French Tech Visa is a long-term temporary residence permit in France, obtained under the state program Passeport Talent. It is granted for 4 years with the right to extend and then obtain a permanent residence permit, followed by citizenship under a simplified procedure.
The purpose of the program is to attract startup founders, skilled professionals, investors, as well as talents in business, sports and culture to the country. Applicants, who are not EU citizens and meet the requirements of immigration law, can participate in the program. Let’s take a look at what conditions are mandatory for applicants for a residence permit, and why a startup visa to France is among the easiest and fastest options for immigration to this country.
What is Passeport Talent and who can apply for it
Passeport Talent is a special type of French residence permit for people who are able to make a significant contribution to the economy and culture of the country. The French law «On the rights of foreigners» was amended and supplemented in 2016.According to Article L313-20, a special category of permits «Passport Talent» was introduced. During the first year alone after its approval, 27,656 Passeport Talent residence permits were issued. French Tech Visa is included in the annual French Tech Ticket program, which provides all conditions (funding, office, equipment) to start a business in the country.
Passeport Talent is different from the usual residence permit, which is issued for 1 year. French Tech Visa residence permit can be requested for several years at once. In addition, the spouses of Tech Visa and Passport Talent holders and their minor children will also be allowed to remain in the country for the duration of the main applicant’s residence permit. This is an important advantage, since no family reunification procedure is needed.
Passeport Talent is granted to aliens, who do business in one of the following categories
- Employment for skilled workers. Foreigners, who intend to engage in a paid activity and have obtained a professional license in France or a master’s degree (certified by Conférence des Grandes Ecoles), are allowed to participate in the program. Engineers, political analysts, specialists in accounting and management, veterinarians, doctors of medicine, surgeons and pharmacologists can apply for the residence permit. Applicants have to conclude an employment contract for more than 3 months with an approved annual salary of minimum 38 147 EUR.
- Employment in an innovative company. Foreigners can qualify for Passeport Talent, if they are hired by a company recognized by the Ministry of Economic Development. The applicant’s activities must be directly related to the company’s R&D project. Applicants need to conclude an employment contract with annual remuneration greater than or equal to 38,147 EUR.
- Highly qualified work under the European Blue Card. Highly qualified employees with at least 3 years of higher education or 5 years of professional experience can apply for a French Blue Card. A minimum 1-year employment contract with an annual salary of EUR 53,836.50 or more is required.
- Internal translation work in an international company. A residence permit with Passeport Talent is available to a seconded employee of a company established abroad, who has come to France to carry out paid activities within the framework of mobility between establishments of the same company or between companies of the same group (intra-group mobility). The applicant must have an employment contract and at least 3 months of experience in the company indicated in the contract, as well as a salary of at least 34,332.48 EUR per year.
- Research activities. Graduate students, who are conducting research or teaching at a university, are eligible to apply in this category.
- Starting a business. Applicants, who have submitted an economically sound business plan, are eligible for Passeport Talent. Passeport Talent applicants with at least 5 years of experience are eligible to start and operate a business in the commercial, craft or industrial sectors.
- Development and implementation of an innovative project. Foreigners, whose start-up is recognized by a French public authority, may apply for a long-term residence permit. Applicants must prove an annual income of at least 19,074 EUR, which corresponds to the statutory minimum wage.
- Investments. Passeport Talent can be obtained by wealthy foreigners who have made direct investment of 300,000 EUR or more in the local economy. To be eligible to participate in the program, an investor must either manage the investee company or own at least 30% of the company’s shares. Investors undertake to create or maintain existing jobs during 4 years since the company is financed.
- Corporate executive activities. Passeport Talent is open to candidates who hold the position of legal representative of a company established in France. Candidates need to prove that they have worked for at least 3 months as an employee or corporate officer in a company of the same category. The annual salary must be at least 57,220.80 EUR.
- Artistic and cultural activities. Performers or authors of a literary/artistic work can participate.
- World famous persons. Foreigners whose scientific, literary, artistic, intellectual, educational or sporting activities are recognized nationally or internationally can obtain a residence permit in France.
The terms of the French Tech Visa program
In order to obtain a long-term residence permit, foreigners, who meet the requirements of immigration law, are required to fulfill a number of conditions, which depend on the category of their activity. Since the key focus of the French Tech Visa is the development of startups and the development of innovative business projects, let’s look at the stages of processing the document for startup founders.
How to get a Passeport Talent under the French Tech Visa program
- Consultation and an invitation letter.
The candidate turns to a law firm, consults with its experts on participation in the program, and sends a request. After the application is reviewed and approved, the foreigner receives a letter of invitation, which is the basis for granting the French Tech Visa and residence permit.
- Obtaining an entry permit.
A foreigner gets a D-visa to cross the French border with the support of the experts of the service provider company at the consulate in the place of their residence.
- Submission of the documents for residence permit.
To obtain a Passeport Talent, the foreigner should visit the prefecture of Paris, accompanied by representatives of a law firm, who make an appointment in advance to submit documents. The applicant also pays a mandatory administrative fee.
- Obtaining a residence permit.
After the dossier have been accepted at the prefecture, the candidate receives temporary documents, allowing them to live and work in France and the European Union («récépissé» and «autorisation provisoire»). Within 1-2 months, the foreigner receives a Passeport Talent plastic card and consults the specialists of the company-provider about integration into the French society.
The documents required for a residence permit
In order to apply for a long-term residence card, you need:
- an international passport with a category «D» visa;
- three passport size photos (3.5 x 4.5 cm);
- filled out questionnaire in two copies;
- contract of rent or purchase of accommodation in France;
- Invitation letter;
- birth and marriage certificate of the applicant, in case of immigration with family.
Advantages of obtaining a French residence permit by a startup visa
- The right to French citizenship. French Tech Visa entitles you to a permanent residence permit or French citizenship after 5 years of continuous residence (you may not leave the country for more than 10 months during 5 years). The procedure involves submitting an application and passing a French language test at level B1.
- Visa-free travel to European countries. The Passport Talent card allows residents to travel within the European Union and Schengen area without a visa.
- Long-term residence permit. Residence permit on the basis of French Tech Visa is issued for 4 years and can be renewed on the same grounds.
- Immigration with the family. A simplified residence permit procedure is available to the spouse and minor children of the principal applicant. Family members do not have to go through the reunification procedure to immigrate to France.
- Access to the European banking system. A Passeport Talent holder can keep money in an account in any EU bank, deposit or withdraw capital under simplified conditions, as a resident of the EU.
- Scaling up business. France has more than 100 agreements with other states to eliminate double taxation. Passeport Talent holders are allowed to do business throughout the European Union with favorable tax conditions.
- European health insurance. Residents of the French Republic have access to EU health insurance and benefit from the social security system, under the rights of French citizens.
Participation in the French Tech Visa will be a great solution for foreigners, who want to get the right to live, work, do business and study in France. The residence permit and Passeport Talent is valid for 4 years, after which the residency can be extended, allowing to obtain a French passport after 5 years of permanent residence in the country.
According to Eurostat data, France ranks second in the EU in terms of total economy, and is also in 7th place in the UN ranking of the most developed countries in the world. Many foreigners choose to move to the French Republic with a long-term residence permit of the Passeport Talent category.
When taking part in the program, it is necessary to strictly follow the current law under the French legislation, so you should ask for help from well-versed lawyers of specialized company.