Immigration to France

Introducing France: France can be described as one of the biggest European countries with rich cultural heritage and respect for human rights. Statistics show us that the population of France is currently estimated at around 65.3 million people. The biggest ethnic group is French. France also hosts many immigrants from Spain and Italy. There are also many immigrants from Algeria and Morocco, in addition to the other former french colonies in north Africa. The official language is French.

The Official currency is the Euro (EUR). France is a core member state of the European Union and the Schengen area, which provides many benefits for its residents.

Immigration services

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( is responsible for immigration services in France.

It may be quite difficult to obtain a residence permit in France, due to the strict immigration policies, in contrast with other European countries, such as Latvia. The Residence permit in France is called the carte de séjour.

If you are a non-EU citizen, in order to stay in France for more than 3 months, you need a temporary residence permit, skills and talents residence card, resident card or retired residence permit.

Here are three companies, offering immigration services in France:

  • E-mail:

Lawful Immigration

In order to visit France legally, immigrants need to follow all the requirements provided within French law. The main law, which regulates immigration of non-EU citizens in France, is the Code of Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum in France. There are several options, depending on the purpose of your visit.

Immigration law

The Code of Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum in France is the main legal regulation for immigrants from non-EU states in France.
Code of/on Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum in France -
Ministry of the Foreign Affairs -

Immigration Statistics

According to immigration statistics, the majority of immigrants that move to France come from other European Union countries (45%) or from north-western African (Maghreb) countries (30%). For the last few decades the flow of immigrants has increased, causing serious discussions in government. As a result, immigration policy was made stricter.

According to immigration statistics provided by the Institut national d'études démographiques, in year 1999, almost a quarter (25%) of population of France were defined as either being immigrants or having immigrant ancestors. For the last decade this number grew dramatically.

Most popular cities by population

The most popular city for immigrants is Paris. It is also the biggest city in France. Its cultural heritage, museums, art galleries and other landmarks are just astonishing! The other two big cities by population are Lyon and Marseille.

Tourists mostly visit Paris. If you will ever be in Paris, be sure to check out the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.

Migration in and out of Schengen area

French Republic is a member state of the Schengen area. Countries of the Schengen Agreement have abolished passport and immigration control at their common borders and for travel between their member states. Member countries also recognize Schengen visas issued by other Schengen states. On the outer border, or upon first entry to the Schengen area, normal immigration control procedures apply, however admission to any Schengen country is considered admission to the whole Schengen area (all member countries), with no further immigration checks needed.

Third-country nationals holding a residence permit or residence card may stay in France in excess of 90 days. Due to the strict immigration policies, it may sometimes be quite hard to obtain a residence document. A list of documents and grounds for requesting a residence permit or card can be found on the web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Residence permit

Currently there are four possible types of residence permit for non-EU citizens in the French Republic:

  • Temporary residence permit – usually valid for up to one year,
  • Skills and talents residence card – valid for three years and also renewable,
  • Resident card – valid for 10 years and conditionally renewable on a permanent basis,
  • Retired residence permit – valid for 10 years and renewable.

It is worth noting that, under the new immigration law intended to attract immigrants with special skills or education, the procedure has recently been simplified for certain categories including:

  • Executives working for multinationals with gross monthly earnings of at least EUR 5,000
  • Scientists
  • Those working in the entertainment industry
  • Seasonal workers
  • Regulated professions (healthcare professionals, architects, lawyers, teachers, etc)


History demonstrates, that ever since the 19th century France has been a country of immigration. After the decline of colonialism in the beginning of 20th century, France was one of the most popular countries amongst immigrants from African countries.

France experienced high rates of immigration before World War II. Many people were running from persecution in Nazi Germany or Soviet Countries. At this time, France was the only country, which allowed legal mass immigration.

After World War II, France experienced dramatic growth of it's economy and industry, which was a pull factor which attracted many new immigrants to join it's labor force.

Today, the proportion of immigrants in France is not that large. However, some areas have a higher immigrant population than others. For example, in the region known as the Greater Paris, almost 45% of the population – are immigrants.