Visa and residence permit to go to France

Whatever the length of your stay in France, your entry into the French territory is subject to obtaining a visa, unless your situation or your nationality does not exempt you from it. Once you arrive in France, obtaining a residence permit may be necessary, depending on your situation. 


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The type of visa required to enter France (except in special cases) depends on the:


-Reasons for the intended stay 

For stays of less than or equal to 90 days:

-The visa to be applied for is a short-stay visa called the « Visa Schengen ».

For stays longer than 90 days:

-The visa to be applied for is a long stay visa adapted to the duration and the reasons for the stay.

Once the visa holder enters French territory

The visa holder will not be able to obtain a change of visa or change of status. The exercise of a salaried activity is subject to specific procedures which require obtaining a work permit prior to obtaining the visa.

Your passport must be sufficiently long to cover your stay in the Schengen area. During the processing of the visa application, certain formalities (making appointments, filing of the file) can be entrusted to service providers. An additional fee will be required. Check with the competent French consulate. 

If you are a national of a Member State of the European Union (EU) (other than France), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland or a member of the family of a national of a Member State EU, EEA or Switzerland other than France, specific provisions of European Union law apply : 

– Nationals of the EU, EEA or Switzerland are not subject to the visa for entry and residence, irrespective of the length of stay.

– Members of the family of a national of the EU, EEA or Switzerland (spouse, minor or dependent children, dependent ascendants) are subject to the same movement regime as other nationality.

The family members of a citizen of the Union whose nationality is not subject to a short-stay visa or who hold a residence permit for a family member of a Union citizen are not Subject to the entry and residence visa, irrespective of the length of the stay.

Residence permit / « Carte de séjour »

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Holders of an entry and long-stay visa marked « Residence card to be applied for, on arrival in France »

Must contact French prefectural authority 


-Apply for a residence permit within two months after their entry into French territory 

In France this card is called « Carte de séjour ». This is the identity card that is given to resident non-Europeans in France. This card does not allow for permanent residency, it is renewable as often as once a year.

The following people will need a Carte de séjour in order to live and work in France :

– Non-French and non-Europeans spouses of French/European people

– Students

– Professionals (with a job contract that stipulates at least 1 year of employment)

– Temporary workers (with a job contract that stipulates at least less than 1 year of employment)

– Visitors (people who agree to live in France without working)

For more informations, you can visit the France Diplomate website :

To read :

How to authenticate your documents 

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