Moving to France: How to obtain a French Long Term Stay Visa

The practical guide to French immigration and long term resident success
Want to move to France but need help figuring out the steps and the paperwork? Learn from someone who has done it successfully!

Moving to France requires simple yet careful planning

While the language of bureaucracy may be universal worldwide (“we exist to make your lives more difficult”), the French version has its own particular character, and not just because it’s in a different language than English. If you understand the character of French bureaucracy, not only will it make the planning process simpler, but you’ll be calmer when it comes time for your in-person appointments.

Many have not lived outside their home countries before. As such, they have not been used to the process of obtaining a visa which gives non-citizens the chance to live in other countries. Why go through that process by yourself when you can lean on the expertise of someone else who has been through the process before?

Unfortunately, the French government does not provide a lot of helpful information in English about how to obtain a visa, or more importantly, what to do when you arrive. Soon enough, a year will pass and it will be time for renewal, and unsurprisingly, the list of things necessary for a renewal are not the same that are necessary for obtaining the visa in the first place.

You can try to figure this out on your own, by a combination of watching YouTube videos, reading articles, or asking friends of friends. And you might get everything right!

Or you can go through a course put together by someone who has gone through the journey before you, obtained multiple visas (not just for France but for other countries as well), and has answered hundreds of questions from those going through the process after him.

If you do, you’ll bring a new attitude of confidence and calm to your immigration process that just might make the process a bit more fun instead of the torture that it can be to so many people.

Learn how to successfully emigrate to France!

What you get...

Everything you need to know (and none of what you don't) to feel confident about the steps necessary to move to France and be able to stay long term. There are many one-off articles or videos about experiences in getting a French long-stay visitor visa. This is one of the only courses you can find on the internet about the full processes of obtaining one, step-by-step.

How to Prepare: Understanding how to move to France and actually figuring out the logistics are two different things. We'll cover both and you'll be provided with preparation steps for leaving your home country that may not have even occurred to you.

    • How to Arrive: That's easy... You just jump on a plane and fly to France, right? No so fast! Learn the nuanced differences between general EU entry and French-specific entry to set yourself up for future success instead of additional headaches.
    • When You Arrive: There are a number of things that you need to do in a timely manner when you arrive in France. Learn what they are so you can knock them out easily and calmly.
    • Renewal: Getting a visa is actually the easiest part of the process, so it doesn’t mean a renewal is a slam-dunk. Learn what you need to successfully renew your visa each time.
    • Tips and Tricks: While people often look at what’s “on the list” for their immigration appointments, just as important is what’s “not on the list.” Learn what that means and how to use it to your advantage.
    • Lessons Learned: Want advice on what not to do? I’ve got that for you, based not only on my own experiences, but also those of the people I have helped over many years of answering questions about French immigration.

Who this course targets...

This course is perfect for you if:

  • You’ve never obtained any visa of any kind before, for any country
  • You’ve never lived in France or had any visa status there
  • You feel a cold chill down your spine when you think about filling out paperwork
  • You don’t love figuring out governmental processes
  • You want to move to France but have no idea where to start
  • You’ve done some research on what to do, but have holes in your information
  • You have learned how to obtain a visa, but have no idea what to do when you arrive, or how to successfully renew it

Testimonials about the course

"I've been dealing with European bureaucracy for 3 years... nobody has been able to explain things with clarity and competency like Stephen. It sure beats the YouTubers who make "informational" videos where they throw up their hands and say "I don't know why you gotta do it, but it's France!" Many Americans (and other foreigners living in France) really truly struggle with the bureaucratic system in place here, the understanding and the background knowledge that this course provides should help alleviate some of the natural anxieties that come with immigrating to a new country."
Natasha Swinney
"This course was AMAZINGLY informative. I have been researching this subject and Mr. Heiner's course confirmed, and more importantly, added a lot of information I was not able to find anywhere else. He is very engaging to watch and listen to and I appreciate his closing sentiment.... set a date and do something!"
Kathleen Ozga
"Stephen is brilliant and generous, two qualities that make his understanding and knowledge both comprehensive and complete. He's been the best resource we have found in moving to France and deciding we want to stay. We missed deadlines on a few things out of sheer ignorance and wish we had come across his course and blog earlier to have avoided that - but c'est la vie. He is now our 'go to guy' as we become more and more committed to staying in France and loving our life here. This course is a fast track to sorting out what's what in the French system. Thank you Stephen!"
Laura Courtney

What you will learn

This course is a guide to the mindset of the French bureaucracy and precisely what you need in order to navigate it, not just from afar as you obtain a visa from your home country to come to France, but what to do when you arrive and the boxes you need to check off in the following 12 months so that you can successfully renew your visa.

    • Work restrictions, taxes, and budgeting considerations
    • Critical documents needed and steps for your visa application
    • How to determine your emigration and immigration timeline
    • What they don't tell you: documents, processes, and other important information
    • Critical documents needed for your renewal
    • Options for staying long-term
  • ...and much more!

Course Curriculum

Click on any section below to expand it and see your preview options.

Meet the course creators

Stephen L. M. Heiner

Writer, Entrepreneur, and Coach

Stephen has been teaching, in one form or another, for over 20 years.  He had a teaching internship right out of high school, went on to become a teacher at every level from grade school to grad school, and even built a tutoring company over a decade which he then sold before moving to Paris to begin a new stage in his life.

Dan Fox

Project Manager, Entrepreneur, and Content Creator

Dan lives outside Seattle and has spent much of his professional life in roles focused on project management, operations, systems analysis, and change management. He recently transitioned out of a career in which he consulted for the U.S. Federal government and has been focusing his efforts on more creative pursuits, including photography, videography, and entrepreneurship. 

Stop Your Searching

When I went through this process many years ago I had to cobble together what I could from many different sources. I was nervous every step of the way and was always worried I would not get my visa. When I did get it I told everyone I was only going for a year because I didn’t know how to renew a visa and was worried that I would mess it up. Part of my motivation in building this course was to put all that to rest. Once you hear what I wish I knew, you’ll have what I wish I had when I was going through this process: confidence and calm. That transforms this process from anxiety-inducing to what it should be: fun and adventurous.

COVID-19 Changed the Game

While many people were stuck where they were because of their passports, those with long-term visitor visas were free to leave, precisely because they had residency status. Now this didn’t mean that it was easy to find flights or that people necessarily wanted to go traveling, but it meant that visitor visa holders had an entire basket of options not available to those who only held a passport and no other residencies.

Test Drive France

Perhaps you don’t know yet if you want to spend the rest of your life in France, or even obtain citizenship. Visitor status is perfect in this scenario. You can leave at any time without having to do any wind-down paperwork and it’s one of the easiest visas to obtain and renew. Just by taking this course and moving forward with an application you’ve already moved into the elite few who are willing to act on their dreams, not just have them.

Moving to France: How to obtain a French Long Term Stay Visa

The practical guide to French immigration and long term resident success

  • 1 hour 38 minutes of on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on computer, mobile, and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Access to dedicated student community



I can guarantee that you will have all the information you need to successfully navigate what’s necessary to obtain a visitor visa. Requirements change now and then, but the mindset necessary to get this visa is constant, and I give it to you in this course.

Two reasons - the list changes year to year, and more importantly, you will be given a checklist when you put in your application. What’s more important is to know what each of those items relates to (proving residency, proving integration into life in France, etc.) and I cover those in the course.

Unfortunately, no. A visitor remains just that, a visitor. You are eligible to get a 10-year card after four successful renewals, but there are some other hurdles you have to overcome to get that, including passing a language test. If you are interested in a citizenship path, one way is to start your own small business. Learn more in my course focused on obtaining the Profession Libérale visa.

Well, there is some information in French, if you want to check it out. Ultimately; however, the French mindset is that if you want to come to this country, you will do what it takes to come. “Zat is not my job” is a phrase you will need to understand in order to successfully emigrate to and live in France.

Stephen L. M. Heiner, Writer, Entrepreneur, and Coach
"Moving to France has been one of the best decisions of my life. It was also one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I’m excited to have the opportunity to give to others what I never had going through this process: a helping hand from someone who had done it before me."

Stephen L. M. Heiner
Writer, Entrepreneur, and Coach