France Visas, Permits and Immigration

by Jose Marc Castro on August 11, 2009

VISAfrance200French immigration has issued new procedures to easily process immigration application documents faster.  EU citizens are automatically allowed to visit France for three months without any visa. In the past, French authorities have been protective of their domestic labor force.  A lot of bureaucratic obstacles then got in the way of companies wanting to recruit foreign workers.

French Immigration

Now, France also keeps its borders open for non-EU foreigners. A number of temporary work visas and work permits were issued to non EU foreigners who want to work in France. A foreign expert can also get a work visa as an independent non salaried expert.

The normal procedure for the application of work permits requires a French employee to prepare a petition through the assistance of a French counsel. This petition also involves the submission of personal documents with certification or letter from a French employer explaining the applicant’s migration purposes. Upon arrival in France, the applicant should pass a medical examination to be issued a work permit.

An EEA (European Economic Area) is for EU nationals working in France and have the same rights as French nationals.  They have the right to good working conditions, access to housing as well as trade union memberships. Immediate dependents and families are entitled to join them and have similar rights.

This issue was addressed in a post in France Expat Forum last July 28, 2000:

To get to the point, yes, you will have a tough time establishing residence in France – and by that I mean getting a long-stay visa. To get a long-stay visa, you have to get a job. And frankly, universities in France are state-run and thus teaching at a university is usually a “fonctionnaire” post (i.e. civil service). You won’t get support for a visa for a fonctionnaire post as a US citizen. There are some private universities in France, but given that they can get English lit and other PhD’s from the UK with no visa requirements, again, you’re looking at a long shot.

To be honest, I don’t know what the requirements are for a mortuary employee in France – and any online source I might be able to find on this is guaranteed to be in French. The customs for funerals are a bit different from those in the US – but at the moment, burial is the standard, with cremation something “new” that is just starting to catch on. (Namely because it’s cheap.)

But if either of you were to manage to find a job where the employer would sponsor you for a visa, the spouse would get a visa that does not permit them to work in France. If you each try to come on your own working visa, you could run into trouble should one of you lose your job for any reason.

Types of French Visa and Costs

Temporary French Visa

The Schengen visa may be issued for either a multiple, double or single entry and is eligible to visit France for three (3) months. The Schengen Visa cannot be extended while the holder is in France. The Schengen holder can not also re-visit the country after the visa has expired. When you apply for the Schengen visa, you must submit documentation in order to support their application form. You must submit an answered application form, proof of your intention to leave before the visa expires, and proof of funds for the length of the trip. All French applications should be submitted in original copy. You are also required to submit an original copy of your marriage certificate (if married), valid passports for you as well as your spouse, Form 1 A as well as C form and three passport photos.

The long-term visa was discussed in a post in France Expat Forum last February 23, 2009:

2. I’m not sure how that works on the visa side of things, but most préfectures will issue you a one-year carte de séjour the first time out. You might ask at your interview. But I know they are open to at least a month of travel after you finish your schooling “to take in the patrimoine of France.”

The Student French Visa is issued to students who want to enter France except for Swiss or EU nationals since they must have a long stay student visa on their passport. It will allow you as a student to live and stay in France until you apply for Residence permit. You must then pass all requirements to obtain this French student visa. These requirements include:

  • Letter of admission or registration from the French Academic Institution.
  • Evidence of resources for 500 Euros a month for living expenses for a period of stay such as for food, medical expenses, housing and transports as well as proof for tuition fees.
  • Short Bio-data
  • Evidence of accommodation in France for a period of stay.
  • Four passport size photographs with light background.
  • Copy of your diploma or degree  and certificate
  • Copy of the first two pages of your valid passport for the entire period of stay in France

The cost for short-term visa in France is 35 French dollars, while the short term visa to overseas visa is 9 French dollars. The long term visa such as family and student visa is 99 French dollars, and the visa for adoption is 15 French dollars. Exempted from visa fees are those aged 25 years and below, European Union Citizens, and scholars of the French Government.

The following visas are also issued:

Work visas.

In spite of recent efforts to restrict the immigration of unskilled foreigners to France, France has nevertheless kept its borders open to skilled workers and the rules have been made ever more favorable to group companies and international service agreements.

Three options exist for international intra-company and affiliate cross-border transfers of key personnel: (1) the favoured high level executive (cadre dirigeant) ategory, (2) temporary employee transfer (detachment) category, and (3) the common law regime new hire category.

Family immigration

Spouses of French citizens have a right to a long stay visa and a family stay card as of right, absent fraud, and for spouses from visa waiver countries, no long stay visa is required. The spouse can acquire a right to permanent residence, provided the marriage was celebrated at least two years prior to the permanent residency request. Furthermore, children (less than 21 years of age) of a French parent also have a right to permanent residence. Also, the parent of a French citizen may request  permanent residence, provided that the parent is a dependent of the French citizen.

Types of Permits

The Temporary Secondment is a permit for non French companies that need to place their employees in France. This may be applied for by any foreign company but needs the full co-operation of the French client. A sponsored employee should remain employed and lined up for the Foreign Service provider. The limit for this permit is 18 months and can be extended for up to 9 months more.

The full work permit is done by a French company wanting to employ a non EEA national. One should be a full time employee and paid in Euro in order to avail of this permit.  There is no limit whatsoever for this permit.

Usually, work permits are valid for 12 months. However, the renewal and maximum length of stay are at the discretion of French authorities.

The Schengen Visa is valid for a stay in France for up to 90 days. This type of visa can not be extended. If you intend to stay longer than 90 days in France, the long stay visa is required to all nationals wanting to do so.  Only extraordinary circumstances like sudden illness can a foreign national obtain an extension beyond the 90 days allowed by the Schengen visa.

Immigration Policy

The French Immigration Policy Act of 1998 promotes greater access to French citizenship.  The main goal of the Policy Act of 1998 is to integrate foreign nationals into the French Culture. This act specifies that the children of foreign nationals should be given a French citizenship when their children reach maturity.  This will start when the children reach the age of eleven (11). The children granted French citizenship can stay in France for a period of five years.

Immigration Laws

The Bonnet Law started to classify illegal migration.  Once identified as an illegal immigrant, the applicant is expelled from the French territory.

The Chevenement Laws focus on the rights of a foreigner in the French territory. The Guigou Law Act 1998 allows for the automatic rights of children born in France to have French citizenship.

The law of French immigration issued on February 2003 focused generally on the security of immigrants entering France.  It was also designed to reinforce measures against illegal immigration.

A new immigration bill on French immigration was issued in 2007.  This requires the DNA test for the foreigner before they get to unite with relatives in France. The bill also requires French language test for visa applicants and parents wanting to join family members and sign immigration contracts. It also has authorized voluntary genetic tests to prove family ties.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

supinder singh November 21, 2009 at 5:03 pm

hi i am student in romania ,i am indian citizen iwant to go to italy to meet my friend what will be the procedure can i obtain a temperory residence permit in romania


XHEVDET ELEZAJ January 4, 2010 at 6:12 am



Hendry Gurung February 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Hi, I’m non Eu citizen currently studying in London and my visa will expire next year on 28 feb. 2011, before my visa expire i want to visit paris once, can anyone suggest me, minimum how much fund i should show in my account and the bank transcition should be of 3 months or 6 months old prior to the date of application.
Thanks with best regards.


khuram May 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm

i want to work in france


Jim O June 8, 2010 at 1:28 am

I got a work visa to work in France, but it is for me. What do I need to do to get my wife to France to live with me. We are both US Citizens. Any help or comments, I would greatly appreciate it


GOOMER SARIKA June 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm

I am a french citizen n i want to know that how can i get a long sejour visa for my parents from delhi.That will be very kind.



JayeshG September 3, 2010 at 3:32 pm

This is Jayesh Gupta from India. Need some help regarding French Student Visa. I had applied but got rejected twice.

Can you please let me know if you can help me in this so i can forward you more information on this.

Thanking you,

Jayesh Gupta.


yoovie September 14, 2010 at 9:33 am


i have a problem and i want someone to help me….
i am not an eu citizen .Now iam in france and i got married to a non eu citizen that works and lives here…she holds a cdi and a carte de sejour .. can i apply fro, here to stay with here i still got few days with my visa and i don t want to leave here alone ?i can t live without here.. could i just do anything while i am stil in france. PLEASE GIVE ME AN ADVICE;


Precious October 20, 2010 at 11:13 am

Hi,i am a student in dubai n i want 2 go on vacation in france plz hw do i get the visa?tanx


Rajachakkaravarathi November 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm

hi,I am working in dubai , I Like to visit France for 2 month is it possible to get an visa , Let me please


pavel rozario April 1, 2011 at 11:03 am

hi i am i live in italy with permesso di soggiorno.can i go to france for live and work.


emann August 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm

my name is eman i live in pakistan and my husband is in france he is student he is not doing any job but nationality holder can he sponser me to france? can i go to france ?can u tell me whole process how can i applied for france n how can i go to france?tell me whole procedure ? i shall be very thankfull to u if u help me out?


Okafor Henry December 31, 2012 at 9:18 am

If Greece issue you shengle visa, can you take France Airline and and stop at France just to see how france look befor going back to ur destination Greece


Robert Weyman August 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Hi I have lived and worked in Toulouse France with my wife and family for nearly 3 years, 21-Oct-2007 to 01-Apr-2010 working for Resource group contractors to Airbus industries.
My wife and now 14 year old daughter had a Carte de sejour my wife had one valid for 19 years and my daughters was for 5 years these however were dependent on me continuing work in France, in April 2010 all contractors both English and German were thanked for our services getting on track again and made redundant. I am British born and so is my son Johan now 7 years, both with British citizenship and passport.
Here’s the question I wish to retire in the Toulouse / Midi-Pyrenees area and if I buy a house with land how much is required to sponsor both my wife and daughter? The house will be fully paid without mortgage and I have pensions of approximately 1250 euros per month which will be going up in 5 years when I can get the UK state pension to help.
I wonder also if my wife who is 39 can work to also contribute to the family income.
I have looked and failed to find a figure like the 18500 GBP for the UK? I’m sure it’s out there somewhere but I have failed t find it.
Thank you for any assistance you maybe able to give.

R Weyman


Robert Weyman August 31, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Hi Sorry I failed to mention that both my wife an my daughter are Thai nationals, and not from an EU or EEA country. Thanks again for any help given.

Robert Weyman


maria November 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

I m Pakistani n lives in pakistan since birth .my husband lives in France since oct 2010 an now is carte de sejour holder of france n have perminant work can he sponser me???
Plzzz help me
I will be glade full if any 1 can help me out


Michael Pearson March 5, 2015 at 9:44 am

Dear Sir,
I am a UK citizen who has lived in France for 12 years. I have my own house etc. I am to be married to a lady from Tanzania later this year and need to know how she can get a visa to stayand live with me?
She has been to France twice before the first time she had a month’s visa and now she is o a 3 months visas.
However I do not want to be married in Tanzania and find she can’t come back with me.
Can you give me your suggestions or the names of a company that could handle the application?

Yours Faithfully,

Michael Pearson


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