France Quick Facts
France is one of the most famous nations on earth, and has a long history of creating global trends. Today, France is a leader in both technology and design, and has maintained a world-class gastronomic culture.
It is one of the larger European nations, and its cultures change depending on the area of France you visit.
There is no denying the international appeal of French culture and products.
The nation itself is beautiful, and has a very high level of social development. French infrastructure is good, which is great for digital nomads that may like to wander around the country they live in, and don’t want to worry about slow internet.
One of the best things about France is the numerous regions it has, ranging from alpine areas, down to its Mediterranean sea coast. Along with these changes in geography come a range of cultures and cuisines, which is a clear draw to both travelers and digital nomads.
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France Remote Work Visa Overview
France has two ways for digital nomads to stay longer than 90 days in the nation, but its system isn’t as user friendly as some other programs that are out there (like Barbados).
One thing that’s important to note is that if you’re working for a foreign company (that is a company that is not based in France), or are self-employed you can still visit France and continue to work without having to have a visa, as long as you are staying less than 90 days. If you want to stay in France longer than 90 days and continue to work then you will need to apply for a long-term stay visa.
In addition to requiring a substantial amount of documentation, anyone who wants to work remotely in France will need to interface with local trade groups.
The nation that you are a citizen of also makes a big difference. France gives preference to people from within the EU, EEA, or Switzerland.
There are also restrictions on the kind of work that a digital nomad can officially do once they have received a long stay visa in France, and working for a French company as a freelancer from within French borders will require even more paperwork.
If you are interested in pursuing this kind of long stay visa, it may be a good idea to talk to an immigration professional.
Especially for anyone who has a hard time with legal paperwork, or the French language, the process that France has in place for digital nomads will be difficult.
With all that said, the programs that France created for anyone that wants to live in France for more than 90 days and work legally (under strict conditions) are well defined, and for some digital nomads, these programs could make a lot of sense.
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Who Can Apply for the
Digital Nomad Visa for France
Remote workers have two visa options to apply for if they want to stay in France and work on a remote basis. The two options are a “Long Stay Visa” for Tourism / a Private visit and a “Long Stay Visa” in a self-employed, regulated, “liberal” profession.
Although France is a place for digital nomads to work given the high level of development and living options, French authorities have several restrictions when it comes to digital nomad visas for France.
The Long Stay Visa for Tourists or a Private visit is best for freelance workers that plan to stay in France for personal reasons for up to 12 months. With this type of visa, digital nomads are neither allowed to have a job in France nor permitted to have clients in the country.
That said, if your goal is to try out France and work online, this option isn’t a bad choice.
If you’re serious about considering France to stay infinitely as a digital nomad, the second visa option, a Long Stay Visa as a self-employed person in a regulated, liberal profession will work best for you, although the process may not be a simple one.
The Long Stay Visa as self-employee in a regulate, liberal profession, sometimes called called a “Micro-Entrepreneur” or “Auto-Entrepreneur” is applicable for any remote worker who wants to undertake an industrial, manufacturing, handcraft or agriculture operation, or engage in a new development sector in France.
Under French law, there are several restrictions regarding the nationality of the applicant and business types that are excluded from the micro-entrepreneur status – for example estate agents, finance enterprises, HR companies, as well as artists and writers may have trouble with this kind of visa.
The Long Stay Visa program is open for most foreign nationals who want to stay for more than 90 days. Keep in mind that there are a few aspects to this program, and it may take some time to find out if you qualify.
There is also the possibility of creating a tax liability when you are working in France, so be sure to check into this depending on the program you opt to pursue.
There are also exceptions for the following residents and nationals, as they would use simpler programs:
European Union residents, in all parts of Monaco and Andorra.
EEA and Swiss residents excluding French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis-et-Futuna and the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF).
It is worth mentioning that if you are able to enter France on more flexible terms, for example, you have open access to the Schengen area, and don’t plan on taking French clients, it may be better to abstain from dealing with the French visa system (as long as we aren’t proposing an illegal act).
For freelancers that have an opportunity to work with a French company, and the company wishes them to enter and live in France, using that company’s legal assets and connections would probably be smart, given the nature of the visa system.
How To Apply For the
Digital Nomad Visa For France
Requirements for Applying
Applicants who plan to come to France and work here for up to one year will be issued a long-stay visa which enables you to engage in a professional activity in France as a self-employer or freelancer.
You will need:
Online visa application form. This is a visa wizard that helps you prepare for the application as well as support your documentation.
A valid travel document issued in the last 10 years
A readable and understandable visa for the French authorities
Proof of residence
Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in the country, including bank records or any other supporting document showing your average monthly income.
Proof of medical insurance (including repatriation)
Proof of accommodation (to be validated by the mayor of the city where you live)
All the documents must be prepared in French or English, or notarized into English or French if the originals are in another language.
The list of documents required varies from one nationality to another. It is best to check with the French Embassy or Consulate in your home country beforehand.
As the digital nomad visa for France varies depending on your registered business structure, the process of registering isn’t going to be the same for everyone.
Once you’ve fulfilled certain requirements for a Long Stay visa as entrepreneur/profession libérale, the next step is to decide on and register as a micro-enterprise business.
You can learn more about how the online registration process works by visiting this site.
As mentioned above, France has some specific rules regarding types of business, it’s critical to identify the correct Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE) for your business type.
Each type of business status has their own CFE, and every self-employed person needs to provide a digital copy of arte de séjour or passport at the end of this process.
While non-commercial or non-artisanal enterprises are required to register with Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (CCI), manual/trades and crafts businesses are required to register with Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat (CMA).
You can visit this site to check the list of CFE and find one that is in line with your type of business. Keep in mind that there is no standardized response time for these agencies, so be sure to allot lots of time for this research.
Following your declaration, a unique identification number will be sent to you. This is your business registration number (SIREN and SIRET) – a proof that your business registration is approved by the French government.
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How much does it cost?
Applicants will need to pay a visa processing fee.
The fee for the visa itself costs 99 Euros for a long-stay visa and is paid at the moment of application when the submission is made in person.
It’s important to note that this is a non-refundable visa application mandatory fee, which means you will not get back the money whether the visa is eventually approved or refused.
Although the actual visa application fee is low, the process of getting an visa approved, as well as gathering all the necessary documents may be difficult.
If you are overseas, or don’t understand French well, the costs associated with a French long stay visa may be substantial.
Before committing to the process, it may be a good idea to talk to a visa agent, or immigration lawyer, to find out what the actual costs for your specific case will be.
Unlike some other nations, France doesn’t offer a fixed-cost digital nomad visa, and the costs to gather all the required documentation could be very high when compared to other European options, or nations in the Caribbean.
Timeline for Applying
There is no firm deadline for the French government to approve your application, so leaving more time to deal with anything that may arise is a wise move.
Once all the documents have been put in place, you will be able to start the visa process. Gathering all the documentation is one of the key factors that affect the visa application process for French visa applicants – and there is no way to know how long it will take.
The timeline for visa approval usually lasts up to 14 days (excluding days off and holidays). If your application is sent in the peak tourist season, normally from April to September, the Consulate may be overloaded, and you will have to wait longer for a response.
In these cases, the processing time can be over a month. The applicant can also be denied a visa immediately if he or she violates the French visa regulations.
The processing times mentioned above are for reference only and may vary depending on the number of applications, the possibility of additional documentation and the visa applicant’s nationality.
Here is the basic process for applying (excluding the gathering of necessary documentation):
- Fill out the visa application form.
- Arrange an appointment with your local French Consulate.
- Submit all the required documents on the date of your appointment.
If all the documents are in order, it is likely that your application will be approved for a French visa within at least 2-3 weeks. For problematic applications, the time will be longer due to the need for additional documents.
To avoid long delays, you should be very focused on the visa application process, especially the necessary documentation for your diplomatic status.
An immigration attorney is likely useful for anyone who is outside of the EEA/EU, or other nations that are given a simple way to live and work remotely in France for more than 90 days.
Voyages en toute sécurité!