May 31, 2024


 min read

French Residence Permit: Everything You Need to Know








French Residence Permit: Everything You Need to Know


French Residence Permit: Why do you need it?

A French Residence Permit, or "titre de séjour," is essential for non-European Union nationals who wish to stay in France for longer than the duration allowed by a standard 90-day tourist visa, have access to other EU countries and get a European passport in 5 years. This permit legalizes the holder’s prolonged stay and is necessary for engaging in various activities such as employment, studying, or long-term residence. The specific type of permit issued depends on the individual's circumstances, such as the nature of their stay, and it provides certain rights similar to those of French citizens, like access to public services and healthcare.

Applying for and obtaining a French Residence Permit is a critical step in ensuring that your stay in France is legal and that you can fully participate in society. It serves as an official form of identification and is often required for opening bank accounts, signing lease agreements, utilities contracts, and registering for social security benefits. The permit also plays a crucial role in the path to permanent residency and citizenship, providing the legal foundation for a long-term future in France.

10 Benefits of French Residence

Obtaining a French Residence Permit provides numerous benefits, from employment opportunities to social protections, which significantly enhance the quality of life for residents. Here are ten notable advantages: 

Travel Opportunities 

Residents with valid permits in France enjoy the freedom to travel visa-free across the Schengen zone for up to 90 days. This facilitates easier personal and business travel within Europe, reflecting strong intra-European relations and contributing to cultural and economic exchanges. Moreover, achieving citizenship can significantly enhance an individual's ability to travel internationally, often with fewer visa restrictions. For example, with a French passport, you can travel visa-free to 194 countries.

Right to Live and Work in France

A residence permit legally entitles holders to live and work in France, with renewals available depending on the permit type. In 2023, around 600,000 people renewed their residence permits, emphasizing the desire to remain long-term in France. The high renewal rate also indicates overall satisfaction with the living conditions and opportunities available in France, making it a preferred destination for many seeking stability and growth.

Employment Opportunities

French residents have access to a diverse job market. As of early 2023, France's employment rate for foreign nationals with a residence permit was around 68%, demonstrating substantial integration into the workforce. This integration is supported by various government programs aimed at facilitating job training and language acquisition, further enhancing the employability of foreign nationals.

Access to Banking System 

France's well-developed banking system offers a range of services, including current accounts, savings and investment options, and expat-specific services such as cheaper international money transfers and multi-currency accounts​. French banking is regulated by robust authorities like the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR) and the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). 

Access to Education

The permit grants access to state-funded education, including primary, secondary, and higher education. In 2023, approximately 300,000 non-EU nationals were enrolled in French educational institutions, benefiting from the same quality education as citizens. This inclusivity not only enriches the educational experience for all students but also fosters a culturally diverse academic environment that prepares students for global citizenship.

Health Care Access

Residents can access France’s highly regarded public healthcare system. In 2023, 95% of residents reported satisfaction with healthcare services, which rank among the top globally for accessibility and quality. The positive feedback reflects the efficiency of the healthcare infrastructure and the government's commitment to maintaining high standards of care for all residents.

Protection Under French Law

Residents are protected by French law regarding employment rights, anti-discrimination laws, and access to legal aid. Reports in 2023 noted that 75% of residents felt well-protected legally, a testament to the effective governance and legal frameworks in place. This high level of satisfaction among residents also contributes to the overall social cohesion and public trust in the judicial system.

Family Reunification

The permit often allows for family reunification, enabling families to live together in France. This year, over 25,000 families have been reunited under this policy, reinforcing the social stability offered by French residency. This policy supports the integration of these families into French society by providing access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.

Long-term Stability and Path to Citizenship

Holding a residence permit can lead to permanent residency and citizenship after 5 years, offering long-term stability. This path not only provides a secure residential status but also opens up access to national benefits and participation in the civic life of the country. Additionally, achieving citizenship ensures full legal rights and protections under the country’s laws, further establishing a sense of belonging and security.

Cultural Integration

Residing in France allows for deeper cultural integration, including language acquisition and community involvement. Surveys show that 85% of residents feel more integrated into French culture after three years of living in the country, benefiting from the rich cultural heritage and community activities.

French Residence Permit Types

French residence permits allow non-EU nationals to live in France for various purposes, such as business, work, study, or family reunification. These permits vary in duration and conditions based on the holder's situation and purpose in France. The main types of permits are described below. 


The French Long-Stay Visa (D-type Visa), known as the Visa de Long Séjour – Titre de Séjour (VLS-TS), serves as both a visa and a residence permit for non-European nationals. This dual-function visa is essential for various individuals planning to reside in France for periods ranging from 3 months to a year, and it negates the need for an additional residence permit during this time.

Upon obtaining a VLS-TS at your country of residence, you are permitted to enter and stay in France. However, it might be necessary to validate this visa into a residence permit soon after arriving in France. The VLS-TS is typically issued as a stamp or sticker in the passport, allowing entry and residence in France for up to a year.

The VLS-TS caters to a wide range of needs, including:

  • VLS-TS Étudiant: This is for foreign students over 18 who have been accepted into French universities.
  • VLS-TS Salarié: Issued to salaried employees with permanent contracts longer than 90 days.
  • VLS-TS Travailleur Temporaire: For foreign employees on temporary or fixed-term contracts exceeding 90 days.
  • VLS-TS Salarié détaché ICT: For ICT workers or intra-company transferees in high management roles with contracts of at least three years.
  • VLS-TS Passeport Talent: For individuals who enhance the French economy, such as investors, business owners, freelancers, highly skilled employees, researchers, artists, performers, and those with (inter)national recognition.
  • VLS-TS Vie Privée Et Familiale: For joining family members in France, including spouses, partners, children, or dependent elderly parents.
  • VLS-TS Visiteur: A temporary long-stay visa lasting 4-6 months for tourists, digital nomads, retirees, financially-independent persons and other long-term visitors who will not engage in professional activities.

The visa is issued under various circumstances to ensure that the individual’s stay aligns with their purpose in France, supporting both personal and professional endeavors.

Carte de Sejour

In France, non-EU citizens who wish to reside for an extended period need to apply for a residence permit, known as a "Carte de Séjour." This permit is essential for proving their legal status and ability to live in the country. Initially, individuals are typically issued a "Carte de Séjour temporaire," which is a temporary residence permit. This permit is generally valid for one year and is renewable. It specifies the nature of the residence, such as "Carte de séjour salarié" for workers or "Carte de séjour vie privée et familiale" for those staying for family reasons.

After successfully living in France for one year under the temporary permit, individuals can apply to renew their permit and may be eligible for the "Carte de Séjour pluriannuelle." This is a multi-year residence permit that can be valid for up to four years, streamlining the administrative process for residents as it reduces the frequency of required renewals. Exceptions to this term are made for students, whose permits are typically valid for the duration of their studies. To obtain either type of residence permit, applicants must meet certain requirements, including demonstrating financial stability and a degree of integration into French society.

Carte de Resident

The Carte de Résident, a French residence permit, allows foreigners to reside in France for an extended period. This permit can be issued automatically or at the discretion of French authorities upon the renewal of the Carte de Séjour.

Eligibility for the 10-year card typically requires 5 years of  residence in France or existence of specific circumstances, such as being a (step)parent of a French-born child, part of a family reunion visa, or having renewed your Carte de Séjour for three consecutive years, provided your home country has a bilateral agreement with France. 

Additional criteria must also be met, including signing a Republican Integration Contract to demonstrate understanding and adherence to French cultural and societal norms, obtaining a French language certificate at a minimum A2 level, and ensuring you do not pose a security threat.

In some cases, eligibility for the Carte de Résident may be granted immediately upon entering France, particularly for individuals who have been married to a French citizen for more than 3 years, are a dependent child under 21 of a French national, are a dependent elderly relative of a French national or their spouse, or are retiring permanently to France.

Carte de Résident Longue Duree

The EU Long-Term Residence Permit is a significant option for non-EU nationals who have resided legally and continuously in France for 5 years, providing a pathway to permanent resident status without the need to become a French citizen. This permit, known as the Carte de Résident Longue Durée - UE, is particularly beneficial for international students and employees seeking to settle in France indefinitely.

Upon fulfilling the residence requirement, which can also be achieved by holding a European Blue Card, applicants must meet additional criteria such as proving sufficient resources, having health insurance, and demonstrating integration into French society. The permit allows the holder not only to live and work in France but also to stay for more than 3 months in several other EU member states without the need for a long-stay visa—though a residence permit may still be required in the host country depending on the purpose of the stay.

This residence card is valid for 10 years and is renewable, offering a stable and long-term option for residents to continue their life in France and other parts of the EU.

Carte de Resident Permanent

The Carte de Résident Permanent in France serves as the capstone of long-term residency, offering fewer conditions and longer renewal intervals than other types of residency permits. This card, which allows foreigners to live and work indefinitely in France, must be renewed every 10 years, providing a more permanent status compared to other residency cards.

Eligibility for the Carte de Résident Permanent requires that the applicant has already held a 10-year resident card or a 10-year EU long-term resident card. To qualify, you must either have had 2 consecutive French resident cards or long-term EU resident cards or be over 60 years of age at the time of renewal. This permit confirms the right to permanent residence in France, granted there is no threat to public order. 

Each type of permit has specific requirements and benefits, so it is important to understand which one is applicable to your situation if you are planning to stay in France. For the details, please refer to the sections beneath. 

VLS as the First step to France residence

The VLS represents the initial step for many aspiring to reside in France. It serves as a foundational requirement, allowing non-EU nationals to enter and stay in France for 4 to 12 months, setting the stage for future residency applications.

VLS Requirements

The VLS-TS is particularly designed for students, employees with indefinite contracts, spouses of French nationals, financial-independent persons and holders of a Talent Passport. If you are married to a French national, this visa is issued without conditions unless the marriage is deemed fraudulent or poses a threat to public order.

Holders of this visa do not need to apply for a residence card immediately upon arrival in France. However, they must validate the VLS-TS within three months of arriving in France, which includes paying a tax. This validation allows for re-entry into France from the Schengen area.

Specific documents required depend on the visa type and purpose of stay. The basic package of documents include proof of financial means, health insurance, proof of accommodation, and an official invitation or contract from a French entity. Applicants must consult the France-Visas portal to determine the exact documents needed based on their specific circumstances.

How to apply for VLS?

At the initial step, you will need to submit your application at least three months prior to your planned arrival in France. Applying for a VLS-TS for France and validating it once you arrive involves several key steps: 

  1. Application Submission Processsome text
    1. Preparation of Documentation: Begin by diligently completing the application form, and meticulously gathering all requisite supporting documents. This collection might include proof of financial stability, a motivational letter, and additional identity verification materials.
    2. Digital Submission: Navigate to the France Visas website to submit your documents electronically. This platform acts as your primary interface for all visa-related submissions.
    3. Consular Interview: Secure an appointment and subsequently attend an interview at your local French consulate or embassy. This encounter serves as a critical component of the vetting process.
  2. Financial Requirementssome text
    1. The cost associated with applying for a VLS-TS ranges from €80 to €250, depending on the visa category selected.
  3. Receipt of the Visasome text
    1. Upon approval, a VLS-TS sticker will be carefully placed in your passport, symbolizing your authorization to enter and reside in France.
  4. Visa Validation in Francesome text
    1. Standard Validation Procedure: Should your visa be a standard VLS-TS, you are required to validate it within three months of your arrival in France.
    2. Expedited Validation Requirement: For those whose VLS-TS notes the necessity of applying for a residence permit, validation must occur within two months of arrival.
  5. Online Validation Processsome text
    1. Form Download and Completion: Download the necessary VLS-TS application form from the website of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII). Complete this form using digital means.
    2. Document Submission: Submit the completed form along with a scanned copy of your passport directly to OFII via email.
  6. OFII Processingsome text
    1. Processing Duration: The validation process handled by OFII may extend up to three months.
    2. Mandatory OFII Appointment: You will be summoned to the OFII office for potentially a medical examination and to sign the Republican Integration Contract (CIR), which affirms your integration into the French Republic.
    3. Essential Documents: For your OFII appointment, you must bring your passport, a secondary ID, a proof of residence within France (e.g., a lease agreement), proof of the visa application fee payment, and a recent passport-sized photograph.

Upon the completion of all formalities, OFII will affix a sticker to your passport. This sticker is the definitive proof of your legal residency status within France.

Carte de Sejour

What is the difference between carte de séjour and titre de séjour?

In France, the terms "carte de séjour" and "titre de séjour" are related but used slightly differently, referring to permits that allow non-EU nationals to reside in France for various purposes.

Titre de Séjour: This term translates to "residence permit" and is a general term used to describe any legal document issued by French authorities that allows a non-EU citizen to stay in France for a given period. This includes various types of permits based on different eligibility criteria such as work, study, family ties, or asylum.

Carte de Séjour: This is a specific type of "titre de séjour." It literally means "residence card" and refers to the physical card that is part of the broader category of residence permits. A "carte de séjour" can be issued for various durations and purposes. Essentially, all "cartes de séjour" are "titres de séjour," but not all "titres de séjour" are "cartes de séjour" as some might be in different formats, such as a "carte de résident" which is a long-term residence card.

The main difference lies in the usage: "titre de séjour" refers broadly to the concept of a residence permit, while "carte de séjour" refers to a specific format of that permit.

Carte de Séjour Requirements

This is a residence card required for non-EU citizens who must apply for a residence permit either upon their arrival in France or after completing their first year there.

In order to get a Carte de Séjour in France, you will generally need to provide a valid passport, proof of your current address in France, recent passport-size photographs, evidence of sufficient financial resources, and comprehensive health insurance coverage. Additional documentation may be required based on the specific type of residence permit you are applying for, such as an employment contract, proof of business activities, or enrollment in an educational institution, etc. 

How to apply for Carte de Sejour?

To apply for a Carte de Séjour in France, you need to start the process within specific time frames based on your visa type. If you arrive in France with a long-stay visa marked as VLS-TS (Visa Long Séjour valant Titre de Séjour) that requires you to obtain a residence permit, you must apply for the Carte de Séjour within two months of your arrival.

If you already hold a VLS-TS and wish to extend your stay beyond the visa's validity, you should begin the application process for the Carte de Séjour two months before your current visa expires.

The application can be made by scheduling an appointment at your local prefecture or at the police headquarters if you reside in Paris. During the appointment, you will need to provide necessary documents, undergo biometric data collection, and pay a fee of €225, which covers tax and stamp duties. There's also an option to apply online, which might be convenient.

Upon applying for renewal of your Carte de Séjour, you will receive a receipt known as a récépissé. This receipt is crucial as it allows you to legally stay in France while your application is being processed, even if your previous permit has already expired.

Carte de Resident

Carte de Resident Requirements

To be eligible for a 10-year resident card in France, you must fulfill specific criteria, such as having family ties in France, having performed services for the country (such as serving in the Foreign Legion), or being under international protection (like refugee status). This resident card can be issued either as your first residency permit or as a renewal of a temporary or multi-year card.

The requirements for obtaining a Carte de Résident generally include:

  • Duration of Stay in France. You need to have lived in France for at least five years continuously on a temporary residence permit before you can apply for a Carte de Résident.
  • Stable and Regular Income. You must demonstrate that you have a stable and regular income sufficient to support yourself without needing social assistance. This income should be at least equivalent to the minimum wage in France.
  • Integration into French Society. Applicants must show a degree of assimilation into French society. This could include speaking French and understanding the rights and responsibilities of living in France, which might be evaluated through an interview or a test.
  • Accommodation. Adequate housing in France is also a requirement. The accommodation must meet certain size and safety standards set by French housing regulations.
  • Health Insurance. Having health insurance coverage in France is necessary to apply for a Carte de Résident.
  • Criminal Record. A clean criminal record is essential. You must not pose a threat to public order.
  • Documents.You will need to provide a variety of documents with your application, including a valid passport, birth certificate, proof of French residence, and financial statements. For more detailed list of documents. Please refer to this official website

How to Apply for Carte de Resident?

In general, you should start the application process around two months before your current Carte de Séjour is due to expire, although some (sub)prefectures may ask you to begin this process as early as four months before expiry. The application should be submitted at your local (sub)prefecture, or at the police headquarters if you reside in Paris.

Please keep in mind that if you do not receive any response within four months of submitting your application, it is generally considered to be implicitly rejected, which means you will need to inquire and possibly reapply or appeal.

The fee for the application is €225. This amount should be paid as part of the application process, and you will need to provide proof of payment when you submit your application or when you go to collect your Carte de Résident.

Beyond the application for the residence permit, remember to address other crucial steps in your relocation process, such as obtaining your tax identification number and opening a bank account in France. This will be essential for any financial and legal transactions during your stay. 

Carte de Résident Longue Durée

Carte de Résident Longue Durée Requirements

To be eligible for the EU Long-Term Resident Card in France, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Demonstrate an annual income exceeding the French minimum wage, set at €21,203 for the year 2024.
  2. Maintain health insurance coverage within France.
  3. Show evidence of integration into French society, which includes proficiency in French at the A2 level or higher and having signed the Republican Integration Contract.
  4. Provide documentation proving continuous residence in France, without absences longer than six consecutive months or a total of 10 months over the last five years.
  5. Hold one of the qualifying residence permits for five years, such as the VLS-TS, temporary visitor residence permit, family reunion permit, entrepreneur permit, talent passport, or employee residence permit. Notably, student, trainee, or other temporary permits are excluded.

The submission process also necessitates the inclusion of several additional documents:

  • A full copy of the birth certificate with any necessary court transcription orders.
  • A valid passport, or an equivalent form of identification such as a consular attestation or card, photo ID, or a certificate of nationality (less than six months old) with a photograph.
  • Recent proof of domicile (not older than six months).
  • Three passport photographs.
  • Proof of payment for the stamp duty.
  • A declaration of non-polygamy if applicable.
  • Confirmation of legal and uninterrupted residence in France for five years, which may include various forms of proof such as residence permits, tax notices, and school certificates. For EU Blue Card holders, part of this period may include residence in another EU state, but the last two years must be in France.
  • Documentation showing sufficient and stable financial resources for the past five years, excluding social benefits and allowances. This could include pay slips, tax notices, and pension payment certificates.
  • A health insurance card or certificate.
  • Proof of Republican Integration, which includes a Declaration on Honor of Respect for the Principles Governing the French Republic and evidence of sufficient French language skills for individuals under 65 years of age.

How to apply for Carte de Resident Longue Duree

To initiate the process, you should submit your application within two months before your current residence permit expires. Depending on your location, you might need to send your application by mail.

Before starting your application, it is important to gather specific information from the website of your local prefecture. This information includes:

  • Contact details based on your city or postal code.
  • Availability of services at sub-prefectures, as not all procedures may be possible there.

Once your application is complete and submitted, you will receive a receipt which confirms that your application is under review by the prefecture. During this time, if your receipt is close to expiring and you have not yet received a decision, you may be eligible to request an extension for your receipt. 

Be aware of the fees associated with the application, which include a stamp duty of €25 and a tax of €200, totaling €225. These fees are typically payable via tax stamps.

Carte de Resident Permanent

Carte de Resident Permanent Requirements

To qualify for the Carte de Résident Permanent in France, applicants must meet specific criteria centered around their existing residency status. Eligibility is generally determined as your 10-year resident card or 10-year EU long-term resident card approaches its expiration date. The following conditions are crucial for the issuance of the Carte de Résident Permanent:

  1. Previous Residency Cards. You must have held two consecutive French resident cards or EU long-term resident cards. This demonstrates sustained legal residency and compliance with French immigration laws.
  2. Age Requirement. Applicants who are above 60 years old are eligible to apply for this card upon the renewal of their previous long-term residency cards.
  3. Renewal of Residency Card. If you possess a 10-year residency card that is nearing the end of its validity, you can apply for the permanent resident card at the time of its renewal. This card allows you to continue residing in France indefinitely and grants you the right to work.
  4. Carte de Resident Longue Duree. For holders of the EU long-term resident card, you have the opportunity to request the permanent resident card upon its renewal. This specific card confirms your right to permanent residence in France, barring any circumstances that might pose a threat to public order.

The Carte de Résident Permanent is issued under these conditions to ensure that those who have established a significant connection and commitment to France can continue to enjoy the benefits of permanent residency.

How to Apply for Carte de Resident Permanent

Applying for the Carte de Résident Permanent in France requires a thorough preparation and understanding of the eligibility requirements. Gather all necessary documents, such as a valid passport, proof of continuous legal residence, evidence of financial independence, proof of French societal integration like language proficiency, and a clean criminal record.

The application process involves submitting all required documents at the local prefecture or sub-prefecture in your area of residence. It is advisable to make an appointment to facilitate a smoother process. In addition, there is a fee associated with the application, the amount of which can be confirmed at the prefecture. Following the submission, you may be asked to attend an interview to discuss your application further. Once approved, you will be notified to collect your Carte de Résident Permanent, at which point you may need to provide recent photographs to complete the process. 

French Residence Permit for US citizens

US citizens are attracted to France for its rich culture, excellent healthcare, and high quality of life, which can often be more affordable compared to life in the United States. For those looking to reside in France, the process is facilitated by several visa options tailored to different needs and durations of stay.

Initially, US passport holders can enter France without a visa for short stays up to 90 days within any 180-day period. This allows Americans to explore France as a potential place for longer-term residency without initial immigration formalities.

For those seeking to stay longer, the process involves applying for a long-stay visa (VLS-TS) that matches their reason for staying, such as work, study, or family reunification. This visa must be applied for from the US, through the French Consulate closest to one's residence. After arriving in France with a long-stay visa, US citizens must then register with the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) or at the local prefecture to validate their visa into a residence permit (carte de séjour).

The process includes submitting various documents, such as proof of income, health insurance, and accommodation. The fees for the visa and subsequent residence permit vary based on the type and duration of the visa but generally include an application fee and a tax stamp.

Once residing in France, temporary residence permits are issued for one year and can be renewed annually. After living continuously in France for five years, US citizens can apply for permanent residency and citizenship, provided they meet integration criteria, including proficiency in the French language.

Regarding taxes, it is important to note that France taxes residents on worldwide income, which could mean significant tax implications for US citizens who must also file taxes in the United States, potentially leading to dual taxation unless mitigated by the double taxation agreement.

French Residence Permit for UK citizens

Since Brexit, the rules for UK citizens living in or moving to France have changed significantly. UK citizens are no longer EU citizens, which means they do not have the automatic right to live, work, or study in France.Those wishing to move to France must now apply for a residence permit appropriate to their stay's purpose, such as work, study, family reunification, or retirement.

The application process typically begins in the UK, where applicants must apply through the French consulate or an authorized visa application center. Required documents usually include a valid passport, application forms, proof of accommodation in France, financial resources, health insurance, and a clean criminal record. The specific documents and type of visa or residence permit required can vary depending on the applicant's circumstances. There are also associated fees for processing and issuing residence permits.

Once in France, UK citizens holding a long-stay visa must validate it within three months of arrival to live there legally. Residence permits can be granted for periods ranging from one to four years, depending on individual situations, and are renewable under certain conditions. After five years of continuous legal residency, it is possible to apply for permanent residency or even French citizenship.

It is crucial for those planning to reside in France to understand their cross-border tax obligations, as failing to comply can lead to significant legal issues. 


Is It Hard to Get Residency in France?

No, it is not difficult to get residency in France. Getting residency in France varies in difficulty depending on your nationality and the purpose of your stay. EU citizens have it easier as they can live and work in France without special visas or permits, provided they register for longer stays. Non-EU citizens need a long-stay visa appropriate to their situation, which they must convert into a residency permit upon arrival. 

How Long Can You Live in France Without a Residence Permit?

The duration of stay in France without a residence permit depends significantly on one's nationality. EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens can reside indefinitely without a permit, though they should register if staying longer than three months. Conversely, non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals are generally permitted to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period under a short-stay visa or visa exemption. To extend their stay beyond 90 days, they need to secure a long-stay visa before arrival and convert it into a residence permit upon entering France. 

What Happens if You Stay in France Longer Than 3 Months?

For non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens staying in France longer than three months, it is mandatory to secure a long-stay visa prior to arrival. Upon entering France, they must then apply for a residence permit (carte de séjour) within the first two months. Failing to secure this permit can lead to significant legal issues, including fines, denial of access to various public services, and potential bans on re-entry into France or other Schengen Area countries. 

Which Countries Can I Travel to with a French Residence Permit?

Holders of a French residence permit can travel visa-free within the Schengen Area, which includes 26 European countries, for short stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This permit also facilitates easier entry into certain non-Schengen EU countries like Cyprus and Ireland, though it's prudent to check specific requirements before travel. Additionally, some non-EU, non-Schengen countries such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia may offer visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to French residence permit holders for short visits.

Can I Travel to the UK with a French Residence Permit?

No, a French residence permit does not grant you the right to enter the UK. After Brexit, the UK is no longer a part of the European Union or the Schengen Area, and its immigration rules have changed. If you wish to visit the UK and you are not a citizen of a country that is visa-exempt (such as the EU, the USA, Canada, or Australia), you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa.

Can I Travel to Canada with a French Residence Permit?

No, you cannot travel to Canada with a French residence permit. A French residence permit does not provide the right to enter Canada. Whether you need a visa to travel to Canada depends on your nationality. Canada differentiates between those who require a visa and those who may only need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if arriving by air. Citizens of countries that typically require a visa for entry will still need to apply for one, regardless of holding a French residence permit.

Can I Work in Germany with a French Residence Permit?

No, a French residence permit does not automatically allow you to work in Germany. While a French residence permit lets you enter and travel within Germany for short stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period) as part of the Schengen Agreement, it does not grant you the right to work there. If you wish to work in Germany, you would need to apply for a German residence permit that allows employment. 

Can I Get a Residence Permit by Buying a House in France?

No, you cannot get a residence permit by buying a house in France. Purchasing a property in France does not directly grant you a residence permit. While property ownership might help support your visa application by demonstrating economic ties and address in France, it does not automatically qualify you for residency.

Can I Get a Residence Permit by Starting a Company in France?

Yes, you can get a residence permit by starting a company in France under the "Entrepreneur/Professional Activity" permit. This type of permit requires you to present a viable business plan that contributes economically to France, demonstrate sufficient funds to support the business, and possess the necessary skills to operate it. The permit is initially valid for one year and is renewable if the business continues to meet the requirements. Additionally, France offers a specific French Tech Visa for non-European tech entrepreneurs who either start a new company or join an existing French startup, providing a streamlined path to obtaining a residence permit

Is There a French Residence Permit by Investment?

France offers a "Talent Passport" residence permit aimed at economic investors looking to contribute significantly to the French economy. This permit requires a substantial long-term investment, such as purchasing company shares or investing in a business the applicant controls. The Talent Passport is valid for four years and is renewable if the investment conditions continue to be met. It also allows the inclusion of family members, who can obtain their own residence permits. Holders of this permit can live, work, and study in France, and benefit from easier travel within the Schengen Area. High-net-worth individuals interested in this pathway should consult with immigration professionals to navigate the application process effectively.

Does France Have a “Golden Visa” Program?

No, France does not have a “Golden Visa” program in the same sense as other countries like Portugal or Spain, where residency is granted almost directly through real estate investment or similar financial investments alone. However, France offers a type of residence permit that can be likened to a golden visa, known as the "Talent Passport" for those investors who make significant business investments. Also, France does offer options tailored to wealthy individuals who wish to reside in the country without engaging in professional activities. One such option is the "Visa Visiteur" category under the long-stay visa, which is suitable for affluent individuals who can prove they have sufficient means to support themselves. 

How Much Money Do You Need to Get Residency in France?

For wealthy individuals aiming to obtain residency in France via the "Visa Visiteur" route, financial requirements are clearly stipulated. Applicants need to demonstrate that they have sufficient means to support themselves without the need to work. Specifically, this entails showing a balance of at least EUR 36,000 in a bank account. Additionally, they must prove a steady passive income of at least EUR 3,000 per month. This income can come from various sources such as pensions, rental income, investments, or other reliable sources of income that do not involve active employment.

How Long Does a Residence Permit Last in France?

In France, residence permits vary in duration: Temporary Residence Permits are generally valid for one year and renewable. Multi-Year Residence Permits last between two to four years depending on the specific conditions, such as the applicant's profession or family situation. Long-Term Resident - EU and Permanent Residence Permits are both valid for ten years and are renewable.

How Can I Become a Resident in France?

In France, individuals looking to become residents have several pathways and permits tailored to various needs and qualifications. For first-time applicants, residence cards may be issued under certain conditions such as to spouses of French nationals married for at least three years (or one year for Tunisian nationals), to non-European children under 21 or those dependent on a French national, dependent ascendants of a French national or their spouse, and non-European citizens joining family members already holding a resident card through family reunification.

Other groups eligible for the residence card include non-European citizens who might qualify for French nationality if born in France, refugees or stateless individuals and their families, recipients of a workplace accident or occupational illness pension and their families, retired non-European citizens who have a permit marked "retired", and non-European veterans and legionnaires.

For those not engaged in professional activities, the Visa Visiteur allows a stay of up to one year, requiring proof of sufficient financial resources, health insurance, and accommodation. Alternatively, the Talent Passport is designed for highly skilled professionals such as researchers, artists, and company founders, offering a multi-year permit that also covers family members, facilitating their stay and integration into French society.

Do You Need to Speak French to Get Residency in France?

No, you do not need to speak French to get residency in France. You will be required to demonstrate knowledge of the French language while applying for permanent residency and citizenship.

How Do I Get a 10 Year Residence Card in France?

To obtain a 10-year residence card in France, you generally need to have lived in France for at least five continuous years. During the application process, which is handled by your local prefecture, you must provide proof of stable income, identity, continuous residence, health insurance, and integration into French society, such as language proficiency and community involvement. This card allows you to live, work, and study in France freely and can be renewed. Special categories, including refugees and highly skilled professionals like scientists or artists, might be eligible for this card without the typical five-year residency requirement.

What is the 5 Year Residence Card in France?

There is no 5-year residence card in France. If you have been residing legally and continuously in France for at least five years, or if you hold a European Blue Card, you are eligible to apply for the EU Long-Term Resident Card in France. This status requires you to meet additional criteria such as sufficient resources, health insurance coverage, and evidence of integration into French society. This card grants the holder the ability to reside in other EU countries and is valid for 10 years, with the option for renewal.

What is the 4 Year Visa for France?

France offers the "Talent Passport," a multi-year residence permit valid for up to four years, intended for highly skilled professionals, researchers, artists, and business investors. This permit is renewable and can also include family members, allowing them to live, work, and study in France. 

What is a Type D Visa in France?

A Type D visa in France, also known as a long-stay visa  (Visa de Long Séjour – Titre de Séjou), is designed for non-EU/EEA nationals planning to stay in France for more than three months and up to a year. This visa serves various purposes, such as studying, working, or family reunification, and acts as a de facto residence permit during its validity period. 

What is a Blue Card in France?

If you have been legally residing in France for at least five years, or hold a European Blue Card, you may qualify for the "Carte de résident longue durée - UE" (Long-term Resident - EU Card). This card, which is valid for 10 years and is renewable, offers the freedom to live and work in other EU countries. To obtain this card, you must demonstrate financial stability, have health insurance, and show evidence of integration into French society. This status provides significant benefits for non-EU nationals seeking long-term residence and mobility within the EU.

Does Having a Residency Card Mean I Need to Declare Income in France?

Holding a residency card alone does not automatically obligate you to declare income in France. Rather, tax liability in France is primarily determined by your physical presence and economic ties to the country. If you reside in France for more than 183 days in a calendar year or have significant economic interests (like a business or property) in France, then you are considered a tax resident. 

What is a French Green Card?

In France, the equivalent of what is often referred to as a "green card" in other countries, like the United States, is called the "Carte de résident," which is a permanent residency card. This card grants non-EU/EEA citizens the right to live in France on a long-term basis. The Carte de résident is typically valid for 10 years and is renewable.

To qualify for this card, applicants usually need to have lived in France continuously for several years under a temporary residence permit and meet integration criteria such as language proficiency and an understanding of French societal values.

Can I Bring My Parents Permanently to France?

Bringing your parents to live permanently in France is possible but involves meeting specific criteria. You need to demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support them, provide proof of adequate housing, and ensure they have health insurance. Additionally, you may need to show that your parents are dependent on you and lack adequate family support in their home country. This process typically involves applying for a long-stay visa and, subsequently, a residency card for your parents. 

How Long Can I Live in France Without Citizenship?

You can live in France indefinitely without applying for citizenship by either renewing your temporary residency as many times as you wish or obtaining a 10-year permanent residency card, known as the "Carte de résident" that can be also extended. 

Can You Get France Citizenship After Residency?

Yes, you can apply for French citizenship after holding residency in France. Overall, you need to have lived in France continuously for at least five years, demonstrate integration into French society (including language proficiency and understanding of French culture), have stable and sufficient income, and possess good moral character. If these criteria are met, you can apply for naturalization, which involves submitting documents and attending an interview. 

What Are Other Popular Residency Options in Europe?

Popular residency options in Europe include several attractive programs in countries like Spain, Portugal, and Greece.


  • Non-Lucrative Visa. This visa is for non-EU nationals who wish to live in Spain without working. Applicants must demonstrate sufficient financial resources of at least EUR 2,400 per month, have private health insurance and an address in Spain.
  • Golden Visa. This program is for individuals who invest a significant amount in Spanish real estate, business, or deposit money at a Spanish bank account. The minimum investment threshold is EUR 500,000. 


  • D7 Visa. Also known as the Retirement or Passive Income Visa, it is for individuals with a stable income from pensions, rentals, or other passive sources. Applicants must prove sufficient passive income of at least EUR 1,000 per month and have a place to live in Portugal.
  • Golden Visa. This visa is for investors who invest in Portuguese business, venture funds or art of at least EUR 250,000. It provides residency for the investor and their family, with a path to citizenship after five years.


  • Visa D for Financially Independent Persons. This visa is for individuals who can demonstrate sufficient financial means of at least EUR2,000 per month to support themselves without working in Greece. Applicants must have an address in Greece and health insurance.
  • Golden Visa. This program grants residency to individuals who invest in Greek real estate or other approved investments of at least EUR 250,000. It offers residency for the investor and their family and can be renewed every five years.


Residence Benefits

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Visa-free entry

to the EU and the Schengen area countries


Global mobility and freedom

within 3 months


Access to EU banking system

the right to open and service accounts in reliable class A EU banks


Global mobility and freedom

expansion, entry into the international market, filing a company in France allows you to renew a residence permit via a business for the whole family


Return on Investment

option to buy a real estate property with potential of passive income, and the prospect of selling assets in 5 years


Global mobility and freedom

for investors who have been in France for 5 years and have filed tax returns for the last two years


No restrictions on dual citizenship

there is no need to renounce your existing citizenship in the future when obtaining French passport


Global mobility and freedom

main applicant's family members (spouse, financially dependent parents and children) can apply for a residence permit as part of family reunion


Residence Permit

Processing Time and Terms

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Sign a service agreement, fill out application forms, and pay the initial service and due diligence fees.


Sign a service agreement, fill out application forms, and pay the initial service and due diligence fees.


we prepare the documents required for submission to the French Embassy and the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII)


real estate property purchase or lease in France.


registration for a national visa "visiteur" at the Embassy of France.

visit France to register documents in OFII and register your residence permit.

There are Always Options to EXPAND YOUR BOUNDARIES! Let's Discuss Yours

Every client is unique

Every case requires an individual approach and solution. Our years of experience in the industry allow us to provide both.

We will answer all your questions and provide detailed information about the available second passport and residency programs to help you make the right choice.


Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors

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Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors