Many South Africans are interested in living in France – whether to enjoy the French culture and lifestyle for retirement, getting to know France for potential future business opportunities or to stay with family. The long stay visitor visa provides the opportunity to stay in France for 1 year as a full-time non-active resident.
Benefits of the Long Stay Visitor Visa
Unlike a normal tourist visa, the long stay visitor visa, enables you to stay in France for the full duration of the year and can be renewed from withing France (no need to travel back to South Africa). There is no limit on the amount of renewals. Being a resident in France, you can travel throughout the European Schengen area as a tourist (up to 90 days in 180 days) without the need to apply for further visas to the other countries.
The long stay visitor visa can open a pathway to settling permanently in France. After 5 years of residence in France you are eligible to file for a 10-year residence card, as well as apply for French citizenship.
What requirements do you need to meet?
At the core of the requirements is the ability to support yourself for the duration of your stay in France, without working in France. To this extent you need to show:
- At least 15.000 EUR available per person per year.
- An undertaking not to work in France.
- Adequate health cover for France.
- Accommodation available in France.
And what about –
– Age? As the visa is not linked to the specific purpose of retiring or other specific purposes, there is no minimum or maximum age to be eligible to apply for the long stay visitor visa. Retirement or a form of “semi” retirement can therefore start at any age.
– Language? Many people expect (and fear) there to be a language test in order to be able to live in France. The good news is that there is no such requirement in order to receive a long stay visitor visa. For the 10-year card or French citizenship, you will be required to show a certain level of French language skills. However, by then you will have been living in France for 5 years, with plenty of opportunities to learn and practice the language.
– Work? While you are not permitted to work in France on the long stay visitor visa, there is no limitation on changing to other residence permit categories. If you want to start your own small (or even big) business or have found employment, you can apply to change status to Entrepreneur, Talent Passport with own company or Employee from within France. Once the application is approved, you may commence working in France.
Moving to France starting to become a reality?
Do you think a long stay visitor visa may be your ticket to France? IBN offers advice and comprehensive support for emigration to France. Together with our expert partner located in France, we will assist with all required processes in South Africa and France. Contact us today, to schedule a consultation and start your journey to living in France.
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By Hannah Mminele