Post Study Options: 15 Ways to Stay in France After Your Studies

Post Study Options: 15 Ways to Stay in France After Your Studies

France post study options - 15 french post study work visa options

France is an appealing destination for students worldwide due to the diverse culture, gastronomy, architecture and language. Aside from getting top of the line education, fluency in the French language is a great boost to your employment potential.  

France is home to prominent international corporations like Airbus, Total, Orange, LVMH, L’Oréal, and Sanofi.

You’ve probably already visited this Schengen country. A chance to live and work in France is one of the topmost reasons international students decide to stay after completing their studies. As a foreign student, it is important to know what your visa options are to legally stay in the country before your student residence permit runs out.

France is a member of the European Union (EU) thus your visa options depending on your nationality. For EU nationals and citizens of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, no visa is required to stay in France.  For visiting France, you will need a national or a French Schengen visa.

If you wish to exercise a professional activity, then you can apply for a residence permit. Please note that the United Kingdom has left the EU but the European law still applies to British nationals until December 31, 2020. Algerians can work in France but must apply for a residence permit and depending on the situation, can be granted a one-year residence certificate as long as the conditions are met. 

Job Search or Business Creation Residence Permit

In 2019, the French government updated the law regarding post study options for international students but still quite similar to the previous policy under APS.  This is a temporary residence permit for international graduates to stay in France for an additional 12 months to look for a job or start a company. This permit is non-renewable however countries with bilateral agreements relating to professional mobility with France has the privilege to extend the permit for another year. Some of the countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gabon, India, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mauritius, Montenegro, Senegal, Serbia and Tunisia. See a full list of countries with an agreement with the French government in their official website.

france post study options

With this permit, you can work part time whilst looking for a long-term job related to your studies or prepare for the start of your own business. Your part time job should not exceed the allowed 964 hours or 20 hours per week. 

Students who have completed their post-graduation or higher degrees from a French institute are eligible to apply. 

You should note that short-term courses with a duration of six months or less are not allowed to stay in France after the course is completed. You need to go back to your home country to apply for a work permit. 

Students eligible for the permit:

  • have a professional Bachelor’s degree
  • have a Master’s level degree or equivalent such as an Engineering degree, a degree from an Institute of political studies (IEP), a higher accounting and management degree, a veterinary degree, doctor of medicine, dental surgery etc.
  • have a Specialised Master’s
  • have a Master of Science certified by the Conference des Grandes Ecoles
  • wish to start their own company

Based on the new law, you would have to apply for the job search permit the year you got your diploma.

It takes a month to process the application so you should apply for this permit a good 2-3 months before your current residency expires as the validity of your permit is part of the requirements. If you encounter trouble with the validity of your residence permit while applying then submit a request to the local prefecture for Recepisse de prolongation de droit au séjour en qualité d’étudiant”, a temporary residence document that extends your residence as a student.

One key change in this new law is that it also gives the possibility for students who have graduated (with a recognized diploma) and have left France to apply for this permit within a maximum of four years from obtaining the diploma in France.

To apply for the permit, you should prepare the following documents

  • passport
  • valid residence permit or proof that you had the student residence permit when you obtained your diploma if left France after graduation
  • birth certificate
  • housing certificate (issued less than 3 months)
  • health insurance
  • certificate of diplomas or certificate of completion
  • passport photos
  • business plan (if you are starting a business)

Once you have signed a job contract or your new business has been officially authorized, then you can switch to a different residence permit.

Temporary Residence Permit – France Post Study Options

The French government will grant a residence permit according to your salary and job contract validity or your situation if you are creating your own business. French companies offer two types of contract, permanent (CDI) or fixed-term (CDD).

Working as a salaried employee

Residence Permit for Employee (CDI)

A temporary residence permit is valid for a year and is renewable. You should start the renewal process 2-3 months before the expiry of your residence permit. Upon renewal and you still have a job, you may be eligible for a multi-year residence permit valid for four years. In the event that you become unemployed within the year, if you are compensated by Pôle emploi, you can benefit from a new temporary employee residence permit valid for a year. If at the end of this period you have not found a job, you will receive a new temporary employee residence permit valid for a period equal to your rights to unemployment insurance. Your monthly salary should at least be €2,309.13.

Residence Permit for Temporary Worker (CDD)

A temporary residence permit depends on your contract validity and it is renewable. The maximum validity of the permit is one year so if your contract is good for two years then you can renew your residence permit for another year. You must submit the renewal application before the current permit expires. At the end of the contract, you may seek a new job or get a new contract with the current company and hopefully, you will be granted a permanent job contract. Your gross monthly salary should at least be €2,309.13.

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Talent Passports

The talent passport is a residence permit for persons who can make a significant contribution through their skills and talents to the French economy.

Applicants may bring their spouse and minor children with them.

Multi-year Residence Permit – Talent Passport: Artistic and Cultural Profession

You must apply for a card if the intended length of stay is at least 1 year. The card is valid for the duration of activity in France or for a period identical to that of the employment contract, up to a maximum of 4 years. Your gross monthly salary should at least be €2,309.13.

You can obtain a talent passport – artistic and cultural profession residence permit if you are:

  • performer
  • or author of literary or artistic work.

With this permit, you can bring your spouse and minor child to live in France.

Multi-year Residence Permit – Talent Passport: Qualified Employee

You have an employment contract of more than 3 months which provides for an annual gross remuneration greater than or equal to € 36,946.00. The permit is valid for a period identical to that of the employment contract up to a maximum period of 4 years and can be renewed.

With this permit, you can bring your spouse and child under 18 to live in France.

Multi-year Residence Permit – Talent Passport: Innovative Company

The permit is valid for a period identical to that of the employment contract up to a maximum period of 4 years. It gives the right to exercise any professional activity and you can bring your spouse and minor child to live in France.

To qualify for this permit, you should meet the following conditions:

  • recruited into a young innovative company or a company recognized as innovative by the Ministry of the Economy
  • have a direct link with the research and development project of this company
  • an employment contract which provides for gross annual remuneration greater than or equal to  €36,946.00

Multi-year Residence Permit – Talent Passport: Highly Skilled

You should have a minimum of one-year employment contract with gross annual compensation of at least €53,836.50. The permit is valid for a period identical to that of the employment contract up to a maximum period of 4 years. It gives the right to exercise any professional activity and you can bring your spouse and minor child to live in France.

Multi-year Residence Permit – Talent Passport: European Blue Card

You have an employment contract of more than 3 months which provides for an annual gross remuneration greater than or equal to €53,836.50. The permit is valid for a period between one and four years and it is renewable as long as you meet the conditions (salary and job contract). With this permit, you can get an EU long-term residence permit after five years of uninterrupted stay in the EU, provided you have resided continuously in France for the last two years. You may also bring your family with you.

During the required five years of continuous residence, a maximum absence of 12 consecutive months and 18 months in total is allowed.

Creating your own company

Residence Permit for Temporary Entrepreneur/Liberal Profession Residence Permit

This permit is granted to foreign nationals who wish to exercise a commercial, industrial, craft or other self-employed professions on French territory for more than 3 months. Under this french post study options, you are authorized to initiate the business once you get a favorable response to your application.

To apply, you must prove meet the following conditions:

  • an economically viable activity or, if it integrates an existing company, its capacity to pay it sufficient remuneration (at least equal to the minimum wage),
  • an activity compatible with safety, health and public tranquility,
  • compliance with the obligations of this profession (conditions of diplomas or professional experience)
  • of the lack of conviction or exercise ban

Multi-year Talent Passport: Business Creation

You must apply for this permit if the intended length of stay is at least 1 year with an investment of at least €30,000.

This will allow you to exercise a commercial activity if you meet the following conditions:

  • You have a diploma at least equivalent to a master’s or 5 years of professional experience of a comparable level
  • You justify a real and serious business creation project (commercial, craft or industrial) in France

Multi-year Talent Passport: Economic Investment

There are two ways to make a direct economic investment in France

         Investment via a Company

         You must meet all of the following conditions:

  • invest through a company that you personally manage or in which you hold at least 30% of the capital
  • plan to create or save employment within 4 years of investing in France
  • the investment in tangible or intangible fixed assets must represent at least €300,000

         Personal investment

         You must meet all of the following conditions:

  • invest personally in a company in which you acquire a lasting interest (at least 10% of the capital)
  • plan to create or save employment within 4 years of investing in France
  • the investment in tangible or intangible fixed assets must represent at least €300,000

Long-term Resident Permit – EU Resident Card

If you have legally and uninterruptedly resided in France for at least 5 years or are the holder of a European Blue Card, you will be eligible for this permit. This card allows you to stay in other European Union (EU) countries and is valid for 10 years and renewable. You will be allowed to work in France and stay in other EU member countries without long-stay visa.      

Once granted, it will be valid for 10 years and renewable however the permit will no longer be valid if you leave France for a period of 6 consecutive years.

Permanent Resident Card

If you have an expiring Long-Term Resident Card, you can apply for its renewal or apply for a Permanent Resident Card. This card gives you the right to unconditional and permanent residence in France (unless there is a threat to public order) and allows you to work. The validity period of the permanent resident card is 10 years and can be renewed without conditions.

Naturalised Citizenship

This is the final step in your post study options. It allows you to continue living in France long-term. You may be eligible to apply for French citizenship after five years of living in France. As a French citizen, you also become a citizen of the European Union (EU) and would enjoy the freedom of movement throughout EU member states and have the right to vote. You also have an option for dual nationality as long as your country of origin allows this.

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