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Residence permit in France for financially independent individuals in 2023

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A residence permit in France for financially independent foreigners or a visitor’s visa is issued for one year and can be renewed indefinitely. Reasons for obtaining this type of residence permit are financial independence and renting or buying property in France. After 5 years of living in the country with a residence permit, a foreigner has the right to apply for permanent residence, and immediately after that — for citizenship.

A visitor’s visa (visiteur) is a long-term visa that is equivalent to a residence permit. A foreigner is granted a long-stay type D visa on the basis of financial independence in the country of residence. The visa must be registered with the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) within 3 months after arrival in France. The foreigner then receives a residence permit card from the prefecture. The deadline for obtaining a residence permit is 2-3 months from the date of submission of the documents.

The specific feature of this type of residence permit is that it does not confer the right to work or carry on business in France. The foreigner’s center of economic interests is located in another country, where he or she has a business, has professional activity or investments. It is assumed that a financially independent foreigner does not need to earn additional income in France, as he or she should already have sufficient savings.

Benefits with residence permit in France:

  • Visa-free travel to the EU and the Schengen area. Holders of a residence permit for financially independent persons may stay in the Schengen countries for up to 3 months in any 6-month period.
  • The right to live permanently in France. A residence permit is issued for one year and can be renewed while maintaining the basis for obtaining it. You can live in France 365 days a year, not just 3 months on a visa.
  • The same rights as French citizens, except political rights. A residence permit confers the same rights as a French passport, with exception of the right to vote and to participate in political life.
  • Family reunification. A financially independent foreigner can bring his or her family to France: spouse and minor children.
  • Prospects of obtaining permanent residence and citizenship. Foreigners with a residence permit can obtain permanent residence in France and apply for French citizenship after 5 years of residence.
  • Free education and good quality healthcare. Residents can study at French universities under the same conditions as French students (not as foreign students), and can use the medical services (treatment costs covered by health insurance).
  • European driving license. A foreigner who has obtained a residence permit may exchange his or her driving license for a European driving license.
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What are the requirements for residents?

  • Demonstrate financial independence. Have more than 20,000- 30,000 euros per person in a French or other international bank account or have a stable income of at least 1,750 euros per month per person. Have several different sources of income: salary, property rental, deposits, fees, bank savings, etc.
  • Not to work for hire and not to carry on business in France. A financially independent person undertakes not to engage in any income-generating activity in France.
  • It is not necessary to know French to obtain this type of residence permit. However, if a foreigner plans to stay in France permanently and obtain permanent residence permit, it is still necessary to learn French.
  • It is not necessary to live permanently in France. To maintain the status of a residence permit, you do not have to live permanently in the country and become a French tax resident. A foreigner who has been granted a residence permit on the basis of financial independence becomes a French tax resident if he lives in the country for more than 183 days a year. However, if the person plans to obtain permanent residence and French citizenship in the future, then they must live in the country permanently for at least most of the year and become a tax resident.

To obtain a residence permit on the basis of financial independence, the applicant must be over 18 years of age, able to pay and of impeccable reputation. The French authorities may refuse to grant a residence permit if the applicant has shown insufficient financial resources, has provided false information or has been in trouble with the law.

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Property in France costs an average of 6,071 euros per sq. meters according to MeilleursAgents for May 2023. The average rent in the country is around of 15 euros per sq. meters. The cost of property in France varies greatly depending on the city and region. For example, Paris — one of the most expensive European capitals — traditionally breaks records on the French housing market.

To buy an apartment in Paris will cost an average of 10,082 euros per sq. meters, according to MeilleursAgents for May 2023. At the same time, there are districts in Paris where it is better to buy property, and those where it is not. You can rent an apartment in Paris for an average of 30 euros per sq. meters.

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What documents are needed?

  • Application for a residence permit according on the state model;
  • Letter of motivation explaining the reasons why the applicant and his/her family wish to live in France;
  • International passport, valid for at least 1 year and 1 month;
  • Internal passport of the country of residence;
  • Valid visitor visa D —Visiteur card;
  • Confirmation from the bank that there are sufficient funds in the account;
  • Property purchase or lease agreement;
  • Proof of employment or business;
  • Certificates of marriage, birth of children;
  • Receipts for payment of government fees for residence permit application;
  • Certificate of no criminal record;
  • Medical insurance.

This is a basic list and the French authorities may ask for additional documents. The forms must be completed in English or French. Copies of documents from the country of residence must be submitted in the original language with a notarised translation.

To submit documents, the applicant must come to France in person with a long-stay D visa. They cannot leave the country until they receive an invitation from the French Office for Immigration and Integration OFII (Office Français de l’immigration et de l’intégration). Registration for a residence permit usually takes 2-3 months.

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