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Visa and residency cards (Cartes de séjour) for France

Visa and residency cards (Cartes de séjour) for France

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This guide is available as a digital file and can be accessed and downloaded from the links provided after checkout and via email.

Published: 22/02/2024


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This guide is an 50-page digital turn-page document which can be also downloaded as a pdf. 

This guide assumes no knowledge of French visiting and residency rules explaining key information and terminology as well as giving more in-depth information on some of the main routes to living in France.

The first step for most native English speakers looking to move to France or spend more time here is to obtain a long-stay visa. If you decide to settle long term you will later need to convert this to a residency card – known in French as a carte or titre de séjour.

Since Brexit this applies to Britons as it does, for example, to Americans, Canadians or Australians. It also includes second-home owners seeking to spend up to six months at a time in France who, as non-EU citizens, are limited to 90 days visa-free in any 180-day period, as well as those wanting to work, run a business or study here.

The guide aims to detail what is involved in moving to and living in France on a visa or residency card and especially those types likely to be of most relevance to our readers.

It is published in 100% digital and downloadable PDF format which allows us to provide automatic updates should new key information be released during 2024. Please note that we are unable to update previous editions of a guide. Generally any updates made will be within the calendar year of release, so any updates to the current guide will be made during 2024 after which we would expect to publish a new edition.


Visas and residency cards

  • What is the Schengen area? / Short stays
  • Working in France for short periods / 90 days rule
  • Can the 90 days period be extended? / EES new border controls
  • The new Etias visa waiver system / Tax residency in France
  • Could the 90/180 day rule change for Britons?

Different visa options

  • The main kinds of visas and formalities in France
  • What is the visa process? / Use the visa wizard
  • Find information for your country
  • What details will I be asked for when applying?
  • What happens at an in person visa appointment?
  • What supporting documents do I need?
  • Means and healthcare depend on circumstances

Once you have moved: Residency cards the basics

  • In the first months... validation or a residency card application
  • Ofii visit and/or a medical
  • Who must undergo a medical and why?
  • Languages: levels are being raised for some groups
  • The visite d’accueil and contrat d’intégration républicaine
  • Different types of cards and when to apply
  • Applying on the official website
  • Obtaining a card on expiry of a VLS-TS/card renewals
  • Rules if you are financially dependent on your spouse
  • Young people: DCEMs can be useful for international travel
  • When things go wrong: The Défenseur des Droits

Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cards

  • Swapping five-year card for ‘permanent’ one
  • What if you have a WA card but move back to the UK?
  • Young Britons in France who turn 18 need a card
  • Could second-home owners have got WA residency cards?

Moving to France as a retiree / early-retiree

  • What is the process? / Income requirements?
  • What is required for healthcare cover?

Moving to France to work (employed or self-employed)

  • Coming to France to take up salaried work
  • Working visas and qualifications / The ‘talent visa’
  • Coming to France as a self-employed worker
  • Seasonal work, au pairs, jobseeker, working holidays

Other types of residency cards

  • EU citizens / Coming to France to join someone else
  • Joining a Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cardholder
  • Family members of EU citizens
  • Bringing family members under regroupement rules
  • Residency cards for foreign students

Renewing or updating cards

  • Multi-year cards / Resident’s cards
  • France has threes types of resident’s cards: Ordinary carte de résident / Carte de résident de longue-durée UE / Carte de résident permanent
  • If you have lost your card or your details have changed

Useful Vocabulary/ Plus reader questions and answers


    This guide is available as a digital file and can be accessed and downloaded from the links provided after checkout and via email.

    The information in this guide is of a general nature, it is not advice which if needed can be sought by instructing a professional on the specifics of your situation.

    All purchases are subject to our terms and conditions.

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