Question submitted by @darcyblacklabelle
Moving to & Living in France series.*
Q: Is it difficult to get a visa and residency (not sure what the French call it).
A: Let’s first chat about the difference between a Visa and Residency card.
A VISA is what the consulate/VFS center/government issues you to allow you to enter France for a predetermined time, depending upon the visa type requested. Some visas are renewable, while others are not and require you to return to your country of origin at the end of that period.
RESIDENCY - This card, called “Carte de Séjour,” is issued to you by the French government if you qualify for residency. Generally speaking, you visit the prefecture with a dossier about two to three months before your visa expires (and if you have the type that allows you to renew in France). If approved, you will be issued a CDS. The number of years your CDS is valid for depends upon your visa type & how many years you’ve lived in France.
Each country often has different requirements. Understanding the tax implications of living in France is also extremely important.
If you are interested in my visa process as an American living & working here, I have linked that up in my bio.
Page 1 = An overview
Page 2 = A more detailed look into how I got my work visa & 4-year CDS.
Is it difficult to obtain a visa? Let me answer this from my personal experience. The short answer is no - if you take the time to understand your challenges and requirements and what is necessary of you as an immigrant in France.
For me, the more significant challenge has been just the day-to-day life as a foreigner here. You have to be brave. Courageous. Strong-willed and minded. That grit and fortitude will help you overcome the constant challenges that will undoubtedly cross your path.
The visa is, in all reality, the most straightforward aspect of your journey - what lies in front of you is the hardest (and most beautiful) adventure yet to come.