French Tech Visa for Employees
La French Tech is dedicated to enabling successful start-ups to emerge, through initiatives from members of its ecosystem. French Tech runs numerous initiatives to attract foreign talent. The most recent of these is the French Tech Visa.
The French Tech Visa is a simplified procedure, dedicated to the Tech ecosystem, for three types of international tech talent for the obtention of a multi-year residence permit, known as the “Passeport Talent” (“Talent Passport”):
- the French Tech Visa for Founders, dedicated to founders of international start-ups, selected by partner incubators and accelerators;
- the French Tech Visa for Employees, dedicated to international talent recruited by companies based in France and recognised as innovative by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance;
- the French Tech Visa for Investors, dedicated to international investors establishing themselves in France.
Do you want to work for more than three months for a French company?
You must apply for a residence permit if you are a national of a non-Member State of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland. Specific requirements apply to Algerian citizens.
Various categories of employees holding an employment contract with an employer established in France may be eligible for a multi-year Talent Passport residence permit.
This applies in particular to employees in highly qualified positions who are eligible for the “Talent Passport – ‘Employee of an innovative company” residence permit.
Recognition for the company’s innovative nature
To be recognised as innovative, the company must meet one of the following criteria:
- Criterion 1: be or have been a beneficiary in the last 5 years of public support for innovation; the list of the relevant support mechanisms can be found here.
- Criterion 2: have a portion of its capital held by an entity or investment fund the main purpose of which is to finance or invest in innovative companies and whose shares are not public; a list of these entities can be found here.
- Criterion 3: be or have been supported over the last 5 years by a support structure dedicated to innovative companies.
Any innovative company wishing to recruit foreign talent may benefit from this system and request a certificate recognising its innovative nature so as to more easily recruit candidates who are citizens of countries outside the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland.
This application is filed online via the dedicated platform: démarches-simplifiées.fr
This certificate, valid for 3 years, must be attached to the visa and/or residence permit applications for foreign employees in addition to the other supporting documents.
To be eligible for the ‘Talent Passport Employee of an innovative company’ employees of a company recognised as innovative by the Ministry of Economy must show evidence of:
- Gross annual pay of at least twice the statutory national minimum wage (SMIC), i.e. €36,946 as of January 1, 2020.
- A permanent employment contract or a fixed-term employment contract for at least three months with an employer established in France.
- An an active participation in the R&D project and development of the company or any active link with the economic, social, international and environmental development of the project.
The multi-year Talent Passport residence permit is equivalent to a work permit.
During the first and second years for which their residence permit is valid, the holder must perform the professional role for which their residence permit was issued. At the end of the second year, this residence permit allows them to enter into any employment of their choice.
Length of stay
The maximum duration is four years on a renewable basis.
Helpful tip: If the planned length of stay is less than a year, foreign investors can apply for a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (‘VLS-TS’) marked Passeport Talent (‘Talent Passport’).
This is valid for up to 12 months. If foreign nationals wish to stay in France beyond this period, they may apply for a four-year Talent Passport residence permit.
The employer requests online a letter certifying the innovative nature of the company via the platform. A number of supporting documents must be provided with the application to prove that one of the criteria is met
Employees apply for their long-stay visa and/or residence permit, attaching the certificate and other supporting documents. The procedure differs when the applicant is already residing in France.
Where to apply
You live outside France
Applicants living outside France should apply to the French consular authorities in their usual place of residence.
The application for a “Talent Passport” long-stay visa authorising entry into French territory for the foreign employee is initiated on the official France-visas website.
Once in France, the residence permit is issued to the employee by the Prefect of their département of residence upon presentation of the long-stay visa and other justifying documents already provided to the Consulate.
You are already living in France
If applicants are already living in France under a different type of residence permit, they will need to apply to the Préfecture in their place of residence for a change of status so as to obtain a ‘Talent Passport – Qualified employee’.
When should I begin the procedure?
The procedure should be initiated no earlier than three months before the date of arrival in France.
If the applicant is already living in France, the procedure should be initiated two months before the previous residence permit expires.
Applicants can obtain a list of exactly which documents are required from the authority responsible for handling the application and on France-visas.gouv.fr
As an indication, you can download a list of documents that must be submitted with an application for a “Talent Passport – Employees of a company recognised as innovative by the Ministry of Economy“
Cost of the residence permit
Applicants must pay a tax of €200 to the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration – OFII) when the permit is issued. In addition to this tax, stamp duty of €25 is also charged on residence permits.
In addition to this administrative cost of €225, the long-stay visa authorizing entry into France costs €99.
Extending your stay
Renewal applications must be submitted in the two months before the residence permit expires.
Applicants must produce documents showing that they continue to meet the conditions of issuance of their permit as well as a certificate of activity from their employer or a certificate of professional activity for the last 12 months uploaded by the employee to the website mesdroitssociaux.gouv.fr.
Administrative cost: €225
Change of status
In the event of a change in the holder’s professional circumstances, a change of status may be considered at the Préfecture in the two months before the residence permit expires. They will be required to prove eligibility for the new residence permit requested.
At the end of 5 years of legal and uninterrupted residence in France, workers in this category may apply for the resident card entitling the bearer to reside on French soil and engage in any professional activity (provide they hold the necessary diplomas, if working in a regulated professions).
Residence cards are issued for 10 years we have a renewable basis.
Is your family coming with you?
The spouse and dependent children of the holder of a Talent Passport have accompanying family status.
The spouse should apply, and will be issued with a ‘Talent Passport – Family’ residence permit. This permit authorizes the family to stay and undertake any paid employment in France as long as the foreign employee’s residence permit is valid.
Administrative cost: €225 for the spouse’s residence permit and €99 per visa issued to each member of the accompanying family.