One question I hear from my own readers time and time again is, “How can I move to France?” and the answer isn’t always straightforward. But let’s get you some answers. If you’re researching a potential relocation to France, I’ve teamed up with Fabien Pelissier of Fab French Insurance to answer the top moving to France questions I see floating around the web.
Let’s get real. Moving can be overwhelming in and of itself, but when you add in the fact that it’s international and everything is in French in a system you’re not familiar with, it takes the stress and confusion factors up a few notches. But don’t fear! Fabien of Fab French Insurance joins me today to share his expertise with us on the logistics of relocating to France including visas and insurance help.
With over a decade in the expat and immigration industry, Fabien Pelissier’s business is geared toward the English-speaking community. Sure, the French processes may be different, but once you understand them, you’ll see that everything just works. At Fab French Insurance, he and his team understand that you want to enjoy your new life in France without worrying about the boring stuff. That’s why they strive to make the relocation process as simple as possible.
If you’re dreaming of moving to France, get in touch with Fabien to take care of the details so you can relax and enjoy all the wonders that France has to offer, without any unnecessary stress.
Also, before we get into the questions, let me mention that Fabien and I collaborated on a post last year about all the different visa types for moving to France, so definitely check out that detailed visa post when you’re done with this one.
Now for the questions!
Can you briefly explain the process for someone looking to move to France?
Sure, the very first step is to apply for the type of long-term visa (called VLS-TS in France) that applies to your situation at least 30 days prior to the intended arrival date but no earlier than 90 days ahead.
You’ll have to go through an in-person interview at a local visa center in your home country (this is subcontracted to VFS in the US and TLS in the UK, for example) and once they’ve reviewed your file and accepted your visa, you can come/move to France.
You need to activate the visa within 90 days of arriving in France, but this time it can be done online. After 90 days, you can start your application process to the CPAM/French social security.
The delays to actually be covered vary massively, so take this estimation with buckets of salt, but on average you should get your social security numbers six months later (so nine months total). After 10 months (but before the 11th month), you should renew/extend your visa at your local prefecture.
It’s highly likely that you’ll actually be provided with a residency permit (called une carte de séjour). Based on how “good” your file looks (basically how “French” you’ve become – no need to send them cheese as proof though), you’ll be granted a 1-year, 2-year or longer residency permit.
At the expiration of your permit, you’ll have to renew it and they’ll grant you a long-term permit until they deem you eligible for a permanent residency permit which is the 10-year permit (to be noted that after five years, you’ll automatically get a 10-year permit). Then you can stick with that 10-year permit pretty much forever. It’s absolutely not mandatory to apply for citizenship (although it’s also an option but not a required one).
2. What’s the difference between a long-stay visa (12-month visa) and a temporary long-stay visa (6-month visa)? How do you apply?
The long-stay visa is suitable for residency and renewable whereas the 6-month visa is a fixed-term visa (fixed dates) and cannot be renewed (there is a cool off period before you can re-apply).
Applying is super easy. France has made quite a lot of effort to simplify the process so you can do everything online now on the France-visas.gouv.fr website (except for the interview of course).
3. What documents do you need to supply for the long-stay visa application?
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go:
4. What are some of the different long-stay visas available, and how do I know which one is right for me?
We did an entire post on exactly that. Read this post for more info on the different visa options for moving to France.
5. Are there any differences we should be aware of for British citizens looking to apply for a visa post-Brexit? Is it the same process that Americans and other non-EU citizens go through?
It is, although there are some post-Brexit agreements. The main ones are basically the S1 program, which offers some tax benefits, but most importantly can allow British expats to avoid the medical insurance when applying for the visa (although we rarely advise to trigger the S1 straight away, as this is also a big leap of faith simply because they would have to renounce their rights to the NHS permanently and they only need the medical insurance for one year, so getting rid of the NHS just to avoid one year of insurance seems a bit risky to us).
The other main benefit post-Brexit is the driving license recognition. Unlike US citizens and other non-EU nationals, they can drive in France with their UK license as long as they passed the test prior to Brexit. If they live in France permanently, they also need to exchange their license for a French one eventually.
6. What are my options if I want to move to France to work, run a gite, or set up a business?
If you come to France to be employed, then there is the work visa, if you’re working remotely for a foreign company, this can be tricky for your employer, but for you it remains a work visa.
To run a business, it’s doable but it’s one of the hardest types of visa to secure, so I would highly recommend you seek advice if this is your case. This is called the business visa.
There is also the talent visa but this one is the hardest to secure so we often try to stick with the easiest one if possible, of course. If you don’t really fit in a particular category, then there is the visitor visa which is kind of the jack of all trades.
7. What is France’s Talent Passport program and what kind of applicants are considered?
Actually, there are different types of “passeport talent.” The general idea is that you are a highly qualified individual or have specific skills that you’d like to bring to France.
If you have a master’s degree and will be working in France under a payroll which is above 42k (roughly), then you’re eligible for the passport talent, but securing the contract before you actually get the visa might be the trickiest bit.
Alternatively, you can file a “talent” application but you’ll have to demonstrate that your skills are unique or can be useful here, which is highly subjective hence the very high rejection rate for that type of visa.
This applies usually to artists, very specific types of jobs (nuclear engineers, renewable energy experts, radiofrequency analyst, etc.) but can also be used for the spouse of someone that comes with a work visa.
8. Can you explain the health insurance requirements for a long-stay visa application?
After thousands of successful applications, we’ve sum-up the main criteria that seem to be the leading factors for visa acceptance:
• It shows cover for at least the duration of your visa, and if this is not possible or if it ends before the VISA, then the certificate should mention that the insurance policy is scheduled for automatic renewal.
• The policy should not have any deductible, excess, co-pay, or any kind of co-insurance.
• It mentions that you’re covered for medical expenses and hospitalization (not just hospitalization).
• The medical cover should be at least 30,000€ (sometimes 100,000€, as some visa centers are more picky than others like London or New York).
• The certificate should not mention any medical exclusions.
• It includes a repatriation plan.
9. Do you need private health insurance for a temporary long-stay visa (6-month visa) and what sort of price range is an applicant looking at for a suitable 1-year policy?
The short answer is yes and to answer the second part, it depends on the age band. For example, someone in his/her mid-50s would start at roughly 2000€ for a 12-month policy. An online calculator is available here (just put your info into the form and the box will automatically update).
10. Once I am a French resident, can I get into the French healthcare system? Does that mean that I will no longer need my insurance? (In that case, can’t I just take out insurance for the first three months?)
You need to be insured for 12 months, otherwise your visa will be rejected. Some policies will allow cancellation once you’ve been accepted into the French system, but on average, you won’t get your social security number(s) for nine-ish months.
Thank you so much for reading! If you need some help with visa and insurance matters on your moving to France journey, get in touch with Fabien and his team at Fab French Insurance here.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration between Fab French Insurance and Oui In France. All opinions are my own.
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