With its rich cultural heritage, thriving economy, and unrivalled lifestyle, France entices ambitious individuals seeking to reside and invest in the heart of Europe. It’s firstly important to note that France doesn’t explicitly offer a ‘Golden Visa’ program as many other EU countries do. Instead, they offer a similar alternative known as the ‘Passeport Talent’, or Talent Passport, however, their terms for suitability are slightly different to other EU countries. For example, France doesn’t offer wealthy individuals or investors the opportunity to simply invest in real estate or government bonds in exchange for a residency visa as these types of investments ultimately require minimum involvement in the country.
The Passeport Talent was first announced in 2013 and offers a range of different requirements for various types of individuals to gain permanent residency, including business entrepreneurs, investors, talented workers or those with a reputation.
Below, the MSC Notaries team will outline the different options available to you for obtaining a permanent residency permit, or ‘Golden Visa’ in France, as well as the application process and documentation required. Whether you are an investor, entrepreneur, or simply yearning to experience the rich culture of France, this article will equip you with the knowledge and insights necessary to navigate French immigration opportunities and regulations.
What is the French Golden Visa?
As mentioned above, unlike other ‘Golden Visas’ offered by various EU countries, the French don’t welcome passive investments in exchange for a residency visa, such as real estate or government bond investments. Instead, their visa option, known as the Passeport Talent, requires more active participation in the country and its economy if you are to be accepted and issued permanent residency.
The Passeport Talent is a state program and there are various different types offered that we will outline in this article, including those for entrepreneurs, performers, those with certain talents or professionalisms and more. As with other Golden Visas, the French Passeport Talent residence permits are extended to close family members including spouses and any children under 18.
What are the requirements for the French Golden Visa?
Start or take control of a business in France – Passeport Talent ‘Business Creator’
France offers attractive terms and conditions for entrepreneurs and startups in comparison to other EU countries.
If you are starting a business or taking control of one, you must invest a minimum of €30,000 into the company’s tangible or intangible assets or this minimum is brought down to €20,000 if it is a technologically innovative company.
Other conditions are:
- The company can be commercial, artisanal or industrial
- You must have an equivalent master’s degree or prove you have a minimum of five years of professional experience at an equivalent level
Make a direct economic investment – Passeport Talent ‘Investor’
You can receive permanent residency via investment, however, this investment must provide the individual with a lasting commitment and interest in the company and country.
These types of investments can include:
- Investment in social capital
- Reinvested earnings
- Inter-affiliate loans
Invest or start an innovative economic project recognised by a French public body – Passeport Talent ‘Innovative Economic Project’
You can start a justifiable economic project in France, provided this is recognised beforehand by a public body and you can prove its recognition with documentary evidence.
You must also be able to prove you have sufficient funding to carry this out that provides you with a wage equal to the minimum wage in France.
Become an employee of a corporate company in France – Passeport Talent ‘Company Representative’
You can become an employee of a corporate company in France in exchange for the Passeport Talent residency permit.
This option is suitable for those who:
- Have worked as an employee in an equivalent company in another country for a minimum of three months
- Hold a mandate that you can act as a legal representative in France
- Earn three times the minimum wage in France from this role
- Are able to provide documentation to prove the above, including the mandate and the wage you will receive
Have a National or International Reputation – Passeport Talent ‘Person with a National or International Reputation’
This type of permit is for those who plan to carry out work in science, literature, arts, academic study, education or sports and that have a reputation for doing so.
The conditions are:
- You must have sufficient funds equating to the minimum legal wage in France
- You must be able to provide documentation for recognition in your professional role, outlining the nature of your activities in France, and financial sufficiency
Be Deemed a Talented Performer or Artist – Passeport Talent ‘Artistic and Cultural Profession’
France doesn’t just offer their Passeport Talent to entrepreneurs and businesspeople, they also offer them to those working in the arts such as performers.
This type of permit is for various types of people including:
- Active members of higher education institutions recognised for making contributions to French technological, commercial, artistic and scientific progress or to promote European values
- Employed, self-employed or freelance performers of creative artistic or literary works recognised by French or international authorities
For this type of permit, you must be able to provide documentation to prove your talents and to prove your financial sufficiency from your professional work which equals 70% of the minimum legal wage in France. A maximum of 49% can be generated from other sources of income.
How to Apply for the France Golden Visa
Here, we’ll outline the step-by-step process to follow when applying for the French Passeport Talent, more commonly referred to as France’s Golden Visa.
1. Obtain the Required Documentation
Different documentation will be required depending on the type of permit you are applying for, we’ll outline some of this below.
Business Investor or Creator documentation
- Evidence/certificate for a university degree in the same field as the intended business operation/investment at a minimum of Master’s level. Your degree must be from an educational institution recognised in France, otherwise, you will need to submit a local recognition certificate from the relevant government authorities in that country.
- Licence for commercial activity either obtained in France or recognised by French authorities.
- If starting a business, a plan for the startup investment that conforms with the legal requirements of France or evidence that the applicant has invested directly or will be investing in a company over the four-year period.
- Documents demonstrating the creation or protection of employment in France in the four years following the investment.
View a full list of the documents required for the Investor visa.
Talented Individuals documentation
- Documentation to prove your talents and relevant professional achievements.
General documentation for all visa types
- Usual forms are required for immigration applications.
- Valid passport with a minimum of three months validity.
- Three passport-style photos.
- Police clearance certificate for your home country and the EU.
- Proof of medical insurance for yourself and your family.
- CERFA 12753 form completed with documentation attached to confirm
- Certified confirmation of sufficient funds/income for yourself and your family.
- Proof of basic proficiency in French and acquaintance with the values of French culture.
It’s important to note that all your documentation must be translated into French by a translator certified as a provider by the French courts of appeal, notarised and legalised by a notary and have an apostille stamp attached.
MSC Notaries are able to assist you with the entire process of preparing the required documents and making sure these are all legalised for use in your application. We offer professional translation, notary and apostille services and can work to suit your timeframes where possible to have your documents ready.
2. Submit your Documentation
If you are in France, you will need to submit all your documents at the relevant government office to your place of residence in France with confirmation of your legal status.
If you are applying from outside the country, you can submit your documents at any French Consulate or Embassy, however, you will need to submit these a minimum of 180 days prior to your arrival in France.
3. Receive your Visa
At this point, if your application is approved, you will be granted your temporary visa.
You will then need to visit France if you haven’t done so already and request your residence permit online. All residence permit applications are validated and issued by the Prefecture online. If successful, they will issue you with a certificate of approval which allows you to then collect your official residence permit via an appointment at your nearest Prefecture.
These permits are generally valid for a maximum of four years at which point they can be renewed however the length of the validity period is dependent on the nature, characteristics and duration of the individual’s planned investment. The Passeport Talent will usually renew automatically providing you continue your talent activities in the country, however, it’s important to check this and apply for a renewal with a minimum of 60 days’ notice of your permit’s expiry.
During the validity period of a Passeport Talent, the holder and their family benefit from being able to live, travel and work in France or anywhere else in the EU.
Once you have resided in France permanently for a period of 10 years, you become eligible to apply for French citizenship provided you continue to meet the conditions of your visa.
How long does it take to apply?
You should start the application process no earlier than three months prior to when you plan to arrive in France. If you are already in France and need to renew your permanent residence, you should again apply three months in advance.
Need Help Preparing Your Documents for the French Golden Visa?
Obtaining the French Golden Visa can be challenging due to the amount and variety of documentation and regulations involved. We understand that navigating the processes, gathering and submitting various documents can be tricky and time-consuming with a single oversight or mistake having the potential to lead to delays, complications, or even rejection.
MSC Notaries provides professional notary, apostille, and translation services to ensure a smooth application process. Whether you require personal or business document notarisation, authentication through apostille, or precise translations of your documents, we have the expertise and resources to meet your needs so you can save time.
Our dedicated, family-run team will guide you through the entire process, ensuring that your documents are accurately prepared, authenticated, and translated in accordance with the French authorities requirements. Not only that, but we take the time to understand your specific requirements and concerns, tailoring our services to meet the needs of your application. For assistance, contact MSC Notaries today.