France Retirement Visa For US Citizens

One of the most popular EU countries for retirees is France and its mix of culture and opportunities make it an appealing option for US citizens looking to retire overseas.

The French immigration system often requires complex and strict paperwork, which can become overwhelming for many, especially when combined with the language barrier.  Contact Total Law at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or via our online form to learn more about the France Retirement Visa requirements.

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    How can Americans Retire in France?

    Those wanting to retire in France must first apply for a Long Stay Visa from the French consulate or embassy in the US. You must apply for a Residence Permit at your local préfecture within two to three months of arriving in France.

    You will be able to apply for a Residency Card after you have been living in France for over five years. Each step required needs to be followed, and each visa or permit is valid for a limited time, after which it will need to be exchanged or renewed. To live legally in France it is vital that you have obtained the correct permit for your purposes.

    Most people choose the Long-term Stay Visitor Visa option when retiring in France, but if you wish to invest in France, you may be eligible for the Talent Passport Business Investor category. As either an individual or company that you control or have a minimum of 30% shareholding, the minimum investment is 300,000 euros.

    If you are unsure about the necessary requirements for retiring in France as well as the application process you will need to go through to obtain French residency, including becoming a fiscal resident, reach out to the immigration experts at Total Law.

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    Requirements To Retire In France From USA


    Many of those looking to retire in France have stopped working and intend to live off their passive income. Proof of this passive income, e.g. pensions, investments or savings, is mandatory for people from the US looking to enjoy their retirement in France.

    To apply for your Long Stay Visa equivalent to a Residence Permit or Visa de Long Séjour valant Titre de Séjour (VLS-TS), you will need to obtain the Visitor category visa. This shows that you will not have the sufficient rights needed to work in France and that you have proved that you have adequete financial means to support yourself.

    Your income must be equivalent to the French minimum wage, which is currently 1,766.92 euros per month before tax. Bank statements, pension receipts or a portfolio report will be required to provide sufficient evidence for your application.

    If you have retired early in the US but are now looking to work while in France, you will need to apply for a Work Visa.

    You may prefer to start your own business when in France. It can be relatively easy to set up as an entrepreneur and work for yourself, which many early retirees do. However, you must ensure that your Long Stay Visa allows this to ensure you are following French immigration rules.

    As part of your retirement process in France, you must purchase private health insurance with a minimum of 30,000 euros cover amount until you become part of the state healthcare system after becoming a French resident.

    You will also need evidence of your medical insurance to be eligible when applying for a Long Stay Visa. The insurance must cover you for the length of your stay in France.

    You can apply for a Carte Vitale after receiving your social security number. This card will provide all your payment information to Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM) –  a French organisation that handles health insurance entitlements. This will allow you to access automatic reimbursements of medical expenses when linked to your bank account.

    Accommodation Requirements for Retiring to France from US

    You must also provide proof of your accommodation when you retire in France. This is needed even if you intend to live in a rental accommodation whilst looking for a property to purchase or if you already have a house or other property that you intend to live in, you will be required to provide documentation to serve as evidence of where you will be living in France.

    To be eligible for a Business Investor category of the Talent Passport, you will be able to purchase a property with a value of €300,000 or more. Real estate is considered a fixed tangible asset and is therefore eligible for investment under this visa scheme.

    If you already own a property, you will be required to prove the ownership and if you are renting a property, you must provide a rental agreement as proof of your French accommodation.

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      Documents Needed To Retire In France From The USA

      The documents that you will be required to provide when applying for a Retirement Visa France and then a Residence Permit include the following:

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

      When applying for your OFII medical appointment, it is vital that you bring your passport, a recent color passport photo and proof of your accommodation in France.

      When your Long Stay Visitor Visa is near to the expiration date and when you apply for your Residence Permit, you are required to provide evidence of your accommodation in France and evidence of your financial resources.

      Obtaining Residency In France For Retirement

      To move to France for retirement you need to apply for a Long Stay Visa equivalent to a Residence Permit (VS-TLS) and valid for between 4 months and one year. This can be done by travelling to a French embassy or consulate within the United States.

      If you intend to work in France, you will have to complete a work visa application. The cost of a VLS-TS is 250 euros.

      If you are retiring and planning to support yourself with passive income, the Visitor Long Stay Visa is a good option and should be sufficient for your needs. If you are unsure, reach out to an immigration expert for advice.

      Within three months of arriving in France, you must validate your VLS-TS online with the OFII. The VLS-TS is only recognised as a Residence Permit once authorized by the OFII. Following your 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 due to expire, 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 is important to check with the préfecture about the latest processing times as these can vary across different departments in France.

      Your Carte de Séjour Temporaire is only valid for one year from the issue date. The documents you will need to supply will be the same as for your VLS-TS; the cost needed to obtain a Residence Permit is 225 euros.

      Once you have lived in France for two 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 from the issue date and costs 225 euros.

      A long-term option for people who want to live permanently in France is a Carte de Résident. After you have lived in France for five years, you can apply for this renewable residency card. It is automatically assigned to foreign nationals who have already consecutively held two residence permits and are above the age of 60. Processing a residence card usually takes about two months and costs 225 euros.

      Taking Family With You In France

      In some cases, family members may be permitted to join you in France but it depends on individual circumstances.  Spouses can apply for a Long Stay Visa marked vie privée et familiale, while children or grandchildren under 18 can also apply for the same residency visa.

      For more information on whether your loved ones can travel from the US to France reach out to our Total Law team.

      French Permanent Residency & Citizenship

      If you have chosen France as your home country, you can apply to become a French citizen after five years of continuous residency. This is not required, but it offers advantages you do not get when living in France with a Residence Card. These benefits include being entitled to a French passport and having the right to vote in the French elections.

      The United States does allow dual citizenship, so you can apply for French citizenship without having to give up your US nationality.

      Retiring to France can be a highly complex process, which can be difficult for many. Therefore, we advise that you contact Total Law at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or get in touch through our website. We can guide you and check your application to ensure you have not missed anything and to ensure a successful outcome.

      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 full income to the French tax authorities, including any bank accounts held abroad.

      Failure to accurately report your income is a serious offence, and you can incur large fines if you do not comply with these requirements. Fiscal residency is determined by where your main and permanent home is and not by how long you spend in the country.

      Total Law Can Help You Retire In France

      The procedure for retiring in France from the US can be complex. It may be confusing, leaving many frustrated when applying for a visa or residence permit or uncertain about issues such as how much money do I need to retire to France.

      Here at Total Law, we can assist you with retiring to France by ensuring you have the necessary documentation, advising you on the best route, and answering retiring in France pros and cons.

      Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or use our online contact form, and we can ensure you submit the best possible application for your future retirement in France.

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                Related pages for your continued reading.


                You are able to travel anywhere within the European Union and Schengen Area with a Long Stay Visa. With a Residence Permit, you are able to travel to every country within the EU without the need to apply for for a visa for each trip.

                As long as you have the correct visa and subsequent Residence Permit, you are able to live anywhere in France. French overseas territories are not part of the Schengen Area and therefore, your Residence Permit does not give you the same rights as there are in France itself. You should consult with an immigration expert for advice if you wish to retire from the US to a French overseas territory.