Long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit

Long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit

Print the page

The category of visa mainly depends on the duration of and reason for the stay.

Entry visas can be broken down into two main categories:

  • A short-stay visa authorizes foreign nationals to enter and stay in French territory for up to 3 months. Short-stay visas can be single-entry for one short stay or multiple-entry for several successive short stays.
  • A long-stay visa allows foreign nationals to stay in France for longer than three months, with the aim of enabling the holder to obtain a residence permit so they can live in France for a specified period.

 

Meanwhile, a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour – VLS-TS) allows the holder not only to enter France but also to live in the country for between 3 and 12 months without applying for a separate residence permit.

 

Eligibility


A long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit, or VLS-TS, is a specific type of long-stay visa that exempts its holder from the requirement to apply for a residence permit for the first year of residence.

This type of visa, valid for up to one year, allows the holder to enter France and reside in France throughout its validity period, without any need for the holder to apply to the Préfecture for a residence permit. A sticker is affixed to the holder’s passport.

Holders are simply asked to submit a declaration to the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration – OFII) within three months of arrival.

After the first year of residence, foreign nationals wishing to extend their stay in France must apply for the residence permit that corresponds to their circumstances.

Available categories of VLS-TS include the following:

  • The ‘Employee’ VLS-TS, aimed at foreign nationals recruited by companies located in France, for a period of one year or more.
  • The ‘Temporary Worker’ VLS-TS, aimed at employees who are allowed to work in France for between 3 and 12 months. For example, this is the case for employees posted by a foreign company to provide a service at a client company’s site in France.
  • The ‘Research Scientist’ VLS-TS, issued to foreigners undertaking research work or teaching at university level.
  • The ‘Student’ VLS-TS.
  • The ‘ICT’ VLS-TS, for intra-company transferees and their families for stays of less than 12 months.
  • The ‘Talent Passport’ VLS-TS for all stays of less than 12 months in the following categories:
    • Business investors
    • Company directors
    • Employees on assignment
    • Highly skilled workers (European Union Blue Card)
    • Skilled young graduate employees or employees of an innovative new company (jeune entreprise innovante – JEI)
    • Researchers
    • Founders of a startup business
    • Owners of innovative business projects recognized as such by a public agency
    • Performing artists
    • Foreigners nationally or internationally recognized as experts in their field (in the scientific, literary, artistic, intellectual, educational or sporting fields)

The following are excluded, even if they fall within one of the above categories:

  • Algerian citizens
  • Citizens of overseas territories (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna)

For further details, please see the following sections:
‘Working in France’ and ‘Which residence permit is right for you?’

 

Are you exempt from the VLS-TS requirement?

Apart from Swiss and EEA nationals, citizens of the following are exempt from the VLS-TS requirement:

  • Monaco
  • Andorra
  • The Vatican
  • San Marino

 

Obtaining a VLS-TS


Where to apply

VLS-TS applications must be submitted to the French embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of residence.

Find the relevant diplomatic or consular authority

When processing visa applications, the visa authorities normally invite applicants to attend their premises in person. Some formalities, such as arranging appointments and submitting applications, may be outsourced to external service providers. Any fees they charge are in addition to standard application fees, and are payable by the applicant.


When to begin applying

Applicants are advised to apply relatively early, but no earlier than three months before the planned date of arrival in France.

Processing timescales can vary from one consulate or embassy to another. It is advisable to make initial contact with the relevant authorities as soon as the decision to move to France has been made.

If you have any queries, you can also contact us using our contact form.

Documents required

Applicants for a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit must provide the following:

  • A passport (or other travel document) meeting both the following conditions:
    • Issued in the last 10 years.
    • Valid for at least three months after the planned date of departure from French territory.
  • Long-stay visa application form (Cerfa no. 14571*05), duly completed, signed and dated.
  • The OFII form (Dépôt de demande de visa section).
  • Two standardized passport photos.
  • Proof of accommodation.
  • Evidence of sufficient financial means.
  • Proof of a guarantee of repatriation to the foreign national’s usual place of residence.
  • Proof of insurance covering medical and hospital expenses up to at least €30,000.
  • Evidence of the reasons for and conditions of the stay (see table below).

 

Categories of VLS-TS

Category

Period

Specific documents to be provided in support of application

Cost of visa
(€)

OFII tax
First issue
(€)

‘Talent Passport’ VLS-TS


Various categories

4-12 months

  • Legal representative or company director: R313-65ff.
  • Highly skilled worker (European Union Blue Card): R313-47ff.
  • Business investor: R313-63ff.
  • Employee on assignment: R313-51ff. & additional documents required by decree
  • Skilled young graduate employee or employee of an innovative new company (jeune entreprise innovante – JEI): R313-61ff.
  • Researcher: R313-53ff.
  • Startup founder: R313-57ff.
  • Owner of an innovative business project recognized as such by a public agency: R313-61ff.

99

250 + 19 (stamps)

Employee VLS-TS 

12 months

Employment contract
Excerpt of commercial register (‘extrait K-bis’) for the company

99

250 + 19 (stamps)

Temporary worker VLS-TS 

4-12 months

Employment contract

99

250 + 19 (stamps)

Intern/ICT intern VLS-TS

4-12 months

Internship agreement approved by the Préfet

99

60 + 19 (stamps)

Family reunification VLS-TS

4-12 months

Marriage certificate, family record book, etc.

99

250 + 19 (stamps)

Student VLS-TS

4-12 months

Any relevant document proving the reason for the stay

99

60 + 19 (stamps)

Visitor VLS-TS

4-12 months

Any relevant document proving the reason for the stay

99

250 + 19 (stamps)

Spouse of a French citizen

12 months

Marriage certificate, family record book, etc.

99

250 + 19 (stamps)

Formalities upon arriving in France


Upon arriving at the French border, a sticker is affixed to the VLS-TS holder’s passport.

Upon arriving in France, once the visa has been approved, and no more than three months after entering French territory, the visa holder must register with the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (Office français de l'immigration et de l'intégration – OFII). A long-stay visa is only equivalent to a residence permit if approved by the OFII.

To obtain such approval, the foreign national must complete the OFII form (Délivrance de visa section) and send it by post with acknowledgement of receipt to the OFII regional office in their département of residence. The holder’s date of arrival in France, address in France and visa number must all be completed. A copy of the holder’s passport must also be attached.

The foreign national is then asked to attend a compulsory medical examination and/or welcome visit.


Medical examination

Foreign nationals must attend a medical examination within three months of arriving in France, and bring the following:

  • A currently valid passport.
  • A recent passport photo.
  • An accommodation certificate or other proof of accommodation in France.

 

Helpful tip: On the day of the medical examination, a tax charged on first issuance of a residence permit, known as the ‘OFII tax’, must be paid. The amount of this tax varies depending on the category of VLS-TS.


Once these formalities have been completed, an OFII sticker is affixed to the foreign national’s passport allowing them to reside in France until the visa expires.


Republican citizenship contract

Holders of this type of visa must sign a Republican citizenship contract (Contrat d’intégration républicaine – CIR). Through this contract, the State undertakes to organize access to individual rights and the opportunity to learn the French language.

 

Extending your stay


Holders wishing to extend their stay in France beyond the visa expiry date must submit a residence permit application to the Préfecture in the two months before their VLS-TS expires.

 

Helpful tip: This option of changing status is not available to ‘ICT’ transferees.

Completing the long-stay visa application form


Completing the long-stay visa application form

Cerfa no. 14571*05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further information

Useful links:


Legal and regulatory texts: