The Expat Hub

What do you need to enter and live in France?

As a citizen of a European Union nation you will not need a Visa to enter the country. If you are looking to move the country and are a citizen of a nation not part of the EU or country signed up to a free access deal then you will need to apply for one. When determining visa eligibility, France looks first to the Schengen Agreement, a treaty implemented by almost all of the member states of the European Union, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

If you have a residency document from any of the member states that have adopted the Schengen agreement you do not need a visa for France. UK residents are covered by the EU regulations on travelling, living and working in member states. This allows them freedom of movement between the countries provided they have the correct travel documentation.

You have to apply for a Visa in your home country (visas are never issued in France). Visa applications take some time and the type of visa will affect your residency rights, so choose accordingly. The same rules apply for residence and working permits with EU member citizens able to stay and work in the country with no need for documentation except a passport or proof of identity.

UK residents are covered by the EU regulations on travelling, living and working in member states. This allows them freedom of movement between the countries provided they have the correct travel documentation. Visitors from the US will not need a visa for a short stay in France, but will for a stay of more than 90 days.

Residency permit

As a citizen of the EU you will not need to have a residency permit. However it may be a good idea to get one regardless, as having one will make your life a lot easier than without. If you don’t have one then you won’t be able to gain access to many of the states services or benefits such as financial aid.

If you are a non-EU citizen then be prepared to navigate the minefield that is French bureaucracy. To obtain a residency permit you will have to provide the French authorities with the following and maybe more: original and photocopy of your passport with a valid long-stay visa

Birth certificate (acte de naissance, etat civil), in addition to certified translation into French, which should be produced in your home country (or at your country’s embassy in Franch, who may be able to provide this service) by an official translator accredited by the French Embassy in your home country.

Original and photocopy of proof of residence (statement of domicile, electricity bill or rent receipt).

Employees must present a certificate of employment and latest payment slips.

Self-employed people must provide proof of their status (subscription to URSSAF, trade or TVA register, etc.)

Retired and unemployed people must provide proof they have adequate financial resources to live in France.

Students must also provide proof they have adequate financial resources as well as proof of enrolment in an educational institution recognized by the French Ministry of Education.

Medical certificate issued by OMI ( office des migrations internationales), an institution/doctor approved by OMI or a French Embassy.

Medical insurance.

Three passport-size photographs.

If any of the documents provide are not in French, you should seek to get them translated. The whole process takes from between a week to a few months.
A residency permit also gives the right to residency for your spouse and children.