What You Need to Know About Relocate to France

Getting a visa to France is quite direct once you have all your documentation in order. Expatriates from within the EU, EEA, or the Swiss citizens do not require a visa or work permit to move to France. If you are traveling from outside the EU, you would be required to do the following: Start the visa application process before arriving in France. Register your address with the local authorities. After applying for a suitable visa, you may have to apply for something called a carte de séjour, which is the official France residence card. You would also require a work permit, applied for by your employer, in case you plan to work in France. For a long term stay, you may be required to give medical exams, cultural lessons and language tests.

Visas & Work Permits

There are different types of visas and work permits required depending on the purpose of entry and length of stay in the country. It is advisable to be aware of all the visa requirements and costs for you and family members.

In this segment, we cover:

  • Employment-Based Visas
  • Self-Employment Visas
  • Residency Permits: Temporary and Permanent

Employment-Based Visas

This section will guide you on the various visas and work permits available to expatriates working in France.

Work Permits
If you are a citizen from the EU and EEA, you would not be required to apply for a work permit in France. If you work in the following fields for less than 3 months, you are exempted from applying for a work permit if you are:
– Modeling and artistic posers.
– Lecturers for occasional teaching activities.
– People attending conferences, seminars and trade shows.
– People from the sporting, cultural, artistic and scientific events.
– People from the production and distribution of cinematic and audiovisual works, shows and recordings.
– Personal service workers and domestic workers working in France during their private employers’ stay in the country.
– Auditors and consultants in IT, management, finance, insurance, architecture, and engineering, under the terms of a service agreement or intra-company transfer agreement.
– A spouse of a French citizen, parent of a French child, or close family member of a French employee in possession of a temporary ‘Private and Family Life’ residence permit.
Unless you have a resident permit or a long-stay visa, you would be required to apply for a work permit, irrespective of the duration of your stay.

Work Permit: Types
Talent Passport
The Talent Passport acts as a four-year renewable residence permit and costs EUR 270. This allows non-EU nationals to live and work in France and includes the following categories:
– Artist/performers
– An internationally or nationally renowned person in sports, science, arts, education, literature, etc.
– Company representatives
– Champions of an innovative economic project
– Employees of an innovative company
– Employees on a “mission” with a French work contract
– Economic or financial investors
– Highly skilled workers (EU Blue Card holders)
– Researchers/scientists
– Skilled graduates

Salaried and Temporary Worker Permits
These permits are for employees working for a French company. The Salaried Worker permit is for workers with contracts valid for more than a year. The Temporary Worker permit is for workers with contracts valid for 12 months or less.

Work Permit: Requirements
Mostly, the employer is required to submit work permits applicable to the employee, two months prior to their starting date. Documentation for the same would include:
– Copy of the employee’s passport or national identity document.
– Employee’s CV/résumé or other evidence of their skills and experience.
– A copy of any qualifications or certificates required for the position in question.
– A letter stating the employee’s role, reason for employment and duties.
– France work permit visa application form:
– If the employee lives outside France – Cerfa no. 15187*1 (4 copies).
– If the employee is already in France – Cerfa no. 15186*1 (4 copies).
– An updated excerpt of the commercial register for legal entities (extrait K-bis) and sole proprietors (extrait K); a craft license (titre d’artisan); failing that, for private individuals, a tax notice.
– Evidence of the relationship between the company established in France and the company established abroad (for intra-company transfers).
– A copy of the residence permit authorizing them to stay in France (for employees already residing in France).
– Evidence of specific regulatory conditions (if applicable to position).
– Evidence of efforts made to find a candidate already in the French labor market.

In case the employer is established outside France, the documentation would also include the following:
– A sworn declaration of application for registration with the French social security system.
– A sworn declaration of application for registration with the relevant paid leave scheme (caisse des congés payés), wherever applicable.
– Certificate of employment from the company established outside France or initial employment contract, providing evidence of at least three months’ service.
– A letter appointing a person established in France to complete the required administrative formalities in its name and on its behalf.

Work Visas
This section guides you on the types of work visas, their costs as well as their requirements. These can be applied for by professionals or working expatriates.
Short-Stay Work Visa
Short-Stay Work Visas would cost you EUR 60/- and can be applied for by foreigners who expect to work for less than 90 days. Only a work permit would be required if you are from Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, St Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, US, or Venezuela, not a work visa.

Long-Term Work Visa
This work visa costs EUR 99/- and can be applied for by anyone expecting to work in France for more than 90 days. This visa de long séjour will be adjusted according to your reason and duration of stay.
While applying for this visa, with family, your employer can begin applying for the Accompanying Family Member too.

Business Visa
A France Business visa is a permit to enter France and stay there for a period up to 90 days within a six-month period. It permits its holder to engage in business-related activities like attending meetings or conferences. In order to apply for a business visa, you would require:
– Business bank statements of the last six months
– Proof of previous trade relations between the two companies, if applicable
– A certificate allowing your business travel (from employer)
– A letter from the company with their address and the date of your visit (should include coverage of expenses for the applicant)
– Memorandum and Article of Association in original certified copy (registered with joint stock companies) Trade License (first issued and present renewal), Proprietorship/Partnership

Self-Employment Visas

A long stay visa or a residence permit can be applied for if you are self-employed in France. The self-employment visa will bear the statement entrepreneur/profession libérale (self-employed in regulated ‘liberal’ profession). This visa is valid for one year and renewable thereafter.

If eligible, you would also apply for the talent passport, French tech or business investor visas which are valid for 4 years on a renewable basis. It can be extended to immediate family members so that spouses and children can receive resident permits so they can work and live in France too.

Self-Employment Visa: Requirements
The documentation required, some of which should be officially translated:
– A letter stating your self-employment activities and what you intend to do
– Income Tax Return
– Copy of your business license
– Company bank statements (last six months)
– Passport
– Application form
– Proof of address
– Proof of medical insurance
– Clear criminal record
To set up a business in France, your business or project would have to meet all of the specific requirements, qualifications and diplomas, etc. You can always check if your line of business is regulated or not. You would have to have a Master’s Degree or at least have proof your professional work experience for 5 years. You should be able to invest EUR 30,000/- in your new business. You will then be issued a long-stay visa valid for 4 years and bearing the statement passeport talent – créateur d’entreprise (skilled residence permit for a business creator). In case you plan to stay for less than a year, you will be given a long-stay visa, equal to a residence permit, bearing the statement passeport talent.

For start-ups, you can check this website. You are required to have financial resources equal to the country’s annual minimum wage. Your start-up project must be approved by the Direccte (French Administration) via an official letter.

Investors should invest at least EUR 300,000, own 10% of the company they are contributing to and plan to create jobs within four years. They should invest directly or via a company in which they have a 30% share. Investors will be issued a long-stay visa, valid for 4 years, with the statement passeport talent – investisseur économique (skilled residence permit for an investor). In case you plan to stay for less than a year, you will just be given a long-stay visa, equal to a residence permit with the statement passeport talent.

If you are a self-employed performer, you should have proof of your production or performance for a minimum duration of 3 months in France, and submit proof of your financial resources (70% of the minimum legal wage in France). You will then be issued a long-stay visa with the statement passeport talent – profession artistique et culturelle (skilled residence permit for artistic and cultural profession).

Self-Employment Visa: Process
You can fill out the application form online, from anywhere, and submit all the required documents mentioned above. Application will cost is EUR 99/- and will be processed within 3 months. Once approved, you can apply for your Carte de Sejour (resident ID card) while in France. All fees are non-refundable.

Residency Permits: Temporary and Permanent

This section is all about how and when to apply for the temporary and permanent residence permits in France.

Contrat d’intégration républicaine (CIR)
Since 2016, any non-European planning to settle in France must sign the CIR or Contrat d’Intégration Républicaine; a mutual contract to ensure the best integration of foreigners into France. You are required to be aware of the French language failing which language lessons would be given to you.

Temporary Resident Permit: Application
Residence permits valid for up to a year need to be renewed annually. These are called carte de séjour temporaire and include:
– VLS-TS – the French long-stay visa (described above) which also serves as a temporary residence permit once validated at the OFII offices.
– Carte de Sejour for employees or temporary workers
You can visit the closest mairie (local town hall office) to know more about how you should go about applying for your visa.

Temporary Resident Permit: Fees and Requirements
Documents needed for the temporary resident permit or carte de séjour temporaire include:
– Passport
– Birth certificate
– Long-stay visa
– Work permit
– Last three pay stubs
– CIR contract
– Medical certificate
– Proof of payment of EUR 270/-.
– Permanent Residency: Process and Benefits
In France, permanent residency cards are called Carte de Résident (CR) and are valid for 10 years but if you leave the country for 2 or more years, you could lose this status.

The benefits of getting a permanent residence in France are:
– Extended period of stay before renewing the residence
– Access to the European Union (EU)
– Entry into Schengen countries without requiring a visa
– Permanent Residence: Requirements
In order to apply for the permanent residence or CR, you should have proof that you lived in France for 5 years or more, unless you are married to a French national or joining a family member who already has a permanent residence.

Documentation with copies required may include:

Employment contract and proof of income
Bank statements
Proof of residence (e.g. lease, utility bills, rent receipts)
Medical certificate
Birth or marriage certificates
Health insurance
Integration into French society and sufficient knowledge of the language
You can consult your local préfecture for any additional documentation required. To translate some documents into French (court certified), you can check with the préfecture, consulates, police stations or your relocation service provider. The application fee for the card is EUR 270/-.

Family Visa
A temporary residence permit can be applied for by a non-French, non-EU, and non-EEA national with relations to a French resident. This residence permit is valid up to a year and allows family members to work too.

A permanent residence permit or the CR can be applied for by spouses of French citizens or parents of a French-born child. It is valid for 10 years and allows family members to work too.

Spouse Visa
To get a French spouse visa, the requirements depend on the nationality, permit of the spouse and duration of stay. If you are joining your spouse who is not an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, the following conditions have to be met:

They should have been living in France for at least 18 months (12 for Algerians) AND hold a valid residence permit.
They should have sufficient funds to support you financially (equal to the monthly minimum wage)
They should have adequate accommodation for you in France
The person in France would have to visit the OFII office to apply, once approved; the partner should apply for their own long-stay visa which is free of charge. This visa, which is equal to the residence card (VLS-TS) and is free of charge, will have to be applied at the French consulate or embassy in their country of origin.

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