If you want to go to France for your job, studies, or a family reason, you will need to apply for a visa adapted to your situation and the length of time you wish to stay.
Short-stay visa and long-stay visa
Short-stay visas are issued for people who stay in the country less than 90 days in a period of 180 days. Long-stay visas are for people who stay in France for at least 90 days. These visas mention the reason for your settlement in France (such as student, worker, or a family member).
If you stay less than 90 days in France and come from a country that has signed a reciprocal agreement, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, you don’t require a visa.
Visa for tourism
- To visit France and other European countries during less than three months, you will not need a visa.
- To visit France for more than three months, you need a long-stay visa with the statement “Visiteur” (visitor)
Visa for students
There is a visa for students who are more than 18 years old and accepted by a higher education establishment. You get a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit which must be approved when you arrive in France. A certificate of enrolment is necessary. You can also come to France for an internship as a student but you will have to provide your internship agreement to the French Administration if your internship lasts more than 90 days (except for the Canadian students).
Visa for workers
- For a business trip: a short-stay visa will be required. You will have to justify the reason for your visit with some documents such as the request letter or an invitation from your French correspondent…
- If you work in France as a posting employee: You will get either a short-stay visa with a length equivalent to the declared work time frame by the employer or a long-stay visa bearing the statement « travailleur temporaire » (temporary worker). Your employer must get a work permit.
- For internal transfer: there is a visa for workers in higher management functions, working in the same group as the company of the employer. If you’re going to work more than 12 months in France it is a long-stay visa bearing the statement « salarié détaché ICT » (ICT posted employee), otherwise, it is a short-stay visa with the statement « stagiaire ICT » (ICT Trainee).
- If an employer in France wants to hire you: a work permit is mandatory. You can also come to France with a visa which mentions « Salarié » (employee) if it is a permanent employment contract or « Travailleur temporaire » (temporary worker) if it is a fixed-term contract.
Focus on the ‘Passeport Talent’ (skilled residence permit)
The multi-year “Passeport talent” residence permit is issued to foreign employees and self-employed persons who decide to settle in France to develop France’s economic attractiveness. This permit applies to:
- The qualified or highly qualified paid employees who have been hired in a “new innovative enterprise”, in a company belonging to the same group of companies as the employer or in public or private research.
- The self-employed person who wants to create a business in France, make direct economic investments, or be engaged in an innovative economic project.
- The performers or people who have created a literary or artistic work
Visa for families
- For family reunion: you wish to join a member of your family who lives in France (spouse or parent). This member needs to apply to the Direction Territoriale de l’Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration and prove that you have enough income to live in France. Then you need to apply for a long-stay visa that you have to change to a residence permit in the three months after arriving in France.
If you are the spouse of a French national and want to settle in France: a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit will be issued to you.
- For the children below 21 years old, you receive a long-stay visa that you must replace with a residence permit in the prefecture of the department.
What will change for the British people with Brexit?
- You want to join a family member who already lives in France: you must ask for an entry visa.
- You are a British citizen, working in France and living in another EU state: you get a right to enter and stay. As from the 1st of October 2021 you will need a document of circulation with the statement “Article 50TUE-travailleur frontalier/Accord de retrait du Royaume-Uni de l’UE- non-résident”.
- You are not in the previous situations: the common law applies.