French Tech Visa | Requirements, Application Process, Costs
Are you an entrepreneur, a global talent, or an investor? Do you want to launch a startup in Europe? Then, maybe it’s time that you consider applying for a French Tech Visa. The program is available for foreign employees who want to work for a qualifying French company, company founders who want to launch a tech company in France, and investors who want to invest in French startups.
The French tech ecosystem is quickly expanding. Many French firms have chosen to function in English and they’ve already started to hire international employees. Also, the government of France supports the innovative initiatives in the country which increases the power of this ecosystem.
Let’s quickly go through how you can apply for a French Tech Visa and how you can start your journey.
What Is French Tech Visa
Introduced in 2017, French Tech Visa is a residence permit that allows non-EU startup founders, employees, and investors to live in work in France through a fast-track and simple process.
French Tech Visa allows you to stay and work for France for up to four years.
Eligibility for French Tech Visa
If you’re from a country outside the EU and the European Economic Area — Switzerland citizens arent’t eligible either, you can be eligible for French Tech Visa. French Tech Visa is available for three groups:
- Employees who want to join a French startup
- Company founders who want to launch a tech company in France
- Investors who want to invest in French startups
French Tech Visa Eligibility for Employees
If you want to be eligible for French Tech Visa as an employee, you’ll be required to meet the criteria below:
- You’re able to present a work contract with a French company that is eligible to recruit under the French Tech Visa. The validity of the contract must be for a minimum of three months.
- Your gross annual salary will be at least €38,475 — twice the annual minimum wage in France (as of January 2022).
French Tech Visa Eligibility for Startup Founders
You can apply for French Tech Visa if you want to launch a startup in France.
You can be eligible if:
- You have an innovative business project that you want to develop in France.
- Your project has been recognized by a public-sector body.
- You have sufficient annual financial means, €19,237 as of January 1, 2022 (corresponding to the statutory national minimum wage).
France has evolved into a very innovative country in recent years. It ranks 11th in the 2021 Global Innovation Index and according to data collected in June 2021, France boasts 16 unicorns.
French Tech Visa Eligibility for Business Investors
If you’re a venture capitalist or a business angel who invests in startups, you can apply under this category.
You can be eligible if you make a direct investment either:
- Personally; or
- Via a company that you run; or
- Via a company in which you have at least 30 percent shareholding
- You’re investing or committing to invest a minimum of €300,000 in fixed tangible or intangible assets.
- You’ll be committed to creating/protecting jobs within four years after the investment has been made
Reinvested earnings, share capital investments, or loans between affiliated companies qualify. Exclusively financial investments aren’t considered eligible under this scheme.
How To Apply for French Tech Visa
The application for a French Tech Visa will start at a French embassy in your country of residence. The steps will vary depending on the category you’re applying under.
Here are the key steps to follow for employees, business investors, and startup founders.
Key Steps for Employees
The employer you’re going to work for provides a letter that shows the innovative nature of the company.
You start your application as an employee through the dedicated platform. The procedure differs if you’re already living in France.
Key Steps for Startup Founders
You apply to get recognition for the innovative nature of your project.
The DRIEETS IDF will issue an official letter if they acknowledge the innovative nature of your project.
Key Steps for Investors
The French Tech Mission will issue you an official acceptance letter declaring that you are qualified for the French Tech Visa for Investors after reviewing your profile and investment history.
You start your application as an investor. The procedure differs if you’re already living in France.
The above steps summarize the initial process that you begin in your home country. Once you arrive in France, you’ll need to finalize your application for the residence permit through the dedicated platform.
Required Documents If You’re Applying From Outside of France
Note that we’ve compiled this list of the required documents just to give you a guideline. Make sure you contact the authorities for a detailed list of required documents.
- Long-stay visa application form (CERFA n°14571*05) fully completed and signed
- France visa receipt
- Your passport — issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least three months after the visa expires
- Proof of marital status
- Three recent photos
Key Supporting Documents for Employees
- The Cerfa form that shows your salary and the position in the company
- Social security certificate of temporary employment abroad or sworn declaration of application for registration with French social security system
- A letter showing your duties in the company
- An up-to-date excerpt of the commercial register for the employer, if it is a
- legal entity, or an extrait K or craft license if the employer is an individual
- Social security contributions payment proof (if your employer is subject to this obligation)
- Documents providing evidence of your skills and experience corresponding to the position
- Form Cerfa no. 15614*04, stating the conditions of the employment contract
- A permanent employment contract or a fixed-term employment contract for at least three months with an employer established in France, showing gross annual pay of at least 2 times the average annual gross salary of €38,475 as of January 1, 2022
- A copy of a master’s degree equivalent qualification
Key Supporting Documents for Startup Founders
- A letter stating that you’ve been selected by a French Tech Visa partner incubators and accelerators
- An official letter from the public body that certifies the innovative nature of your project
- Evidence of financial means— €19,237 as of January 1, 2022 (corresponding to the statutory national minimum wage)
Key Supporting Documents for Investors
- Proof of your role in your own company (you either run a company or has a stake of at least 30%)
- Your investment plan and a letter of commitment to creating jobs in France
- Proof that you have invested directly, or has committed to invest directly, at least €300,000 in fixed tangible or intangible assets in France over four years.
Validity of French Tech Visa
The maximum duration of a French Tech Visa is four years, on a renewable basis. However, this might change depending on the nature of your investment/company/or project.
The long-stay visa that authorizes your entry into France costs €99. You’ll also need to pay €200 tax to the French Immigration and Citizenship Office. Stamp duty of €25 is also to be paid.
French Tech Visa scheme allows you to include your spouse and dependent children under the “accompanying family status.” The below fees will apply:
- €225 for your spouse’s residence permit
- €99 per visa issued to each member
What Else You Need To Know
There you have it. We’ve given you an introduction to how French Tech Visa works and how you can start your application. It is a great opportunity for global talents, business investors, and startup founders. Plus, France is a great country to live in with its cuisine, history, and nature.
Have you ever thought of getting French Tech Visa? Have you ever thought of living in France? Let us know…