in France. These residence permits are designed for applicants who want to enter France for the first time and for individuals who have lived for a few years in France. They include:

    • Carte de Séjour
    • Carte de Résident
    • EU Blue Card
    • Authorization of Stay
    • Certificate of Residence for Algerians
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    Pedestrians walking across bridge in France

    Carte de Séjour

    This French residence permit is designed for non-EU nationals who need to obtain a residence permit upon their entry into France or after staying for 1 year in France. This residence permit is of 2 types. They include:

    • Carte de Séjour temporaire
    • Carte de Séjour pluriannuelle

    Carte de Séjour Temporaire

    Typically, you are required to obtain a Carte de Séjour temporaire which is a temporary residence permit valid for 1 year. It must state the nature of your residence such as Carte de Sejour for Private and Family Life or Carte de séjour salarié.

    Carte de Séjour Pluriannuelle

    You can now renew your residence permit after the first year of residence and get a multi-year (La carte de séjour pluriannuelle) French residence permit which is usually valid for up to 4 years.

    The only people exempted from this residence permit’s validity are students, whose residence permit must be valid throughout their study period in France.

    Carte de Résident

    This residence permit allows its holder to stay in France for an extended period. They include:

    • A 10-year resident permit card (Carte de Résident de 10 ans)
    • EU Long-term residence permit card (La carte de Résident Longue Durée – UE)
    • Permanent residence permit card (Carte de Résident Permanent)

    A 10-Year Resident Permit Card (Carte de Résident de 10 ans)

    This resident permit is typically valid for up to 10 years. When renewing your Carte de Séjour, you may obtain this permit either under the discretion of the French authorities or automatically.

    You may obtain this resident card when you enter France for some reasons, they include:

    • If you are a dependent child of a French parent, and you are below 21 years old
    • If you are a French national’s dependent ascendant or their spouse
    • If you have been legally married to a French national for over 3 years, and your union is recognised in France
    • If you wish to permanently live in France after retiring

    A 10-year French resident card will be issued to you after 3 years if:

    • Your family member has a French residence permit, and you are on a Family Reunion visa uninterruptedly for up to 3 years
    • Your country has a bilateral agreement with France, and you have renewed your Carte de Séjour for 3 years consecutively
    • You have lived in France uninterruptedly for up to 3 years, and you are a stepparent of a child born in France

    You are expected to meet further France residence permit requirements. They include:

    • To show your comprehension of and adherence to French values and culture, sign a Republican Integration Contract
    • Be of good conduct and you must refrain from endangering the public
    • Obtain a French language certificate with at least an A2 level grade

    EU Long-Term Residence Permit Card (La carte de Résident Longue Durée – UE)

    This is another type of resident card that allows its holder to remain in France for up to 10 years. The EU Long-Term Residence Permit card is also renewable after its expiry.

    When you live in France for up to 5 years uninterruptedly, or you already have a European Blue card, you can apply for a Long-Term resident card.

    This is an ideal option for foreign workers or students who have relocated to France and wish to stay in the country permanently without obtaining French citizenship. To obtain the Long-Term EU resident card, you must meet the following conditions. You:

    • Need to prove you have health insurance coverage in France
    • Must show evidence that you earn more than €20,966.40 which is the country’s yearly minimum wage (as of 2023)
    • Are required to prove that you have been present in France beyond 6 months consecutively or a total of 10 months within the last 5 years
    • Must prove that you have integrated into the French community by obtaining an A2 level certificate to prove your French proficiency. You are also required to sign the Republican Integration Contract
    • Have obtained any of the following permits during your 5-year residence in France: Family Reunion permit, Entrepreneur permit, Employee Residence permit, VLS-TS, Talent passport or the Resident card, or Temporary visitor residence permit. Note that Student, trainee, or other temporary residence permits are not included.

    Permanent Residence Permit Card (Carte de Résident Permanent)

    With this French permanent resident card, you are allowed to live and work in France indefinitely. However, you must renew your residence card every 10 years even though you are allowed to stay in the country indefinitely.

    Applying for the permanent Carte de Resident requires meeting strict eligibility requirements.

    This is because you can only do so when your current 10-year resident card or 10-year EU long-term resident card is about to expire. It could be sent to you automatically if you:

    • Are 60 years old or above
    • Had obtained two consecutive French residency cards or permanent EU residency cards.

    We can assist with applying for your France residency permit. Speak with one of our advisors today. Contact Us

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      Authorization of Stay

      This permit is valid for 1, 3 or 6 months. It is typically issued to a volunteer at a mission in France. In France, it is also issued to the parent of an ill child.

      EU Blue Card

      This permit is issued to non-EU citizens. It allows its holders to enter and stay in France for a maximum of 3 years to explore professional options in their field and engage in paid activity. The holder of this permit also can extend their stay in France.

      Certificate of Residence for Algerians

      This French permit is specifically designed for Algerian nationals. Therefore, if you are an Algerian national who is residing in the US, you may qualify for this French permit.

      You can apply for any of the following permits designed for Algerian citizens:

      • Certificate of residence “retired” and “retired spouse.” This permit is designed for Algerian citizens who have lived in France before they retired
      • Certificate of 10 years. This permit is typically designed for Algerian citizens who have a connection to someone or other people who have been lawful residents in France for many years. This permit is renewable
      • One-year certificate. With this permit, an Algerian who wishes to enter France and stay under a specific purpose is allowed to remain in the country.
      French residents going across bridge

      Eligibility And Requirements Of France Residency Permits

      Before you are issued a French residence permit, you are required to provide certain documents to qualify. They include:

      • Get your birth certificate, issued from your home country.
      • Bring your valid international passport bearing a French Long-Stay visa stamp.
      • Provide a copy of your essential valid passport pages, plus the stamped pages.
      • Get proof of residence, which could be a statement of domicile, electricity bill, rent receipt, and so on.
      • Provide 2 passport photographs that comply with the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
      • Bring a medical certificate which must be issued by the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII).
      • Present evidence of income. If you are self-employed, it should be reflected in your status. If employed, you must present your latest payment slips and work contract. But if you are unemployed or retired, you must prove that you have enough financial means of subsistence in France.
      • Prove that you have health insurance.
      • Prove that you have paid duty stamps.
      • Show that you have signed a Republican Integration Contract and that you have a language certificate.
      • Present your marriage certificate and birth certificates of your children, if you are married and your children are coming with you to stay in France.

      Note that all the documents must be translated into French by an authorized translator. Also, ensure that your documents are duly notarized.

      The complexity in immigration cases may at times require that applicants provide more documents in their applications. Most especially, in some unique circumstances, the immigration officers may need more clarification on the documents you have provided.

      In this case, the whole application process for a residence permit may become overwhelming for applicants. This is why it is recommended to seek expert guidance from immigration lawyers who are well-versed in French immigration cases.

      Our immigration lawyers at Total Law are readily available to help you obtain your French residence permit. We can assist you in gathering all the required documents to avoid delays in the processing of your residence permit France. Call us today on +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.

      Our legal experts can help navigate the intricacies involved with securing a French residency permit. Contact Us

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        Next Steps After You Arrive In France


        You are allowed to come and stay in France once you have been granted a French Long-Stay visa in your home country. Upon arrival in France, you may need to convert your visa into a French residence permit.

        The VLS-TS is a long-stay French visa. It enables foreign nationals to enter and remain on French territory for a maximum of 1 year, and it takes the form of a sticker or stamp placed on your passport.

        The VLS-TS means Visa de Long Séjour – Titre de Séjour and it is designed for individuals who fall under the following categories:

        • Foreign trainees
        • Foreign workers who have an indefinite work contract period
        • Foreign students
        • Foreign spouses of a French citizen. In this instance, the visa is granted without conditions, except in instances in which the marriage is not lawful, has been dissolved, or the applicant poses a risk to the public good
        • Foreign spouses of a foreign family reunion recipient. The applicants excluded from applying for a 10-year residency permit for the first time are citizens of the Maghreb or French-speaking Sub-Saharan Africa
        • Foreign workers who are employed in France
        • Foreign temporary workers who have a fixed-term work contract
        • Foreign nationals who do not require paid jobs to maintain themselves in France.

        How to Apply for VLS-TS?

        To apply for the VLS-TS, you are required to mail some documents to the OFII office. These documents are your completed OFII application form and a copy of your passport’s important pages, such as the pages with your visa stamps, stickers and details.

        Upon receipt of these documents, the management of OFII will register your case and, based on your case, send you a letter inviting you to a welcome visit and/or a medical visit at the location you provided. Once verified at the OFII offices in France, it functions as a French residence permit for the visa holder.

        This implies that while holding this visa, you are exempt from the need to apply for a resident permit in France. Nevertheless, within the first 3 months of entering French territory, you must verify your visa at the Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) in France. Also, following your admission as a holder of VLS-TS, you can obtain a residence permit for your personal and family life.

        To obtain the VLS-TS, you must follow the below steps:

        • From your country of residence, you need to apply for a French Long-Stay visa. This residence permit must be valid from 4 months to 1 year
        • Enter France
        • Confirm or validate the Long-Stay visa that permitted you into the country as a VLS-TS. For the validation, you must visit the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (OFII) in France.

        How to Confirm VLS-TS at the OFII

        As a US citizen holding a French Long-Stay visa, you are required to validate it as a VLS-TS residence permit within the first 3 months of entering France. Do the following to validate your Long-Stay visa as a VLS-TS residence permit:

        • You will be issued an OFII form upon the reception of your visa from the French Embassy in the US.
        • You should fill out the form completely and email it to the OFII in the city you will reside in. Provide scanned copies of the passport pages that display your identity and entrance stamp.
        • Soon after receiving the email, the OFII will list your file and respond by sending a certificate of payment to your residential address for the application cost.
        • You will then receive an invitation to visit the OFII and a letter requesting that you undergo a medical examination.

        Submit the following documents when you visit the OFII:

        • A photo ID
        • Proof of your residence in France, such as a water bill, lease, rent receipt, and so on
        • Your visa and passport
        • A certificate that proves you have visited an OFII-approved doctor for a medical examination in the US (if applicable)
        • Your paper tax stamps or dematerialized tax stamps along with your proof of paying online
        • Upon successful validation, the OFII affixes a date and a sticker to the visa holder’s passport, granting them permission to enter and remain in France for a designated duration.

        Pay the OFII Fee

        You are required to make some financial commitment when applying for your VLS-TS validation. Consequently, the visa type that you obtained will determine the fee you must pay.

        Generally, you will pay a tax worth €200 to the OFII, and €25 worth of stamp duty on residence permits also included in the tax amount. This administrative fee of €225 is followed by an additional €99 for the Long-Stay visa that allows admission into France.

        Renewing / Extending France Residency Permits

        You must apply for a residence permit no later than 2 months before the expiry of your visa if you wish to extend your VLS-TS. Fill out an application and send it to the French prefecture or sub-prefecture nearest to your home address.

        Residential buildings in France

        How Can Total Law Help?

        You are required to obtain a French residence permit to elongate your stay in France upon your entry into the country. The visa type you obtain typically determines the kind of French residence permit you must obtain.

        Obtaining a French residence permit requires the applicant to meet certain eligibility criteria and pay some fees. Generally, the process of obtaining a residence permit in France may be overwhelming for a French visa holder who has not obtained it before.

        This is why it is ideal to seek expert guidance from immigration lawyers to help you in the residence permit application process. Our immigration lawyers at Total Law can help you obtain the visa that best suits your travel purpose. We can also help you gather all the documents required for your French residence permit application.

        For guidance in obtaining a French residence permit for UK citizens, the eligibility criteria, or other services we offer, Total Law can help. Call us today on +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.

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                  Related pages for your continued reading.

                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Yes, you can get residency in France if you buy a house, provided you obtain a French visa that suits your travel purpose and meet other French residency requirements.

                  As an American citizen, you may qualify for French residency or French nationality by naturalization once you reside in France for a minimum of 5 years and meet other residency requirements.

                  Getting permission to live in France is not that hard, despite the gathering of documents being rigorous. Every year, many candidates manage to get their residency permits granted.