France, like many other European Union (EU) nations, has a two-tier immigration system. Citizens of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are permitted to live and work freely in the country. This comprises citizens of the European Union as well as those of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Immigration controls apply to individuals from outside the region. If you belong to the latter category, you will likely require a visa to reside and work in France.

To work in France, you may be required to apply for a French visa if you wish to travel to France for work-related reasons. Among other factors, the types of visas and work permit you can apply for depend on your reason for admission and length of stay in the nation.

Before you move, you need to know about the French visa requirements for you and any accompanying family members and the fees associated with French visas. If you are not from the EU, obtaining a visa quickly and efficiently will be more difficult but still achievable. You may even be qualified for a “talent passport”.

Work Permits and Visas Based on Employment

There are several work permit options and employment visa variations for ex-pats who want to work in France, and each condition is distinct.

Permits to Work in France

Individuals from the European Union and the European Economic Area do not need a work visa to obtain employment in France. You do not need to apply for a work visa if you are a foreign employee working in the following fields for less than three months:

  • Athletic, artistic, cultural, and scientific events.
  • Seminars, conferences, and trade shows
  • Production and dissemination of audio-visual and cinematic works, programs, and recordings.
  • Posing and modelling artistically.
  • Personal service workers and domestic workers employed in France during the stay of their private employers.
  • Auditing and consulting services in IT, management, finance, insurance, architecture, and engineering according to a service agreement or intra-company transfer agreement.
  • Occasional instruction from invited lecturers

You do not need a work visa if you are the spouse of a French citizen, the parent of a French child, or a close family member of a French employee with an interim “Private and Family Life” residence permit.

In all other cases, foreign nationals must obtain a work permit regardless of their length of stay. You are exempt if you have a long-stay visa equal to a residence permit (VLS-TS) visa or residence permit. These visas also serve as work authorization.

 Types of French Work Permits

Your eligibility for work permits in France will mostly depend on whether you have a job offer, the duration of your contract, and even what you do for a living. You may not need to apply if you qualify under the Talent Passport category.

What exactly is a Talent Passport?

The “Talent Passport” permit allows non-EU citizens to reside and work in France. It contains the following classes:

  • Recent graduates with relevant experience.
  • Personnel of an innovative organization.
  • Highly competent workers (EU Blue Card holders).
  • Employees with a French work contract are on a “mission.”
  • Researchers/scientists.
  • Leaders of an innovative economic initiative.
  • Organizational representatives
  • Financial or economic investors
  • Artist/performers.
  • An internationally or nationally known athlete, scientist, artist, educator, author, etc.
  • This permit also serves as a renewable four-year residence permit. The price is 269 EUR (320 USD).

If your occupation contributes to France’s economic appeal, you may be qualified for the “talent passport” authorization indicated above.

The “talent passport” has a validity of four years, is renewable, and can be extended to immediate family members so that wives and children also acquire employment and residence permits in France. With this visa, no additional work authorization is necessary.

Paid and Temporary Employee

Two subcategories comprise the Salaried and Temporary Worker permit (Salaried and Temporary). This permit applies to French-based corporate personnel.

The length and duration of your employment contract affect the subcategory for which you are eligible. The Salaried subcategory is for employees with longer-term contracts than one year. The Temporary Worker classification applies to workers with contracts lasting less than one year.

Temporary Work Visa

This visa applies to applicants who wish to stay in France for less than 90 days and costs 60 Euros (70 USD). This visa is not required if you are from the EU/EEA/Switzerland.

Australia, Antigua and  Bahamas, Barbuda, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, Seychelles,  South Korea, the United States, and Venezuela do not require a visa. To legally work in France, your employer must still get a work visa on your behalf.

France Long-Term Work Visa

If you are not an EU/EEA/Switzerland citizen and plan to remain longer than 90 days, you are required to apply for a long-stay visa. This visa ‘de long séjour’ will be tailored to your particular purpose and length of stay. These visas are approved for various objectives, including those related to employment. This France work visa application is 99 EUR (120 USD).

Applicants who apply for this visa and have family members accompanying them may have their employer initiate the “accompanying family member” procedure concurrently.

Establishing a Business

If you intend to establish a business, you must also demonstrate the economic feasibility of your proposed firm or project. If your line of work is regulated, you must also meet all the relevant standards (qualifications/diplomas, etc.). You are required to show a minimum of a master’s degree or evidence of at least five years of professional work experience, as well as a minimum investment of 30,000 EUR (35,500 USD) in the new firm.

If you can provide all of these documents, you will be awarded a four-year long-stay visa with the inscription “passeport talent” “créateur d’entreprise” (Skilled residency permit – Business creator). If you wish to stay for less than a year, you will be issued a long-stay visa comparable to a (VLS/TS) residence permit and bears the phrase “passport talent.”

Tech Visa

If you are a start-up founder applying for a tech visa, you must have founded your company in a partner incubator and access funds equal to the yearly minimum wage in France. Your start-up project must have approval from the Direccte (French Administration) via a letter submitted by the incubator.

Investors

Investors must contribute a minimum of 300,000 EUR (350,500 USD), control at least 10% of the company to which they are donating, and expect to create jobs within four years of the investment. Additionally, they must invest directly or through a company in which they own at least a 30% stake. Investors will receive a four-year visa with the inscription “passeport talent” “investisseur économique” (Skilled residency permit – Investor). If you wish to stay for less than a year, you will be issued a long-stay visa comparable to a (VLS/TS) residence permit with the inscription “passport talent.”

Performers

Self-employed performers must demonstrate that they have produced or performed in France for a minimum of three months and that they have sufficient financial means (at least 70% of the minimum legal pay for a full-time worker in France). In this instance, a long-stay visa bearing the words “passport talent” and “artistic and cultural profession” (Skilled residence permit – artistic and cultural profession) will be granted.

Visa Procedure for Self-Employment in France

You must apply for your visa in your home country. It is sometimes possible to apply if you are already in France or another country. You must submit the online application form and the papers listed.

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