EU Member-State Citizens Moving to France

Understand the residency rules for European Union (EU) citizens moving to France to live, work, study or retire...

Any EU or EEA citizen moving to France must carry a valid passport or Identity Document (ID). After three months they are required to declare/register themselves as resident, this is not the same as applying for a work or residence permit, which is not required for EU and EEA citizens from original accession countries.

EU nationals: right of residency

On the basis of the EC Treaty, residence permits are not required for EU citizens who wish to move from one EU member state to another; however, they may be required to register their presence with the local authorities. The following purposes of stay are regarded as residence:

  • Employment (including job-seeking)
  • Study
  • Economically non-active
  • Staying as a family member of a citizen of the Union
  • Pensioners

The non-EU spouse or legal partner and family (dependent children, grandchildren, and parents) of an EU citizen have the same rights as any EU citizen in Europe. However, they will need a visa if they come from a country that has visa requirements for the EU. For unmarried couples, the definition of legal partner may vary depending on the country. 

Note: Croatian citizens staying more than three months in France still require a residence permit (carte de séjour) for the first five years of residency; if employed in France a work permit (autorisation de travail) is also required.

Registration of EU citizens moving to France

The following rules affecting the registration (enregistrement des citoyens européens) of newly arrived EU citizens in France is being introduced; it is already in effect in some départements. You are urged to consult the Mairie in your place of residence to find out if this is required.

If registration is required:

  • Report to the Mairie of the commune of residence (take proof of ID and address) within three months of arrival in France
  • The visit is recorded and a "receipt" (attestation d'enregistrement) is issued immediately

The receipt issued by the Mairie serves as record of residence; a failure to register, means they will be deemed to have resided in France for less than three months. Registration is to become obligatory and when it does, foreigners not registering with their Town Hall (Mairie) may be fined.

EU-citizen residence card (employed/self-employed person)

This is optional: Making application for a residence permit (titre/carte de séjour) is allowed but is not obligatory. The card issued is valid for up to five years.

Application may be made at the Préfecture, Sous-préfecture, Mairie or local police station, the location varies depending on the region (enquire from the Préfecture); there is no charge.

Documents required:

  • National ID document or valid passport
  • Proof of employment (statement from the employer), or proof of registered self-employment

EU-national's EU family members

Family members are: the spouse, children under 21 years and parents, only if they are dependent. This applies, regardless of the nationality of the family members.

Children and parents of EU citizens who are themselves EU-nationals and settling in France must also have valid ID (or children must appear on a parent's passport). Each family member should be registered with the Mairie within three months of arrival. There is no legal requirement to apply for or carry a residence permit.

  • Service-Public.fr has more information (in French)

EU-national's family members who are not EU-nationals

The non-EU spouse and children under 21 of an EU citizen in France are entitled to live and work in the country but require a residence permit (Carte de Séjour). These rights extended to dependent parents too, but the requirements to demonstrate dependency are complex (seek information from the French Embassy before departure).

Application for residency must be made at the Préfecture, within three months of entry in to France. A receipt (récépissé) is issued on application and a residency permit (membre de la famille d'un citoyen de l'Union) is sent within six months of application. The permit is valid for up to five years; it must be renewed at least two months before the expiry date. It is issued at no cost.

Documents required (originals and at least 2 copies) for the application are:

  • Documents allowing entry into France (passport and visa)
  • Document proving the family relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificates)
  • Proof of EU family member's employment, proof of own employment or proof of financial resources and health insurance
  • Three identity photographs

The following may be required:

  • Details of parents, and mother's maiden name will be requested; have the information at the ready
  • The EU family member's passport (and photocopies)
  • Translations of birth and marriage certificates not in French
  • Two stamped, self-addressed envelopes are sometimes, but not always, required