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IMMIGRATION

Talent passport: The little-known French visa that could make moving to France a lot easier

In its ongoing quest to attract new talent, France has expanded the categories of people who are eligible for its 'talent passport' visa and moved the process online. Here's what you need to know.

Talent passport: The little-known French visa that could make moving to France a lot easier
The French government is keen to attract talent from around the world. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP

Moving to France from a non-EU country (which now includes the UK) is a matter of visas and paperwork, but many people might be surprised to find that they are eligible straight away for a four-year visa that also allows them to being family members with them.

And on May 25th the entire process moved online making it much more user-friendly.

READ ALSO The post-Brexit visa requirements for Brits in France

What’s a passeport talent?

The passeport talent (talent passport) offers a four-year work visa to people who can demonstrate certain business, creative or academic skills, or who have a provable reputation in their field – for example, scientific, literary, artistic, intellectual, educational, or sporting. 

While businesses can use the passeport talent to bring non-EU employees to France, the programme does not require a holder to have a job waiting for them. 

Holders can, for example, look for work or set up their own business after they arrive in the country. It also allows the holder’s immediate family to live in France.

Who’s eligible?

Importantly, it’s not limited to research scientists or mega-rich business leaders. Equally, it must be noted, it’s not a free-for-all. There are several categories, and some are harder to qualify for than others.

You can be a qualified or highly qualified paid employee of:

– a ‘young innovative company’

– a company in the same group as the company you currently work for

– a public or private research institute or higher education organisation

OR

A self-employed person or engaged in a liberal profession planning to:

– create a business or take one over

– make a direct economic investment

– engage in an innovative economic project recognised by a public body

– take up a corporate appointment in a French company

The list of occupations classed as a ‘liberal profession’ is quite long and includes lawyers, physiotherapists, doctors, writers, editors, sports professionals – find the full list here.

OR

Are able to prove your national or international reputation and plan to:

– engage in an activity in France linked to your national or international reputation

OR

A performer or have created a literary or artistic work and:

– plan to come to France for employment or self-employment

Is the scheme any good?

It is. Fiona Mougenot, managing director of immigration consultancy Expat Partners believes it is one of the best around.

“Talent attraction and retention is one of the hardest things for any country. Everyone’s trying to attract talent,” she said.

“France has the most wonderful immigration category – this passeport talent category. It’s very unique what they have set up. In my opinion it’s one of the best visa methods for attracting talent. 

“When you see that young students who have finished a Masters degree here – or a qualification at that level – can remain in France and could get a talent passport, that’s really saying France doesn’t just want to offer an education, it’s also offering the possibility for that person to stay … and France retains the talent.

“France is genuinely searching for talent.”

The current government is keen to attract foreign talent and investment and president Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly stated his ambition to wake up France’s economy, bring in international and talent and make France the ‘start-up nation’.

As Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness Franck Riester said in a Twitter thread in 2020: “The passeport talent offers the possibility for investors, entrepreneurs, and foreign executives to settle and work in France with their families. 

“It is to encourage talents from all over the world to choose our country to develop growth and employment.”

 

There must be a catch…

Not really. There’s a lot of paperwork, and the requirements for most categories are strict.

For example, people applying under the investor category cannot simply stump up €300,000, or buy an apartment in Paris and expect to be handed a passeport talent, Mougenot said. They must take an active role in the business in which they are investing.

Meanwhile, those planning on setting up a new business must invest a minimum of €30,000 in it, and must hold a degree at least equivalent to a master’s degree or be able to prove a minimum five years of professional experience at a comparable level.

Financial records and business plans will be required as part of the application process. And applicants must be able to demonstrate that they would not be an immediate drain on the state – so there’s no applying for one and then promptly trying to claim French unemployment benefits.

But in 2019, 37,010 passeports talent were issued or renewed, so clearly plenty of people managed to fit into those categories.

For more information and to start the application process, click HERE

If you don’t fit into any of those categories, there are plenty of other visa types, find out more in our visa guide HERE.

Member comments

  1. I’m here on a talent passport! One-year visa in 2019, another one-year visa in 2020, to attend an arts residence. As a self-employed/freelancer, though, I had to prove I had enough money in the bank saved up to support myself and my family. I wonder if you apply for a four-year visa, do you have to document four years worth of funds available? Our savings have run out and we’re headed back to Canada soon, but I’d definitely do it again if I could.

  2. I completed all the necessary biz creation paperwork, funded a capital account in France, obtained insurance etc etc. Three months after submitting my very complete talent visa application, the consulate still has my passport (and those of my family). No updates other than “it is still in process”… It doesn’t seem that my application is actually being reviewed. I have made a substantial monetary investment and would be contributing to the French economy, so I am surprised to see the contrast between the promotion of the talent visa and my own experience! I have no option for communication / feedback.

  3. I have found that many of the incubator sites have non-functional contact pages. I have called by telephone and received an email address but there is no answer. ([email protected])
    Since the first step in the process is to be admitted into one of the regional organizations, I am baffled by the dysfunction.
    Peter C Droste
    [email protected]

  4. I have found that many of the incubator sites have non-functional contact pages. I have called by telephone and received an email address but there is no answer. ([email protected])
    Since the first step in the process is to be admitted into one of the regional organizations, I am baffled by the dysfunction.
    Peter C Droste
    [email protected]

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For members

PROPERTY

French property hotspots: The coastal areas that buyers are flocking to

The French property market is the busiest it has been for decades, with coastal properties particularly in demand. France-based real estate agent Joanna Leggett shared three of the biggest hotspots for buyers.

French property hotspots: The coastal areas that buyers are flocking to
We haven’t seen anything like it in well over 20 years of selling French property. Our agents are working flat out to field enquiries from both domestic buyers and those from the UK and beyond.

It’s not just us though – the Notaires de France tell us that there have been almost 1.2 m sales across the country in the last 12 months. To put this into context we’d normally expect this figure to be around the 900,000 mark. 

READ ALSO 5 of the most affordable places to buy property in France

So why is French property so popular? 

Well, obviously the sunshine, food and drink, stunning landscapes, and quality of life play a big part. But these are ever-present. What’s really different at the moment is: 

  • a post-pandemic urge to buy country property that is light and airy, with access to outside space and fresh air. 

  • cheap finance – mortgage rates have been at historically low levels (although rising now).  

  • value for money – property prices in Paris, London and other European cities have risen steadily, whilst country property in France has lagged behind. This means it is great value by comparison. 

There has been plenty of research, undertaken since the Covid lockdowns, that shows a clear shift in buyer need.

One report (undertaken by UBS Wealth Management) said that 75 percent of people polled anticipated permanent lifestyle shifts, including less time spent in the office.

READ ALSO How to get rid of squatters from your French property

This anticipation is turning into reality as buyers look for second homes that have a good-sized home office – the most sought-after properties have high speed internet (preferably fibre) and a home office with a view.

Hotspots 

Pretty much all properties on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts are in great demand. However, we have identified three hot-spots where buyers, from both France and overseas, are fighting over the few properties that are coming on to the market. 

Bay de Morlaix in Brittany is the perfect location for a holiday home and is particularly popular with buyers from Paris and the UK. The sandy beaches and sheltered coastline make it perfect for family holidays. 

Morlaix itself is famous for its unique architecture, with pretty, timbered, houses that were built for the wealthy linen traders. Carantec is another popular location, and you will pay an average of €2,500 euros per square metre there, which makes it great value as a holiday-home retreat. 

Second home owners: What can you bring to your French property?

Royan and surrounding resorts in Charente-Maritime are also hugely popular at the moment.

They are close to the airport in La Rochelle which has flights from European cities including London, Manchester, Bristol, and Dublin. The microclimate in this area makes it the second sunniest part of France and the beaches are sandy and safe, with a choice of wonderful seafood restaurants on hand.

The average cost of an apartment in Royan is €3,490 per square metre, move inland to neighbouring Charente and prices are even lower. 

Cote d’Azur – the Mediterranean cost is ever popular, but the Leggett office in Nice is seeing a daily influx of both local and international buyers.

It is best summed up by Dan Norris, who runs our team in the area: “The market is on fire at every price level. It is dominated by local buyers and you need to move quickly. Properties are selling within hours of coming on the market, this is the craziest I have ever seen it“.

Prices are higher of course, with an apartment in Nice costing an average of €4,240 per square metre. Head up into the hills and you get views out over the Mediterranean, but fewer crowds and lower prices. 

Joanna Leggett is Marketing Director of Leggett Immobilier, the leading international estate agency in France, www.leggettfrance.com 

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