Are You Applying for a French Long-Term Visa? Here Are the 7 Must-Know Facts!


Sponsored Content

Are You Applying for a French Long-Term Visa? Here Are the 7 Must-Know Facts!

When applying for a French long-stay visa, there are many details that can catch you out if you’re unaware. These seven must-know tips will help you prepare in advance and avoid some of the most common mistakes.

1. You’ll have to hand over your passport

After your visa application interview, the visa center will keep the original copy of your passport, and you won’t get it back until they’ve processed your file. Don’t worry! This usually only takes a couple of weeks, but… given that unforeseen circumstances can and do arise, it makes sense to plan for contingencies and make sure you have a digital copy of your passport on file and paper copies to hand. You never know!

2. The right “proof” is essential

The criteria termed ‘Proof of income’ and ‘Proof of insurance’ are by far and away the main reasons that requests for business and visitor visas get rejected.

The only way to avoid this is by making sure you provide all the ‘proof’ required when it comes to justifying your income and choosing an insurance provider that ‘knows his onions’ when it comes to visa-compliant insurance policies. If you don’t use someone who understands the precise requirements, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

3. Proof of income doesn’t only mean earnings

The ‘Proof of income’ element may seem daunting, but it really shouldn’t! The criteria are not set in stone and can include pension and dividend income, interest, and rents received, in addition to any savings that you are able to access instantly. Please bear in mind that the staff at the TLS or VFS centers really just want to clarify that, going forward, you won’t be a burden on the state. This means that unless your application is ‘sketchy’ overall, when it comes to finances, they will be fairly flexible… as long as they believe you have the resources to support yourself. Having said that, you do obviously need to meet minimum income requirements, somehow or other!

4. You need to activate your visa on arrival

Your long-term visa does not get automatically activated, and this needs to be done once you are actually in France. You must do this within the first 90 days of your physical presence on French soil, and it must be done online. To do this, you need to log in here and then enter the information on your visa, the visa number, the start date, the end of validity date, the date of issue and the reason for your stay. You will also need to provide additional information, which includes family circumstances, a telephone number, email address, and the address where you are resident in France. You will also need a bank card to hand to pay the visa validation fee.

Validating your visa within three months of arrival in France not only means that you can lawfully remain in France during the entire period of your visa’s validity; it also entitles you to leave France after the three months following your arrival, without requesting another visa in order to return.

5. You can access the French healthcare system as a resident

Once the 90 days following your arrival in France have expired, you can apply for affiliation to the French social security system (known as la sécu) via the CPAM – caisse primaire assurance maladie. Once you have been accepted into this, you will be able to access the French healthcare system (which is excellent!) just like any other French resident. You will also receive the famous green healthcare card known as la carte vitale. You will need to show this whenever you see a healthcare professional, whether at the hospital, seeing a specialist, dentist, orthodontist or GP.

6. Getting a Carte de Sejour

Once you’re 90 days ahead of your visa expiry date, you will be able to apply for a residency permit – called the “carte de séjour” in France.

The applications to the CPAM and for a residency permit are interlinked, but the two processes are separate. You will need to start each process individually, and unfortunately, getting one doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is automatically granted. Applications for residency are made to the préfecture of the département where you are resident; you will need to look for the page entitled ‘Accueil des étrangers’ and supply the information requested.

7. Time your visa application

And last but most definitely not least – throughout this process, timing and organisation are absolutely key! You cannot apply for a French long-stay visa more than three months ahead of your desired arrival date or later than one month prior to entry into France. Make sure you have all your paperwork organised and ready to go before you even think about applying, and ensure you’ve planned everything (including reserving plane tickets and making travel arrangements) with these time constraints in mind.

Good luck, and don’t forget – we are here to help!

Fabien is the founder of Fab Insurance, an independent insurance broker dedicated to helping the English-speaking community in France, Spain and Portugal since 2015.
Tel: +33 (0)5 33 06 29 78

Share to:  Facebook  Twitter   LinkedIn   Email

Previous Article Need Help Gifting a Property in France?
Next Article French Property Location Guide: Provence

Related Articles

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *