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 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.
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.
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 – which is a residence permit for those who are coming to France under a 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
There are two types of the France Carte de Sejour:
- Carte de séjour temporaire – which is valid for a year at most, and is inserted on your passport. You will have to renew it every year if you wish to extend your stay in France.
- Carte de séjour compétences et talents – which is granted to highly qualified and skilled workers, valid for up to three years and renewable.
Carte de résident – which 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. There are two types of it as well:
- Carte de resident rétraité – which is for expats retiring in France
- Carte de resident – which is for every other category of applicants
Depending on specific cases you might be a subject to one of the following types of authorizations of stay of residence permits:
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
Certificate of Residence for Algerians – which are only for the nationals of Algeria.
“Carte de Séjour” Residence Permit
The Carte de Séjour is residence permit for people who come to stay in France up to a year, and also some other categories permit the visa holder to stay for three or four years. Several categories of permits fall under the Carte de Sejour. There are two ways of obtaining this type of residence permit, depending on the long-stay visa that you have been issued:
- Long-stay visa with the obligation to apply for a residence permit
If you are coming to France with a long stay visa that is marked with the words “carte de séjour à solliciter” then you will have to apply for a residence permit within your three months of arrival in France in order to get your residence permit.
- Long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS)
On the other hand, some of the long-stay visas serve as a residence permit, they just need to be validated at the OFII offices. The holder of a visa that has been marked CESEDA R.311-3 will need to validate their visa in order for it to function as a residence permit.
Carte de Sejour categories
Depending on their validity and other factors, the France residence permits are grouped as following:
Carte de séjour temporaire – valid up to a year
- “Private and family life”
- “Employee” or “temporary worker”
- Visitor card
Carte de séjour compétences – valid up to 10 years
- “Passport Talent” (4 years maximum)
- “seasonal worker” (maximum 3 years)
- “IT employee seconded” (maximum 3 years)
- “Retired” (10 years)
- Citizen EU / EEA / Switzerland – first 5 years
- Family of a European – first 5 years
- Citizen EU / EEA / Switzerland – Permanent stay
- Family of a European – Permanent stay
Student or Trainee
- Foreign student in France
- Foreigner graduated from higher education
- Foreign intern in France
- Au pair trainee
“Carte de Résident” Residence Permit
The Carte de Résident is a residence permit for spouses of French citizens, parents of a French-born child, expats retiring in France, or those who have already renewed their carte de sejour for more than three years in a row.
Carte de Resident
- 10-year resident card of a foreigner in France – issued to family members of a French national (spouse, children, parents) which card entitles its holder to stay in France and work too. the card is also issued to refugees and stateless persons as well as to their families.
- EU long-term resident card – issued to foreigners that have resided in France for at least 5 years or that hold an European Blue Card. This is a renewable card, valid for up to 10 years.
- Permanent Resident Card – If you are a holder of a 10-year resident card, which is close to its expiration, then you can apply for either its renewal or its permanent resident card, which gives you unconditional rights to stay in France.
Carte de Resident Rétraité – for people who move to France in order to retire there.
Other 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 visa for which you apply from your country of residence, you will have to apply within France when it comes to a residence permit. If your 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 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.
Prepare the following documents for submission:
- Your valid passport with the long-stay visa 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 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 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 this type of residence card, 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.