French Investment Visas & Citizenship? What exactly is a ‘Golden Visa’? These increasingly-popular classes of visa allow individuals to obtain a residence permit (and eventually citizenship) through making a meaningful, and often expensive, investment in the economy of their country of choice. Referred to as ‘golden’ due to the high level of capital required to be eligible – the requirements vary from country to country, from €500,000 for Spain, to £2,000,000 for the United Kingdom.
But what about France? Unlike some other European countries, France does not offer a ‘Golden Visa’ through direct investment in government bonds or property. Instead, it offers a talent-based visa that means there is a pathway to citizenship if certain requirements are met including, crucially, a French language test among other things. Below we’ll discuss a few of these options and what the requirements are for each one.
What are my options?
As the French economy grows from strength to strength, the government has opened a category of Visa that allows high-net worth individuals and skilled workers from the international community to settle in France and provides an avenue for investors with start-ups to establish themselves and thrive. The Tech Visa is split across 3 categories:
- Tech Visa for Employees – this visa category is geared towards talented workers who have signed an employment contract with a start-up company based in France. The company hiring the candidate must prove that the employee is being hired to carry out eligible roles.
- Tech Visa for Start-ups – geared towards entrepreneurs who must prove that they have a viable and innovative business plan that they wish to carry out whilst on French territory, that they can meet the criteria for income set out in SMIC, and that their project is recognised by a public body (the French state or local authorities).
- Tech Visa for Investors – for investors who personally, or through a company in which they own a 30%+ share (if not outright), want to establish a project in France. The entrepreneur must make a direct economic investment of €300,000 in fixed tangible or intangible assets, and make a commitment to create and/or protect jobs within the four years that the Visa is valid.
A key advantage of the Tech Visa is that it is valid for up to 4 years, is renewable under the same criteria as before, and allows the holder to bring their family with them to France. You have the right to work from the start, and will not have to go through the grueling process of applying separately for a work permit.
There is another option, the self-employed visa allows individuals who can demonstrate the viability of a business plan, or who want to practice as a professional, and who can demonstrate the ability to pay themselves a minimum wage. You will be provided a VLS-TS Visa under the ‘entrepreneur/profession libérale’ category that will allow you a 1-year long stay, after which you can apply for some of the talent visas above.
Summary – French Investment Visas & Citizenship
Although there are no quick and easy fixes when it comes to investor visas in France, there are nonetheless options available that cover a range of circumstances – from individuals looking to get set up in business to skilled workers who want to be hired, and provide a clear pathway to residency and citizenship.
If you’re considering moving to France under any of the above programmes then you should have a look at our handy Moving to France Checklist – it’s a really useful tool for making sure you’re ready to go.
You’ll also need to speak to a financial adviser to help you get set up and navigate the complexities of moving to France. At Harrison Brook our advisers are experienced in helping expats with impartial and helpful advice – with no hidden fees and no commissions.
You can get in touch with us using our get started form here.