Nice Visas & Permits

As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country?
Nationals of EU countries plus Andorra, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, the Slovak Republic, South Korea, Switzerland and the USA can stay in France for up to 3 months without a visa. A long-stay visa must be obtained to be allowed to remain in France for work or study.
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What kinds of visas are available?
Work and Resident Permits are necessary to live and work in France. These two permits are linked and have to be obtained from the Labor Department and the Préfecture (Police Department), respectively. The non-working spouse also needs a Resident Permit, the granting of which is based on the Work Permit and financial support of the working spouse. EU nationals do not need a work permit, but they still must register with the Préfecture and obtain a resident card, which is usually valid for 5 to 10 years.
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What is required to obtain these visas?
1. The work permit application is submitted by the hiring company in France. Following approval by the French Labor Department, the applicant's file is transferred to the French embassy or consulate in the employee's country of residence. A long-stay visa is then issued by that embassy or consulate.
2. The expatriate then has a mandatory medical check-up upon arrival in France.
3. If the previous steps are completed successfully, the residency permit is granted by the
Préfecture (Police Department).

As a general rule, any official application in France must be supported by official proofs of resources and residence in this country, including the following basics:

  • valid passport
  • 4 photos (in standard French passport size, which is a bit smaller than the American one)
  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • employment contract
  • latest salary slips
  • apartment/house lease or latest electricity bill or phone bill (Note: One can sign a lease if in possession of a solid work contract, even if his/her Resident Permit has not yet been officially issued)

All mandatory documents must be in French and have to be translated from their original language prior to starting any procedure. A list of official translators is available in each mairie (town hall), or contact Crown Lyon for referral to a quick, well-priced and reliable translation agency. Originals and photocopies must also be readily available.
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Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work?
Spouses are not allowed to work without an official hiring contract, as the Labor Department thoroughly screens all work permits granted to foreigners. The ANPE (National Employment Agency) works to ensure that priority is given to French nationals to fill available positions in France. In their intent to hire a foreign national, employers must attest to that person's particular qualifications.
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What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them?
The main forms of ID are:
1. Valid passport with the proper (long-stay) visa
2. Resident Permit (or Carte de Séjour) issued by the Préfecture
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Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away?
Once a Resident Permit has been obtained, you have one year to convert your original driving license to a French one. In the meantime, it is possible to drive with a valid foreign license.
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What items should I avoid bringing into the country?
No illegal substances or firearms.
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Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally?
Please contact Crown Nice with any specific questions.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.