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Information for incoming foreign scientists. © INRA

Information for incoming foreign scientists

Formalities before your arrival in France

If you are a foreign researcher coming from abroad to work or study at INRA, this section will give you useful information to prepare your stay, to explain what you need to know before arriving in France.

Updated on 11/07/2017

If you are a European Union citizen or coming from the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can travel, live and work in France for an unlimited period of time, on the condition of holding a valid passport or an ID card.

If you are a non-European citizen, you must apply for a visa at the French Consulate of your home country. The length and the purpose of your stay will determine the type of visa you will apply for:

  • A stay less or equal to 90 days requires a short term visa (C visa) commonly known as a "Schengen Visa"
  • For a stay longer than 90 days: the French Consulate of your home country will provide a VLS-TS “Visa de Long Séjour valant Titre de Séjour” (Long Term Visa approved as a residence permit) valid for one year.

VLS-TS is the most common visa for students and scientists. With this type of visa, you don’t need to apply for a residence permit at the Préfecture but must go through compulsory administrative procedures with the Immigration Services (or OFII for French Office for Immigration and Integration) within 2 months of your arrival.

More information in French >

  • You can stay in France for a maximum of 90 days if you hold a passport from one of the countries listed here >
  • If you need to extend your stay you have to apply for a long stay visa at the French Consulate. Of course, these procedures must be taken care of before your arrival on French territory.
  • If you are a scientist you must follow the scientific procedure:
    • If you have a degree at least equivalent to a Master 2 you can apply for the Scientific/Researcher visa (“visa scientifique chercheur”) at the French Consulate of your home country. In order to do so, you must bring the hosting agreement (“convention d’accueil”) signed by our Institute. The Scientific/Researcher visa allows you to stay and work in France for a maximum of 90 days.

For a longer stay, you will have to apply for a residence permit.

If you plan to come to France with your family, you need to get a family residence permit (“titre de séjour vie privée et familiale”) altogether with your own application. This specific permit allows your spouse to also work in France. Please get in touch with the French Consulate, also, for your children’s arrival in France.

List of requested documents for foreign scientists

  • Valid passport or ID card
  • Birth certificate (translated by a sworn translator indicating family names and parents’ names dated less than 3 months before the arrival)
  • Translated marriage certificate
  • Family register (translated by a sworn translator)
  • Identity photos (size 3,5 x 4,5 cm)
  • Health record book, vaccination card or equivalent
  • For non-European scientists and PhD students: the original hosting agreement signed by our Institute
  • Diploma certificates (translated by a sworn translator: original and copy)
  • Social insurance certificate of Health insurance or European Health insurance card if you are a EU citizen.

See the list of certified translators in France.

Unless your country is subject to an exemption, all birth, marriage, degree certificates must be legalized or bear an “apostille” in order to prove the authenticity of your documents. For more information >

Do not hesitate to get in touch with the French Consulate for more information regarding the “apostille”.

Income tax

Before your arrival in France you need to contact your local tax administration. Do check if your tax situation is going to change during your stay. If your stay in France lasts more than 6 months, you have to declare your income to the French tax administration.

  • You will need proof of income by your tax authorities for the previous 2 year period.
  • You will be requested to provide any certificate regarding your income tax and/or certifying you are not subject to taxes.

Some countries have signed a tax agreement with France so it is important to check if there is a specific rule regarding tax exemption for scientists who come to France. Check here if your country has set up an agreement with France.

If a tax exemption is mentioned in the tax agreement, you must fill in the form « Cerfa 2042 » along with a certificate indicating that you are a researcher, a copy of your residence permit and a copy of the tax agreement. Nowadays, the procedure is mostly done through internet.

For more information about the French tax system >