France Tech Visa For UK Citizens

France is one of the world’s greatest economies and a leading power in the European Union. The country has launched the French Tech Visa as a way of attracting innovative businesses and top tech talent into the French tech ecosystem – and here, we explain the ins and outs of the scheme.

Total Law are immigration specialists and work with businesses and entrepreneurs around the world to import the top talent in their industry for the benefit of their growth and development. Call our team now on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or via our online form, to discuss your firm’s hiring appetite.

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    The French Tech Visa: An Overview

    The French Tech Mission and Business collaborated in 2017 on a visa class to attract the best talent internationally into the French tech ecosystem; as while the country benefited vastly from the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) Freedom of Movement, it struggled to gain relevantly qualified individuals from further afield. A simplified visa procedure allows for the easy import of employees into tech businesses.

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    The Different Types Of French Tech Visa

    There are three types of French Tech Visa, each catering for different tech talent audiences.
    These are:

    French Tech Visa for Employees

    This visa is available to those with an employment contract in place from a French start-up business that has been recognised by the state as innovative in its field.

    French Tech Visa for Founders

    This visa is available to those who have founded or are in the process of founding a French start-up business that is supported by one of the country’s business partner incubators.

    French Tech Visa for Investors

    This visa is available for angel investors or those managing investment funds dedicated to the French tech sector who wish to open offices in the country.

    All of the tech visa classes allow those successful to obtain a four year residence permit which is renewable thereafter. This is known as the French Talent Passport (‘Passeport Talent’).

    The most prevalent of the French tech visas is the ‘for employees’ class, which allows those already operating within the tech sector to import appropriately qualified talent from overseas.

    Where a French company is looking to employ foreign talent (from a territory not within the EU, EEA or Switzerland) for a period of over 90 days, a long stay visa must be applied for.

    Now that the UK has left the EU, British citizens too must be in receipt of a long stay visa in order to work in France.

    This means that they must have a signed job offer and employment contract in place from a French company before they are able to consider working in the country.

    In the case of a tech visa, an individual can complete the application process themselves if the employer grants them Power of Attorney. However, this is not recommended for many reasons.

    The employer is able to complete the process (with the prospective employee inputting as necessary) but they should seek specialist legal advice for guidance.

    Total Law is able to supply this – our team are experts in niche immigration law and have helped numerous French tech firms recruit foreign talent. Give the team a call to discuss the hiring of foreign employees on +44 (0)333 305 9375.

    If you want to bring tech talent to France from UK, speak to our immigration team for assistance today. Contact Us

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      French Tech Visa Application Requirements For Employers

      In order to be able to hire tech talent from outside of the EU and EEA, and obtain a French Tech Visa for these employees, the employer must fit specific eligibility criteria. This includes being formally recognised by the French government as ‘innovative’.

      To be recognised as innovative, the company must meet at least one of the following:

      • To be or have been a beneficiary of public support for innovation in the last five years
      • To have its capital held, in whole or part, by an investment entity who specialises in direct investments into projects of an innovative nature
      • To be or have been supported in the last five years by a support structure who specialises in projects of an innovative nature

      Providing this criteria is met and can be proven, the company can request a certificate of recognition. Such certificates are valid for three years and must be attached to the visa application for any foreign employee along with all other required supporting documents.

      The French Tech Visa Application Requirements For UK Employees

      In order to be granted a French Tech Visa to work for an appropriately qualified innovative tech firm, the British employee must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include:

      • Having a signed employment contract in place valid for a work placement of at least three months with an innovative firm
      • Having a role offered that includes an active participation in an R&D project or wider business development project for the company, including any active link with the economic, social, international and environmental contacts of the business
      • Having a role offered with a gross annual pay of at least twice the French statutory national minimum wage. As of November 2023, this is €41,933.

      Our immigration team can help with any type of French tech visa. Reach out to us for help today. Contact Us

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        The French Tech Visa Application Requirements For Accompanying Family

        When a business is successful in securing a tech visa for its international tech talent target, the individual may be joined by dependent children and/or other immediate family members.

        The spouse and child/ren may apply for a family extension of a French talent passport which entitles them to a residence permit. This allows the family to reside and work in France for as long as the main tech visa holder’s residence permit is valid.

        Many businesses find this a huge draw for international talent as the accompanying family status of this visa class allows for even those with commitments and responsibilities in their home country to relocate easily. In the case of British tech talent, this provides an easy alternative to the country’s previous freedom of movement rights.

        Not all businesses fund the application fees for accompanying family, but the cost is not vast compared to many other visa classes. The legal spouse’s residency permit costs €225 and a further €99 is payable for each other family member.

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        French Tech Visa Application process: Step-By-Step

        When a French company decides to hire global talent to boost their business’ growth or development in the tech sector, they may apply for a tech visa once the employment contract has been agreed by both parties. It is usually the responsibility of the business to manage the application process (and indeed this is the recommended route in most instances) but the prospective employee can be granted Power of Attorney should the employer wish not to complete it themselves.

        Employment contract signed

        Once employer and employee have both agreed the terms of the employment contract, it should be signed and copies made. Without this agreed contract bearing both signatures, the application can progress no further.

        Supporting documents compiled and submitted

        Employer and employee should together compile all of the supporting documentation required. The individual will need to submit this along with a completed application form at their local French Embassy or Consulate, and the employer will receive a request for their information shortly thereafter.

        Decision received

        A tech visa is subject to a fast track procedure process and so in all but the most complex of cases a decision should be received within four weeks. It is recommended, however, that the visa application process is initiated no later than three months before the intended project commencement date; to ensure no disappointment or business impact should delays occur.

        If the application is declined for any reason, there may be appeal routes open. Contact Total Law to learn more on +44 (0)333 305 9375 if your employee is rejected from the tech visa scheme upon initial application.

        Global talent travels to France and begins work

        Once the tech visa has been granted, the employee is free to travel to France and begin work right away.

        Residence permit application made

        Once the employee is in France with a valid talent passport, they must apply for a residence permit.

        A request is made to the local prefecture (local police HQ) online for an appointment, which the individual must attend in person. At this appointment, upon payment of the fee (a €200 sum to the French Immigration and Citizenship Office; Office Francais de l’Immigration et de l’Integration; and stamp duty of €25), a residence permit will be provided. This allows the visa holder to reside lawfully within France.

        Stay extended as required

        A tech visa is valid for a period of up to four years. After this time, providing the visa holder is still in paid employment, they may be eligible to extend their stay within France either with or without the sponsorship of their employer.

        Secure your tech visa without any stress with the help of our immigration team. Contact Us

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          Extending And Renewing The French Tech Visa

          A talent passport may be renewed in the last two months before the accompanying residency permit expires.

          An application for a renewal is filed online by the visa holder. Evidence must be submitted to demonstrate that they, as an individual, continue to meet the conditions of their initial visa having been issued, and the employer must issue a certificate of activity to confirm this. An extension costs €225.

          If the professional situation of the visa holder has changed, they may apply for a change of status of their talent passport in the last three months before their residence permit expires.

          They may switch to another class of tech visa or to another residence permit. New eligibility criteria will need to be adhered to, and any fees payable will depend on the new visa class being applied for.

          After a period of five years uninterrupted residence in France, permit holders may apply for a French residence card. This card is valid for 10 years and can be renewed thereafter. Tech visa holders may also be eligible to apply for citizenship after a five-year period, providing they meet the relevant criteria to do so.

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          How Can Total Law Help?

          Hiring tech talent from around the world can be difficult – and in the case of British employees, considerably more complicated than most companies are used to during their tenure in the European Union. Total Law is a firm of dedicated specialist immigration lawyers, working with businesses of all shapes and sizes to obtain the right visa class for their employees and hire their dream teams.

          The Total Law office is contactable on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or through our online form, for a free chat with no obligation, and the team are ready to chat through your hiring targets to discuss which visa class is right for them and for you. Our team can guide you through the process for applications and appeals and with vast knowledge in the French immigration system and contacts within the relevant authorities, we maximise your firm’s chance of success.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    The Embassy of France in London can be found at 58 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7JT, and the French Consulate in London at 21 Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, SW7 2EN.

                    An employee in receipt of a tech visa may not necessarily be a technologist but hold a professional specialism required in an innovative tech business. For example, project managers, specialist admin staff and niche designers may be required by relevant companies but are not specifically tech experts themselves, per se.

                    The French Tech Visa is subject to a simplified procedure for application and so a decision is granted quicker than most other professional visas. A renewable visa class, it allows for individuals to be accompanied by family members and does not require a separate work permit application.

                    Those successful in being granted a French Tech Visa may apply to bring their spouse and/or dependent children along with them. While resident in France, they may live and work in the country for as long as the main visa holder’s permission is valid on their own residence permits.

                    A French Tech Visa can only be applied for once an employer has provided an employment contract for an appropriate role and the prospective employee has signed it.

                    The French tech ecosystem is set to be world renowned and the government is keen to attract world-leading talent to it – hence the collaboration to launch the tech visa and fast-track such individuals in to French innovation businesses.