Living abroad is a dream many of us have. Luckily, I was able to achieve my goal of living in Paris, France for one year. Fresh croissants everyday, romantic views of the Eiffel Tower, affordable flight deals to other parts of Europe, beach vibes in the South of France…there are so many reasons why living in France would be an amazing experience.
If you’re interested in moving to France and living out your Parisien dreams you’ll need to apply for a visa. For those of you that aren’t moving to France for a job or to attend school, you’ll need a tourist visa. This was the case for me. I applied for a long stay visa which is required to stay in France for more than 90 days and is valid for one (1) year.
It’s also important to note that it’s prohibited to work in France on a tourist visa. So save up your coins so that you have enough money to support yourself for a year in France.
Here are the steps you need to take to apply for a French Long Stay Visa.
Note: These requirements are for citizens of the United States. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you should check with the local French Consulate in your country for the visa requirements.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A FRENCH LONG STAY VISA
- DECIDE ON ARRIVAL DATE – This will be the beginning of your visa period once approved.
- LOOK UP LOCAL FRENCH CONSULATE – You may have to travel to a different city or state to the local French Consulate that serves your region.
- REVIEW VISA REQUIREMENTS – The requirements are listed on the French Consulate website for your region. You must apply and be approved in the U.S.
- MAKE APPOINTMENT WITH FRENCH CONSULATE in your region. Appointments must be made 1-3 months prior to your expected departure date.
- PREPARE APPLICATION – See required documents below:
- Application Form – Found on French Consulate website
- Passport & Copies of Passport ID Pages
- Passport Photos (2)
- Proof of Accommodation in France – Copies of the rental agreement or lease for your accommodation in France should work for this.
- Airline Reservation – Instead of booking your flight to France you must reserve it and include proof of the reservation. I used a service on www.travelvisabookings.com to create my airline reservation.
- Proof of Medical Insurance
- Proof of Funds – Copies of your bank statements from the last 3 months
- Letter of Employment – I didn’t get an actual letter. Instead, I got a document from the HR department at the company I worked for. The document validated my employment by including my job title, salary and the company name.
- Marriage Certificate – For anyone applying with their spouse
- Letter of Intent – Create a document explaining why you want a visa and include a line confirming that you will not engage in employment in France.
- Status in the U.S. – For this I simply created a document that said “I, Phylicia Munn, am a citizen of the United States of America.” That seemed to be enough.
- Self-Addressed Envelope – The French Consulate will use this to mail your passport and visa to you.
- Application Fee ($115) – Must be paid in cash or money order
- French & English translation for proof of accommodation, letter of intent, and status in the U.S.
- Provide 2 copies of each document
- Note: Visa requirements can change and they vary at each consulate. Check with your local French Consulate for the latest information.
- CHECK YOUR DOCUMENTS
- CHECK AGAIN 🙂 – You don’t want to be turned away for an incomplete application.
- GO TO SCHEDULED APPOINTMENT – Here you will turn in your application documents and pay the application fee ($115).
- RECEIVE VISA – If all goes well, you’ll receive your visa in the mail a few weeks after your appointment.
REQUIREMENTS TO COMPLETE IN FRANCE
At this point all the steps you’ve taken are done in the U.S. Next are the requirements that must be completed when you arrive in France.
- MAIL RESIDENCE FORM within 90 days of arriving in France. The residence form will be included with your visa application.
- PAY RESIDENCE FEE (250 EUR) – Once the residence office receives your residence form they will send you an email and/or letter to your lodging in France. The letter will include instructions for paying the residence fee online, making an appointment with the residence office and getting a medical exam.
- MEDICAL EXAM – Go to the medical exam based on the appointment date/time/location provided in the letter from the residence office.
- RESIDENCE OFFICE APPOINTMENT – Go to your scheduled appointment with the French residence office based on the date/time/location provided in the letter from the residence office. At this appointment you will show the receipt for your residence fee payment, proof of accommodation and proof of the medical exam. The office will then add another stamp to your passport to finalize the visa.
THAT’S IT! You’re done! You will be free to enjoy France for one (1) year! I know that was a lot of information and I hope you find it helpful as you complete your visa application.
Good luck to you as you apply for a French Long Stay Visa! Feel free to comment below with any questions.
Watch my YouTube video explaining the French visa application process!