Immigration in France

Pioneering Dreams – The Story of Immigration in France

Americans have many jokes about living in Europe; but let’s be real, it’s next to impossible to not be tempted by living in France. The Eiffel, the lovers’ bridge, the open-air cafes, fresh croissants, and superior French cuisine; it sounds like paradise on earth.

Are you one of those who have been successfully tempted? Well, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will take you on a journey through immigration to France and how it works; we will provide you with all the information that you need to make an informed decision.

The History of Immigration in France

France has always been welcoming to immigrants from across the world. As of 2021, available data shows that immigrants make up as much as 10% of the country’s population; compared to 6.5% in 1968. This number seems like not a lot until you realize that most other European countries are way more homogenous. Poland, for example, only has a 5% immigrant population.

The immigrant population in France began to particularly rise in the aftermath of the Second World War, as the French actively sought immigrants to address labor shortages. Since then, the country has continued to take in more immigrants from around the world, most notably refugees from war-torn areas in the Middle East and Africa. This has helped add a unique blend of cultures, languages, and traditions to French society.

American Immigration into France

The governments of the United States and France have had a few spats here and there, but overall have remained staunch allies. As a matter of fact, there is a 225-ton Copper statue standing in New York as a testament to the eternal friendship between the people of both countries. And as a result of this relationship, there has been a steady flow of immigrants both ways. 

Initially starting as an obsession among artists like Ernest Hemingway with France’s vibrant arts and culture scene, the community of Americans in France is now quite diverse. It features international students, retirees seeking to live the rest of their lives in the countryside, expatriates, entrepreneurs, and even so-called digital nomads.

As one would expect, entry into France is visa-free for holders of the American passport, for only up to 90 days within a 6-month period. However, after that period, if you plan on permanently immigrating to France, or generally just staying a little longer, you would need to apply for a long-stay visa, which can then be converted into a resident permit.

Unfortunately, however, this visa-free entry is expected to come to an end in 2025, when new rules regarding the use of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) go into effect.

What You Need To Obtain a Residence Permit in France

As we already explained, entry into France is visa-free for American passport holders. However, if you plan on staying for longer than 90 days, or you want to permanently immigrate to the land of Cheeses, you would need to obtain residence permit in France.

This first starts with obtaining a visa. The country offers a wide range of visas and permits to cater to varying needs. As an American expatriate, consider exploring the talent visa; a class of visas that targets skilled professionals with specific skill sets.

Most of what you would be required to provide are listed below:

Proof of Financial Stability

The French authorities need to be sure that you have the resources to support yourself while in France. Typically, all that you would have to show is that you earn higher than the French minimum wage and that you can pay taxes in France.

Health Insurance Coverage

And then, of course, you would have to show that you have some sort of health insurance, which needs little explanation.

A Clean Criminal Record

Of course, no country is too keen on importing criminals and felons into its population. With criminals, it’s always the lesser, the better. So, yeah, France would want to see, if they do grant you a permit to reside in their country, you would not constitute too much of a headache for good old Detective Benoit Blanc.

Benefits and Challenges of Immigrating to France

Now, let’s discuss the pros and cons of moving to France.


The Atmosphere is Relaxing

No one can deny that the United States is a country of hustle and bustle; it’s part of its identity and one of the key reasons why it’s so great. However, sometimes, you just want to get out from all of that and kick it back a little bit to enjoy gourmet cuisine and great wine.

Outstanding Healthcare and Education Systems

Depending on who you ask, France may not necessarily be better than the United States in these departments, but they offer a quality of service that is enough and first-world quality. Plus, as an American, you would most likely be surprised about how little these services cost in France, compared to back home.


The Bureaucracy

Well, when is having to deal with government bureaucracy and having to fill so many forms and clear so many hurdles never just a huge pain in the behind? Especially when it comes to immigration, French bureaucracy can be such a spectacular issue to have to deal with. But you know what they say? You gotta do what you gotta do.

The Language Difference

The predominant language in France is French, which can be something to grapple with for newcomers. Not only do you have to learn to fulfill everyday conversations, but it is also a mandatory requisite for obtaining French citizenship.


With every passing day, the allure of France for prospective immigrants continues to improve. The French government, looking to take advantage of this, is making concerted efforts to bring in skilled workers, innovators, and wealthy investors who have what it takes to contribute significantly to France’s economy. The politics of it are always subject to change, but it is clear that for at least the next decade, France will continue to need these high-value immigrants from the United States and everywhere else.