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Expat Exchange - Expat Guide to Residency in France
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Montmarte in Paris


Expat Guide to Residency in France

By Joshua Wood, LPC

French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

Summary: Learn how to obtain a residency visa in France. Expats, Retirees and others who have navigated the process offer advice and guidance for newcomers in France.

Obtaining a residency visa in France is not always easy, but our Guide to Residency in France gives newcomers an overview of the steps involved and advice from others who have already navigated the process.

  • Gather the necessary documents for residency status in France. This includes a valid passport, proof of address, proof of financial resources, and a valid visa.
  • Visit the local Prefecture de Police to apply for a residence permit. You will need to fill out an application form and provide the necessary documents.
  • Apply for a Social Security Number. This can be done at the local Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM). You will need to provide your passport, proof of address, and proof of financial resources.
  • Apply for a Tax Number.
    • Visit the local Centre des Impôts to apply for a Tax Number. You will need to provide your passport, proof of address, and proof of financial resources.
    • You will also need to fill out a form and provide a copy of your residence permit.
  • Register with the local Mairie. You will need to provide your passport, proof of address, and proof of financial resources.
  • Once you have completed all the necessary steps, you will receive a residency card that will allow you to stay in France for up to one year.

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Traveling Mailbox serves thousands of travelers, expats, digital nomads, businesses, individuals and others in over 47 Countries by scanning their postal mail so they can view it online anywhere in the world. They provide customer service 7 days a week so if you need assistance, it is just a phone call away. Traveling Mailbox works with Evernote, Bill.com and Dropbox. And, there are Traveling Mailbox apps available for iOS and Android devices.

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What tips do expats have about residency and visas in France?

"You need a permanent resident visa which you must obtain 6 weeks before you enter the EU, a carte de sejour, which takes a while to get once you are here. Lines are long, often slow. Most bureaucrats are polite and do wish to help. The gendarmie here has often given me good advice on avoiding unecessary lines and delays," said one expat living in Pezenas.

"As amember of the EU there were no restrictions on moving here but we had to ensure we brought all our documentations with us, (authorised copies of birth, marriage, divorce, christneing certificates etc.) and anything else that could be needed," wrote a member in Aude and Herault Departments.

"If you are not an EU citizen you will need a "long-stay visitor visa". This is intended for people staying longer then 3 months who wont be doing paid work. Assuming of course your retired and your income comes from abroad like me. The circumstances does change some if your from different parts of the world so make sure to check for yourself as well. Also depending on what city you will live in you may need to register with the local mairie (town hall)," commented one expat who made the move to Marseille.

"If you plan to stay in France for an extended period of time, you will need to apply for a long-term residency visa, also known as carte de séjour. You will need to provide proof of identity, valid passport, proof of residence, health insurance, and other documents, depending on the purpose of your stay. Additionally, you may also need to meet other requirements depending on your situation," remarked one expat living in France.

Traveling Mailbox

Traveling Mailbox serves thousands of travelers, expats, digital nomads, businesses, individuals and others in over 47 Countries by scanning their postal mail so they can view it online anywhere in the world. They provide customer service 7 days a week so if you need assistance, it is just a phone call away. Traveling Mailbox works with Evernote, Bill.com and Dropbox. And, there are Traveling Mailbox apps available for iOS and Android devices.

Learn MoreConnect

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

Traveling Mailbox

Traveling Mailbox serves thousands of travelers, expats, digital nomads, businesses, individuals and others in over 47 Countries by scanning their postal mail so they can view it online anywhere in the world. They provide customer service 7 days a week so if you need assistance, it is just a phone call away. Traveling Mailbox works with Evernote, Bill.com and Dropbox. And, there are Traveling Mailbox apps available for iOS and Android devices.

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Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

"Carte de sejour/titre de sejour: residence card. This can be obtained through enrollment in a French university, sponsorship by an employer, marriage to a French citizen, or a few other ways. Details here https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/getting-a-visa/," commented one expat living in Epinal, France.

"In order to travel to and stay in France for a period of more than three months, non-EU citizens are required to obtain a visa and residency permit. Applying for a visa to travel to and stay in France is a multi-step process. Upon submission of the required documents, applicants must attend an in-person interview at the French embassy or consulate in their country of origin. Upon approval of the visa, travellers then must complete the residency registration process upon their arrival in France. This requires submitting an official application, passport, proof of employment, and proof of financial resources. Applicants may also have to provide proof of French public health insurance and housing. Once all documentation is approved, the applicant is issued a digital residency card," mentioned one expat living in France.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

Montmarte in Paris

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SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
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