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Long stay Visa

Long stay visa If you are staying in France for longer than 90 days, you will need a Long Stay Visa.

Depending on the type of Long Stay visa you apply for, you must be able to prove that you have sufficient financial resources.

What is a French Long Stay Visa?

A Long Stay Visa of for foreigners who want to spend between three months and a year in France.

Types of Long Stay Visas

There are two types of Long Stay Visa process for citizens of a third country:

  • The Long Term Visa used as Residence Permit (VLS-TS) - which is normally issued for a maximum of one year
  • The Temporary Long Term Visa (VLS-T)

The VLS-TS allows you to work in France, and you can renew it after one year. The VLS-T is usually issued for between 4-12 months and is non-renewable.

How do I know which visa to apply for?

The type of visa you will need will depend on what your reasons are for coming to France (working, registering a business etc.). This government website france-visas.gouv.fr is the most useful resource for deciding what type of visa you need, and for starting the application process. It's in English and has a handy three-minute quiz so that you can find out which visa is right for you.

What are the requirements for a Long Stay Visa?

You will need to show that you have the financial means to support yourself - for non-working retirees this is around €1,200 per couple, per month. You will also need proof of private medical insurance and bear in mind this will need to be in place at the time you apply, which might be a few weeks before you actually leave the UK whilst you await for the application to be processed.

Once you arrive in France with your visa, you must validate it within 90 days, and if you decide you want to extend your stay beyond the period of validity of your one-year visa, you must apply for a residence permit (carte de sejour) at a prefecture (in France) two months before it is due to expire.

What about a visa to set up a business?

If you want to move to France and to set up a new business or work within your profession, then you are able to apply for a special type of Long Stay Visa/Residency Permit which will issued under the category ‘entrepreneur/profession libérale’ (self-employed in regulated ‘liberal’ profession).

If you are planning on setting up a new business in France, such as running a gite or B&B then you must be able to demonstrate the economic viability of your project. So this would entail providing a detailed business plan with financial projections and/or demonstrating that you have sufficient savings or other income sources to support you. There are also ‘talent visas’ for highly skilled entrepreneurs.