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How to Stay in France Longer Than 90 Days

how to stay in france longer than 90 days

Thinking about extending your stay in France beyond the usual 90-day tourist limit? You’re not alone! Many people fall in love with France and want to stay longer to really soak up the culture, explore deeper, or even consider business opportunities. 

In this guide, we’ll show you how to stay in France longer than 90 days by navigating the visa system and understanding the rules. We’ll walk you through how to apply for a long-stay visa in France, explain the France 90-day rule, and offer tips to ensure your extended stay is as smooth as possible. 

Whether you’re dreaming of living in a quaint village in Provence or taking extended walks along the Seine in Paris, this guide has you covered. Let’s get started on making your extended French adventure a reality!

Can I Live in France for Longer Than 90 Days?

Whether you’re coming from within the European Union or from abroad, the rules for extending your stay in France vary based on your citizenship. Here’s what you need to know:

From the EU

If you’re an EU citizen, you benefit from the freedom of movement across the member states, which allows you to enter and live in France without a visa. Already you can stay in France longer than 90 days.

However, if you plan to stay for more than three months you need to be able to support yourself economically and not be a burden to the French social security system.

From Outside the EU

For those outside the EU, the process of staying in France longer than 90 days is a bit more involved. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to obtain a long-stay visa. This type of visa is necessary for anyone planning to live, work, study, or even retire in France for an extended period. 

The long-stay visa acts as a residence permit, which you must apply for before your departure from your home country. Once in France, you might need to validate it and, eventually, renew or change it depending on the length and purpose of your stay.

Types of France Long-Stay Visas

So, you know that you need a visa to stay in France long-term. But which one do you choose? France offers various types of long-stay visas tailored to accommodate different needs and circumstances. 

Whether you’re planning to study, work, join a family member, or simply enjoy a prolonged vacation, understanding the correct visa type for your situation is key. Here’s a breakdown of the main categories of long-stay visas available:

Visitor Visa (VLS-TS Visiteur)

Ideal for those who want to enjoy France without engaging in professional activities, the Visitor Visa requires proof of sufficient financial means and health insurance. It’s perfect for retirees or individuals who can work remotely for companies outside France.

Student Visa (VLS-TS Étudiant)

This visa is necessary for those planning to study in France. It allows you to live in France for the duration of your course. Students must demonstrate they have adequate financial support and health insurance.

Family Visa (VLS-TS Vie Privée et Familiale)

This visa is ideal for individuals who wish to join a family member who is either a French citizen or a legal resident in France. Applicants must prove the family relationship and, in some cases, their ability to financially support themselves.

Talent Passport Visa (VLS-TS Passeport Talent)

Designed for highly skilled professionals, researchers, artists, and investors who can contribute significantly to the French economy or culture. This visa category includes several subtypes depending on the applicant’s skills and the nature of their projects in France.

Employee and Temporary Worker Visa (VLS-TS Salarié and Travailleur Temporaire)

For those who have secured a contract with a French company, these visas allow you to live and work in France. The employer often assists in the application process by providing necessary documentation, including a work contract approved by the French Ministry of Labor.

Entrepreneur Visa (VLS-TS Entrepreneur/Profession Libérale)

The Entrepreneur Visa is tailored for individuals planning to set up a business in France. Applicants must demonstrate they have a viable business plan, relevant experience, and sufficient financial resources to support their business and themselves. This visa is an excellent option for those looking to invest in or start a new business venture in France.

Each of these visas has specific requirements and durations, generally ranging from one year to several years, and may require different documentation to support the application. Choosing the right visa depends largely on your reasons for staying in France and your professional or personal situation. 

Remember, successfully applying for any long-stay visa starts with a clear understanding of the requirements and gathering the necessary documents to support your application.

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Application Process for a Long-Stay Visa

how to stay in france longer than 90 days

To stay in France longer than 90 days you will need to apply for a Long-Stay Visa. Applying for this type of visa involves a series of steps that require careful attention to detail. Here is a general guide to help you through the process:

Step 1: Determine the Right Visa Type

Before you start the application process, ensure you have identified the correct visa category based on your purpose of stay, as we discussed in the previous section. 

Each visa type has specific requirements and required documentation, so make sure you choose the right one for your unique circumstances.

Step 2: Collect Necessary Documentation

Gather all required documents pertinent to your visa type. Commonly required documents include:

  • Passport: Valid for at least three months beyond the end of your intended stay, with at least two blank pages.
  • Application Form: Completed and signed.
  • Photos: Recent passport-sized photos that meet French visa photo requirements.
  • Proof of Financial Means: Such as bank statements, salary slips, or a letter from a sponsor.
  • Proof of Accommodation: A rental agreement, a property deed, or a hotel booking.
  • Health Insurance: Comprehensive travel insurance covering the duration of your stay.
  • Proof of Purpose: Such as a university enrollment certificate for students, a work contract for employees, or a business plan for entrepreneurs.

Step 3: Online Application

Complete the visa application form online via the official French visa application portal, France-Visas. After filling out the form, you will receive a file number necessary for the next steps.

Step 4: Schedule an Appointment

With your application form filled out, schedule an appointment at the nearest French consulate or visa application center. The availability of appointments can vary, so we recommend to book as soon as possible.

Step 5: Attend the Visa Interview

Attend your scheduled appointment, bringing all your gathered documents. The interview is a crucial part of the process where consular officers assess your application and may ask questions about your stay and intentions in France.

Step 6: Visa Fee Payment

Pay the visa application fee at the time of your appointment. Fees vary depending on the visa type and are generally non-refundable, even if the visa is not granted.

Step 7: Track Your Application

After the interview, you can track the status of your visa application online using the file number provided. Processing times can vary greatly depending on the visa type and the specific consulate.

Step 8: Collect Your Visa

Once approved, you will be notified to collect your visa. Some consulates may offer the option to have your passport with the visa mailed back to you.

Step 9: Validate Your Visa

If your visa requires validation (as is the case with some long-stay visas that act as residence permits, like the VLS-TS), you must complete this process upon arriving in France. This usually involves a medical examination and providing biometric data.

Step 10: Residency Permit

For stays longer than a year, you will need to apply for a residency permit (carte de séjour) at your local prefecture in France within two months of arrival.

This structured approach ensures that you meet all legal requirements and helps prevent any issues that might arise with your long-stay visa application, paving the way for a successful extended stay in France.

Renewing Your Long-Stay Visa

Planning to extend your stay in France beyond the initial validity of your long-stay visa? You’ll need to consider the renewal process. This is an important step to ensure that you continue to reside legally in France. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the renewal process effectively:

Timing and Preparation

Start Early: Begin the renewal process several months before your current visa expires. This is crucial as it can take time to gather the necessary documents and for the administration to process your application. Typically, you should start the renewal process about two months prior to the expiry date.

Check Requirements: Visa renewal requirements may vary depending on your specific visa type and your situation. Always check the latest requirements from the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) or your local préfecture’s website.

Required Documentation

Updated Documents: You will generally need to provide updated versions of the documents you submitted with your original visa application. This may include:

  • Proof of Continued Financial Means: Recent bank statements or salary slips to show you still meet the financial requirements.
  • Current Health Insurance: Evidence that you still have comprehensive health coverage in France.
  • Proof of Accommodation: Updated rental agreement or property deed.
  • Activity Proof: Depending on your visa type, proof of continued studies, employment, or business activities in France.

New Requirements: There may be additional requirements based on changes in your circumstances or updates in immigration policies. Keep informed of any new criteria that might apply to your renewal application.

Application Process

Submission: The process generally involves submitting the renewal application and supporting documents either online or in person at your local préfecture. In some cases, you may be required to attend an interview or provide additional documentation.

Fees: Be prepared to pay a renewal fee. This fee varies depending on the type and duration of the visa being renewed.

Biometric Data: If your renewal requires updated biometric data, you may need to visit a visa application center or préfecture to have new fingerprints and photographs taken.

After Submission

Follow Up: After submitting your renewal application, it’s important to track its status. If you submitted your application in person at a préfecture, they would typically provide you with a récépissé (receipt) that allows you to stay in France while your application is being processed.

Prepare for Delays: Processing times can vary significantly, so it’s wise to prepare for potential delays. Keep your employer, school, or local authorities informed of your situation if your visa renewal affects your legal status temporarily.

Renewing your long-stay visa is a critical part of maintaining your legal residency status in France. By understanding the requirements and preparing thoroughly, you can ensure a smoother process and avoid any complications related to your legal status in the country.

Path to Permanent Residency and Citizenship

For many who’ve made France their home, getting permanent residency or French citizenship is a huge achievement. It brings extra stability, more rights, and great benefits. Let’s walk through how you can move from having a long-stay visa to becoming a permanent resident and eventually a French citizen:

Permanent Residency

Generally, you become eligible for permanent residency after legally living in France for five continuous years. However, this can vary based on your specific visa type.

Application Process

  • Documentation: You will need to provide comprehensive documentation that proves your continuous residence in France. This typically includes your current and previous visas, residence permits, and proof of your living situation and financial means throughout your stay.
  • Integration into French Society: Demonstrating integration into French society is crucial. This might involve language proficiency tests, evidence of social and economic contributions, and possibly an interview to assess your adaptation to French culture.


Citizenship in France can typically be applied for after living there for at least five years, though this duration may be shorter if you marry a French citizen or contribute in significant ways to French society.

Application Process

  • Documentation: Similar to residency applications, you’ll need extensive documentation proving your long-term residence and integration. Additionally, you will need to show continuous employment or other social contributions.
  • Civic Integration: A key component of the citizenship application is demonstrating your integration into French civic life. This includes knowledge of French history, culture, and laws, often assessed through a formal interview.
  • Language Proficiency: You must demonstrate proficiency in the French language, usually through official certifications.

Dual Citizenship

France allows dual citizenship, so you do not have to renounce your previous nationality upon becoming a French citizen. However, it’s important to check the regulations of your home country, as some nations may have restrictions or conditions on holding dual citizenship.


  • Legal Assistance: Given the complexity of the processes, especially for citizenship, we recommend seeking help from a legal professional who specializes in French immigration law.
  • Preparation: Both residency and citizenship applications require thorough preparation and exact adherence to bureaucratic requirements. Mistakes in your application can lead to delays or rejections.
  • Cultural Adaptation: Embracing French language and culture not only helps with integration requirements but also enriches your personal experience living in France.

Navigating the path to permanent residency and citizenship in France requires a long-term commitment and a deep engagement with French society. By planning ahead and ensuring full compliance with the legal and cultural expectations, you can make this significant transition smoothly and successfully.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Stay in France Longer Than 90 Days

how to stay in france longer than 90 days

Can I extend my stay in France without leaving the country?

If you are on a short-stay Schengen visa, you cannot usually stay in France longer than 90 days unless in cases of force majeure or serious personal reasons. For longer stays, you would typically need to apply for the appropriate long-stay visa from your home country before arriving in France.

What happens if I overstay my 90 days in France?

Overstaying your visa in France can lead to fines, entry bans, or deportation. It’s crucial to adhere to the visa durations and conditions strictly. If you foresee needing more time in France, it’s advisable to apply for a long-stay visa well in advance.

Can I work in France with a long-stay visitor visa?

No, the long-stay visitor visa does not permit you to engage in professional activity in France. If you intend to work, you must apply for a visa that specifically allows employment, such as the Talent Passport visa or Work visa.

How long does it take to get a long-stay visa approved?

The processing time for a long-stay visa can vary but generally takes about two to five months (depending on your visa type) from the date of application. It’s advisable to apply well in advance of your intended departure date to allow for any delays in processing.

Can I travel within the Schengen Area with a French long-stay visa?

Yes, a French long-stay visa allows you to travel within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within any 180-day period under the same conditions as Schengen short-stay visa holders.

Do I need to register with French authorities after arriving in France on a long-stay visa?

Yes, if you are staying in France for longer than six months, you generally need to register with the OFII (French Office for Immigration and Integration) or at your local préfecture to validate your visa. This process often involves a medical examination and may require you to attend an integration interview.

Can Lexidy Help Me Stay in France Longer Than 90 Days?

Planning an extended stay in France involves understanding the right visa options and navigating the application process. Whether you aim to study, work, or just immerse yourself in the French lifestyle, the correct long-stay visa is crucial. Remember to prepare your documentation carefully and follow the application steps diligently.

For those looking to settle permanently or pursue citizenship, integrating into French society and embracing the culture are key steps. If the visa process seems daunting, the expert team at Lexidy France is eager to help. We’re here to simplify your application for a long-stay visa.
Ready to extend your stay in France? Fill out the form below to get started!

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