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Moving to Paris

Paris is famous for its wealth of culture and romance, as well as being one of the top European Cities of the Future! The InterNations guide on moving to the famous “City of Lights” helps you learn more about visa requirements and finding your dream apartment.
The glass pyramid of the Louvre is one of the city's landmarks.

During the Industrial Revolution, an unprecedented number of migrants from rural France relocated to Paris. The trend has continued, and these days, the majority of all immigrants who come to France move to Paris, making it one of the most multicultural cities in Europe. The annual number of people settling in the city remains high despite the high cost of living and the difficulties in finding accommodation.

Unless you are lucky enough to get help from your company, be prepared to spend a lot of time or money (or both!) on finding a place to live when first moving to the city. We’ll provide some useful advice on renting and buying property there, but first things first: the next paragraphs should give you a clear idea of the administrative issues you need to sort out before your move.

Visa Requirements: Do You Need One?

Nationals of EU/EEA member states, including Switzerland, do not need to apply for a visa before moving to Paris. They can travel, live, and work in France without any restrictions. Everyone else needs a valid visa when they move, although there are a few exceptions for nationals of selected countries who are staying for fewer than 90 days. Depending on the type of visa, applications can take two months or more to be processed. Leave plenty of time between submitting your application and departing for Paris.

Visa applications are accepted at all French embassies or consulates abroad. They should also be able to provide you with country-specific information on the application process and other bureaucratic matters to consider before moving to Paris. You can search for your nearest French embassy or consulate on the website of the Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et Européennes. The page France Diplomatie also provides information in Arabic, Chinese, English, German, Japanese, and Spanish, with detailed description of visa options in some of these languages.

Non-EU National? Short-Term and Long-Term Visas

There are short-stay visas and long-stay visas for non-EU nationals planning to move to Paris. If your intended period of stay does not exceed three months, you need to apply for a so-called Schengen visa before moving to Paris. This visa de court séjour is valid for travel in all Schengen countries. You need to provide a valid passport and certain documents — for the most up-to-date information, visit your local French diplomatic website or the official European Commission guide.

A long-term stay necessitates a visa de long séjour. The type of long-stay visa required depends on your reason for moving to Paris. Expats coming to Paris on a work assignment or in order to take up employment need a work permit before they can be granted a visa. This permit is usually obtained by the employer on behalf of the applicant.

It is illegal to move to Paris on a Schengen visa, start a job, and then apply for a long-stay visa. A police check-up might be required before you relocate, and you may have to undergo a routine medical examination soon after moving to the city.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Rajat Bhatnagar

"As a new arrival in Paris, InterNations provided me with the chance to get in touch with other Indians and get used to life in Europe faster. "

Samantha Greene

"Meeting people from so many different countries in a convivial atmosphere is what I like best about our expat events in Paris. "

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