For members


Reader question: Does France do ‘golden visas’?

Many countries have a 'golden visa' option for people with a bit of money to sort out their residency status, but what is the situation in France?

Reader question: Does France do 'golden visas'?
Photo: Lionel Bonaventure / AFP)

Question: Looking at the different French visas I don’t see the option, as some countries have, to get a visa through investment in a business or property – does this exist in France?

A so-called ‘Golden Visa’ is a programme for wealthy foreign nationals who want to acquire residency in a certain country by investing a substantial amount of money, or by purchasing a property.

In February, the European Parliament called for the phasing out of citizenship by investment programmes operated by some EU countries and for EU-wide regulation on the ‘golden visas’ offered to wealthy individuals. 

According to, 11 EU countries offer Golden Visas – which allow high-wealth individuals the right to stay in a country for an extended period, upon the investment of several hundred thousand euros. It’s sometimes regarded as a stepping stone to full citizenship.

France is not one of them. 

Instead, it 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 – known as a passeport talent (talent passport).

This is 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.

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

Individuals 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.

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.


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.


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


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

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

There’s a lot of paperwork, and the requirements for most categories are strict.

For example, people applying under the investor category must take an active role in the business in which they are investing, so it’s more involved than simply stumping up a few hundred thousand euro, or – as is possible in some EU countries – buying an expensive property.

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.

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

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: How to apply for a visa to France

The above all relates to the right to live in France, but doesn’t make you a French citizen.

The process for taking French citizenship is based on either being born in France, living here for a certain period of time or being married to a French national. Having lots of money makes no difference to your citizenship application, although you will be able to afford to hire someone to help you with the paperwork.

READ ALSO Am I eligible for citizenship in France?

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


How to get a summer job in France

As the summer holidays approach in France, many employers are looking for seasonal workers - so if you're looking for a summer job, here's how to go about it.

How to get a summer job in France

There are thousands of employment offers in France – a simple internet search for jobs d’été came up with numerous jobs boards offering work in France, while the government-backed Centre d’Information et de Documentation pour la Jeunesse (CIDJ) offers advice and information on all aspects of life for young people in France, including finding seasonal work and summer placements.

Sectors including agriculture, hospitality and tourism are always recruiting in the summer, seeking fruit-pickers, holiday camp workers and serving/hotel staff.

But what are the rules for people seeking summer jobs?

READ ALSO Vendange: What you really sign up for when you agree to help with the French wine harvest


Children from the age of 16 (under certain circumstances, the age limit drops to 14) who are legally resident in France can work as long as they have written authorisation from their parents or legal guardians. A model authorisation letter is available here

Those under the age of 18 cannot undertake certain jobs for health and safety reasons.

In the following circumstances, children as young as 14 or 15 can work during school holidays.

  • The holidays must last at least 14 days;
  • The child must work no more than half the days of the holiday – so, if a vacation period is two weeks, they can work for no more than one of those weeks;
  • The child is given ‘light duties’ that offer no risk to their safety, health, or development;
  • From the age of 15 and if the child has completed their troisieme education, a minor can register for an apprenticeship. 


Salary is usually paid monthly and will have a payslip. For those aged 18 and over, pay will be at least equal to the minimum wage.

 For those aged 14 to 17, who have less than six months’ professional experience, the minimum allowed rate is 80 percent of the minimum wage. For those aged 17 to 18, the rate rises to a minimum of 90 percent of France’s minimum wage.

  • The minimum wage in France is currently €10.85 gross per hour (€1,645.58 gross per month based on a 35-hour week);
  • the employment contract is fixed-term and can take different forms (fixed-term contract, seasonal employment contract, temporary employment contract, etc);
  • Seasonal employees are subject to the same obligations as the other employees of the company and have access to the same benefits (canteens, breaks, etc.).

Under 18s have certain additional protections:

  • between the ages of 14 and 16, during school holidays, employees on any contract cannot work more than 35 hours per week nor more than 7 hours per day;
  • They cannot work at night;
  • Those aged 14 to under 16 working during their school holidays can only be assigned to work which is not likely to harm their safety, their health or development.

Right to work in France

If you’re a French citizen or hold permanent residency in France then you have the right to work, but for foreigners there are extra restrictions.

Anyone who holds the passport of a EU/EEA country or Switzerland, is free to work in France or to travel to France seeking work without needing a visa or work permit.

Most other people will need permission to work in France – even if it’s only for a short period or for casual work such as grape-picking. Depending on your country of origin you may need a visa – everything you need to know about that is here.

In addition to the visa, you may also need a work permit, which is the responsibility of the employer.  To employ anyone in France for less than 90 days, an employer must get a temporary work permit – before the prospective employee applies for a short stay visa. This permit is then sent to the embassy at which the employee is applying for a visa.

If you come from countries including the UK, USA and Canada you can spend up to 90 days in France without a visa – but you may still need a work (convention d’accueil) if you want to work while you are here.

READ ALSO Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in France

Certain countries have specific ‘seasonal worker’ visas on offer, for certain sectors which allows – for example – Canadians to come to France and work the ski season. 

Cash-in-hand jobs

Certain sectors which have a lot of casual workers – for example seasonal fruit-picking – do have cash-in-hand jobs, known in France as marché noir (black market) or simply travail au black (working on the black, or working illegally). 

This is of course illegal and working this way carries risks – as well as the possibility of losing your job if labour inspectors turn up you are also in a vulnerable position. If your employer suddenly decides not to pay you, or make unexpected deductions from your wages, there is very little you can do about it since you won’t have any kind of work contract.