Reader Question of the Month: Does My Long-Stay Visa Count Towards My 90 Days?


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Reader Question of the Month: Does My Long-Stay Visa Count Towards My 90 Days?

Each month we answer one of your most frequently asked questions on buying or selling French property, moving to or living in France. This month, digital editor Zoë Smith addresses one of the most commonly asked questions regarding the 90/180-day rule and French long-stay visas.

Question: Does My Long-Stay Visa Count Towards My 90 Days?

I have a temporary long-stay visa for France, which allows me to stay in the country for up to six months. But does this long-stay visa count towards my 90/180-day allowance, and if not, does that mean I can use my 90 days to visit France before or after the dates of my long-stay visa?

Answer: Your French long-stay visa and 90-day allowance are not cumulative, meaning that the time spent in France under a long-stay visa does not count towards your 90 days. However, there are some important caveats…

Many non-EU citizens visiting France, which includes travellers and second-home owners from Australia, the United States, and the UK since Brexit, are able to spend up to 90 days out of every 180-day period in the EU. If you wish to spend longer in France without becoming a French resident, you will need a visa, and many second-home owners opt for a temporary long-stay visa. These visas allow you to stay in France for up to six months and can only be issued once per year (so you will need to wait six months after the expiration of your temporary long-stay visa before the start date of your next one).

Our guides to applying for a temporary long-stay visa and how the 90/180-day rule works will walk you through the details.

The good news for travellers is that you can still use your 90-day allowance in addition to your temporary long-stay visa. So, for example, you could take a trip to France in March using your 90-day allowance, then return in April using your temporary long-stay visa, which is valid until October, and then also return for a holiday at Christmas using your 90-day allowance.

However, there are a few caveats:

  1. Firstly, in order to validate both your 90-day allowances and/or your long-stay visa, you need to enter or leave France. This means that it isn’t possible to arrive using your 90-day allowance and stay in France through the period of your temporary long-stay visa. Nor is it possible to stay in France after your visa ends using your 90-day allowance. You must leave France in-between, even just for one day, in order to have your passport stamped; otherwise, it will appear that you have overstayed your visa and/or 90-day allowance.
  2. While your long-stay visa for France suspends the 90-day allowance for the duration of your visa, it does not suspend the 90-day allowance for other countries in the EU. So, if you were to take a trip to Spain, Italy, or another EU country during the period of your visa, this would count towards your 90 days.
  3. While you can, in theory, use your 90-day allowance, then a six-month visa, and then return again to enjoy another 90-day allowance, it is important to understand the consequences of doing so. If you spend a total of more than 183 days in France during any given calendar year, this can mean that you are classed as tax resident in France (and therefore liable for French taxes). You can read more about that in this article:Understanding French Tax- Are You Tax Resident in France?

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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  •  Bob Mackenzie
    2023-02-27 03:02:02
    Bob Mackenzie
    Hello, we have applied for a long stay visa, but we will return 4 days earlier than the end date of our visa. However due to a mix up, we have booked the ferry the day before our visa begins. For example, visa is valid from 2/5 - 2/11. We will return on 29/10, but want to enter France on 1/5. Can we do this without any consequences? Thank you Bob Mackenzie


    • Zoë Smith
      2023-02-28 08:56:34
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Bob, Unfortunately, you won't be able to enter France using your visa prior to the start date of your visa. This means that you would be visiting France using your 90-day allowance and you would need to leave and reenter France after the start date of your visa (and before the 90 days is up) in order to activate your visa (understand more about that here: Reader Question of the Month: Does My Long-Stay Visa Count Towards My 90 Days?). Unless you plan on doing this, I'm afraid that the only option would be to change your ferry. Safe travels! Zoe