How Do I Get an EU Blue Card to Work in France?
If you are from a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), and you are considering moving to France for the purposes of work, you have much to look forward to. With an enviable transport system, fantastic cuisine, a high quality of living, world-class art and culture, and a growing economy, France has a great deal to offer. As a non-EEA national, one of the considerations you will need to take into account before embarking on your journey to France is which immigration route to use. The EU’s ‘Blue Card’ scheme is one such immigration route which is designed to enable those with higher-level qualifications to live and work in a European country. In this article, we will discuss how a non-EEA national can apply for an EU Blue Card in France, including the documents which will need to be provided.
What is the EU Blue Card Scheme?
The EU Blue Card permit essentially provides highly-qualified workers from outside of the EEA the right to live and work in an EU country. The scheme is currently available in 25 of the 27 EU nations, namely, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. The only EU nations which do not back the scheme currently are Denmark and Ireland.
Applicants must have:
- a university degree or higher - most courses of this type will be of three or more full-time years in duration
- an offer of employment with a salary and an employment contract which must be valid for one year or more
- a salary which exceeds the average in the EU country (at least 1.5 times the average gross reference salary) – this is 53,836.50 EUR gross per year in France
- suitable health insurance
As an alternative, in some regions, you may be able to apply for an EU Blue Card if you have at least five years of work experience in your profession.
EU Blue Card holders in France can leave and re-enter without restriction for the duration of their permit, and can bring close family members with them.
How Do I Apply for an EU Blue Card?
When applying for an EU Blue Card in France, you need both a visa and a residence permit. A visa will give you permission to enter France under the EU Blue Card scheme, and your residence permit will allow you to live and work in France for a fixed duration.
If you are in a non-EEA country, you will need to apply for a “passport talent” residence permit and a visa de long séjour (long-stay visa) at the same time. Your passport talent residence permit will state the words “EU Blue Card”. The application process will be completed at your local French consulate. A full list of French embassies is available online.
If you are already legally living in France using a different residence permit, then you will not need to apply for a visa, and can just apply for an EU Blue Card in your local prefecture.
If you already have an EU Blue Card which was granted in another EU country where you have lived for at least 18 months, you will need to request a new EU Blue Card in your local prefecture in France within one month of your arrival in France. A full list of prefectures is available online.
When you submit your EU Blue Card Talent Passport application, you will need to provide documents, including:
- your current valid visa
- your contract of employment valid for at least a year, showing you meet the minimum salary requirement
- documents certifying your qualifications:
- diploma certifying at least three years of higher education study issued by a higher education institution recognised by the country in which the institution is located;
- documents certifying at least five years of comparable professional experience.
- for regulated professions, documents proving that the national legal requirements are met.
- proof of sickness insurance (or proof of having applied for it).
You will also need to pay the application fee of 269 EUR.
Once you have submitted your application, you will be advised in writing of a decision within 90 days. If granted, your residence permit will be issued for a period of four years, and this is renewable.
What Happens if my EU Blue Card Talent Passport is Refused?
There are a number of avenues for appeal in the event of a refusal, including to the Commission for Appeals Against Visa Application Refusals, the Administrative Court of Nantes, an administrative appeal, and appealing to your local prefecture.
On this matter, the European Commission states, “You can appeal a refusal of a French entry visa to the Commission for Appeals Against Visa Application Refusals within two months of the date of notification of the decision. If the Commission rejects the appeal, or if, despite the positive opinion of the Commission, ministers confirm the visa refusal, you may, within two months, submit a request for annulment before the Administrative Court of Nantes, which is responsible in the first instance for litigation on visa refusal. An administrative appeal may also be submitted to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Refusal of residence permits may be appealed before the prefect, a hierarchical appeal may be made to the Minister in charge of immigration or an administrative appeal may be made to the Administrative Tribunal of competent jurisdiction, within two months of notification of the decision”.
The process of applying for an EU Blue Card in France had been made extremely straightforward and efficient. It is also relatively inexpensive, and decisions are made within a reasonable period of 90 days. We wish you bon voyage, and all the best with your life and work while in France.