Freelance Visa In France From USA

It’s estimated that over 3% of the total working population of France are freelancers. American nationals (or indeed any non EU citizen) may apply for a French self employment visa to allow them to conduct freelance business in the country.

Total Law are visa experts and help numerous Americans meet their professional goals across Europe. Give our North American office a call on +1 844 290 6312 or send a message online, to discuss your self employment visa application and get advice on how best to find success with it.

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    Working As A Freelancer In France From USA: The Basics

    While there is no specific freelance visa, France does offer a couple of options which may be applicable depending on the freelancer’s circumstances and area of business. These are:

    • The micro-entrepreneur route. This visa class is for those who wish to open a small business in France and carry out business activity there; hiring employees in a French office (even if this will later simply be a French branch of a larger international business or local branch of a French company).
    • The liberal profession route. This visa class is for independent contractors who offer their services to multiple clients without becoming a direct employee of any of them.

    Both categories of freelance business activity in France are covered by a self employment visa, with eligibility criteria that will vary depending on the application for each.

    These are long stay visas equivalent to legal residency permits and are usually valid for an initial period of up to one year.

    Self employment visas for France are only required for non EU and non EEA citizens. Those already legally living and working in an EU or EEA state may work as a freelancer under their freedom of movement rights. For other business types, other work in France visas and the talent visa programme may be more suitable.

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    Requirements For France Long Stay Visa

    The application process to work in France as a self-employed person (or to hold micro entrepreneur status) is slightly different to that of other visas and has different eligibility criteria.

    Eligibility Criteria to receive Micro Entrepreneur status in France

    To register as a micro entrepreneur in France, the turnover of the applicant’s business must not exceed the French government’s stipulated maximum amount. If it does, a different class of business visa must be applied for.

    As of 2023, the maximum turnover thresholds sit at €72,500 per annum for the provision of services or professional activity, and €176,200 per annum for selling and buying goods or running a hospitality business.

    Several professions are excluded from the qualification of micro entrepreneurship, including health professionals, financial consultants and estate agents. Providing the business to be run is not excluded and the maximum turnover threshold not breached, the applicant may go ahead and apply for a self employment visa.

    Eligibility Criteria to receive Self Employed status in France

    Firstly, the applicant must check to see if their area of professional expertise is regulated in France. Many professions are, including those working as architects, vets and hairdressers.

    If the professional activity intended to be undertaken in France falls into one of these regulation categories, the self-employed person must first apply for and receive prior authorisation from French authorities. Until this is granted, no visa can be applied for.

    Once authorisation is received (if required), the following conditions must be met:

    • The applicant does not carry out a salaried activity.
    • The applicant earns at least the legal minimum wage in France (as of November 2023, this is €20,147.40 gross per annum).
    • The applicant holds academic or professional qualifications relevant to their profession.

    Do you need help navigating the application process of the freelance visa in France? Speak with us today. Contact Us

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      Supporting Documentation Requirements

      The following documents must be submitted alongside the application to register as a self employed person or in a liberal profession:

      • A valid passport that expires no sooner than three months after the initial visa period
      • 3x recent passport-standard photos
      • A completed and signed long stay visa application form
      • Documents proving professional capacity for self employment. This is usually a CV and relevant qualification certification
      • Proof that the freelancing work generates at least the French minimum wage per annum
      • Proof of an appropriate cover level of health insurance for the entire visa period
      • A certificate demonstrating a clean criminal record in the applicant’s home country
      • (Where applicable) Proof of authorisation for the regulated profession to be carried out in France from the corresponding French authorities

      Further supporting documents may be requested by the French administration services during the processing period. All the documents submitted are to be translated into the French language if not already and legalised by an appropriate apostille or legal representative.

      A non-refundable visa fee of €99 is payable upon submission. This application fee is non-refundable.

      How To Apply for a France Freelance Visa

      To obtain a self employed or profession liberale visa, the following steps must be undertaken:

      Seek specialist legal support

      Failure to receive a long stay visa means that a non EU citizen will be unable to legally live and work in France, which can have difficult consequences on their professional activities if they were pre-planned. It’s recommended, therefore, that applicants seek specialist legal support to guide them through the application process.

      Total Law can offer exactly this, and are contactable for a free chat with no obligation on +1 844 290 6312.

      Obtain relevant professional authorisation

      If the business activities to be completed when the applicant receives self employment status are on the list of regulated professions in France, the relevant authorisation from the appropriate governing body must be sought ahead of any visa application being made.

      Specific regulations apply to many professions in France and so this must always be double checked.

      Compile supporting documents

      All documentation required for submission alongside the visa application should be compiled and where appropriate, translated into the French language and legalised.

      There is no recourse for documents to be submitted later on unless specifically requested, and so this task should happen ahead of the application stage. All your documents should be provided in a format sufficient for online submission.

      Submit application online

      The application form and all the documents supporting it are submitted online through the dedicated portal on the France visas website, france-visas.gouv.fr.

      Receive decision

      Once the application and all your documents have been submitted, it can take up to 2 months to receive an affirmative visa decision or a decline. If the application is declined, there may be a route to appeal and any such details will be provided along with the decision reasoning. If further following documents are requested, this may pause the process’ timeline.

      Validate visa

      If the self employment visa is accepted, the long stay visa must be validated within three months from its date of commencement. The self-employed person will obtain their residence permit through this validation, with the process being the same whether they’re holding a self employment or professional liberale visa. Without this validation, the visa will expire and the self employed person will not be able to legally live and work in France.

      Start work

      Once the positive decision has been received, the visa is considered to begin and the applicant (now visa holder) may travel and begin their work in France.

      Our specialist advisors are equipped to position your application with the best possible chance of success. Contact Us

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        Rights & Benefits of Freelancers in France

        For those self employed under a freelance visa, there are many benefits to working in France. This includes:

        • Flexible taxation options – long stay visa holders do hold a legal status where they must pay tax and social contributions, but the options to do so are flexible. The flat rate of tax and social contributions varies dependent on the individual or company’s activity and the visa holder can choose for pay such sums monthly or quarterly.
        • Access to a French bank account – long stay visa holders working on a self employed basis in France are able to open a bank account in France immediately.
        • Family Reunification rights – after an 18-month period, the visa holder may apply to move their spouse and any dependent children on their own long stay visa. They will not need to apply for work visas to be employed in France.
        • Freedom of movement around the EU – as a European Union and Schengen state, those legally resident in France may travel freely around both zones without any further visa requirement.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        Total Law specialise in visa applications and appeals and assign a specialist immigration lawyer to every case. Navigating the process from start to finish, Total Law’s team can help with registering regulated professions, becoming a digital nomad, working the consulate website system for application, demonstrating economic viability or obtaining a specific document justifying a business structure or activity.

        Whatever the concern, our vast legal knowledge and strategic relationships with various French government bodies can support you throughout.

        Our North American office is contactable on +1 844 290 6312 or message us online, to discuss a bespoke approach to your situation.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  A self employed individual must earn at least the French legal minimum wage to be granted the right one of the self employment visas. France reviews this amount every few years. Financial requirements vary for the talent passport scheme, and so that visa route may be more appropriate in some circumstances.

                  There is no requirement for visa applicants to provide proof of any prior knowledge of French society, culture or history before applying for a freelancer visa.

                  Contrary to popular misconception, freelancing and the concept of being a digital nomad is not entirely the same. A freelancer is an individual providing a professional service or activity to clients without being a direct employee. A digital nomad is someone who can complete their job role remotely from anywhere in the world. France has a digital nomad visa program.

                  If over a time an American (or any non EU citizen) freelancer legally works and lives in the country long term, they may be naturalised into France and eventually be able to apply for French citizenship; regardless of their professional experience.

                  There is no requirement for a visa applicant to declare their relationship status on a work visa application and it will hold no bearing on its outcome. However, if they marry or enter into a civil partnership with a French national, this may prove a route to citizenship later on.