This post is part of a series called Q&A Tuesday: French Visas. Our resident expert is Laurence Raybois from Americans Moving to France and Rural France Resources. We want to hear from you! Send me your questions or put them in the comments below. We'll try to get your question answered in an upcoming post.
This month's question:
I read that we can obtain a long-term visa if we have “sufficient funds to live off during your stay.” My question is - what does that actually mean? How much money do we need to have in the bank? We are a family of four and would like to stay for one year.
When applying for a French visa, the notion of “sufficient funds” has some flexibility built into it. In the case of a visitor’s visa, which does not allow its recipient to work in France, the official amount of resources required is currently at 1, 138.17 Euros per person per month for the duration of the visa. Meeting this criterion can be done in a number of ways, including by showing money in the bank, investment or retirement income, or employment in the case of a person who will continue to work from a distance with a US employer.
However, other criteria will come into play. A person who owns a home in France or will be benefitting from another source of free or inexpensive housing will be given more flexibility, and so will a person moving to an inexpensive part of France. Financially speaking, as in many other ways, living in a rural area of Auvergne will be vastly different from living in Paris and will be taken into account. Also, steadiness of income over a long period of time is highly valued, and a history of peaks and valleys in your income will work against you.
On a related note, I occasionally run into people with considerable income or assets who, upon being asked to document their ability to support themselves, are tempted to show it all. I always discourage them from doing so, since wealth is still taboo in French society. Show what you need to show for the purpose of your visa but no more, unless of course you are being specifically asked for it.
Laurence Raybois Consulting © 2015