How to apply: long-stay visa in France
How do I apply for a long-stay Schengen visa for France?
There are several types of visas under the long-stay Schengen visa umbrella (type D) for France: the long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS), the long-stay visa with obligation to apply for a residence permit within 2 months of arrival, the working holiday visa, the school-going minor visa and the temporary long-stay visa (VLS-T). These visas are valid for 3–12 months and allow the holder to stay in France as long as the visa is valid.
For each of these Schengen long-stay visas, there is a different application process. They involve different contact people and require different documents depending on the type of visa. In this article, we explain the differences.
Applying for a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS)
Reminder: The long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit is valid 3–12 months and applies to several categories of foreign nationals: visitors (non-working), students, interns, ICT interns (Intra-Corporate Transfer) and their families, salaried employees on fixed-term contracts and permanent contracts, ICT posted workers, people who want to run a business or work as independent contractors, spouses of French nationals, spouses under family sponsorship, talent passport visa holders and their families.
The advantage? Holders of this visa are exempt from applying for a residence permit during their first year of residency in France.
- You must begin the application process for a French long-stay Schengen visa VLS-TS on the France-Visas website 3 months or less before your planned departure date. The applicant must sign into their account (or create one if necessary) and send in a request for access to the application process and the list of required documents. A passport, long-stay Schengen visa France application form and identity photos are required in addition to the specific documents for a long-stay visa. A spouse of a French national must provide their marriage certificate, for example, while a student must provide their diplomas and proof of accommodation. Confirm your eligibility for a long-stay Schengen visa and the documents you will have to provide with the France-Visas Visa Wizard.
- Required administrative formality upon arrival in France: validate your long-stay visa within three months following your arrival. This procedure is online only using the information on your visa as well as your date of arrival in France, email address and address in France. Finally, you will need a bank card to pay the residence permit tax.
- And afterwards? Two months before the end of the first year of your long-stay Schengen visa equivalent to a residence permit, if you wish to stay in France you may apply for a residence permit that corresponds to your situation.
Applying for a long-stay visa with obligation to apply for a residence permit within 2 months of arrival
Reminder: For foreign nationals that do not have the visa that exempts them from applying for a residence permit mentioned above, there is the long-stay visa with obligation to apply for a residence permit within 2 months of arrival. This visa applies to foreign parents of French children who live in France, pluriannual visa holders (talent passport, ICT posted workers, seasonal workers) and foreign nationals who plan to apply for a residence permit (foreign children of French nationals, parents of a French national or their spouse under their care, foreign nationals that receive an annuity for a workplace accident or occupational illness paid by a French establishment with a permanent disability rate of at least 20%, etc.).
- You must begin the application process for a French long-stay Schengen visa with obligation to apply for a residence permit within 2 months of arrival on the France-Visas website 3 months or less before your planned departure date. Once you have filled out your personal information and request, you will have access to the application procedure and list of required documents, which include a passport valid for at least 3 months after the expiration date of your visa and at least 2 blank pages.
- Required administrative formality upon arrival in France: take the necessary steps to obtain a residence permit at the police prefecture. Your length of stay in the Schengen area will be the validity of your residence permit.
- And afterwards? Foreign nationals who wish to renew their residence permit for an additional year must apply for renewal (by appointment only) within 2 months before the expiration of their visa.
Applying for the working holiday long-stay visa
Reminder: The working holiday visa is for individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 (35 for Canada) that are citizens of countries with which France has a bilateral agreement. This visa is considered a long-stay Schengen visa when it is granted by France and allows the holder to say in France for up to 12 months. The holder may experience French culture and work (no authorisation by the French government required) to provide for their needs.
France has bilateral agreements with 16 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and Uruguay. French citizens may thus apply for working holiday visas in these countries and their citizens may obtain a working holiday visa in France.
- You must apply for the working holiday Schengen visa from your country of origin, with the consular authorities of the desired country. Exception: Australia accepts working holiday visa applications on the Australian immigration department website. Eligibility criteria and application procedures are indicated in the bilateral agreements and vary from one country to another, but always include a minimum amount of resources and the reason for and length of stay.
- Required administrative formality upon arrival in France: none, the holder of a working holiday visa is exempt from administrative formalities upon arrival in France. They can begin their trip immediately.
- And afterwards? The working holiday visa is not renewable unless there is a specific exception (i.e. Canada). Foreign nationals who wish to stay additional months or years in France must meet the conditions of other Schengen long-stay visas. Keep in mind that, generally speaking, you cannot change your visa status while in France.
Applying for a long-stay Schengen visa for a school-going minor in France
Reminder: The school-going minor in France visa is a long-stay Schengen visa with multiple entries. It is valid for 11 months and applies to individuals under the age of 18 who attend school in France at a primary, secondary, or higher education institution or a language or athletics training centre for more than 3 months and whose parents live abroad.
- You must begin the application for a long-stay school-going minor in France on France-Visas. You do not need a long-stay Schengen visa France form, but you do need quite a few documents, including a birth certificate or copy of a family record book, approval to live in France by the legal guardians, vaccination record, school records from the previous year, documents proving the student’s ability to take classes in French, health and civil responsibility insurance, proof of lodging and resources, etc.
- Required administrative formality upon arrival in France: none, the holder of a school-going minor visa is exempt from administrative formalities upon arrival in France. They can begin classes immediately.
- And afterwards? The holder of a school-going minor visa who wishes to continue their studies in France may renew this visa if it expires before they turn 18. If the holder becomes a legal adult during the term of the school-going minor visa, they will have to apply for a student visa with the prefecture.
Applying for a temporary long-stay Schengen visa (VLS-T)
Reminder: The temporary long-stay visa (VLS-T) is valid for 4–6 months. It applies to foreign nationals who wish to stay in France to attend a short educational programme, work as an artist or stay in France without working.
- Students from these 65 countries must apply for the temporary long-stay Schengen visa (VLS-T) on the Études en France platform. This portal facilitates pre-enrolment for foreign students at French universities and schools. Once accepted by the establishment, the applicant receives an Études en France certificate of admission and can begin the application procedure for a temporary long-stay Schengen visa with the consular authorities in their country of origin. Citizens of countries not on this list must apply directly with the French consular authorities in their country of residence. Non-working visitors must begin the application process for the temporary long-stay Schengen visa (VLS-T) on France-Visas. Once you have submitted your request online, you will have access to the application procedure and list of required documents, including proof of socioeconomic situation, a commitment not to work, medical insurance that covers the entire duration of stay and proof of lodging and resources to provide for your needs in France.
- Required administrative formality upon arrival in France: none. There are no required administrative formalities for holders of temporary long-stay Schengen visas while in France.
- And afterwards? The temporary long-stay visa in France is not renewable. The holder may not extend their stay for any reason. They may, however, apply for another short- or long-stay Schengen visa.
Long-stay Schengen visa France insurance
Recognised and accepted by all Schengen area countries, Europ Assistance’s Schengen visa insurance covers you for up to 12 months*. As soon as you take out the policy, you can access your proof of insurance online and you will benefit from 24/7 emergency travel assistance during your trip.
You can choose between our two Schengen visa insurance policies:
- The Schengen policy (starting at €3 per person) covers medical expenses up to €30,000 in the case of illness or injury in one of the Schengen area Member States and repatriation expenses and logistics for the insured party in the case of death.
- The Schengen Plus policy (starting at €5 per person) includes additional coverage and extends the coverage area to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom. Medical expenses are covered up to €60,000 in the case of illness or injury. Additional coverage includes expenses and logistics for repatriation for the insured party in the case of death, expenses to extend your stay if prescribed by a doctor (for a maximum of 5 days), return expenses for the person accompanying the insured party, full coverage of the return journey to the country of residence for anyone under the age of 14.
Not sure which kind of visa you need? Use the Visa Wizard.
*The length of each trip cannot exceed 4 months.Tweet