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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I have spent a lot of time reading this great forum and have found it very helpful. I'm hoping maybe to get some advice about my specific situation as I'm unclear on how to proceed...

I have been a self-employed website developer for the last 6 years with steady, reliable income. Right now, I have two regular clients who pay me monthly and a handful of other clients who come and go. All of my clients are Canadian (I am too) and I have no intention of ever looking for clients in France while I am there. I will be working for my existing clients only.

I have read elsewhere that the common thing to do in my situation is to apply for just a regular long-term visitor visa and show the proof of my income and savings.

But I also see on the Vancouver consulate's website that there is a visa category for "Independent Workers" and I wonder if I should pursue that instead.

If anyone can advise me, I'd appreciate it very much.

As well, if anyone could recommend an English-speaking immigration lawyer in France who might be a good person to talk to, that would be wonderful as well.
 

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One of the "tricks" of applying for a visa for France is that you are generally asked for your "reason" for wanting to come to France. If you're saying that you want to go to France as an "independent worker" but that you have no intention of ever looking for clients in France while you're there, the question arises why you want to come to France in the first place.

If you're planning on just staying for a year or two, chances are you can probably get by (as long as you have some other "reason" for wanting to be in France) on a visitor visa, and owning up to the fact that you will continue supporting your Canadian clients online and that's how you'll support yourself while you're in France. Meanwhile, as a "visitor" you'll have to provide your own health insurance and meet the other requirements for the visa.

However, if you're planning on staying "indefinitely" by going for the "Independent Worker" visa, you're basically saying that you will set up a French business entity and pay French cotisations and income taxes. Trust me, that will change your cost structure and may change what you have to charge your Canadian customers - for example, you'll wind up paying out nearly 40% of your profits off the top for cotisations (social insurances) unless you set yourself up as an "auto-entrepreneur" (in which case you'll pay about 23% of your gross revenue, before any deductions for expenses).

Basically, it comes down to what your goal is in relocating to France.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you very much Bev, I appreciate hearing from you.

I guess my "reasons" for wanting to spend more time in France are varied. I can speak French at a medium level and so I can survive there more in easily than other countries. And a big reason for staying there longer would be to improve my French.

I do have friends in France already, so that is a "reason" as well.

My reasons are all personal ones and not related to my business. And I don't intend on staying in France indefinitely -- a year or less is all I'm asking for... all of which leads me to believe the visitor visa is the way to go...
 

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Under those conditions, I think you're right - the visitor visa is the way to go. If you were to enroll in some kind of formal language training program (wouldn't have to be full time), you might be able to go for a student visa - in which case your telecommuting might be viewed a bit more favorably as your means of financing your stay.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just wanted to post a follow-up... I heard back from the consulate today and...

I GOT MY VISA!

I can't express in words how thrilled I am. This is an opportunity I've been dreaming of!

I really want to thank Bevdeforges for posting replies to me. It helped reassure me I was on the right track.

I ended up applying for the long-term visitor visa with a notarized statement that I would not seek work or clients in France. That, along with a bunch of documents in my giant application, was what I needed!

If people come across this thread in their own search for info, please send me a message. I know how frustrating it can be to find information about this and while my knowledge might be limited to the specific consulate in Vancouver through which I applied, I'm still happy to share more about my experience!
 

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Good for you! Glad to hear things turned out the way you wanted. And keep us posted on your progress in moving to France.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Good day!
I have been looking for visa information on the forum and believe we are in the same boat as you were. Bit more complicated since we have to take into account schooling for our kids.

Our situation:
I am looking to go to Paris to enrol in a patisserie school for 7mths +3-6mth internship.

My husband is a self employed contractor (software architect) for a major international company HQ in Geneva, with an office in Paris. He is currently under a yearly contract to the Sydney office. Office policy is max contact 1yr. Renew contract every year.
They assured him he's going to get renewed but I'm not sure how we will convince the French!

We have 2 kids and we are intending to go and experience France as a family whilst I attend school. I would like to continue doing internship for another year to gain more experience before heading back home to Sydney.

Question is what visa should we get the husband to allow him to continue his work for the Sydney office, and lets our kids study in a state run school (not public, or private, but one where you have to pay and the kids study in English and get French as a second language run by the state...?)

Does he apply for the long term visitor visa or working holiday or? We are looking to stay up to 2 years max. Working holiday visa is only 1yr, isn't it. And kids can't attend state school?

Would his visa extend to us as a family?
Would I be able to do internship under it? Or do I have to apply separately as a student ?

I am able to apply for a student visa I believe when the school accepts my application which allows me to stay the 7mths+3mths internship. When I asked the school if I could do a longer 6mth internship or longer, they said not likely under the student visa unless I go enrol in a language school to extend my stay.

I will be getting language lessons at the patisserie school but not thinking of paying for language school so I could do an internship that pays nothing. So I'm hoping for a cheaper solution to be able to stay 2yrs.

Appreciate your insights.

Em
 

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This may be tricky because you may be trying to do too many things at once here.

Question is what visa should we get the husband to allow him to continue his work for the Sydney office, and lets our kids study in a state run school (not public, or private, but one where you have to pay and the kids study in English and get French as a second language run by the state...?)
First of all, I don't think there are any schools that match the description you give here. State run schools are public schools and you don't pay for your kids to attend. There are some "bilingual" public schools in France, mostly at the collège (i.e. middle school) and lycée (high school) levels. But a bilingual school is merely one where some subjects are taught in French and others in the other language (English, for your kids). Now, in the regular French public schools there are some facilities for helping foreign kids learn French, but these vary according to location (and, I suppose, the proportion of foreign kids in the area needing this sort of help).

Now, a visa that allows your husband to continue to work for the Sydney office is also a bit problematic, unless the Sydney office is registered as a French employer and/or can make the appropriate payments into the French cotisation (social insurance) scheme. It is sometimes possible to avoid the cotisations for a foreign employee who transfers temporarily to the employer's French offices, but this normally only applies to managerial or executive level employees. Still, up to the employer if they are willing and able to transfer him to the Paris office for a year or two. (If they do, they take care of the visa.)

Does he apply for the long term visitor visa or working holiday or? We are looking to stay up to 2 years max. Working holiday visa is only 1yr, isn't it. And kids can't attend state school?
Not sure, but I don't think the Working Holiday Visa allows for dependents. And a visitor visa means you have to swear you won't work while in France.

Would his visa extend to us as a family?
Would I be able to do internship under it? Or do I have to apply separately as a student ?
Not on a working holiday visa. Visitor visa is kind of out of the question because of the no-work requirement. If you could get his employer to transfer him temporarily, then yes, you and the kids could get dependent visas and I'm fairly sure you could do your studies and probably even an internship as a dependent.
I am able to apply for a student visa I believe when the school accepts my application which allows me to stay the 7mths+3mths internship. When I asked the school if I could do a longer 6mth internship or longer, they said not likely under the student visa unless I go enrol in a language school to extend my stay.
With a student visa, the term of the visa is basically the school term. You can renew a student visa if you enroll in another academic program. But in France, an internship is a work program required by the school as part of the academic program. If the school only requires 3 months, you can't voluntarily extend it just because you want to stay on in France.

I will be getting language lessons at the patisserie school but not thinking of paying for language school so I could do an internship that pays nothing. So I'm hoping for a cheaper solution to be able to stay 2yrs.
You may have to go back and re-think this plan. Unless your husband can convince his employer to transfer him, he's going to have difficulty getting a visa at all. And don't forget that, for a student visa, you have to show that you have the financial resources to fund your school and living expenses for the full term of the visa. Although a student visa allows you to work part-time, it's really just for spending money. You have to have the basic living expenses in hand when you apply for the visa.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks for your quick reply, Bev!

It does sound like we are trying to do a lot but it's actually pretty simple.

I'm wanting to do a French course and have work experience for up to 2yrs, and have my family tag along (husband has to work to support our stay, kids go to affordable school).

Our consulate here wasn't very helpful when we asked them about which visa to apply. They just said apply the one you think is right and we'll know the outcome!
:sleepy:

So from what was said in this thread, can I assume we can all apply for the long term visitor visa and my husband can work for his current non French customers as a means to support our stint financially ?

For kids schooling, I might have been referring to the private ones that are under contract by the state.

Em
 

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So from what was said in this thread, can I assume we can all apply for the long term visitor visa and my husband can work for his current non French customers as a means to support our stint financially ?
I think you're completely mis-reading things here. For a long-term visitor visa, you will have to show that you have sufficient financial resources up front to pay for your "visit" - your husband will NOT be able to work to support your stay. (Performing paid work while physically present in France is considered "working in France" and thus subject to French social charges and French taxes.) And, although you will be able to attend a school program, you will only be allowed to work for the period of the required "stage" (i.e. internship). Anything after that will require a work permit, which is pretty difficult to get for an entry level job. (In France, an internship must be part of a school or academic program and it's a three way contract - between the student, the employer and the school.)

Assuming you could get a visitor visa, though, your kids would be able to attend the French public schools while the family was in residence.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hmm...I was reading what the initial poster endless.wander said about getting a long term visitor visa whilst working during his stay for non French clients i.e his source of income would be foreign, and he/she got his visa approved.

I thought that was the same thing as what my husband would be doing.

If I had been mistaken, I would have to go for the student visa which would let me be there for the course+ internship duration.
But how could my husband and kids come for a year? :sleepy:
 

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You can certainly try the visitor visa route if you like. Just be aware that different consulates react differently to these types of situations. And the consulate in Sydney has its own reputation for being kind of sticky about the letter of the law (or rather, the regulations). If you get turned down, you're out the visa fees because those won't be refunded.

Going the student route, you'll have to show resources to fund your stay for the whole family (if they even allow dependents on a student visa - not sure on that one). Again, it's a bit of a crap shoot either way.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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