Fact sheet: long stay visa

Date of update


Citizen of a Third State to the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you wish to enter French territory for a long period?


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.




Foreign nationals wishing to reside in France for more than 90 days, whether for personal reasons (family reunion, retirement, etc.) or professional reasons (starting up a business, taking up paid employment, etc.), must submit a long-stay visa application to the French consular authorities in their country of residence.

This type of visa allows the holder to live in France for a specified period.

During this validity period, it grants the holder the same rights as the holder of a temporary residence permit or multi-year residence permit. It also allows the holder to apply to the Préfecture in their place of residence for a residence permit so they can stay in France.

The appropriate type of long-stay visa depends on the reason for the stay .




Only the following are eligible for exemption:

  • Other foreign nationals (‘third country nationals’) holding a short-stay visa marked Famille de Français (‘Family of a French national’).
  • EU nationals.
  • EEA nationals (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein).
  • Nationals of the principalities of Monaco and Andorra.
  • Nationals of San Marino and the Holy See.
  • However, the following are exempt from the long-stay visa requirement:
  • Foreign nationals and their families who have acquired long-term resident status in another European Union Member State.
  • Students who have attended school in France without interruption from the age of 16 and are continuing their studies in the country


Helpful tip :

The post-Brexit transition period expired on December 31, 2020.

For a stay of more than 3 months, the need to apply for a long-stay visa for british citizens will depend on their date of arrival in France and their situation.

For more information, do not hesitate to read our dedicated sheet “Fact sheet: British nationals and their family members”


Reasons of stay


Long-stay visas depend on the reason for the foreigner’s stay:

  • to exercise a professional activity or invest in France, in particular:
    • visa for posted employees on intra-company transfer (ICT);
    • “Passeport Talent” visas and its 10 mentions, for the purpose of applying for the multi-year “Passeport Talent” residence card for any planned stay longer than 12 months.
  • For any stay the duration of which is less than one year, a VSL-TS is granted;
    • “Working holiday” visa for young eligible nationals;
    • to study:
      • “Student” visa (VSL-TS);
      • “School-aged minor” visa;
      • to carry out an internship or training : the visa for “trainees or young professionals in training” (VLS-TS);
  • for tourist, family or private visits or even business trips: the “Temporary visitor visa” visa (VLS-TS);
  • for family reunification.

Long-stay visas issued for professional reasons allow their holder to exercise a professional activity as soon as they arrive in France, without waiting for the delivery of the residence permit.

Length of stay and validity


Long-stay visas allow foreign nationals to enter France with a view to staying for more than three months.Typically, long-stay visas are valid for 3 months. In any event, they may not be valid for more than one year (as in the case of a ‘VLS-TS’ long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit).

Helpful tip: A long-stay visa also allows the holder to move freely within the Schengen Area for 90 days in any 180-day period

Espace Schengen

Formalities upon arriving in France

The visa also allows the holder to apply for the corresponding residence permit with the Prefecture of his place of residence in France in order to settle on French territory.
He must contact the competent prefecture as soon as he arrives to initiate the procedure and inquire about the procedures for submitting his residence permit application file.
These terms may vary depending on the Prefectures which explain the procedure on their website.