France entrepreneur visa: everything you need to know

Last updated: 25 March 2024 Views: 423
France entrepreneur visa: everything you need to know

France is one of an increasing number of countries that offers a visa for aspiring entrepreneurs, with the goal of boosting the economy and attracting new talent. The France entrepreneur visa - known as a profession libérale (self-employed) visa - is a long-stay visa that allows you to get your new business venture started in France.

Because the visa can be used by entrepreneurs rather than being specifically designed for them, there’s a limited amount of English language documentation from the French government. Here then is a guide to the France entrepreneur visa: what it allows you to do, how to apply for it, and the further steps you need to take to start a French business.

What is the France entrepreneur visa?

The France entrepreneur visa is the common English name for the entrepreneur designation of France’s long stay visa. The full name of this visa is the “visa long séjour valant titre de séjour entrepreneur/profession libérale”, or VLS/TS entrepreneur/profession libérale for short! There are various forms of the VLS/TS, including for student visas, seasonal work, and visiting relatives.

Related article: How to Start A Business In France in 8 Steps

The VLS/TS entrepreneur/profession libérale visa allows you to stay in France for an initial one-year period, subject to fulfilling the requirements of the visa. Before this period elapses, you can submit an application to extend your permit for between two and four years. Subsequent extensions or permanent residence applications will only be required when this further period elapses.

Who is the French entrepreneur visa for?

The VLS/TS entrepreneur/profession libérale is aimed at non-EU nationals (including the UK), as EU residents in the Schengen Area can stay in France indefinitely. It is intended to support entrepreneurs, self-employed individuals, or anyone who wants to work in a regulated “liberal profession” in France. Examples of liberal professions include lawyers, accountants, and doctors. Private medical practitioners seeking this visa have an added requirement to be registered on the French Order of Physicians.

Related article: How to transfer your business to France

The French entrepreneur visa is designed to allow individuals with business ventures that would not qualify for an innovative visa to still work and reside in France. This is on the proviso that their business contributes positively to the economy by generating at least enough excess income to pay yourself a minimum salary.

How do I qualify for the France entrepreneur visa?

To qualify for the France entrepreneur visa, you primarily need to convince the French authorities that your business venture is viable, and will at the very least provide enough income to support yourself during your temporary residency. This income must be higher than the French minimum wage, which is currently set at €20,814.73.

This means creating a comprehensive business plan that includes (but is not limited to):

  • Your mission statement and vision for the business
  • What you plan to offer
  • Your target audience
  • Any relevant business experience
  • Your predicted income and expenditure
  • Any initial investments

Creating a business plan not only helps to provide a point of reference for your new business, but is also often a requirement for opening a French bank account. You should also include documentation detailing any sales or business deals you have already secured, as this will help to demonstrate the strength of your proposal. Finally, you will also need to demonstrate that your business idea is compatible with French safety, health and order laws.

What do I need to submit to obtain a French entrepreneur visa?

Documents that you will need to submit to obtain a French entrepreneur visa include:

  • The Long-stay visa application form (CERFA n°14571*05)
  • A receipt from France-Visas, obtainable through your local French consulate
  • A currently valid passport (issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least three months after the visa expiry date)
  • Three recent, standard-sized passport photos
  • If opening a retail, craft or manufacturing business, approval from the "Plateforme interrégionale de la Main d'œuvre Etrangère" for that industry
  • Entrepreneur/Independent professional » temporary residence permit application form Cerfa no. 13473*01
  • An extract of your police record or equivalent document from the country of which you are a national
  • Evidence of your ability to carry out the planned commercial, industrial or craft activity.

All of this documentation (excluding your passport) must be supplied or completed in French. The official French visa wizard will help you identify exactly what you need to submit for your business visa application.

What is the French talent passport?

An alternative to the French entrepreneur visa is the French talent passport. This visa is designed to attract innovative entrepreneurs, investors in innovation, and employees in innovative companies operating in France.

The requirements are similar to those for the French entrepreneur visa, except you also need to demonstrate the innovative qualities of your business. This will most commonly apply to businesses engaged in tech or research and development, but could feasibly apply to almost any business.

Related article: How to market your business in France

There are numerous ways to qualify and apply for the French talent passport, and it offers temporary residency for up to four years, three more than the French entrepreneur visa. More information on the various criteria, required documentation, and how to apply for each subtype of visa can be found on the France-Visas website.

Start a business in France as an entrepreneur

France is a fantastic country to start a business as an entrepreneur. One of Europe’s and the world’s leading economies, France is also home to one of the biggest tech sectors outside of the United States, and a world leader in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, fashion, and aerospace. The ‘Made in France’ label is highly sought after, and French businesses can also benefit from both generous national funding through BpiFrance and EU funding schemes.

To learn more about the process of opening your own business in France, visit our Start a Business in France in 8 Steps page, or download our guide to French company formation below. Alternatively, get in touch with us today to start your French business journey. We can deal with all of the French language paperwork, bank introductions, and the other tricky aspects of starting a business in France as a foreign entrepreneur.

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