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:
Carte de Séjour
- 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
Carte de résident
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.
Other French Residence Permits and Authorizations of Stay
Aside of the two main French residence permits, there are also some special residence permits or authorizations for specific cases.
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.
France Residence Permit Application Process
The application process for a France residence permit varies from one residence permit to another, depending on the type. Below find a guideline what you shall do in order to apply for each type of permit and their categories:
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. 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.
On this visit, you will have to submit some documents, which we have listed above. A sticker and a date stamp will be affixed to your passport upon the completion of your file by the OFII.
Other types of Carte de Sejour
For every other 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 above. If you are in Paris, you will have to apply at the Paris Police Prefecture.
Carte de Resident
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.