How Can I Get an Investor Visa for France?
If you are considering investing in an enterprise in France, you are in excellent company. According to the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, 21 new international businesses invest in France each week, and there are in the region of 28,000 companies with foreign capital now based in France, making France 10th in the world for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
In addition, France experienced the creation of 691,000 start-ups (a record) in 2018, and a 28% increase in micro-enterprises. As a founding member of the European Union, France enjoys access to the whole single European market from its central location, and its high-quality transport infrastructure (it rightfully boasts the world’s second-longest high-speed rail network) affords unfettered ease of access to neighbouring regions.
From the perspective of immigration, the French government offer a specific visa route enabling those who wish to live and invest in France to do so. In this article, we will explain the French Talent Passport for investors, the eligibility rules, and how you can apply.
What Is the French Talent Passport?
The French Talent Passport (passeport talent) is a residence permit which enables non-French employees and self-employed individuals to live in France and to further its economic attractiveness. The Talent Passport also allows family members of the main applicant (e.g. spouse and children) to join them, and also permits them to work (if 18 or over). The Talent Passport is aimed at:
- Qualified or highly qualified paid employees of a French company or organisation (a new innovative enterprise, a subsidiary branch of an overseas business, a public or private research or higher education organisation).
- Self-employed persons or those engaging in a “liberal” profession who plan to:
- Create a business in France or take control of one
- Make a direct economic investment – this is the focus of this article and is called a ‘passeport talent investisseur’
- Engage in an innovative economic project recognised by a public body
How Does the Passeport Talent Investisseur Work?
In order to apply for an investor visa, you will need to plan to:
- invest a minimum of €300,000 in fixed tangible or intangible assets over the four-year period of your permit
- invest at least €50,000 immediately
- make your investment either directly or through a business in which you hold a minimum of a 30% shareholding.
- own at least 10% of the company in which you are investing.
- Create or protect jobs over the four years of the investment.
As such, the investment can be made personally, through a company in your control, or through one in which you have a 30% shareholding.
Your investment may be made in either of the following:
- Investment in social capital (equity investment of over 10%, real estate investment and capital increase);
- Reinvested earnings (undistributed share of the operating income of the subsidiaries and other investments);
- Inter-affiliate loans (i.e. direct loans between investors and companies in which they have invested or a loan between companies belonging to the same group).
What Are the Benefits of A French Investor Visa?
There are several benefits of a French investor visa under the Talent Passport scheme, including:
- you will receive a renewable Residence Card valid for four years
- once granted, you will have a pathway to Permanent Resident or Citizenship after five years of residence in France
- you can bring your dependant family members with you, including your spouse and children
- the right to live, work, and study in France
- full access to France’s Public Education and Healthcare System at no cost
- the ability to travel freely within the Schengen Area (26 countries)
- there is no education and language requirement for this visa
How Do I Apply for A Passeport-talent-investisseur?
There are several stages to the application process for a passeport-talent-investisseur.
Step 1: At your local French Embassy or Consulate Office, you will first need to submit an application for a long-term stay visa. You can apply for a long-stay visa no earlier than three months prior to your arrival in France. A long-term visa will give you border permission to enter France (once issued, applicants and dependents have 3-months to enter France).
Step 2: Once you are in France, you will then need to collect your four-year Talent Passport residence permit from the French government immigration administration office in your local prefecture.
The processing time of the visa is approximately two months.
To support your business investor visa application, you will need to provide a number of documents, which may include:
- A valid passport
- Proof of your marital status
- Your birth certificate, and that of your children and spouse
- Evidence that you personally run a company or have a stake of at least 30% in the company
- Documents showing (actual or commitment to) the creation or protection of, or a commitment to create or protect, jobs within four years following the investment in France. This may take the form of a letter of commitment specifying jobs to be created and an investment plan.
- Proof that the applicant has invested directly, or has committed to invest directly, at least €300,000 in fixed tangible or intangible assets in France over four years.
- If an investment is being made in equity, a certificate of deposit of equity in a personal or professional account can be provided from a credit institution in the European Union;
- If an investment is being made in borrowed funds, you can provide an agreement in principle with a loan from a European Union credit institution or a foreign institution whose practices are compatible with the provisions of the Monetary and Financial Code.
- If your investment has already been made, evidence may take the form of a document showing the money has been invested and the effectiveness of that investment.
The French government is extremely keen to attract business investors from anywhere in the world. The application process is relatively efficient and fast, meaning that you and your family members can start your new life in France within only a few months. We wish you all the very best with your new business venture and life in France. For legal assistance with your application, you may speak with an experienced international immigration lawyer.