A France residence permit is a document that allows its holder to stay in France, and is mandatory for every foreigner that comes to France with the purpose of staying more than three months. Without a French residence permit, one will not only be considered as an illegal resident in France, but will be unable to get access to many state services and aids.
Do I Need to Apply for a French Residence Permit?
Exempt from the requirement of obtaining a French residence permit are only the nationals of the European Union, the European Economic Area Member States and Switzerland, who still need to register with the authorities if they intend to remain in France more than six months. On the other hand, they too are suggested to obtain a residence permit, upon their arrival in France, in order to have access to state services and aids, as mentioned above.
France short stay visa holders, who are permitted to stay in France for a maximum of three months, do not need to obtain a residence permit in France.
Types of France Residence Permits
Depending whether you are applying for the first time for a France residence permit or you have renewed a residence permit a few times before, you may obtain one of the following two main residence permits:
- To apply for a Carte de Sejour, you will have to show up at the French prefecture or sub-prefecture near your home in France, and apply for one by submitting the documents mentioned below. If you are in Paris, you will have to apply to the Paris Police Prefecture. Carte de Séjour is a residence permit for those who are coming to France under a French long-stay visa, and will have to either:
- validate their visa which will serve to them as a residence permit (VLS TS), or
- will have to apply for a residence permit within their three months of arrival in France
- For the Carte de Resident, you will also have to apply at the French prefecture or sub-prefecture in your country. Submit the documents listed above, alongside with French translations of the documents in another language. Carte de résident is for spouses of French citizens, parents of a French-born child, expats retiring in France, or those who have renewed their carte de séjour for more than three years in a row.
- Certificate of Residence for Algerians – which is issued to nationals of Algeria alone. An Algerian can apply for one of the following residence permits in France.
- One year certificate – for Algerians who wish to enter France and stay under a specific purpose
- Certificate of 10 years – this is especially for people that have family ties with someone in France, or others that have been legally resident in France for several years. It is renewable.
- Certificate of residence “retired” and “retired spouse” – for Algerians who have resided in France before retiring.
- EU Blue Card – which is a document that permits its holder, a non-EU foreign national, to enter and remain in France under the purpose of engaging in paid activity and to explore career opportunities available in their field, up to three year, with the opportunity to extend the stay.
- Authorization of stay – which is valid for one, three or six months and is issued to the parent of a sick child in France, or a volunteer at a mission in France.
France Residence Permit Requirements
Differently from when applying for a French visa for which you apply from your country of residence, you will have to apply within France when it comes to a French residence permit. If your France long-stay visa is marked with the words “carte de séjour à solliciter” then you will have to apply within two months of your arrival in France at the local authorities. Whereas, if your France visa is marked with the words “CESEDA R.311-3”, you will need to contact the Office Francais de I‘Immigration et de I‘Integration (OFFI) as soon as you arrive in France.
To apply for a France Residence Permit, you should prepare the following documents for submission:
- Your valid passport with the French long-stay visa stamped on it.
- A copy of the important pages of your passport, including the pages with stamps.
- Birth Certificate produced in your home country.
- Two photographs according to the ICAO standards.
- Proof of residence, which can be an electricity bill, statement of domicile, rent receipt etc.
- Proof of income:
- if employed – work contract and latest payment slips.
- if self-employed – proof on their status.
- retired or unemployed: proof on having the adequate financial means to live in France.
- Medical Insurance.
- if you are married or you have kids then you will have to submit a certificate of marriage and birth certificates of your children.
- Translations of every document that is not in French.
After successfully obtaining a French long-stay visa at your country of residence, you are entitled to enter France and remain there. However, you might have to validate your visa into a French residence permit within your arrival to France. The VLS-TS is actually a French long-stay visa. It comes in the form of a stamp or sticker into a passport of a foreign national and allows them to enter and stay in the French territory up to 1 year.
The VLS-TS stands for Visa de Long Séjour – Titre de Séjour.
Who Needs a VLS-TS?
The following categories need to obtain a French VLS-TS:
- Foreign spouses of a French national (in this case the visa is issued unconditionally, except if the marriage is not frank, or has been called off, or the candidate is of a danger for the public wealth).
- Foreign students.
- Foreign trainees.
- Foreign workers with an indefinite work contract period.
- Foreign temporary workers with a fixed-term work contract.
- Foreign workers with a job in France.
- Foreign visitors with enough money to support themselves without needing to get e paid job.
- Foreign spouses of a foreign recipient of a family reunion (not including nationals of Maghreb or French-speaking Sub-Saharan Africa when applying for a first time for a 10-year residence card).
How to Apply for VLS-TS?
Send the following documents to the OFII office by mail:
- the OFFI application form, fully completed
- a copy of the important pages of your passport (including the pages with your details and the pages with visa stickers and stamps)
After receiving these documents, the OFII management will register your case and send you a letter on the address you have given to invite you for a medical visit and a welcome visit, depending on your case.
It serves to the visa holder as a French residence permit once it is validated at the OFII offices in France.
This means that their holders are not required to apply for a France residence permit while having this visa. However, they have to confirm their visa at the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) in the first 3 months of entering the French territory. VLS-TS holders can also get a residence permit for private and family life, after their entrance.
The application process for VLS-TS is quite simple. In order to get it, follow the steps listed below in the given order:
- Apply for a French long-stay visa with a validity of 4 months to 1 year from your country of residence
- Travel to France
- Validate / Confirm your long-stay visa as a VLS-TS at the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (OFII) in France
Confirming VLS-TS at the OFII
If you hold a long-stay visa, within the first 3 months of entering the French territory, you should validate it as a VLS-TS residence permit.
The VLS-TS validation process goes as follows:
- First, when you receive your visa from the French Embassy in your country of residence, you will also get the OFII form.
- Complete the form and send it through email to the OFII of the city where you are staying. Attach scanned pages of your passport where the identification information and entry stamp is shown.
- Shortly upon getting the email, the OFII lists your file and replies with a certificate of payment to the address where you live for paying the applying fee.
- Following, you will receive a letter for undertaking a medical and a welcoming visit to the OFII.
- During the visit to the OFII submit the following documents:
- your passport with your visa
- a proof of your domicile in France (rent receipt, lease, water bill, electricity, certificate of accommodation, etc.),
- a photo ID
- paper tax stamps or dematerialized tax stamps with proof of online payment (variable amount depending on the mention of your visa),
- the certificate stating that you have already been to your country for a medical visit to a OFII approved doctor, if applicable
- At the end of the validation process, the OFII attaches a sticker and a date to the passport of the visa holder, as a form of approving the holder as legitimate to stay within the French territory for a specific period.
Payable OFII Fee
When you apply for the validation of your VLS-TS, you will need to pay a fee. The fee depends on the visa type that you hold, as follows:
- Private and family life (spouse of French or spouse entered by family reunification) – 250 Euros
- Visitor – 250 Euros
- Student – €80s
- Trainee – €80s
- A paid worker – 250 Euros (not including temporary worker who are exempt from this payment)
Can I Extend My VLS-TS?
If you want to extend your VLS-TS, you should apply for a residence permit within two months before the expiration of your visa. Submit your application at the French prefecture or sub-prefecture close your residence address.
Can My VLS-TS be revoked?
The competent French authorities may revoke your VLS-TS in case they conclude that:
- You have fraudulently obtained your visa,
- You entered France for a purpose other than for the purpose of issuing your visa
- You were involved in disturbance of public order.