Ways to Stay in France

Views like this make me never want to leave.

Coucou, tout le monde ! After a very long hiatus, I’m excited to be back on here again. This post is geared towards current Teaching Assistants (TAPIF or otherwise) who do not have an automatic right to reside in France, but would like to continue their lives here. Many people have reached out and asked me how I’ve managed to (legally) stay in France after my assistantship, so I wanted to share a few avenues with you. My personal path after TAPIF was Maître de Langue (2 years) → Contractuel (1 year) → PACS/VPF (current), but there are plenty of other options.

Let me preface this by saying I am not an authority on immigration law, so take all of this with a grain of salt. This is also not an exhaustive list. Rather, my goal is to present you with a few different pathways (and introduce you to some people that have taken them), and direct you to a few resources that can help you continue your own research. Now without further ado, here are a few ways to continue legally residing in France after your assistantship.

Lecteur / Maître de Langue Jobs

Visa Status: Travailleur temporaire
Duration: 1 year, renewable.

I already wrote a detailed post on this, so I’m not going to delve into it here. In short, these are 2-year jobs teaching at a university in France. Find more information on my blog post, here.

Study at a University

Visa Status: Etudiant
Duration: (duration of your program)

Maria and Jalen are studying in France after working as teaching assistants through TAPIF.

I haven’t ever enrolled in a French university, but I know many people who have gone this route. After you finish your degree, you can apply for a recherche d’emploi visa, which gives you a year to find a job in your field. If you find a job, you would apply for a salarié visa with your new contract. And if you’re concerned about supporting yourself during your studies, the student visa permits you to work 964 hours per year. For information on applying to master’s programs here, check out these fantastic and detailed blog posts from Maria and Jalen at The Francofile

Other resources:

Pass the CAPES-CAFEP and Teach at a Private School

Visa Status: Salarié
Duration: Initially 1 year, renewable.

Megan did TAPIF, then worked as a Lectrice and MDL before passing the CAPES-CAFEP last spring. Her IG: @franceinfouryears

If you have your master’s degree (yes, even a non-French one), you can take the private school concours. The CAPES, which certifies teachers to work in the public school system, is only open to European citizens, but the CAPES-CAFEP is open to foreigners. This exam requires a high level of French, and good understanding of French methodology. Previous studies in France would be a major asset. If you pass, you will automatically be placed in a school for a year of student teaching, and if you earn an avis favorable after your stage year, you will become titularisé. This means you cannot be easily fired, and you will be guaranteed a teaching placement. Check out Anne’s recent blog post for a detailed explanation of this path.

Other resources:

Get a Work Visa through the FACC

Visa Status: Jeune Professionnel / Travailleur temporaire
Duration: Up to 18 months (1 year + 6 months)

Libby got a visa with the help of the FACC after doing TAPIF. You can find her on LinkedIn.

The French American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) facilitates the visa application process for qualified young American adults who aspire to work in France for up to 18 months on a CDD. This partnership has been around since 1992. You would need to secure an offer first, and then the FACC would help out with the visa application. The approval process takes 6-11 weeks. Once your visa is in-hand, you can jet off to France and make the most of this professional opportunity! Just a couple notes on this program: there is an age limit (35), you must be a US citizen and either enrolled in or finished with your undergraduate degree, and current applications are suspended due to the pandemic.  You can find detailed information on the FACC’s American Outbound web page.

PACS / Marriage

Visa Status: Vie privée et familiale 
Duration: 1 year, then 2, then 10

Here’s a picture of me and Florent right after our PACS signing in the height of the pandemic.

If you have a French partner, PACS (Le pacte civil de solidarité) or marriage could be an option for you. A contract such as one of these would entitle you to a vie privée et familiale visa. A PACS is less binding than a marriage, and this is the contract that my partner and I have signed. Once you and a partner have lived together for a year, if you’re PACSed, you are eligible for the VPF visa and have the right to work without sponsorship. You can apply for any job a European could apply for! To clarify, you don’t have to be PACSed for a year before applying for this visa- just living together. In our case, Florent and I signed a lease together in June 2019, got PACSed in May 2020, and I applied for my VPF visa in July 2020. The prefecture requires multiple forms of proof for each month of residence commune, so if you don’t have official documents (bills, bank statements, paystubs, etc.) with the same address as your partner, take care of this ASAP. I wouldn’t enter either of these commitments all willy nilly, but if you have long term plans with one another, this could work for you.

Other resources:


Here is a list of a few other ways to stay:

  • Passing the Agrégation
  • Renewing your assistant contract
  • Working as an au pair
  • Working for a US company that transfers you to their French office
  • Getting a company to sponsor you directly (my good friend Claire at The Millennial Abroad has an excellent blog that includes a post about this.)

I chose not to describe those options because they are either less common, I don’t know what to say, or there is already plenty of information out there, but if you’re interested, consider doing some more research on your own. Anyway, that’s about all I have for now. If it is your goal to say in France, know that there are ways to make it happen with a lot of hard work a little bit of luck.

Check back soon for some more France/travel-related content! A bientôt, mes ami.e.s :). It’s a pleasure to be writing again.


3 thoughts on “Ways to Stay in France

  1. Great comprehensive list 🙂 I also went the student —> concours route, and I desperately need to find some time to write about it on my (currently defunct) blog ! Fwiw I believe that non-Europeans aren’t eligible to take the agrégation immediately, the only version of the agrég open for non Europeans is the CAER and it can only be taken if you have 3 or 4 years teaching experience in France :/


    1. Hi Anne! Yeah, this was my first post in over a year… It’s easy to get out of the habit of blogging. I’d love to read whatever you write about the concours route. Your posts and replies about this on Facebook are always so helpful :).

      Regarding the agrég, I think I might just delete this option. It seems virtually impossible for a non-European to do it. Thanks for that!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s