Depending on the purpose and duration of stay in France, Russian citizens are required to apply to the French Consulate in Russia for a visa.
Types of visas
Short-stay visa (valid less than 3 months) and long-term visa (more than 3 months).
Short-stay visa allows its holder to enter France and Schengen countries. The maximum period is 3 months within six months, valid for an uninterrupted period of residence or for several visits. Motivation for requesting such visa are: tourism, private trip, visiting relatives, marriage, work.
Grounds for visa application:
- private invitation;
- rental agreement with confirmation of payment of all expenses;
- certificate of real estate ownership in France;
- Prior authorization obtained by an employer in France: for the stay of persons whose purpose is paid work.
Special categories of visas:
- Short-term visa for several years (1-5 years): each trip cannot exceed 90 days per 180 days, but the total validity of the visa can be up to 5 years.
- Visa for spouses and minor children of French citizens or citizens of other European Community countries.
- Visa for marriage with French nationals. Applicants must apply for a short-term visa. After registration of marriage they are obliged to return to Russia in order to obtain a long-term visa equivalent to a residence permit.
- Long-Term French Visa
- A long-term visa is not a Schengen visa. It is issued to the requesting person for the purpose of his/her long-term stay exclusively in France (more than 3 months).
A long-term visa, equivalent to a residence permit, is valid for an uninterrupted stay in France for more than 3 months. It exempts the applicant from having to apply to the prefecture for a residence permit for the duration of the visa. The precondition for this type of visa is that the applicant must register with the OFII (Office français de l'immigration et de l'intégration) at the place of residence in France.
This visa is issued to the following categories of applicants:
- spouses of French nationals;
- Spouses of French nationals;
- students; persons who have been in employment for more than one year;
- Temporary work contracts up to one year;
- "visitors" (persons provided with the means to stay in France without the right to work);
- This registration is obligatory;
- in case of its absence after 3 months after arrival to France the holder of such visa will be considered by the French authorities as an illegal resident.
Long-term visa requiring a residence permit. Upon arrival in France, its holder is obliged to request a residence permit from the prefecture of the place of residence, which gives the right to reside and work for hire. Once this document is obtained, its holder has the right to move freely within the European Union.
This type of visa includes the following categories:
- Artist visa.
- Visa for parents of French nationals or parents of spouses of French nationals.
- Visa for entrepreneurs (setting up a business).
- Visa for entrepreneurs (integration in a French company).
- Visa for children of the spouse of French nationals.
- Visa for minors studying in France.
- Visa for underage students enrolled in an institution of higher education in France.
- Visa for educational internship. Visa for paid internship.
- Visa for parents of children with French nationality.
- Visa for scientists.
- Visa "Compétences et talents".
- Long-term visa for Monaco.
Temporary residence permit
A temporary residence permit in France (La carte de séjour temporaire) is issued by the prefecture of the place of residence for 1 year on the basis of a long-term visa issued by a French consulate. The period of validity cannot exceed the period of study, internship for students and trainees, work permit for those engaged in professional activities.
A temporary residence permit for family reasons ("vie privée et familiale") is granted to:
- spouses and children (up to 19 years old) of foreign nationals legally residing in France;
- Spouses and children (up to 19 years of age) of foreign nationals residing in France on a residence permit "compétences et talents" or "salarié en mission" (performing a special mission);
- Spouses of French nationals on the basis of a long-term visa obtained from a consulate;
- To the spouses of foreign nationals residing in France on a "scientifique" (scientist) residence permit.
Foreigners with financial resources allowing them to reside in France without carrying out a professional activity can obtain a "guest" residence permit, valid for 1 year and renewable.
The applicant must provide proof of sufficient means of subsistence: bank references, solvent guarantors - family members, conditions of residence in France.
Such a residence permit is issued only on the basis of a long-term "guest" visa previously obtained at the consulate.
Persons with a university degree who come to France to carry out scientific research or teaching activities under contract with a host organization can obtain a residence permit in the "scholar" category. The applicant must submit a written contract with the research organization or institution of higher education where he/she will carry out the teaching activity. The duration of the residence permit is 1 year with the possibility of extension from 1 to 4 years.
Foreigners in the creative professions: artists, entertainers can obtain a residence permit in the "creative profession" ("profession artistique et culturelle") category. The applicant needs to submit a contract with a company or organization engaged in creative work and the promotion of works of art. The application for a residence permit is examined by the competent regional authorities.
Employment, temporary work
Persons coming to France to work on the basis of a contract signed by an employer and approved by the competent authorities may be granted a temporary residence permit on the basis of a long-term visa already approved by the consulate. The duration of the residence permit cannot exceed the duration of the work permit. There are two categories of residence permit: professional ("salarié") - if the contract is for 12 months or more, temporary worker ("travailleur temporaire") - if the contract is for less than a year. The extension of the residence permit is possible.
Foreigners coming to France for the purpose of conducting business (trade, industry or private industry) may request a one-year renewable residence permit. Applicants can apply for a residence permit at the French Consulate in their country of residence.
Foreign nationals requesting a temporary residence permit for the categories "scholar", "artist" or "professional" must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the French language or have mastered the language within 2 years of arrival.
Renewal of residence permits
At the end of a residence permit or a long-stay visa, persons remaining in France are required to apply to the prefecture of their place of residence for an extension. You must apply two months before the expiry date of your residence permit or long-stay visa. Before a final decision is made, a receipt is issued certifying the legitimacy of residence in France and the right to work (récépissé) for the prefect to consider.
Under certain conditions, a multi-year residence permit (up to 4 years) can be granted for the categories "student" and "scholar".
10-year residence permit (résident longue durée)
Certain categories of persons may be legally granted a 10-year residence permit (resident status), which may be based on personal or family ties, services rendered to the State or protection granted to the applicant.
Categories of applicants eligible for a long-term residence permit: Temporary residence permit holders "visitor", "scholar", "artist", "professional activity", "family life", "commerce, industry, production", "competences and talents".
The main condition for issuance is permanent residence in France for 5 years (absence must not exceed 6 months at a time and 10 months in total) on the basis of a temporary residence permit. The applicant must have health insurance.
The decision to grant or refuse a long-term residence permit depends on the applicant's reasons for wanting to reside permanently in France.
The applicant's occupational conditions and means of subsistence are subject to scrutiny.
The applicant's resources must be permanent and sufficient to meet his or her basic needs, and owning his or her own home is also encouraged.
The granting of a long-term residence permit also depends on the applicant's integration into French society, compliance with the basic principles of the French Republic and sufficient command of the French language.
In some cases, a 10-year residence permit is granted after 3 years of legal residence in France. The condition for granting a 10-year residence permit in France can be an exceptional contribution to the country's economy.
The foreigner personally, or through the mediation of a company which he manages, and where he owns at least 30% of the capital:
Has created or retained, or has undertaken to create or retain, at least 50 jobs in France;
Has made or undertakes to make in France investments of at least €10 million in tangible and intangible assets;
Exceptionally, a foreigner investing a smaller amount can obtain a residence permit for 10 years because of the exceptional nature of the personal economic contribution or of the professional field in which jobs have been created or maintained.
Residence permit "competences and talents"
Persons who have a specific project of interest for France and their country of residence, based on the competences and talents they possess, can obtain a residence permit, "competences and talents", valid for 3 years.
The grounds for issuance can be economic development projects, land development on the basis of scientific, technical and design projects affecting living conditions, transport, environmental protection. This residence permit allows for professional activity within the framework of the project.
Every year, the French State Commission determines the criteria for the development of projects on the basis of which this category of residence permit can be granted.
The French consulate or prefect, at the applicant's place of residence in France, evaluates the applicant's abilities and the value of the project, based on the criteria defined by the State Commission.
One of the ways to obtain French citizenship is naturalization. The main condition for naturalization is permanent residence in France for at least 5 years legally, integration into French society, no criminal record. Applicant must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of French language, knowledge of French society, its history, culture.
The period of permanent residence in France before applying for naturalization can be reduced to 2 years for the following persons:
- who have successfully studied at a university or higher education institution in France for the purpose of obtaining a diploma in higher education;
- who have merit in France due to their abilities and talents;
- successfully integrated into and contributing to the development of the country through civic, scientific, economic, sporting and cultural activities;
- whose naturalization is of exceptional interest to France.
The application review period is from 12 to 18 months.