Known as “national visas” or “D visas”, France long-stay visas are category of visas for France that are issued to foreigners who wish to enter and stay in French territory for more than three months and up to 1 year.
There are different types of the long-stay visas, depending on one’s purpose of entry. One can obtain such a visa under the following purposes:
- To enroll in studies
- To get a paid job
- To join family members already living in French territory (family reunion)
- To settle permanently in the French territory
Who Needs a France Long-Stay Visa?
Whether you need a visa for France or not, it all depends on your nationality and the part of France you wish to visit. There are some categories of internationals who wish to enter France and remain for more than three months that do not need to obtain a long stay visa in order to be permitted to stay.
Only the following are eligible for exemption:
- Third country nationals that hold a short-stay visa marked as Famille de Français (‘Family of a French national’).
- EU nationals
- EEA nationals (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein).
- Nationals of the principalities of Monaco and Andorra.
- Nationals of San Marino and the Holy See.
- Foreign nationals and their families who have acquired long-term resident status in another EU country.
- Students who have attended school in France without interruption from the age of 16 and are continuing their studies in the country.
Every other national, no matter which part of France is planning to visit, will have to obtain a long-stay visa in order to be permitted to enter and remain in the country.
For more information, please check Who needs a France visa?
Where to Apply for a France Long-Stay Visa?
The application is done at the French consulate or embassy in your country of residence. You are advised to apply for this visa at most 3 months before the intended travel date. You can check out requirements for France visa application here.
HERE you can download the long-stay visa application form.
France Long-Stay Visa Types
If you have decided to apply for a French long-stay visa, then the first thing you have to do, is to decide what type of visa you need. French authorities have established a few visa types, depending on the purpose of one’s entry to France.
Depending on you purpose of travel to France you might fall under one of the main categories listed below:
- Family Visas
- Professional Visas
- Study Visas
- Other (training, working holiday, religious orders, visitor etc.)
France Long Stay Family Visas
The France long stay Family visas are issued to applicants who wish to join their spouse that is a legal French citizen. One can apply for the following Family Visa types:
France long stay visa for the spouse of a French Citizen
This is a visa established for spouses of French citizens that wish to join their spouses in France, and remain there for more than 90 days. Among others, a very important evidence that the applicants of this type of visa will have to present is proof regarding their wedding, which is a French marriage certificate called “Copie Intégrale de l’Acte de Mariage”. Information on the French citizens will also be required, as their identity, nationality etc.
France long stay visa for the spouse of an EU citizen
This is more of e residence permit, since the spouses and children under 21 of the EU citizens (expect France) that wish to join their parent or spouse in France for more than 90 days will have to enter France under the Schengen short-stay visa regulation. Then upon their arrival in France, they will have to apply for the so called “carte de séjour” directly at the Prefecture.
France Long Stay Professional Visas
The professional visas are for people who intend to come to France and remain for a period longer than 90 days, with the single purpose of engaging in paid activity.
France long stay visa for salaried Employees
For people who wish to work in France for up to one year. When applying for this type of visa, one must present a work contract duly endorsed by the DIRECCTE.
French long stay visa for creating and running a business or company
If you wish to create and run a business or company in France, then you will have to apply for this type of visa, whether this will be your personal initiative or in collaboration with another company. Do not forget that you will be asked for extra documents than usually required, as showing proof you have the financial means to create the planned business.
Professionals and independent workers
There are some professions, which are not authorized to the non-EU nationals as bailiffs, notaries, judicial administrators and insurance general agents etc. Others as doctors, lawyers, architects etc. will need an authorization from the relevant professional body. Therefore make sure to check what you will need to do to engage in your profession in France, before applying for this type of visa.
France Sportsperson visa
Every sportsman or sportswoman that wish to enter and remain in France for up to one year have to follow some procedures in order to be permitted to engage in sport activities. If the applicant is employed and will receive a salary for the activity they are engaged in, the they will have to apply as a “salaried employee”.
On the other hand, when the applicant will not be receiving a salary, he or she must apply as a ‘visitor’/ however, in this case the sports club or institution must sponsor applicant’s stay in France, including their accommodation, insurance, transport etc.
French Volunteer work visa
This is a visa for people who wish to engage in humanitarian work in France, for up to one year and more than three months. If you are planning to obtain such a visa, keep in mind that you will have to start the visa application process through a French Foundation or Association recognized by the French authorities as registered charity / public utility.
French International Organization visa
Applicants who will be taking an official assignment in France with an international organization will have to apply for this type of visa.
France Study Visas
The France long stay study visas are for students who wish to study in France for a period longer than three months, either in public or private institutions, attend a French language course etc. Below find explained every category of applicants that fall under this visa, as well as some of their specifics.
France study visa for students over 18
This is a visa for students that wish enroll at a public or private educational institution in France. Their studies must be related to the Diplomas previously obtained or with the current professional occupation of the applicant.
France study visa for students under 18
Students under 18 who wish to continue their studies in France without any of their parents will need to apply for this kind of visa, the maximum validity of which is 11 months.
France Au Pair visa
This visa is for students between 18 and 19 years old and grants them with work protection in France and access to the National Health Insurance.
France long stay visa for language assistant
Only single persons can apply for this type of visa and not families, due to the cost of living in France and the monthly paid allowance, which does not fully cover the financial needs of a family abroad. Remember if any family members wish to join you, they will have to apply for a visitor long-stay visa.
The talent passport card is established especially for foreigners, who wish to enter and remain in France for up to one year, and engage in paid activity, especially in competitive environments as global talent. It includes a whole range of 10 categories with internationally recognized reputation. After obtaining this visa, its holder is eligible to apply in France for a card similar to a residence permit that allows them to remain in France for up to four years.
These visas and their eligibility requirements are as follows:
France long stay visa for recently graduated students employed as a qualified worker
Only young graduates with a master’s degree or equivalent, or advanced degrees (as BTS or DUT) are eligible for this type of visa. The applicant must have a professional license and at least one diploma equivalent to master to apply.
France long stay visa for recently graduated student employed by an innovative company
For young graduates with a master’s degree or equivalent, or advanced degrees (as BTS or DUT) who have been recruited by an innovative company, which is willing to pay them more than €35,526.40 per year.
Highly skilled workers – France EU Blue Card (Carte Bleue européenne)
Only highly skilled workers with a diploma granted after 3 years of higher education or five years of comparable professional experience at least, are eligible for this type of visa. When applying for this visa you must also show the employment contract with at least one-year validity, and also prove you have been offered a gross annual income of at least € 53,836.50.
France long stay visa for employees on assignment with a work contract in France
For employees on a mission or who exercise a paid activity, at a company established at a foreign country, and who come to France in the context of mobility between the offices of the same company. These people need to have at least a seniority of 3 months in the group where they are employed, a work contract as well as a gross annual salary of €31,973.76.
French long stay researcher visa
For researchers, who have a diploma equivalent to a master’s degree at least, and come to France to carry out a research or to lecture at a university. This person needs to show proof of their status as a researcher as well as per their purpose and duration of their stay in France.
French long stay visa for business founders
For people who are in the business creation and authorized to carry a commercial activity, that can present a serious project of the creation of an industrial, commercial or artisanal company in France.
French long stay visa for innovative economic project
For people who have an innovative economic project, capable of proving it with supporting documentation. A public body must have recognized the project, before you apply for this visa.
French long stay economic investor visa
For people who are interested to invest in a company in which they acquire at least 10% of the capital, or people who are willing to invest visa a company they direct personally or own at least 30% of the capital. People, who are capable of making an investment of at least € 300,000 in France and can prove that, can also apply for this visa.
French long stay visa for legal representatives
For people who need to enter France to oversee the legal affairs of another. The applicant must submit supporting documents to their personal situation.
France long stay visa for Artists – Performers
For people who wish to enter and remain in France more than three months, in order to engage in paid activity as artists / performers.
Others Categories of French long stay Visas
If you do not find yourself in any of the groups of long stay visas listed and explained above, then you will have to apply for other types of visas, which we have listed below:
French Training – student or professional visa
For students / professionals who need to enter and remain in France for a training. A “Convention de stage” is from the inviting party is one of the must-be-submited requirements whether the applicant will be paid or not.
French Working holiday visa
The France Working Holiday visa is a multiple-entry non-extendable visa valid for 12 months. It is granted to the nationals of 13 countries that participate in the working holiday program with France.
The main idea behind the program is to give the chance to the youngsters of these countries to come to France, learn and discover its culture, history and tourist destinations, while making money.
French long stay Religious Orders Visa
Members of the Christian confessions, Catholic or Protestant, can apply for this visa in order to enter France to carry religious duties. The applicant for such visa needs to submit a letter of invitation from the appointed representative of the religious order or institute, alongside the other documents.
French Long stay Visitor Visa
The long stay visitor visa will apply to the applicant only if none of the categories listed an explained here does not fit her or him. A holder of this visa type is allowed to travel only France and not the other parts of Europe, as with a France Schengen Visa.
Can my Visa be Revoked?
Holders of long-stay visas have to:
- Register at the Immigration and Integration Office (OFII) in the first 2 months of arrival into the French territory,
- Or apply for a residence permit at the respective French prefecture, immediately after entering the French territory – if the visa is marked “carte de séjour à solliciter” (residence permit to be applied for)
- Apply at the OFII immediately after entering the French territory to make a medical examination and pay the residence fees. After the first year of stay you have to apply to at the French prefecture to renew your residence permit (not later than 2 months before the visa period ends) – this rule is for some sub-categories of long-stay visa that in the first year of stay are recognized as residence permits: Long-stay study visas, Long-stay work visas (not all of them), Spouses of French nationals long-stay visa and Visitor long-stay visa
What Can I do in Case of Visa Refusal?
If your visa application gets rejected, you can submit a request for a re-evaluation of the visa application to the French embassy or consulate in your home country from where you have applied. Such request should be done if you have strong reasons to believe that the visa refusal was unjust.
The appeal against the decision should be submitted 2 months since the day of the refusal, in French, and the supporting documents attached to the case file. The results of the appeal could be an indirect refusal (no answer in 2 months), or a direct refusal by the commission.