Long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS)
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.
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.
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.
Apart from Swiss and EEA nationals, citizens of the following are exempt from the VLS-TS requirement:
- The Vatican
- San Marino.
|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 a British citizen will depend on his date of arrival in France and his situation.
For more information, do not hesitate to read our dedicated sheet “Fact sheet: British nationals and their family members”
Categories of VLS-TS
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)
- 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)
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. 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. (VFS Global, TLS, etc.).
The request is initiated online via the official website france-visas.gouv.fr.This first step allows the applicant to verify the need for him to obtain a visa using the Visa Assistant. The user can then apply for a visa via a personal account and then find out how to submit their file, often with the service provider from the Consulate or Embassy. Thanks to the france-visas.gouv.fr website, visa applicants can now follow the progress of their application directly online.
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.
If you have any queries, you can also contact us using our contact form.
As part of an application for a long stay visa equivalent to a residence permit, the applicant must gather the following documents:
- 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
- Two standardized passport photos.
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, 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 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.
From February 18th 2019, the validation procedure is now made online using the following website: administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr.
The foreign national may then be invited to a medical examination and/or welcome visit.
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.