Long Term Visa / Self employed

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Long Term Visa / Self employed


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Old 27th July 2011, 05:38 PM
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Default Long Term Visa / Self employed

Hi all-

This is the first post for me since I've decided to move to Paris. I have an appointment to apply for a long-term visitor visa here at the consulate in San Francisco in a month.

Most of the long-term visitor visa requirements seem straightforward, but I have a couple of questions. Many of them have been answered so I'll try to keep my questions to the point.

I'm self-employed (an LLC in CA) and wish to continue to do this in France. I have enough money saved up that I could really just do a year in France without working but I'd prefer to work. I can telecommute and do other contracting for places outside of France--so actually doing work for French companies isn't on my radar at all.

I have talked to a number expats in France that have advised me of many ways to go about this. Usually it involves gaming the system in some way--which doesn't really appeal to me. I'd rather just be up-front and legit about the whole thing.

One person has advised that I can just have a long-term visitors visa and work remotely--pay taxes here in the US, renew the visa or carte de séjour over there every year--and nobody in France has to be the wiser. Is that legal? It seems like the perfect way for me to move there, but again it doesn't quite sound legit.

Regardless, it seems that the first step is definitely a long-term visa. The consulate web site states you need a long-term visitor visa if "you have suffficient income to stay in France without working (retired, sabbatical year…)" OR "you want to open a business in France and work as a self-employed". But then again later on in the web page, it states you also need a "Letter promising not to engage in any employment".

Sounds like once I'm there I can register for the auto-entrepreneur program? Right? I'm going to try to find a local lawyer/tax person here in SF that can probably answer these questions as well.

Last question about the visa (for now):

For the "Proof of accommodation in France (title deeds, lease or rental agreement)". I have a very generous offer to stay with a friend in Paris for a few weeks. Would that be enough to cover this requirement? What kind of proof would I need? A notarized letter? Or...?

The same person who was advising me on just using a long-term visitor visa for work had said I should come over to Paris, find an apartment, then come back to the US to get my visa. Obviously I'd just rather get over there and have some time to find the right place to live rather than rush through something when I don't even have a visa in hand.

Thanks a million in advance for any help!

Brian
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Old 27th July 2011, 07:59 PM
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As far as I know, you're probably going to have difficulty getting a long-term visa for France that will allow you to work while you're living there. It's usually a matter of your having to have some non-work source of income (usually a pension) judged sufficient so that you won't be tempted to work, or you have an employer who has gotten permission to hire a foreigner and thus becomes your visa sponsor.

On the self-employed front, there is always the competences et talents visa/carte de séjour, but that requires a full blown "project" that somehow benefits France by bringing some new competence, business or other skill set.

The main thing seems to be that they want you to be contributing to the social insurance system if you're going to be doing work in France, and the usual way to ensure that is to make sure you have a properly regulated employer in the picture.

Perhaps others have some ideas or experience that might work for you.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 27th July 2011, 10:06 PM
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Thanks for the reply, Bev.

Perhaps I stick with a regular long-term visitor visa? I have the necessary $$$ to not work if needed--OR I have no problem paying into the social system and becoming a full-blown tax-paying resident.

I wonder how full-blown the "project" needs to be for the competences et talents visa? Quickly looking at that page at the consulate, there is potential there. If anyone has insight on that process (how difficult or how long it takes), I'd love to hear it.

Or if anyone has any experience with the "you want to open a business in France and work as a self-employed" portion of a long-term visitor visa, that still seems to me to be the ideal path. Of course, I'm all new to this, so what do I know?

Thanks!

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Old 13th July 2012, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by brians View Post
Hi all-

This is the first post for me since I've decided to move to Paris. I have an appointment to apply for a long-term visitor visa here at the consulate in San Francisco in a month.

Most of the long-term visitor visa requirements seem straightforward, but I have a couple of questions. Many of them have been answered so I'll try to keep my questions to the point.

I'm self-employed (an LLC in CA) and wish to continue to do this in France. I have enough money saved up that I could really just do a year in France without working but I'd prefer to work. I can telecommute and do other contracting for places outside of France--so actually doing work for French companies isn't on my radar at all.

I have talked to a number expats in France that have advised me of many ways to go about this. Usually it involves gaming the system in some way--which doesn't really appeal to me. I'd rather just be up-front and legit about the whole thing.

One person has advised that I can just have a long-term visitors visa and work remotely--pay taxes here in the US, renew the visa or carte de séjour over there every year--and nobody in France has to be the wiser. Is that legal? It seems like the perfect way for me to move there, but again it doesn't quite sound legit.

Regardless, it seems that the first step is definitely a long-term visa. The consulate web site states you need a long-term visitor visa if "you have suffficient income to stay in France without working (retired, sabbatical year…)" OR "you want to open a business in France and work as a self-employed". But then again later on in the web page, it states you also need a "Letter promising not to engage in any employment".

Sounds like once I'm there I can register for the auto-entrepreneur program? Right? I'm going to try to find a local lawyer/tax person here in SF that can probably answer these questions as well.

Last question about the visa (for now):

For the "Proof of accommodation in France (title deeds, lease or rental agreement)". I have a very generous offer to stay with a friend in Paris for a few weeks. Would that be enough to cover this requirement? What kind of proof would I need? A notarized letter? Or...?

The same person who was advising me on just using a long-term visitor visa for work had said I should come over to Paris, find an apartment, then come back to the US to get my visa. Obviously I'd just rather get over there and have some time to find the right place to live rather than rush through something when I don't even have a visa in hand.

Thanks a million in advance for any help!

Brian
Brian - how did you do the letter for the visa? did you write it and sign it as you are owner of company? did you need to show bank statements or accounting papers to show your income? did you tell them you would not be working while in France? many thanks and apologies i dont know why the reply thing is showing up in here under your part. thanks in advance. Any other suggestions for self employed person also going to SFO for visa. Did you have to translate anything?

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Old 13th July 2012, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by hummingbird5 View Post
Brian - how did you do the letter for the visa? did you write it and sign it as you are owner of company? did you need to show bank statements or accounting papers to show your income? did you tell them you would not be working while in France? many thanks and apologies i dont know why the reply thing is showing up in here under your part. thanks in advance. Any other suggestions for self employed person also going to SFO for visa. Did you have to translate anything?
I went for the "competences et talents" visa, which DOES allow me to work legally, either for myself or for another company in my field. Search about it here on the forum or keep an eye out for it on the consulate website.

I wrote a letter outlying my background, my project overview, and why I wanted to live in France. It was actually just under two pages. The letter needs to be in english AND translated to french.

I did it as an individual, but did supply paperwork that verified that I actually had an LLC, along with lots of bank statements and tax returns, media coverage of my company, etc. I even included things like my diplomas from college. I included a LOT of things.

The important thing is to have 2 copies of EVERYTHING, including a copy of your plane ticket to france. They will take one copy of everything and keep it at the consulate, and another copy is sent to France. Make sure you also have a self-addressed express USPS envelope for them to send your passport back to you. Just be extremely organized and you'll be in and out of the consulate in 10 minutes.

Good luck!

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Old 13th July 2012, 01:39 PM
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I went for the "competences et talents" visa, which DOES allow me to work legally, either for myself or for another company in my field. Search about it here on the forum or keep an eye out for it on the consulate website.

I wrote a letter outlying my background, my project overview, and why I wanted to live in France. It was actually just under two pages. The letter needs to be in english AND translated to french.
Brian

I"m writing my C&T project description now and am in the midst of document gathering.

Can you outline what was in your C&T project description letter. I don't need too much in the way of details (don't want to pry), but it would be useful to know
  • What service does your business provide?
  • Can you describe the section headings (i.e., an outline)?
  • Can you provide a bit of detail about how you said your project benefits France?

It would be great to know, how your interview goes and what you're asked, too.

Thanks.

Ray

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Old 13th July 2012, 01:48 PM
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Brian

I"m writing my C&T project description now and am in the midst of document gathering.

Can you outline what was in your C&T project description letter. I don't need too much in the way of details (don't want to pry), but it would be useful to know
  • What service does your business provide?
  • Can you describe the section headings (i.e., an outline)?
  • Can you provide a bit of detail about how you said your project benefits France?

It would be great to know, how your interview goes and what you're asked, too.

Thanks.

Ray
My project description was short on details but instead focused on my background, potential things that I wanted to do (I'm a software developer for mobile devices), and why I wanted to move to france. It was about 2 pages long and I devoted about 1/3 of the total to each of those things (background, project, reasons for wanting to move).

I said things like I often contract out portions of the project and I could hire local people, etc. Nothing definite at all...that was all I said about benefiting france.

I actually am here in Paris and have been since October. I dropped off my package of documents and applications to the consulate in SF in mid august and received my visa about 2 weeks later. There was NO interview. I was in and out within about 10 minutes. My only interaction with anyone at the consulate was through the front desk and consisted of simply giving them two identical piles of documents. No questions at all. Did a fingerprint scan, they took my picture, and I paid the application fee.

Like I said, I received my visa in the mail (in my passport, which you leave with them) about 2 weeks later and I hopped on a plane to paris a month after that.

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Old 13th July 2012, 01:51 PM
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Like I said, I received my visa in the mail (in my passport, which you leave with them) about 2 weeks later and I hopped on a plane to paris a month after that.
CONGRATULATIONS! That's great news.

Did you get the C&T Visa for 3 years or a Long Stay Visa?

Ray

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Old 13th July 2012, 01:58 PM
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CONGRATULATIONS! That's great news.

Did you get the C&T Visa for 3 years or a Long Stay Visa?

Ray
Yep, the C&T for 3 years. It's wonderful!

Good luck!

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Old 13th July 2012, 02:12 PM
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hi brian,

i've been living in france for the past year with a long stay visa. i've been going back to l.a. every few months to work and i pay u.s. taxes. like you, i prefer to do things legitimately, so this has been the best solution for me.

i also found out that if i had a work visa for france, i would immediately be responsible to pay a minimum of 3,000 euros/year in taxes, which would have been a bit scary since i work for myself and would have had to find clients in france initially.

i got my long stay visa before i left the u.s. and was pleased and surprised to find that i actually had 15 months to stay in france because they first give you the 3 months that you get as a tourist, and then they added the 12 months of the visa. and it saved me an extra trip back to the u.s. to get my visa.

within the first three months of your initial arrival in france (with your visa), you have to report to the visa office in your area to make an appointment for a medical exam, including a chest x-ray. when you go for this appointment, make sure you have all the proper paperwork and pay with special stamps you can buy at the tabac stores. be sure that you get them in the correct colors and denominations! and even tho the paperwork says they will contact you to make an appointment for your medical exam, you really have to call and make the appointment - no one will contact you about this!

french bureaucracy is notorious for not giving you complete information and it can cause delays in getting your visa. it's better to bring everything they request, even if they say you can bring blah blah OR blah blah.

i just renewed my visa for another year. i was stressing about it but it was much easier than the first time - it seems they mostly wanted to make sure i had enough money to live on for another year, altho i still had to bring in all kinds of paperwork.

if you stay with someone without renting i think that person needs to write a statement that you are staying there. they may require a copy of that person's passport id page, but i don't think it needs to be notarized. my landlady had to write a letter stating that i was renting her apartment and i also needed to have a copy of her passport id. there might be a special form. all my paperwork is packed away as i'm on my way back to the u.s for another month of work, otherwise i could have given you much more specific information. all of that info came from the visa office in france, tho (OFII).

don't know anything about the auto-entrepeneurs program, but for me it seems much simpler to continue to work independently in the u.s. from time to time and yes, it's legitimate. i told the visa office that this is what i've been doing and they didn't raise any objections (and gave me my visa renewal!). you're lucky that you can probably do your work online, without having to return physically to the u.s. also, you can't be taxed on income by 2 countries, so you either pay taxes in the u.s. or to france, but not both.

hope that helps, and good luck!

lynne





Quote:
Originally Posted by brians View Post
Hi all-

This is the first post for me since I've decided to move to Paris. I have an appointment to apply for a long-term visitor visa here at the consulate in San Francisco in a month.

Most of the long-term visitor visa requirements seem straightforward, but I have a couple of questions. Many of them have been answered so I'll try to keep my questions to the point.

I'm self-employed (an LLC in CA) and wish to continue to do this in France. I have enough money saved up that I could really just do a year in France without working but I'd prefer to work. I can telecommute and do other contracting for places outside of France--so actually doing work for French companies isn't on my radar at all.

I have talked to a number expats in France that have advised me of many ways to go about this. Usually it involves gaming the system in some way--which doesn't really appeal to me. I'd rather just be up-front and legit about the whole thing.

One person has advised that I can just have a long-term visitors visa and work remotely--pay taxes here in the US, renew the visa or carte de séjour over there every year--and nobody in France has to be the wiser. Is that legal? It seems like the perfect way for me to move there, but again it doesn't quite sound legit.

Regardless, it seems that the first step is definitely a long-term visa. The consulate web site states you need a long-term visitor visa if "you have suffficient income to stay in France without working (retired, sabbatical year…)" OR "you want to open a business in France and work as a self-employed". But then again later on in the web page, it states you also need a "Letter promising not to engage in any employment".

Sounds like once I'm there I can register for the auto-entrepreneur program? Right? I'm going to try to find a local lawyer/tax person here in SF that can probably answer these questions as well.

Last question about the visa (for now):

For the "Proof of accommodation in France (title deeds, lease or rental agreement)". I have a very generous offer to stay with a friend in Paris for a few weeks. Would that be enough to cover this requirement? What kind of proof would I need? A notarized letter? Or...?

The same person who was advising me on just using a long-term visitor visa for work had said I should come over to Paris, find an apartment, then come back to the US to get my visa. Obviously I'd just rather get over there and have some time to find the right place to live rather than rush through something when I don't even have a visa in hand.

Thanks a million in advance for any help!

Brian

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