Written By Jess Baker @ v2 Law Blog
Until recently France had a fairly relaxed boarder policy. However, laws that were brought in during 2006 now make it difficult for unskilled foreign-born workers to reside in the country. This article explains the ins and outs of French immigration and the legal processes that are involved with moving to the country.
Long and Short Stay Visas
A visa or entry permit is required for all persons staying in France for more than 90 days, and for those who wish to work or study. Short stay visas are always granted to members of EU countries due to the free movement of persons outlined in article 21 on the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union, they are only granted for up to 3 months once every six months. Note that while it is a legal requirement to acquire a short stay visa from a local government office upon your arrival it is not necessarily so in practise. Long stay visas are only given by consular authorities and are the prerequisite requirement for permanent residence. There is also an intermediate visa, which lasts for up to six months but doesn’t give individuals the same rights as a permanent resident. Long stay visas and retirement visas are only granted when certain economical conditions are met.
According to French Law a spouse has the automatic right to reside in France; however, there are strict policies surrounding marriage to ensure people aren’t abusing the system. Children who have a French parent and are under the age of 21 also have permanent right of residence. Unlike other countries – such as the United States – France doesn’t have an individual policy regarding retirees and those who are in same-sex marriages. Providing they meet the economic criteria the entry process is the same. Members of the EU can also activate their right to family reunification as enumerated by directive 2003/86/EC. This means that an EU citizen moving from an EU country to France has the right to bring with him members of his family regardless of their nationality (EU or Third Country National) or the country they are moving from.
Acquiring French Nationality
A foreign-born person with a French parent may acquire nationality by submitting an application, even if they don’t reside in France. Foreign-born spouses are able to acquire nationality if they have been in a relationship with a French citizen for at least four years. Furthermore, anybody who has resided in France for at least five years may be able to submit an application to become a neutralized citizen.
Obtaining Duel Nationality
Duel nationality is not commonly provided; however, in some cases it is recognised. In order to obtain Dual Nationality the two countries for which you wish to become a dual national must allow the provision to exist therefore the likelihood of becoming a duel national depends on the diplomatic relationship of the countries for which you apply. Subject to this dual nationality can be obtained by children who have rights of nationality, but were not born in France. It can also be obtained by naturalization such as marriage. While duel citizens are not always obliged to renounce their original nationality, in some circumstances they are expected to waiver certain rights in their home country.
Buying Property in France
Anybody is permitted to purchase property in France; however, according to Currency Index the government organization Notaire must facilitate all purchases. Notaire are essentially an intermediary organization who will act in part of solicitors in both countries. In most circumstances the local Notaire will write up a simple contract and, upon acceptance, the buyer will expected to pay a 10% deposit. It takes approximately 3 months to complete property transactions.
Citizens of the European Union have the right to travel and relocate to other European countries; however, some countries will have restrictions. For example, those who have a criminal record may not be permitted permanent entry into France. However criminal convictions alone do not justify obstructing an EU citizens rights and the government must show that your restriction is a ‘reasonable means of achieving a legitimate aim’ that is proportional as in it goes so far as to achieve those aims and nothing more. France and other EU countries can refuse entry most prominently on grounds of national security and public health.
When moving abroad the native government tax authority and the relevant financial services organizations such as, banks and insurance companies must be notified. Certain rights may be waivered after a specific amount of time out of the country. For example, insurance may not be valid and immigrants may lose their right to vote. Fundamentally, each country has vastly different policies regarding immigration and what procedures individuals must go through when moving abroad.
Image Credit: Move to France Blog
Image Caption: Since 2006 France has tightened their immigration policies.