Key formalities

Official papers
Residency permit
ID document requirements differ depending on the country of origin, reason for and length of the stay in France.
For European Union citizens
Citizens from European Economic Area member countries (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), as well as Swiss citizens, benefit from complete freedom of:
  • movement,
  • residence,
  • access to the French employment market. 
As a result, as long as their entry into France is legal (a valid passport or national ID card), they are not required to obtain any other document to seek employment or reside in France.
Only Bulgarian and Romanian citizens are still required to request a work permit, until January 1st, 2014. They have, however, preference over non-European applicants.
For citizens from other countries
Citizens from non-European states must obtain a residency permit (carte de séjour). Depending on the reason for their stay in France, the permit will state the appropriate category, e.g.: "private and family life" (vie privée et familiale) or "student" (étudiant), "employee" (salarié).This permit is granted for a maximum of 1 to 3 years, depending on the card, to foreigners entering France with a long-term visa (over three months) from the French Consulate in the country of origin. The permit validity cannot be longer than that of the visa.
Some permits automatically grant the right to work: those marked "employee", "student", "talented skills" (compétences talents), "scientist" (scientifique), "employee on mission" (salarié en mission), "seasonal worker" (travailleurs saisonniers), "arts or cultural profession" (profession artistique et culturelle), "private and family life".
European blue card for citizens of non-EU countries
Law No. 2011-672 of June 16th, 2011 on immigration, integration and nationality created a new residency permit for highly-qualified foreigners: the "European blue card". This new card serves as a work permit.
This law also simplifies access to the "talented skills" card, and "private and family life" card for the family of the worker it is granted to. These new provisions came into force on September 8th, 2011.
"Student" residency permits are granted to students with a long-term visa and sufficient funds to live on. Such permits also authorize the student to work for a maximum of 964 hours per year.
© All Contents, Laurence de PERCIN, janvier 2014.
Groupe Société Générale