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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everybody. I've been searching in the forums but I couldn't find someone with this situation, so I thought I'd ask.

I'm an Israeli citizen and would like to move to France on account of a relationship with a woman with French citizenship. I know marriage would make this easier - but we're not there yet. I'm going to France soon for a period of 2.5 months to live with her but I've decided to also pursue a long term visa, for a one year period.

I work as a freelancer registered locally, in Israel, but I mainly have a single client paying me regularly - with invoices. While the sums are above average, I don't have "salary" forms as I'm not registered as an employee. I only have documents of the purchase orders and the financial transactions of funds.

This makes me worry about how to go about the "proof of means of support" section in my visa application. My bank account balance isn't so great: I can show the purchase orders & payment confirmations from the start of last year until today, and also purchase orders for the next months. However, because of the nature of my work it would be difficult to get a "contract"- up until now both me and my employer preferred short term commitments.

I should also mention that I intend to keep working for this company while in France (the work is not location-sensitive) - that's the only work I want to be doing. I know that the money would be enough to support me, but how do I make the consulate people see that? :)

Could anyone here please give advice on the best way to go about this?

* Also, when going to the interview in the consulate, is there something specific I should mention or avoid mentioning?
 

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If you are planning on living in France for a year or more, then you will be resident in France for tax purposes, and thus all work you do is considered to be income "earned in France" - no matter where your client(s) is located.

You may be able to obtain a "visitor" visa if you tell the consulate that you intend on setting up a business in France. You'll still need to show resources sufficient to provide for you for the first year (savings, for example) - but you'll need to establish a business entity in France to continue your freelance business while you are resident in France so that you are properly registered for social insurances and VAT.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply, but I'm not sure I understood.

First of all: does this apply even if I ask for the visa for just the one year? (the form has one option for "up to a year" and another option for "over a year")?

And second, you mean even if I never work within the French market but am getting paid from abroad into my Israeli bank accounts (while paying all the taxes inside Israel), I cannot stay in France using a visitor visa? I thought the visitor visa covered this kind of situation, and the work visa was requiring me to find a French employer.

Even as a tourist staying in France for two months, there is a problem with me still getting paid for work for my client?

If you are planning on living in France for a year or more, then you will be resident in France for tax purposes, and thus all work you do is considered to be income "earned in France" - no matter where your client(s) is located.

You may be able to obtain a "visitor" visa if you tell the consulate that you intend on setting up a business in France. You'll still need to show resources sufficient to provide for you for the first year (savings, for example) - but you'll need to establish a business entity in France to continue your freelance business while you are resident in France so that you are properly registered for social insurances and VAT.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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First of all: does this apply even if I ask for the visa for just the one year? (the form has one option for "up to a year" and another option for "over a year")?
Unless things change, yup. A visa is the document that allows you to enter France (for a particular purpose and for a particular period of time). Once you are here, you need a "titre de séjour" (basically, a residence permit). The "over a year" option on the form is simply a way of indicating whether or not you intend to renew your titre de séjour. The initial visa is never good for more than one year, as far as I know.

And second, you mean even if I never work within the French market but am getting paid from abroad into my Israeli bank accounts (while paying all the taxes inside Israel), I cannot stay in France using a visitor visa? I thought the visitor visa covered this kind of situation, and the work visa was requiring me to find a French employer.
A visitor visa is for someone who wishes to reside in France without working. Normally this is for someone who has savings available to finance their stay, or certain types of "passive" income - most likely a pension - that will sustain them during their stay.

If you are physically present and resident in France while performing work for your clients, you are considered to be "working in France" no matter where your clients are located and no matter how or where you are being paid. This means you are expected to pay French income taxes and (more importantly) French cotisations (social insurances). (Depending on the circumstances, you may even be expected to charge your clients French VAT at 19.6%.)

Even as a tourist staying in France for two months, there is a problem with me still getting paid for work for my client?
If you're only in France for two months, you're not considered "resident" in France (and probably don't need a visa, other than perhaps a tourist visa). Once you're in France for at least 183 days in a calendar year, there is a "presumption" that you are tax resident here.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Bev,

I guess I was wrong to immediately assume that it would be acceptable if I work with a non-French client. I see the consulate's list of requirements mentions under Proof of means of support "(financial resources, private income, pension etc.)" - would that be a reference to forms of passive income?

Do you think there a way around this? Like, if the work was committed prior to the period covered in the visa but the payments arrive later - would that still count as

I wonder about alternative paths: Is it possible to extend a tourist visa after returning back to Israel? Meaning, if I spend the maximum allowed number of days in France (for which, as you noted, I don't need a visa), is it likely that the consulate will agree to allow me, after returning Israel, to prolong my stay as a tourist (and to return in a short while)?

Also - I saw another post here in which someone mentioned stating "creating a family" as a reason for a request for extended stay. Is this something I should mention, the intention to be in France for the purposes of continuing the relationship towards marriage?

Thank you once again for your reply.

Unless things change, yup. A visa is the document that allows you to enter France (for a particular purpose and for a particular period of time). Once you are here, you need a "titre de séjour" (basically, a residence permit). The "over a year" option on the form is simply a way of indicating whether or not you intend to renew your titre de séjour. The initial visa is never good for more than one year, as far as I know.

A visitor visa is for someone who wishes to reside in France without working. Normally this is for someone who has savings available to finance their stay, or certain types of "passive" income - most likely a pension - that will sustain them during their stay.

If you are physically present and resident in France while performing work for your clients, you are considered to be "working in France" no matter where your clients are located and no matter how or where you are being paid. This means you are expected to pay French income taxes and (more importantly) French cotisations (social insurances). (Depending on the circumstances, you may even be expected to charge your clients French VAT at 19.6%.)

If you're only in France for two months, you're not considered "resident" in France (and probably don't need a visa, other than perhaps a tourist visa). Once you're in France for at least 183 days in a calendar year, there is a "presumption" that you are tax resident here.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I guess I was wrong to immediately assume that it would be acceptable if I work with a non-French client. I see the consulate's list of requirements mentions under Proof of means of support "(financial resources, private income, pension etc.)" - would that be a reference to forms of passive income?
Private income means if you have a trust fund, investment income or other source of income that you don't have to do anything in order to receive.

Do you think there a way around this? Like, if the work was committed prior to the period covered in the visa but the payments arrive later - would that still count as
The only way around this would be to finish your work commitment in Israel, all the while squirreling the money away in a bank account. If the bank account is adequate to keep you for a year, then yes, you can apply for a one year visitor visa and live off your "savings."

I wonder about alternative paths: Is it possible to extend a tourist visa after returning back to Israel? Meaning, if I spend the maximum allowed number of days in France (for which, as you noted, I don't need a visa), is it likely that the consulate will agree to allow me, after returning Israel, to prolong my stay as a tourist (and to return in a short while)?
A Schengen tourist visa is valid for 90 days out of any 180 day period. So if you spent the maximum 90 days in France, you need to stay out of the Schengen area for 90 days before you are allowed in on another Schengen visa.

Also - I saw another post here in which someone mentioned stating "creating a family" as a reason for a request for extended stay. Is this something I should mention, the intention to be in France for the purposes of continuing the relationship towards marriage?
In some consulates, they use a "visitor visa" as a sort of "fiancé visa" - which means that you are going to France with the intention to get married to a French national. Generally, this means that you have to be able to support yourself (or be supported by your fiancé) for a full year. You must get married in France during that first year - and when your titre de séjour comes up for renewal, you then apply to change status as the spouse of a French national. Most prefectures seem to require that you have lived together for at least six months at the time that you apply for your change of status. Once the change of status comes through (usually on renewal of the titre de séjour), you are then legal to work.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, thanks again for your detailed and informative answers. I hope that after my meeting in the consulate I'll be more encouraged.

What would be the amount required for a one-year stay? Is this something like monthly-minimum-wage multiplied by 12 months?
 

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OK I am happy to report that I got some answers from the consulate and they were a bit more encouraging. First of all, the person there assured me that as long as my work doesn't involve France or I engage with French clients, there is no problem with me continuing my work, and getting income into my Israeli accounts. In fact, he said that a contract (if I manage to draft one with my client) would work for my benefit as a part of the required proof of funds.

I will of course update once the process continues - especially if I found out there are complications - but for now I think I'll only get some of the documents ready, and will resume it later on.
 
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