BACKGROUND: In psoriatic arthritis (PsA) almost all qualitative studies have been performed in European populations. This work aimed to evaluate the impact of PsA in Brazilian and French subjects, as well as to explore cultural differences in the experience of disease and to recognize domains important for patients living with PsA outside Europe. METHODS: A qualitative study was conducted in two university hospitals in Brazil and France; outpatients fulfilling Classification Criteria for PsA participated in individual interviews regarding the impact of PsA; interviews were conducted in the local language. The sample size was defined by saturation; interviews were recorded and transcribed and content analysis was performed. RESULTS: Fifteen patients were interviewed in Brazil and 13 in France. Mean disease duration was 16.5 ± 12.5 years (range: 8 months to 47 years) and 14.4 ± 8.4 years (range 12 months to 29 years) for Brazilian and French subjects, respectively. A broad impact was perceived: 67 codes emerged from the interviews and were grouped in 41 categories. Although 2/3 of categories were common to both nationalities, some important health domains from the perspective of PsA patients from a non-European background were brought to light including sexual dysfunction, emotional impact of psoriasis and impact of prejudice on social and professional life. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the importance of assessing the impact of PsA on a national level, emphasizing the common cross-cultural aspects but also revealing domains of interest for patients with PsA living outside Europe which merit further study.