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The Ultimate Guide to French Visas

Apr 04. 2022

Some useful information from our friends at French Connections HCB.  (Originally published in French Property News, March 2022 edition.) 

As we pack away our winter woollies for another year and look forward to the warmer months ahead, our thoughts naturally turn to what we want to achieve in 2022. For many UK residents, this is the moment to dust off the dreams of moving to France that were pushed aside during travel restrictions and look at them afresh.

All good plans start with a look at the practicalities. For most people, that means a visa.  Anybody from outside the EU who wants to move to France now needs to apply for one, but there’s no need to feel daunted. There are many different types of visa available and, in most cases, an application will be successful if you meet the criteria and produce the correct documentation.

That’s where we come in.

Partners 186 Legal and French Connections HCB have teamed up to take a look at the most popular types of French visa so you can plan your big move with confidence.

Short Stay
If you are only intending to stay in France for a maximum of 90 days over a 180 day period, you do not need a visa. However, with UK passports now being stamped upon entry and exit the French authorities are much more rigorous about applying this rule. It’s good if you are simply coming on holiday and want an extended visit, but the downside is that you do not have the right to work, and 90 days passes quickly. If you own a second home in France or are planning to retire here, you might find yourself anxiously counting down the days until your time is up.

Long Stay Tourist Visa
This 3-6 or 6-12 month visa is the most popular option for retired people or those with no time constraints. Depending which length of visa you choose, you will need to provide the French Consulate with various documents including proof of accommodation and your ability to support yourself financially while in France. For the shorter visa (VLS-T), you can use your GHIC (formerly EHIC) card, but the longer one (VLS-TS) requires proof of medical insurance. Neither of the visas permits you to work while you are in France. The VLS-TS visa is initially valid for up to one year but it is possible to renew it without having to leave France and you can apply for residency after that first year. However, the shorter VLS-T visa cannot be prolonged from inside France and you will definitely have to leave when it expires.

Salaried Employment Visa
This is a renewable one year visa for British people who are employed by a French company.
Individual situations may vary, but in almost every case your employer will need to obtain an authorisation to hire you. There are exceptions for contracts of under 90 days duration in specific areas such as sport, culture, cinema, teaching and modelling.
In addition to the long stay tourist visa documents outlined above, you will also need to provide your work contract and your work permit. However, if you are posted to France to provide a service such as an audit or assessment in the field of IT, management, finance, insurance, architecture and engineering, or as a salaried guest teacher, you don’t need a work permit. If you are transferred internally within your company to carry out a senior management position, you are entitled to a 3 year version of the visa which also allows your spouse to work by applying for the same visa as you.

International Talent and Economic Attractiveness Visa
This is not the easiest visa to obtain but has the advantage of being the most convenient as it is valid for up to four years and permits your spouse and family to accompany you, as well as giving them the right to work. There are five main categories under which you can apply for this visa.
1. You are a qualified or highly qualified salaried “employee on a mission”, which means you are accomplishing a mission in a French company which is part of the international group of companies that employs you.
2. You are a self-employed person or engage in a liberal profession. However, in this case you may be required to invest 30,000 euros in an existing or new French company if you apply for a talent passport while you are in the process of buying or creating your own company.
3. You are able to prove your national or international reputation. This can be in any area, so if you are Elton John, it would be music, but fortunately you do not need to be a worldwide star to qualify.
4. You are a performer or have created a literary or artistic work.
5. You wish to invest at least 300,000 € in a business project in France and you undertake to create or safeguard French jobs.

Business Creation Visa
This visa is perfect if you want to create or participate in a commercial, industrial, artisanal or agricultural activity or work in a liberal profession in France. Crucially, you will need to provide the French administration with a business plan to show the potential of the new company and prove that you have sufficient financial resources to sustain it.
You will also have to follow the correct procedure to set up the company or register any changes within the French administration. For example, if you buy a company or shares in a company, you will need to register with the French equivalent of Companies House.
In most cases, we would help you to create your company and put in your Visa application at the same time, then provide Immigration with the official documents relating to your new company.
The potential downside of the Business Creation Visa is that a new procedure has recently been introduced which involves both the French Consulate and the Ministry for Labour, which may mean that the application process takes longer.

Family of Foreign National Residing in France Visa

If you are already resident in France and want your spouse and/or children to join you, this is the visa you need. The application procedure is started in France by you on their behalf. You must be able to prove that you have sufficient and regular resources in order to support your family, as well as provide somewhere of adequate size to accommodate them.
If you are applying for a visa for yourself and want to move to France with your children, you can apply for them at the same time. You will need to provide official family records and proof of schooling.

Business Travel Visa
With the exception of the current Covid travel restrictions, UK citizens heading to France to work for up to 90 days do not require a visa. You will however need to obtain a temporary work permit unless you are travelling for a sporting, cultural or scientific event, a seminar or trade show, the production and broadcast of cinematographic and audio-visual works, modelling, IT/ asset management, insurance, finance, design, engineering audit or expertise missions.

To qualify for a Business Travel Visa you will need to provide proof of the link between your professional activity and the purpose of your trip.

The downside is that if you are intending to stay for more than 90 days in France, you will need to apply for both a long stay visa and a work permit.

To find out how French Connections HCB and 186 Legal can help with your visa application and get your plans off to a great start, contact us at info@frenchconnectionshcb.com, call +33 1 85 65 74 98 or visit frenchconnectionshcb.com. 

To find out about the process of moving household effects and vehicles to France, take a look at the Burke Bros dedicated webpage for removals to France, call us on 01902 714555 or email sales@burkebros.co.uk. 

 

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