The general long-stay visa requirements can have a variety of different extra requirements, depending on whether you plan to open a business in France or certain other situations. This is a basic guideline, and you can be sure these requirements at the least will be needed. Be sure to check with your local consulate for any extra documents that might be needed.
It is very important to note that applicants absolutely must apply for the visa in his or her country of residence before traveling. The French government does not allow an application within France. If you try, you will just be sent back home to apply and wait the minimum two months. The personal appearance is required for long-stay visas.
To apply, be sure you have the following:
- Passport signed and valid 3 months after the last day of stay.
- Four long stay visa application forms by applicant signed and legibly filled out. Print in black. Indicate your phone numbers and e-mail.
- At least five recent passport size photographs (4 glued on the forms).
- A proof of resident status in the country where you are applying.
- A proof of employment in the country where you are applying
- Financial guarantee such as:
- Letter from your bank showing that you have sufficient means of support to live in France.
- Justification of retirement pensions or regular incomes
- A notarized declaration of your sponsor stating that he/she will be responsible for all your expenses and a proof of his/her financial means. (+ 3 copies).
- Proof of medical insurance with coverage valid in France (+ 3 copies). Letter from the insurance compagny only.
- A non-criminal record certificate to be obtained at the police's office of the city of residence (+ 3 copies). I would recommend obtaining this record as early as possible, since some police stations take a few weeks to issue the record.
- A note, dated and signed by the applicant, stating that he/she does not intend to have in France a paid professional activity which requires a work permit.
- For the spouse of a French citizen, the "livret de famille" or a copy of the French marriage license, or the official French transcript of the marriage license when the marriage took place out of France. The French citizen must prove his/her nationality. Note that an American citizen spouse of a French citizen wishing to live in France does not need a visa. He or she must apply directly for a residency card once in France (with the "livret de famille").
- Processing fee: payment by credit card (Visa, Mastercard) (especially for files sent by mail) or money-order made out to "Consulate general of France" or certified checks. Cash is accepted only if you apply in person. No personal checks.