No matter which French visa you arrived on, there may come a moment when you realise it will expire in a few months and you don’t want to leave. Perhaps you just came over on a 6 month short stay visa for an extended holiday. Or maybe you opted for a 12 month long stay visa to see if you like the lifestyle. Or perhaps you’ve fallen in love with France and want to make it your permanent home, but you’re not sure how to go about it.
French Connections HCB explain the process. An English speaking company based in France, they help people from around the world to navigate the administrative complexities in moving to France and settling permanently in France.
Let’s start with the good news
The first step to achieving French residency, is to apply for a residency permit.
If you are here on a 12 month long stay visa, you’ll be able to apply from France without leaving the country. You just need to start the residency application process two months before your visa is due to expire.
If you are here on a short stay 6 month visa, you will need to leave France and apply for a 12 month long stay visa to allow you to come back. Once here, you will be eligible to apply for residency before that 12 month visa expires.
Is it difficult to apply for French residency?
Applying for residency is quite a long process but almost always successful if you meet the necessary criteria and produce the correct documents.
If you don’t have the time or confidence do it yourself, we offer a Residency Application service that takes care of the entire process start to finish. This is how it works. First, we’ll invite you to talk to our friendly relocation specialist, Diana. She will discuss your current status with you to make sure that all the requirements are met before you start your application.Once we have everything we need, we will then apply online on your behalf, upload the documents and track your application as it progresses through the administrative system.
You’ll need to provide lots of documents for your visa application. Some have to be the original, so it is always a good idea to make a copy before handing them over. Your originals will be returned to you by the French administration at the moment of your interview, which is the last step in the process and much less scary than it sounds!
Typically, you will need to provide:
– Proof of French residency, such as a recent utility bill that is less than three months old.
– A copy of your Private Health Insurance / Social Security Number/ S1 (this is critical to get right, if you need but don’t have the right health insurance, your application will fail).
– Proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself.
Once your dossier has been accepted you will be invited to an appointment at your local Prefecture. Here you’ll be asked to provide your fingerprints electronically, plus 3 passport-style ID photos and any additional information they need.
After that there is nothing more to do. You will receive your residency permit in the post a couple of weeks later, unless you are invited to collect it person form the prefecture.
How long does it all take?
From start to finish, the residency application process can take several months, so don’t worry if it drags on. This is completely normal!