A guide for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens moving to France

A guide for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens moving to France

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EU citizens can live, work, and study in France without needing a French visa or permit, but may be required to register at their local government office.

EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals can come to live, work and study in France without the need for a French visa or permit. They won't need to show any other documentation besides a valid passport or national ID (except citizens of 'new' member states, such as Croatia, who can enter France but require a work permit for employment). There are, however, some other processes that may apply after you move to France.

Family members of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can also enter France, even if such family members are not from the EU themselves. They will, however, require the appropriate permit for longer stays in France.

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals moving to France

Three months after your arrival in France, you may need to register as a resident at the mairie (town hall) – check with your local mairie as this is a new rule and not all departments have introduced it yet. You’ll need to take along your passport/ID card and proof of your address and you’ll be given an attestation d’enregistrement (receipt).

There is no legal requirement to apply for a residence permit (carte de sejour) but you can do so if you wish. It’s free of charge and valid for up to five years. You’ll need to show your passport or ID card and proof of employment or registered self- employment. Contact your préfecture or mairie for where to go to apply in your area.

Remember to keep your passport or ID with you when you’re in France, as you will be asked to present it in certain situations.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss family members

If your family (spouse, children under 21 and dependent parents) are non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals, they are entitled to come to France with you but will need to apply for a residence permit (carte de sejour) from the préfecture within three months of arrival. You’ll need to show documents proving your family relationships (e.g. marriage/birth certificates), proof of your relative’s employment in France (e.g. contract) or financial resources (e.g. bank statements), and health insurance.

The permit (membre de la famille d’un citoyen de l’Union), which is free of charge, will be issued within six months. It is valid for up to five years and must be renewed two months before it expires.
Moving to France: French visas and permitsAfter five or more years

Once you’ve lived in France for five or more consecutive years, as an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you have the right to permanent residence and the option of holding the permanent residence ‘EU permanent stay – all occupations’ (UE séjour permanent, toutes activités professionnelles). If you leave for more than two years, you lose this right.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss family members

Family members who have lived in France with their relative have the same rights to permanent residence after five years but the permanent residence card is obligatory rather than optional. You must apply for this two months before your carte de sejour expires. You retain this permit even after divorce or the death of your EU spouse.

For more information:

  • France Diplomatie – this webpage is the English version of the website for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for more information on visas and migration to France.
  • DIRECCTE – this is the French language website for the French Labour Ministry Directions régionales des entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi. Go the main website and you can be redirected to the French region you need.
  • OFII -– this is the English language version of the website for the L'office Francais de l'immigration et de l'intégration, the French agency in charge of migration. There are offices all over France; look on the website for contact details of your nearest one.
  • Service-Public – this website is for the French government's public services (in French). To find the contact details of your local mairie (town hall) see here, and for other local departments and public services, see here.


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Note: the information in this article is for general information only and you should always seek advice from the French consulate if you have any queries about your particular circumstances.

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2 Comments To This Article

  • treacaret posted:

    on 25th October 2016, 22:34:56 - Reply

    British dont belong to EU anymore.
  • Alexandra Roberts posted:

    on 17th July 2014, 17:01:38 - Reply

    As a British Citizen, when moving to France with our non-EU spouse, do we need our birth certificates translated before we arrive? Some have said, others said no??
    thank you