France Golden Visa

Canadian investors and entrepreneurs can move to France via the Talent Passport for investors or company/startup founders pathway, often referred to as the French golden visa program.

If you are a Canadian national seeking more information regarding the Talent Passport pathway to residency and citizenship in France, whether you are eligible, how to apply for the same, what supporting documents you may need, or what are the costs involved, dial +1 844 290 6312 today to speak with one of our legal team members.

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    Does France Have a Golden Visa Program?

    Golden visa is a route for wealthy foreign nationals to obtain residence and citizenship in another country in exchange for an economic contribution to the host country.

    Golden visa holders become lawful residents of the host country, with rights to live, work, study and receive healthcare and other social benefits there as applicable.

    France does not have a golden visa program in the same sense as offered by some other European countries, such as Spain or Portugal, where wealthy foreign nationals can apply for residence permits in return for a substantial financial investment, even in the form of passive investment in real estate or government bonds.

    Instead, France offers a Talent Passport visa, which is a multi-year residence permit, to talented and entrepreneurial non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign nationals looking to invest in businesses in the country or create innovative economic projects. France does not offer a visa to foreign nationals for any forms of passive investment in the country.

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      France Talent Passports for Investors and Entrepreneurs

      France has three visa programs aimed at foreign national investors and entrepreneurs under the broader Talent Passport framework, which are the:

      • Talent Passport visa through business investment
      • Talent Passport visa through business creation
      • Talent Passport visa through business startup or innovative economic projects

      These three French visas are often referred to as “Golden Visas” or “Investor Visas” in common parlance, although it is not the official name for them. The benefits and costs are, however, quite similar to that of the golden visa program elsewhere in the EU.

      The aim is to attract talented and entrepreneurial foreign nationals outside the EEA or Switzerland to develop the economic landscape in France, in return for permanent residency in the country as well as an opportunity to obtain French citizenship eventually.

      A Talent Passport in France comes with the following benefits:

      • A renewable residence permit for the visa applicant and their eligible family members, i.e. spouse/civil partner and children under 18
      • Right to live, work, and study in France
      • Access to high-quality public healthcare and educational systems, and other social benefits
      • Freedom of movement in the Schengen Area for a period of up to 180 days a year
      • No French language proficiency required to obtain the visa

      The maximum length of stay allowed on a Talent Passport is four years, and renewable thereafter, if you continue meeting the terms and conditions of the initial permission.

      Moreover, after residing in France for five consecutive years on a Talent Passport, foreign national investors and entrepreneurs (and their dependent family members) can apply for permanent residency in the country, or even citizenship in some cases, provided they meet certain other criteria, e.g. French language proficiency or absence of any criminal conviction etc.

      France Talent Passport for Business Investors

      Through a substantial direct investment in a company or a business project in France, high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) from foreign countries can obtain residence permits in the country for themselves, and their spouse/civil partner and minor children, in less than three months.

      To qualify, you will have to make an immediate business investment of at least €50,000, along with a commitment to invest a total of €300,000 over the next four years. Moreover, the project or company you intend to invest in France must create full-time, sustainable job opportunities for the country’s workforce within four years following the investment.

      You will need to have your business plan approved by the relevant French authorities, and prove that you hold a lasting interest in the recipient company through:

      • Investment in the company’s social capital, i.e. over 10% of equity investment, investment in real estate and capital increase
      • Reinvested earnings
      • Loans between affiliate companies

      You may make this direct investment personally, or through your own company or a company where you hold at least 30% of shares. Passive financial investments are, however, outside the scope of this program.

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        France Talent Passport Through New Business Creation

        Non-EEA/non-Swiss business owners can apply for a Talent Passport for company founders, if they wish to establish a company in France.

        A significant investment in a French company can also be considered as a business creation project for the Talent Passport purposes, if that investment leads to a complete takeover of the company by the foreign business owner.

        To be eligible, you must:

        • Have a master’s degree or equivalent, or at least five years of relevant professional experience
        • Have a foolproof business plan, fiscal assessment, and local market analysis essentially for running an economically viable company in France
        • Incorporate a French legal entity
        • Open a corporate bank account in France for capital injection into the said company
        • Make an investment of at least €30,000 in the planned business

        France Talent Passport Through Innovative Economic Projects

        Foreign entrepreneurs, who want to set up a startup business in France and have been selected by a French tech company with an incubator status, may obtain a Talent Passport for champions of innovative economic projects recognized by a public body, under the French Tech Visa for Founders procedure.

        To be qualify for this program, you will have to:

        • Provide the evidence of an innovative business idea that you would like to develop in France
        • Make a financial commitment of at least €225,000, with a portion of that amount devoted to the research and development phase of the proposed startup
        • Be selected by a French tech company designated and functioning as an incubator
        • Obtain recognition for the project from a public body in France

        Documentation Requirements

        The documentation requirements for a Talent Passport in any of the aforementioned categories varies depending on your place of residence at the time of application, i.e. whether you are applying in France or from outside the country.

        We have provided a list of required supporting documents in this section. However, it is advisable to contact the French consular, diplomatic or prefectural authorities that will be handling your application, to get a comprehensive list of required documents depending on your personal circumstances.

        If you are applying from abroad, your supporting documents will include:

        • The long-stay visa application form, duly completed, dated and signed
        • Visa fee payment receipt
        • Passport issued within the last 10 years and having a validity of at least three months after the visa expiry date
        • Three recent passport photos, taken as per the France visa guidelines
        • Evidence of sufficient financial means to support yourself and dependent family members (if any)
        • Police certificate from your country of residence (i.e. Canada in the context of this article)
        • For business investors:
          • Proof that you personally run a company, or hold at least 30% shares in a company you run
          • A letter of commitment specifying jobs to be created and maintained in France as well as an investment plan
          • Proof that you have invested, or have committed to invest, at least €300,000 in fixed tangible or intangible assets directly over four years
        • For new business creators:
          • Duly completed form (CERFA no. 13473*01) for ‘retailer, craftsman, manufacturer’
          • A letter certifying the existence of a foolproof business plan to form an economically viable company in France
          • Proof of an investment of at least €30,000 in the proposed company
          • Qualification certificates equivalent to a master’s degree or higher, or proof of relevant professional experience of at least five years
          • Company registration documents, or membership of the social security regime for self-employed professionals
          • Overview of the new company, a business plan and multi-year budget forecast
          • Evidence of the applicant’s ability to carry out the planned commercial, industrial or entrepreneurial activity in France
          • Certificate of recognition for the business creation project obtained from the relevant French authorities
          • Credit guarantee from a credit institution or insurance company in France
          • Commercial lease agreements for business premises etc.
        • For startup founders:
          • Evidence demonstrating that the business project to be developed in France is innovative by its nature and purposes
          • Proof that the project has been recognized by a public body in France

        If you are applying in France, your supporting documents will include:

        • Current passport showing your civil status, dates of validity, entry stamps and visas etc.
        • If a passport is not available, then any other document bearing your photo e.g. consular attestation, identity card, consular card, certificate of nationality etc.
        • Long-stay visa marked “Talent passport VLS-TS” or currently valid residence permit
        • Your proof of address in France dated within the last six months
        • Three recent passport photos, taken as per the France visa guidelines
        • Evidence of sufficient financial means for yourself and any dependent family members
        • Tax payment proof on the residence permit and the stamp duty payable upon issue of the permit
        • Declaration stating that you are not polygamous in France (only for married applicants whose home country permits polygamy)
        • All business-related documents and evidence, as mentioned earlier in this section, as applicable for business investors, business creators or startup founders

        How to Apply

        Foreign nationals seeking to settle in France through the investment route will have to apply at their local French embassy or consulate for a long-stay visa to travel to the country, which is valid for three months.

        The French Embassy in Canada has outsourced parts of the visa application process to VFS Global since 2018. VFS Global has offices in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver in Canada.

        Canadian nationals must complete their long-stay French visa application online, and then submit the same to their relevant local VFS Global center on the scheduled appointment date, as well as provide their biometric information. The French Consulate General in Montreal will review your visa application and make the final decision.

        After arriving in France, you will have to apply for your Talent Passport residence permit within three months. Since May 25, 2021, Talent Passport resident permit application process has gone online entirely. You will not have to book an appointment or go to your local prefecture to apply for the same.

        Instead, you will have to go to the dedicated online platform to submit your application, i.e. the administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr site. You can also track the progress of your application on this platform. You will, however, have to collect your residence permit from your local prefecture.

        If you are already in France on a “Talent passport VLS-TS” long-stay visa or a valid residence permit, you can directly apply at the dedicated online platform for your multi-year residence permit.

        Depending on whether you are making a direct business investment in France or opening a new business or sounding a startup company, you may need to open a company bank account in France for capital injection, submit the proposed business plan along with your commitment for job creation (where applicable) to the relevant French authorities and get the same approved, and make the required investment, before you start your visa application.

        Business creators will have to incorporate a legal business entity in France as well. Startup founders will need to be selected by an incubator company in France and submit the details of their innovative project idea along with the budget forecast.

        Processing Time and Costs

        A long-stay French visa processing time varies from 15 working days to two months. The processing time will also depend on the French embassy or consulate processing your application, i.e. the volume of visa applications being handled by them, the time of the year etc.

        Considering the preliminary requisites for a French Talent Passport visa for a business investor, a new business creator or a startup founder, please initiate the application process within three months before the date of your arrival in France. If you are already living in the country, please start your application no later than three months before your previous residence permit expires.

        The processing fee for a French long-stay visa is €99. In addition, Talent Passport applicants will have to pay a tax of €200 to the French Immigration and Citizenship Office when the permit is issued as well as a stamp duty of €25.

        How Total Law Can Help

        The Talent Passport programs for foreign national entrepreneurs and investors in France is a route for these wealthy persons to settle in France on a permanent basis. On the other hand, it attracts foreign direct investment to France’s economy, creating sustainable job opportunities for the domestic workforce.

        Apart from the residency benefits, these programs offer foreign entrepreneurs several business facilities, such as access to French incubators for international startups, business networking, and an access to the Schengen Area.

        However, since France does not offer a passive investment opportunity, you must understand the investment or business requirements thoroughly, and plan carefully before considering the investor route to permanent residence and citizenship in France.

        Speak to Total Law.

        If you are a Canadian investor or entrepreneur seeking expert advice on how to proceed with a Talent Passport visa in France, our team of immigration advisers can guide you throughout the process.

        Moreover, our document and application checking service package offers a thorough assessment to confirm that your documents and application are in line with the guidelines set by French immigration authorities.

        Dial +1 844 290 6312 today to speak with one of our legal team members.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  You must submit an application for renewal on the dedicated website within three months before the expiry date of your current residence permit.

                  You will have to submit supporting documents proving that you continue to meet the conditions of your initial permit, and pay a renewal fee of €225.

                  The main applicant will have to be at least 18 years old. Dependent children eligible to migrate with the main applicant will have to be under 18.