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Non-EU citizens who want to stay in France for a period exceed 3 months

Non-EU citizens who want to stay in France for a period exceed 3 months must apply a long-stay visa and after a resident permit.

To apply for a long-stay visa, you must:
- hold a passport valid for the full duration of validity of the visa;
- complete and sign a long-stay visa application form;
- enclose with the form identity photographs to official standards.
The number of photographs required depends on the consular office where you apply, your nationality and the reason for your stay in France;
- pay an application fee;
- submit supporting documents relating to the reason for your stay in France and your personal situation.

Unlike visas, residence permits are only issued in France.
You can apply a residence permit in person at your local préfecture de Police, at sous-préfecture in at the services des étrangers (foreigners office) or at your local town hall office (mairie), if the prefecture is not close to your place of residence.

To obtain your residency permit, you must submit many documents which depend on what kind of residence permit you are going to ask for.
The principal documents are:
- original and photocopy of your passport with a valid long-stay visa;
- birth certificate;
- original and photocopy of proof of residence (statement of domicile, electricity bill or rent receipt) ;
- medical certificate issued by OMI (office des migrations internationales) or by an institution/doctor approved by OMI or a French Embassy;
- medical insurance;
- three passport-size photographs.

Additional documents are:
- employees must present a certificate of employment and latest payment slips;
- self-employed people must provide proof of their status;
- retired and unemployed people must provide proof they have adequate financial resources to live in France;
- students must also provide proof they have adequate financial resources as well as proof of enrolment in an educational institution recognized by the French Ministry of Education.

If a document is not in French, you should supply a certified translation into French, which should be produced by an official translator accredited by the French Embassy in your country.

On submitting all documents, you will receive a receipt acknowledging like an application for a residence permit. This acts as the document legalizing your temporary stay in France until you get your permit (or not). The process can during from a week to a few months.

A residence permit usually also gives the right to residency for your spouse and children (when minors).
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