France Business Visa Types

US citizens who are planning to visit France on business must acquire a visa. These documents are necessary if you want to enter and stay in France while conducting business. Here is the essential information you need to apply for a business visa, for working in France.

To learn more about French Business visas, the types available, requirements, and the costs involved. Our dedicated team at Total Law can help. Call us today on +1 844 290 6312 or message us online.

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    An Overview of Business Visas in France

    Every year, many US citizens acquire French business visas to enter the country to attend meetings, conferences or start new business ventures.

    Generally, French business visas can be categorized into several types, each with unique eligibility requirements. Whether it’s a short-term visit for a conference or a long-term work opportunity, it is vital to understand the differences to ensure you choose the right one.

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    Types of Business Visas in France

    Short-Stay Visa (Schengen Area):

    The Short stay visas are designed for individuals who want to visit and conduct business activities in France for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. This type of visa is widely used and can serve various purposes, including:

    • Attending business meetings, or conferences
    • Negotiating contracts with potential clients
    • Providing consulting services
    • Conducting market research
    • Installing or repairing equipment

    Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for the French Short-stay visa you will need the following:

    • Valid passport with at least 3 months validity remaining.
    • Completed application form and supporting documents.
    • Proof of sufficient funds to cover the entire trip and return journey.
    • Travel medical insurance, with minimum coverage of €30,000.
    • Accommodation details for the duration of the stay in France.
    • Proof of ties to country of residence demonstrating intention to return before visa expiry.
    • Clean criminal record with no prior immigration violations or deportations.
    • Negative COVID-19 test result and adherence to public health requirements.
    • Payment of the relevant fee for the application.

    Benefits and Limitations

    Benefits:

    • Allows stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period
    • Covers a wide range of business activities like meetings, conferences, consulting
    • Relatively quick and easy application process

    Limitations:

    • Strict 90/180 day limit for duration of stay
    • Does not allow residence permit or employment in France
    • Limited validity within Schengen area only

    Our team can advise and help with business visa applications. Reach out to us for help today. Contact Us

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      Long-stay Business Visa (Visa de long séjour):

      Long stay visas are designed for those who plan to reside in the French territory for more than 90 days to establish or operate a business venture. It allows non-EU nationals to set up a new company in France or invest in an existing one that they will be managing.

      It enables entrepreneurs, investors, and other business personnel to launch and grow a commercial enterprise in France through an extended stay of 6-12 months, renewable up to 3-4 years. However, applicants must provide a viable business plan which aligns with France’s economic interests.

      Here are some of the purposes for which the Long-stay Business Visa can be used:

      • Working for a French company on a full-time basis
      • Starting a business in France
      • Investing in a French company
      • Being transferred to a French office as an employee of a US company
      • Providing consulting services to a French company
      • Conducting market research in France
      • Installing or repairing equipment

      Eligibility Criteria

      To be eligible for the Long-stay visa you will need to meet the following:

      • Be a citizen of a country that is not a member of the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland.
      • Have a valid passport with at least three blank pages and a validity period of at least three months after your planned departure date.
      • Provide proof of accommodation in France, such as a rental agreement.
      • Have sufficient financial means to support your business trip to France.
      • Provide a valid medical certificate attesting to your good health and fitness to work.

      Benefits and Limitations

      Benefits:

      • Allows stays longer than 90 days for establishing a business
      • Can lead to a residence permit and potential citizenship
      • Enables launching and operating a company in France
      • Is renewable for up to 3-4 years

      Limitations:

      • More complex application with extensive documentation required
      • Need to prove financial viability and align with French economic interests
      • Residence tied to business activities outlined in visa application

      Self-employed Business Visa

      Self-employed business visas provide US citizens opportunities to establish and operate a business in France. Visa holders can reside in the country for up to one year to conduct their business activities.

      To qualify for the visa, applicants must demonstrate their ability to successfully launch a business in France. Present a viable business plan and meet eligibility criteria that covers factors like minimum capital investment, and compliance with French regulations.

      Eligibility Criteria

      To be eligible for the Self-employed business visa you will need to meet the following:

      • Applicants need to show they have a concrete plan to start and manage a business in the French market.
      • A minimum investment of €30,000 is mandatory to cover initial expenses like equipment purchases, inventory, and other start-up costs.
      • The business must comply with the French regulations and laws related to public health, safety, order and conduct, which is the same for any French business.
      • Administratively, applicants must complete all necessary visa paperwork, supply supporting documents, pay the required fees, and be available for an interview.

      Benefits and Limitations

      Benefits:

      • Allows non-EU citizens to establish and operate a business in France
      • 1-year residency to get the business underway
      • Can lead to a residence permit for extended stay

      Limitations:

      • Strict eligibility criteria for business plan viability and investment
      • Limited to proposed business activities outlined in the application
      • Financial and language requirements may be challenging

      Intra-corporate Transferee Visa

      The Intra-corporate transferee visa is designed for employees of US companies to be transferred to their French office for up to 36 months. It facilitates intra-company mobility while ensuring compliance with French labor regulations. This visa is valid for up to three years.

      Eligibility Criteria

      To be eligible for the Intra-corporate transferee visa you will need to meet the following:

      • Valid employment contract with a French company that belongs to the same international group as your current US employer.
      • Your employer and the French company must be part of the same international group or parent company. This means they share the same ownership.
      • At least three months of seniority with your employer before being transferred to France.
      • The position you hold must be a senior management position, or a position requiring specialized skills or knowledge.
      • Salary must be at least equal to or higher than 1.5 times the French minimum wage.
      • Provide supporting documentation to verify your employment history, position requirements, and salary level.

      Benefits and Limitations

      Benefits:

      • Facilitates transfer of qualified employees between offices
      • Allows stays of up to 3 years based on employment contract
      • Salary and position requirements more flexible

      Limitations:

      • Only for transfers within the same multinational group
      • Minimum 3 months prior employment within the group required
      • Limited to senior management and expert roles

      If you're feeling confused about which France Business Visa type to choose, reach out to us for assistance. Contact Us

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        Investor Visa

        The Investor visa is designed to allow US citizens to invest in a French company. It also allows a 4-year residency period and is renewable if the investment and job creation commitments are upheld. Additionally, the spouse and children of the applicant are also eligible for residency.

        Eligibility Criteria

        To be eligible for the French Investor visa you will need to meet the following:

        • Proof of a capital investment in France. This includes investing at least €300,000 in a new or existing French company, or €150,000 for innovating companies.
        • Submit a detailed business plan, with details on the business activity, expected jobs created, financing, and projected economic impact.
        • Sufficient personal resources to make the proposed investment in France. Bank statements, tax returns, and other financial documents must be provided as evidence.
        • Clean criminal record with no prior convictions in France or abroad.
        • Valid passport and completed application form with supporting documentation.
        • Preliminary approval from the relevant regional business development agency in France.
        • Private health insurance valid in France.
        • Once the investment is made, applicants must prove they have created at least 10 jobs in France.

        Benefits and Limitations

        Benefits:

        • 4-year renewable residency for investors and their families
        • Lower capital requirements for innovative businesses
        • Leads to permanent residence and citizenship
        • Spouses and children are eligible for residency

        Limitations:

        • High capital investment threshold of €300K or business plan required
        • Limits on direct involvement in company operations
        • Business needs to create local jobs

        Start-up Visa

        The Start-up visa is for people from the US or any other non-EU countries who want to start a business in France. Like with the investor visa, it allows a 4-year residency period with the ability to renew. Spouses and children are also eligible for residency status.

        Eligibility Criteria

        To be eligible for the Start-up business visa you will need to meet the following:

        • Provide proof of an innovative business project that will be hosted by a French startup incubator.
        • Must aim to develop an innovative product, service, or technology with growth potential.
        • Hold at least a master’s degree or equivalent. Alternatively, you can prove at least 5 years of professional experience at a comparable level.
        • Sufficient financial resources to support yourself while launching your startup. This is around €1,620 per month minimum.
        • Overseas health insurance coverage valid in France.
        • Clean criminal record with no prior convictions.
        • Valid passport and completed application form.
        • You should not currently reside in France under a different status.
        • Proficiency in French or English is strongly recommended.
        • Be 18-30 years old to qualify for the separate “French Tech Visa” program.

        Benefits and Limitations

        Benefits:

        • 4-year renewable residency for innovative start-ups
        • Access to French accelerator programs and tech talent
        • Residency extended to spouse and children

        Limitations:

        • Strict criteria for innovative business ideas with growth potential
        • Highly competitive with focus on tech space
        • Significant financial resources required for self-funding

        For any inquiries or assistance regarding France visas, feel free to contact our team at Total Law. Call us today on +1 844 290 6312 or message us online.

        Documents Required for a Business Visa Application in France

        During the application process, you will have to submit some documents. However, they will vary depending on the type of visa you apply for.

        But generally, for US applicants, these will include the following:

        • Valid Passport (valid for six months)
        • Three passport-size photographs
        • Completed and signed France Schengen application form
        • Employment Documentation and purpose of the visit
        • For self-employed visas, a business registration certificate
        • Bank statements, showing available funds
        • Valid medical insurance document
        • Cover letter from the applicant’s US employer

        France Business Visa Application Fees

        The relevant fee associated with applying for a French business visa can vary based on several factors. Including, processing fees, service charges, and any additional services required for the application. As of November 2023, French visa application fees are as follows:

        • Standard fee: €80 – €99  (approximately $87 – $108) – After completing the payment, you will receive a receipt, which must be submitted along with other required documents.
        • Express processing fee: €20 (approximately US$22) – Express processing fees are optional and can be paid to speed up the processing of your application. If you choose to pay the express processing fee, your application may be processed within 48 hours.
        • Courier service fee: €30 (approximately US$33) – Courier service fees are optional and can be paid to have your visa delivered to your home address. If you choose to pay the courier service fee, your visa will be delivered to you within 5 to 7 business days.

        The total cost of applying for a French business visa for US citizens will depend on the type of visa you are applying for and the additional services you choose.

        How To Apply for a France Business Visa

        When it comes to applying for a business visa in France, there are several steps you need to follow. The first thing you should do is determine the type of business visa that suits your needs based on how long you plan to stay and the purpose of your visit.

        If your intended stay in France is less than 90 days, apply for a short stay visa, also known as a short stay Schengen visa. However, if you require a much longer trip, apply for the French long stay visa.

        Once you have identified the type of visa, you will need the following documents:

        • Completed application form
        • Valid passport with at least two blank pages
        • Three passport-sized photographs
        • Cover letter stating the purpose of your visit
        • Proof of accommodation in France
        • Financial evidence to support your stay
        • Proof of travel insurance

        After preparing your documents, and ensuring they meet the criteria. You will need to schedule an appointment at the French consulate or embassy in the US to submit your application.

        During the appointment, you may be required to provide biometric data such as fingerprints and undergo an interview to explain the purpose of your trip.

        The Processing Timeline of The France Business Visa Application

        The time it takes for processing applications for French business visas will vary depending on the time of year and the place where the application is submitted. Generally, US visa applications can take 2 to 10 weeks for applications to be processed.

        However, waiting times can vary and can sometimes take longer. It is vital to plan well in advance and submit the application at least three months before the departure date.

        To ensure a smooth application process, here are some tips:

        1. Thoroughly review the requirements and gather all necessary documents.
        2. Schedule an appointment at the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.
        3. When entering details ensure they are accurate and up to date.
        4. Stay informed about any changes to procedures or requirements.

        What a Business Visa Holder in France Can And Cannot Do?

        When you have a French business visa, it’s important to follow all the rules while in the country. This visa lets you visit France for business purposes, like attending meetings, trade shows, or conferences. But it does not allow visa holders to work or get a job in France.

        Once you have your visa, you should always stick to the purpose of your visit and not overstay the allowed time. Here is a general list of what you can and cannot do:

        What You Can Do:

        • Attend business meetings and conferences
        • Meet with potential partners, clients, or investors
        • Conduct market research and explore business opportunities
        • Participate in trade shows, exhibitions, and networking events
        • Open a company bank account and register a business
        • Rent office space and hire employees for the business
        • Apply for additional long-term visas or residence permits

        What You Cannot Do:

        • Work directly for or get paid by a French company
        • Engage in hands-on economic activity like sales transactions
        • Perform manual labor or provide direct services
        • Take on employment or a job with regular wages
        • Operate a business that was not outlined in the application
        • Remain in France after the visa expires without renewal
        • Travel freely within the Schengen area for over 90 days
        • Bring family members to France without separate visa approval

        Renewing or Extending a Business Visa in France

        If you want to stay in France after your business visa has expired, you have an option to either renew or extend it. To do this, you should start the process well before your French business visa expires to avoid disruptions.

        You have to complete an application online or at the French consulate or US embassy. When applying for a visa extension, you will have to provide the same documents as before, including a valid passport, proof of financial means, and evidence of your ongoing business activities in France. You may also need to provide a letter explaining the reasons for your extension.

        Once the application is submitted, it may take a few weeks for the authorities to process it. During this period, it’s essential to comply with the same visa regulations and avoid overstaying.

        If your application is approved, you will receive an extended visa, allowing you to continue your business activities in France.

        Total Law Can Help You

        For optimal processing of your French Business Visa application, it is recommended that you contact immigration specialists. Our expert team at Total Law has a deep understanding of the French visa system, and have particular expertise in helping US citizens navigate it.

        We are passionate about helping US citizens enter France legally. If you want to apply, we can help you through immigration services that include:

        • Evaluating your eligibility for the business Visa.
        • Assisting in compiling necessary evidence and documents.
        • Completing and submitting your application for higher success chances.
        • Providing regular updates on your application status.
        • Acting as intermediaries with French immigration authorities.

        Contact us at +1 844 290 6312. You can also email info@total.law or discuss with us via live chat on our website.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Additional costs such as translation services, travel expenses for appointments, and potential legal consultation fees may arise during the process of obtaining a business visa for France.

                  No, French business visa holders are not allowed to engage in employment activities while in France. These visas are strictly limited to conducting business-related activities as outlined by French immigration regulations.

                  Yes, you need a visa for business travel to France. The French business visa, also called the Schengen visa, allows access to France and 25 other European countries.

                  To create a France visa account, you need to go to the official website and fill out an application online. To register, go to https://france-visas.gouv.fr/ and create an account. You will be asked to provide an email address and create a password. With the France visas account, you can start and save future visa applications, upload documents, and pay the relevant fees.

                  Waiting times for appointments and for processing applications will vary depending on your nationality and the time of year. Generally, it will take around 15-days to complete the process but in some cases can take as long as 60 days to receive your visa.