Entry conditions & Visas
In this section, you will find very important information concerning entry formalities in France:
Anyone from a non-exempt country must apply for a visa in order to legally enter French territory, whether for a short or long stay.
The visa application can therefore concern the scientist, but also her/his spouse and children if they accompany her/him to France.
The visa application must be made at least 2 months before leaving for France at a French consulate in your country of residence. The French embassy or consulate can advise you on the procedure to follow to obtain your visa.
The type of visa required to enter France depends on both the duration and the reasons for your stay.
This visa concerns the scientist and her/his family who are planning a stay less than or equal to 90 days.
Depending on your nationality, you may be exempt from a visa for a stay fewer than 90 days, but it will not be possible to extend your stay beyond this period.
Your family (spouse, children) of the same nationality can accompany you under the same conditions, subject to sufficient income during your stay and accident/sickness/repatriation insurance for the duration of the stay in France for each member of the family.
If your nationality does not exempt you from a visa, and even for a very short stay, you must ask your host establishment in France as soon as possible for a "Hosting Agreement for a foreign researcher". You must present the original of this document to the French Consulate in the country where you reside in order to obtain a "scientific" short-stay visa.
The Consulate will affix its seal on your Hosting Agreement and give it to you at the same time as your visa.
You must come to France with this document. The Hosting Agreement is the only official document which will prove your status as a scientist-researcher in France and authorize you to exercise higher education and/or research activities there.
Your family: As soon as you have a Hosting Agreement (subject to sufficient income and accident-sickness-repatriation cover), your spouse and your children can automatically obtain a visa to accompany you to France.
Please note: It is recommended to submit all visa applications at the same time to benefit from the status of "spouse and researcher family".
Please note: The "scientist - researcher" visa does not apply to people travelling to France for meetings, conferences or symposia.
This visa concerns the scientist and her/his family who are planning a stay longer than 90 days in France.
Whatever your nationality (including if it exempts you from short-stay visa) you must ask, as soon as possible, at your host establishment in France for a "Hosting Agreement for a foreign researcher". You must present the original of this document to the French Consulate in the country where you reside in order to obtain a long-stay visa with the mention "Passeport Talent -chercheur".
Obtaining this type of visa may require applying for a residence permit within 2 months of your arrival in France in order to be able to legally stay on French territory.
Depending on the reasons for your stay, your long-stay "D visa" may be qualified as:
- "Passeport Talent" "Chercheur": for people in possession of a hosting agreement;
- "Passeport Talent Famille": for spouses and children under 18 of scientists and doctoral students holding a "Passeport Talent" visa;
- "Student": for doctoral students enrolled in a French higher education establishment and who do not have a French employment contract;
- "Visitor": in particular for the spouses of doctoral students in possession of a "student" D visa, the partners of scientists and children of full age.
Depending on the mention on your visa, your status, your rights and your duties will be different.
For example, the mentions "Passeport Talent" and "Passeport Talent Famille" authorize its holder to work contrary to the visa with the mention "Visitor".
This is why it is important to make the right visa request before your departure because once entered on French soil, you will not be able to obtain the modification of your visa nor of your status.
Your installation in France will require many administrative procedures for which documents will be required. To facilitate these steps, remember to consult the checklist below of the documents to take with you.
Checklist of documents to take with you:
Hosting agreement: It is essential to take with you the original of your hosting agreement which authorizes you to work in France.
Passport and/or national identity card
Visa: a visa may be required for the scientist and each member of his family.
OFII certificate request form submitted and stamped by the French consulate that issued the visa: only concerns researchers / doctoral students in possession of an "R311-3 9 ° passport talent chercheur" or "student" visa.
Birth certificate: the original of the birth certificate or an extract of the birth certificate is necessary for you and each member of your family accompanying you to France. It must mention the parentage of the father and mother as well as be apostilled or legalized according to the country in which the birth certificate was issued. If it is not written in French, the birth certificate must also be translated by a sworn translator by a French Court of Appeal.
Marriage certificate: If you are married and your spouse is accompanying you to France, you will need to take the original of your marriage certificate with you. Depending on the country of issue, the marriage certificate must be translated by a sworn translator by a French Court of Appeal.
Proof of income for the previous fiscal year: your payslips or tax sheets (as well as those of your spouse if applicable) for the previous fiscal year.
The originals of your diplomas
Vaccination certificates: for you and each member of your family accompanying you in France (compulsory for the education of children).
Booklet of your children's results every year
Driving license: Your valid driving license or an international license if you plan to drive in France
Vehicle documents: If you take your vehicle with you in France, you will also need to bring:
The international insurance card for your vehicle,
The title of ownership of your vehicle,
Possible health insurance documents: European health insurance card, private health insurance certificate, ...
For each of your administrative procedures in France, you will need to present the originals of the official documents requested as well as photocopies of these documents. Remember to make several photocopies and always keep your originals with you.
Stays of more than 90 days in France are regulated.
In most cases, in addition to applying for a visa before departure, the scientist must apply for a residence permit upon arrival.
These procedures also apply to spouses who accompany their scientific spouses to France.
The type of residence permit to apply for and the procedures for obtaining and renewing it may vary depending on the situation and the nationality of the scientist and her/his spouse.
Provisions have been put in place to facilitate the installation in France of the scientist's family during his long-term research stay (more than 90 days).
Depending on the nationality of family members, procedures may vary. Below are the procedures for each case.
If your spouse is from a country of the European Union, the EEA zone or Switzerland, she/he is free to stay and work in France without any administrative procedure being necessary.
If your spouse is from a third country and is not exempt, a visa application must be submitted to the French consulate closest to your place of residence at least 2 months before your departure for France. This request can be made at the same time as your visa application if your nationality also requires one.
Application for a residence permit for the scientist's spouse:
The spouse of a scientist must follow the same procedure as his/her husband/wife.
Depending on the information on his visa, the spouse must obtain:
- either a validation of the visa with the OFII;
- or a request for a residence permit at the Prefecture.
Renewal of the residence permit of the scientist's spouse:
The renewal of your spouse's residence permit is made at the prefecture of your place of residence. A renewal request file must be submitted two months before the end of validity of his current residence permit. You must make an appointment with the Prefecture of your place of residence.
1) No action is necessary for children with the nationality of a country of the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
2) Children with the nationality of a non-exempt third country will need a long-stay D visa to be able to enter French territory. The request for this visa must be submitted to the French consulate closest to your place of residence at least 2 months before your departure for France. This request can be made at the same time as your visa application if your nationality also requires one.
Whatever their nationality, the minor children of scientists can freely stay in France without a residence permit.
However, if your child has to travel abroad, you should ask the Prefecture of your place of residence for a Circulation Document for Minor Foreigners (DCEM).
The DCEM will allow your child to return to France after a trip abroad without having to apply for a new entry visa. This document is valid for 5 years and is renewable until the child turns 18, as long as his parents are legally resident in France. The amount of the tax for a DCEM is 45 €, to be paid in fiscal stamps (note: free if one of the child's parents is a national of an EU / EEA / Switzerland).
To obtain a DCEM for your child, you must make an appointment online with the Prefecture. The presence of the child and at least one of his parents is compulsory for the submission of the file and for the withdrawal of the DCEM.
PLEASE NOTE: the DCEM must be accompanied by a valid travel document (passport), as long as the young person is travelling outside France.
France-Visas is the official website for visa applications for France, a portal containing all the necessary information to guide you through each step of your application (file preparation, entry, submission and follow-up of your application).
- France-Visas: The official website for visa application to France
- France-Visas: Visa application guidelines
- France-Visas: Do I need a visa?