Procedures for French immigration vary depending on your nationality, the length of your stay and the reason for your visit to France. The following page gives a broad outline of what to expect when applying for immigration in France. Intransit Covers all French Immigration procedures.
France is a member of the Schengen group of European countries but a Schengen visa allows only for free movement within its member countries for non EU citizens only, not working rights. It is more a tourism visa as border controls between the member states have been reduced for the free movement of people.
Emigrating to France
French Immigration: European Union Citizens
As a citizen of the EU you automatically have the right to live and work in France. Your individual status may affect the procedure but in general the following points apply:
· Since Nov 2003 EU members may enter France to look for employment, start a business or just visit, with out the requirement for a carte de sejour.
· The carte de séjour is the French resident permit. You may still apply for a carte de sejour as it acts as your French Id and it is still required for various procedures while certain institutions adapt to the new legislation. It will vary in its length of validity depending on the nature of your stay.
· It can take 2-3 months for your carte de séjour to be processed and issued by the préfecture of the department in which you live.
· Normally you will be required to apply in person at your local préfecture or Mairie. The préfecture for central Paris allows you to apply by post, however you will need to collect your application dossier and your approved permit in person. You should expect large queues for any administrative procedures at the préfecture.
· Applications are made individually for each family member.
· If you do not receive a regular salary you may need to provide proof of sufficient funds to support you for the duration of your stay.
French Immigration: Non EU Citizens
Your employer plays an integral part of the application as they provide specific documentation to support your application for your initial work visa and then the residents permit.
· Long Stay Visas / Work permits
You will need to contact the French Embassy or consulate in your current country of domicile before you arrive. Procedures vary for different nationalities and activities, therefore it is important to clearly outline your reasons for application, who will be accompanying you and whether they also have a requirement to work, study etc.
· Carte de Séjour
Carte de séjour applications are similar to those cited for EU citizens although you will also be required to undergo a medical examination with the OMI (Office des Migrations Internationales) before your carte de séjour application is fully accepted.
The entire process may take several months so patience is needed. Once your carte de séjour is issued you will be entitled to French social benefits such as national health care.