The biggest misconception that I hear, as an immigration attorney in France, is the idea that the only two ways to make the move to France are either (1) by marrying a French national, or (2) getting a job offer in France. In reality, unless you already have a French job offer or chéri/chérie, those are two of the hardest ways to qualify for a visa, and yet there are more than 30 categories of visa available.
Types of Visa Categories in France
To make things simple, there are basically four types of French visa:
• Student visa
• Visitor visa
• Family-based visa
• Work-based visa (for entrepreneurs, employees, and the "Talent Passport" categories)
Amongst these choices, I would say the Visitor visa is overlooked and underestimated – but it may in fact be your best way into France. The visitor visa has two strong advantages:
- The processing time is quick (1-3 weeks)
- The approval rating is very high
What are the requirements for the French Visitor Visa?
They’ll want you to demonstrate financial stability, have an address lined up in France (which is easier than you think), health coverage, and a promise to not work (which pertains to French clients and French employers).
The visitor visa gets you into France, but the key limitation is that it does not include work authorization. This means you do not have the right to work as an employee of a French company or open your own French company, unless you change your status to a different immigration status.
But what about teleworking or working Remotely in France?
Teleworking (or working remotely) is the most important question when it comes to the Visitor status. Rather than answer this directly, I’ll quote the French consulate in Washington DC: “Teleworking, when done from home and with no contact with the French labor market, is permissible and one does not pay into French social charges.”
The result is that many of my clients opt for the long-stay Visitor visa, which gets them into France, gets them on to the long-term track towards long-term residency in France, and potentially on the track towards French naturalization.
Born and raised in San Diego, California, Daniel is a dual-qualified French-US attorney, and practices exclusively French in-bound immigration, with a focus on private clients.
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