Long-stay visa in France: when does an obligatory medical apply?

We look at who must undergo these checks and what is involved

Most of these medical checks result in Ofii doctors issuing the medical certificate without reservation
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Non-EU nationals settling in France must usually attend a mandatory medical visit. We look at who has to do this and what the visits involve.

This applies to people who have secured a French visa de long séjour (VLS – long-stay visa) and are already in France because they plan to live there for at least a year, and often more. It does not relate to people with ‘temporary’ visas, for example to visit a second home for six months.

People with a one year VLS-TS (visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour) must validate this in the first three months after arrival, using the Foreign Nationals in France website, also referred to as Anef, which stands for ‘administration numérique des étrangers en France’.

This is the most common kind of visa for Connexion readers who have moved to France, and is seen as legally equivalent to a residency card once validated. If the visa holder wants to stay on for more than a year in France then he or she must later apply in France for a residency card, within two months of the visa’s expiry date.

Certain other long-stay visas are issued for only three months and require the holder to apply for a residency card in the first two months upon arrival (they do not need to be ‘validated’ separately).

Residency cards will be either a one-year carte de séjour temporaire (temporary residency card - CST), or a multi-year carte de séjour pluriannuelle (CSP) valid from two to four years.

Once the initial formalities are complete, the visa holder will receive an appointment invitation from the Ofii, the French agency in charge of immigration and integration of foreign citizens, to have a mandatory medical check.

The purpose of this is to determine whether they comply with French health regulations.

Who is concerned?

Most foreign nationals moving for a long stay in France have to comply with this obligation and will receive a convocation in the first months after their arrival. It is never required for merely short stays (less than 90 days).

However, there are exemptions where the medical is not required, including:

  • Citizens of the European Union (and states treated as equivalent) and holders of the following visas:

  • Visa de long séjour temporaire (VLST) valid for up to one year and not renewable

  • Passeport talent (for certain highly-skilled workers or people investing large sums in starting companies)

  • Salarié détaché ICT (intra corporate transfer - when being sent to work for part of the same large group)

  • Stagiaire ICT (people doing work placements)

  • Etudiant (students)

  • Jeune au pair

  • Certain categories for people with family links in France

  • Volontaires (issued for a European voluntary service)

  • Vacances-travail (working holiday visa)

Other exemptions include, for example, diplomats and their families, and refugees.

Those who have been in France for some time under one of these visas and wish to change to another that is not on the list also do not have to attend a medical examination.

Ofii medical checks only apply to foreign nationals who have recently entered France.

What does the medical check consist of?

The check includes:

  • A general medical examination

  • An X-ray of the lungs

  • A verification of your vaccination status

  • Blood glucose measurement, in some cases

  • Urine analysis, in some cases

In addition, Ofii doctors can provide useful information about France's medical institutions and healthcare system.

Ofii issues a certificate on completion of the checks

This certificate does not contain confidential medical information but simply states whether the foreign national in question complies with French health regulations or not.

Why is it important?

Most of these health checks result in Ofii doctors issuing the medical certificate without reservation.

The certificate is not mandatory for a residency permit application, however it is required to collect a residency card at the prefecture.

If the visit reveals the need for a specific treatment or vaccination, the certificate will contain specific mentions and will be sent to the individual’s GP.

This does not present an obstacle to the patient remaining in France, with its only purpose being to ensure a medical follow-up and to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.

However, in some very particular and serious cases, the visit can find that a foreign national does not meet the health requirements to stay in France long-term.

This may happen when the foreigner suffers from :

  • Any form of plague

  • Cholera

  • Yellow fever

  • Tuberculosis

  • Serious psychiatric disorders

  • Any medical pathology that is incompatible with their planned professional activity in France (for holders of a working visa)

However, even in such cases, individuals can remain in France if they are expected to recover in the short-term, particularly where tuberculosis is concerned.

This article was written for The Connexion by Paul Nicolaÿ, Avocat

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