Essential Employment Paperwork in France



Citizens of EU member countries are exempted from acquiring a visa or work permit. However, non-EU citizens who wish get employed in France need to have a long-term visa and a work permit to avoid legal consequences. 

France is one of the 26 signatory countries of the Schengen Agreement so aside from the EU citizens, expats coming from the Schengen area can also enter France without a visa while those coming from the United States can stay in France for no more than 90 days. Expats who are coming from the visa-exempt countries need to apply for the long-stay visa (which will also act as their residence permit) and work permit. 

Visa de long Séjour or Long-Stay Visa 

The long-stay visa is ideal for foreign nationals who wish to work in France for more than 90 days and is valid for three to 12 months. Once in France, the holder must register (within three months of arrival) at the L’Office Francais de l’Immigration et de I’Integration (OFII) where he/she will be issued with a temporary-stay permit which usually bears the ‘salarié’ status which means employed. Keep in mind that renewals for this visa should be done at least two months before the expiration date. 

How to Obtain a Long-stay Visa 

The first step of the application process is to secure a French employer who will draw up an employment contract which will be sent to the DIRECCTE (Direction regionale des enterprises, de la concurrence et de la consummation, du travail et de l’emploi). a local division of the French Ministry of Labour. Once a contract has been confirmed by the DIRECTTE, it will be forwarded to the L’Office Francais de l’Immigration et de I’Integration (OFII). OFFII authorised applications will then be forwarded to the French Embassy/Consulate in the expatriate’s home country where they will apply for the long-stay visa. The requirements for the application are:

  • Passport with at least three months validity
  • Duly completed l’application de visa (visa application) form/s
  • Proof of reason for going to France such as an Employment Contract
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Proof of payment (processing fees) 

Carte de Séjour or Residency Card 

The residency card is an official document of residency in France. It can only be obtained by expats who are already holders of the long-stay visa. It is valid for ten years and would only be granted to those who have legally resided in France for five years or more and in particular circumstances like when one has a French spouse. 

Work Permit 

In order to get a work permit, the expatriate’s employer must first get a clearance to hire a non-EU national. One of the first steps is to provide a proof that the company has advertised the vacancy with the ‘Pole Emploi’ and the only suitable person that met the job requirements is a foreign national. Applications for the work permit must be submitted to the Department Directorate of Work, Employment and Training who will conducts an assessment of the qualified expat. The assessment usually includes a medical examination in France or in the employee’s home country.