Non-EU Expats May Be Granted Longer Stays in France

Immigration authorities in France are currently considering making amendments to the visa rules that are applied to non-EU expatriates.

At present, people from outside European Union countries can apply for a visa that permits them to remain in France for a maximum period of three years; however, the majority of people who are granted visas are required to renew their permits on an annual basis. Now, in a move that is aimed at cutting down bureaucracy, the French government is contemplating introducing four-year visas for non-EU residents. If the plans proceed, the new visas may become active as early as summer this year.

Discussing the French authority’s plans, Socialist deputy Matthias Fekl told AFP: “Today, only two per cent of temporary visas given to non-European foreigners are for more than one year. Everyone else has to keep going back to local authorities to get their visas renewed.”

Fekl, who is championing the changes to the visa system, revealed this week that the immigration authorities in France receive 40,000 requests per year for annual visa renewals. He believes that France will become a more attractive expat destination if the visa system is simplified and expatriates can be given peace of mind that their stay in the country will exceed one year.

The proposed changes to the non-EU visas are part of a wider immigration report that will be reviewed by French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and other relevant officials at a forthcoming cabinet meeting.