Your arrival in France

Whether or not you need a visa, entry into the Schengen area of third-country nationals must comply with a certain number of conditions, as provided for by the European and national regulations in force.


Documents to be presented on arrival in France

The following supporting documents must be presented at the request of the Border Police upon your arrival in France:

  • A valid passport issued less than 10 years before and valid for at least 3 months after the envisaged departure date;
  • A valid visa, if required;
  • Proof of accommodation covering the whole duration of the stay (hotel reservation and/or certificate of staying with a relative validated in the town hall);
  • Sufficient financial means. The means of subsistence shall be assessed according to the duration and purpose of the stay and by reference to the average prices for accommodation and food in the Member States;
  • Your return ticket or the financial means to acquire one at the envisaged return date;
  • Any document providing details on the profession or the capacity of the traveller as well as on the establishments or organisations located in France which are expecting you, if you are on a professional trip.

For travellers in transit, you must be able to present proof of satisfying the entry conditions in the final destination country (conditions of stay and accommodation during transit, continuation ticket and visa for the destination country).


What amount of resources must you justify?

If you are staying in a hotel, you will need to provide a hotel booking as well as a minimum amount per day of stay that differs depending on the Schengen country visited.

For France, this amount is:

  • 65 euros per day of stay in the case of presentation of a hotel booking;
  • 120 euros per day in the case of non-presentation of a hotel booking;
  • In the case of a partial hotel booking: 65 euros per day for the period covered by the booking and 120 euros per day for the remainder of the stay.

If you are hosted by an individual, you must provide a certificate of staying with a relative validated in the town hall at the request of the person who invited you (note: at the border crossing you must also prove that you have, in addition to this certificate, a minimum amount per day of stay - this minimum amount is €32.50 per day).


In which cases are you exempted from presenting supporting documents at the border?

You are exempted from presenting supporting documents at the border if you belong to one of the following categories:
  • You hold a valid French residence permit or a movement document for foreign minors (DCEM) or a French identity certificate (TIR);
  • You are a citizen of the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, Andorra or Monaco;
  • You are a family member of a French or European Union national;
  • You hold a long-stay visa marked with “residence permit must be applied for upon arrival in France”;
  • You are the holder of a document attesting to one of the following functions:
    • Member of diplomatic missions and consular posts taking office in France;
    • Member of parliament;
    • Official, officer or agent of foreign public services, carrying an assignment brief from your government;
    • An official of an intergovernmental organisation of which France is a member, carrying an assignment brief from that organisation;
    • Ships and aircraft crew members engaged in service travel.

What you need to do in France

Upon your arrival in France, you will be subject to administrative obligations to transform your visa into a regular residence permit. These formalities will also allow you to access the services and benefits provided by the French administration. They differ depending on the visa issued to you.


Long-stay visa with the obligation to apply for a residence permit

If the visa issued to you is a long-stay visa indicating an obligation to apply for a residence permit, you must complete this process within two months of arrival and contact the prefecture of your place of residence.
  • If you live in Paris, you must go to police headquarters;
  • If you live in another department, you must report to the prefecture or sub-prefecture of your department. For more information, consult the procedures for foreigners in France  (in French only).

Before you go to the prefecture, consult the website of the prefecture of your place of residence in order, in particular, to find out what documents need to be provided. Some prefectures offer you the chance to make an appointment online.

You must attend your appointment at the prefecture in person and have the originals of the supporting documents for your documents. You may be asked to have purchased a tax stamp to pay for your visitor's tax.


Long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS)

Your VLS-TS is not a valid residence permit unless it has been validated. In order to complete this procedure, you must do the following as soon as you arrive in France and no later than during the following 3 months:
  • Complete the OFII certification application, which will be given to you together with your visa.
  • Send this form by registered post to the regional office of the OFII for your place of residence in France. The address is given on the OFII certificate;
  • With the form, enclose a copy of the pages of your passport that contain the following:
    • Information about your identity;
    • The stamp of the border police;
    • The visa issued to you;
    • A copy of your medical certificate, if applicable.

As soon as the OFII receives these documents, it will register your file and send you (via a simple letter) a certificate confirming that you have submitted your file at the address that you specified in the form.

You will then be called to go to the OFII, who will put a secure sticker and a date stamp in your passport. This sticker is equivalent to a residence permit for the duration of the validity of your visa.
Depending on the residence permit obtained (including the VLS-TS), you will have to sign a French integration contract.

You must pay a tax by means of a digital sticker which you can buy at timbresofii.fr  (in French only) or tax stamps, which are sold in tobacconists.

When your VLS-TS expires and you still want to remain in France, you must apply for a residence permit from the prefecture within two months prior to the expiration of your long-stay visa.


Living in France

For more information on the preparation of your trip, the steps to take upon arrival and when settling in France, consult the Living in France information booklet (pdf [1,48 MB]) published by the French Ministry of the Interior.

 

Update : October 2017