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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I've read these forums a few times, finally created an account as I have some questions. I apologise if my questions have already been answered before.

My girlfriend is French, I'm Australian. We're both living in Australia at the moment. She must leave Australia at the end of this year and we've booked flights to France for early January.

I work for myself in a small company of which I am a director. My hope is to continue working for myself (but remotely) in my company while I'm in France. I want to understand what the best visa is for me to do this.

The following visas have caught my eye, and I'd love to clarify some details of them as the consulate does not seem very helpful!

Working Holiday Visa
- How strict is the requirement to have a "return ticket"? Can I have a ticket that takes me out of France or must the itinerary/ticket booking show me travelling all the way back to Australia? Must the flight be direct to Australia from France?
- Must I work for a French employer under this visa? Is it possible to continue to work for my Australian company?
- I need to travel for business next year. Does the Working Holiday Visa allow me to exit/re-enter France for business purposes? I'd only be gone for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.

Long Stay Visitor Visa
- My primary question regarding this is: can you work while under this visa? I noticed the website states that you "cannot work in France" but is that referring to working for a French company or does it mean you cannot work for anyone at all while in France under this visa?

Spouse of a French Citizen
- My girlfriend and I intend to marry within the next year. We didn't want to rush it in the last couple of months while we're in Australia but we're willing to marry within a few months of arriving in France.
- Does anyone know the options available to transfer to this visa if you've already applied and been granted a working holiday visa?

Auto-Entrepreneur
- I only read about this from Bev's stickied thread today. It seems very promising but as I understand it, to be eligible I must be under a more permanent visa than the Working Holiday Visa. For example the Spousal Visa would enable me to be an Auto-Entrepreneur?

Right now the strategy I'm looking at is to apply for the Working Holiday Visa and to marry my girlfriend next year, then for us to apply for the Spousal Visa. For this to work I'm assuming that:
- I can somehow work for my company while I'm in France under the Working Holiday Visa. Can I be paid into my Australian bank account and make regular transfers to a French account?
- I can transition from the Working Holiday Visa to the Spousal Visa, halfway through the first visa's lifetime.
- I will have to pay for a return ticket for my visa application to be eligible.

Sorry for so many questions, I am struggling to understand all the options with so little information available on the consulate website.
 

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OK, taken in order:

Working Holiday Visa
- How strict is the requirement to have a "return ticket"? Can I have a ticket that takes me out of France or must the itinerary/ticket booking show me travelling all the way back to Australia? Must the flight be direct to Australia from France?
- Must I work for a French employer under this visa? Is it possible to continue to work for my Australian company?
- I need to travel for business next year. Does the Working Holiday Visa allow me to exit/re-enter France for business purposes? I'd only be gone for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.
Yes, you are expected to work for a French employer - that's kind of the purpose of the WHV program. Plus, you really are expected to leave France at the end of the WHV term. It isn't clear whether you could change your status if you got married during the term - but if the prefecture wants to be sticky about it, they could require you to return to Oz in order to apply for a proper spouse visa if you get married during the year. (WHV is not a renewable visa, and that's the requirement for a change in status.)

Long Stay Visitor Visa
- My primary question regarding this is: can you work while under this visa? I noticed the website states that you "cannot work in France" but is that referring to working for a French company or does it mean you cannot work for anyone at all while in France under this visa?
This one is also a bit iffy. You are not allowed to work on a visitor visa - but because it is a renewable visa, you would be able to change status to that of spouse when the visa comes up for renewal.

Now, some consulates advise this visa for "entrepreneurs" looking to go to France to establish a company or business here. But not all consulates. You'd have to see what your consulate says.

Spouse of a French Citizen
- My girlfriend and I intend to marry within the next year. We didn't want to rush it in the last couple of months while we're in Australia but we're willing to marry within a few months of arriving in France.
- Does anyone know the options available to transfer to this visa if you've already applied and been granted a working holiday visa?
As mentioned above, it depends on the prefecture, but the way the rules are stated, you can only change your status if you are on a renewable long-stay visa, which the WHV is NOT. And, just to be clear, you can't change status in any event until the original visa comes up for renewal (i.e. after your first year in France).

Auto-Entrepreneur
- I only read about this from Bev's stickied thread today. It seems very promising but as I understand it, to be eligible I must be under a more permanent visa than the Working Holiday Visa. For example the Spousal Visa would enable me to be an Auto-Entrepreneur?
I don't think you can start an AE on a WHV, but in response to a query to the AE office, someone on a Visitor visa is eligible to start an AE. It's probably safest to mention this intention when you are applying for the Visitor visa, as we've had at least one report here on the forum of a couple who were refused renewal of their Visitor visas after having started up an AE.

There is also the issue of upcoming changes to the AE status, which could change the playing field, too. Check the AE portal site Portail officiel des auto-entrepreneurs as the information about being able to start an AE on a visitor visa is somewhere among the Questions-Reponses.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your detailed response Bev and thank you Piperade for your point regarding the AE.

Regarding the WHV, are they very strict on the employer question? I'm just considering the fact that my company is completely internet based and working remotely while "on holiday" is something I thought I'd be allowed to do. But I guess I'm wrong?

Ignoring the fact about the employer requirement, could I just check on my other WHV queries? Specifically these two details:
- How strict is the requirement to have a "return ticket"? Can I have a ticket that takes me out of France or must the itinerary/ticket booking show me travelling all the way back to Australia? Must the flight be direct to Australia from France?
- I need to travel for business next year. Does the Working Holiday Visa allow me to exit/re-enter France for business purposes? I'd only be gone for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.

I think I'd hold off on applying for the AE until after I'm on a spousal visa. I realised after posting my thread that the AE was very different to a Visa sorry.

Regarding contacting the consulate... they seem to be very difficult to contact. Emailing them sends back an automatic email saying they don't answer questions about visas. Additionally the phone number leads to an automatic voice operator that also claims to not answer any visa questions and seems to just loop with a set of menu options that are never answered by an actual person :( and yes, I rang during the required office hours!

Thanks again for your help guys. You're much more helpful than the consulate :)
 

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Regarding the WHV, are they very strict on the employer question? I'm just considering the fact that my company is completely internet based and working remotely while "on holiday" is something I thought I'd be allowed to do. But I guess I'm wrong?
The issue with the WHV is that you are supposed to be working a "French" job in the sense that you are enrolled in all the usual French cotisations and all. And, of course, you are supposed to be experiencing "French life" which is probably not quite possible if you're telecommuting to your back home (or Internet based) workplace.

- How strict is the requirement to have a "return ticket"? Can I have a ticket that takes me out of France or must the itinerary/ticket booking show me travelling all the way back to Australia? Must the flight be direct to Australia from France?
You would definitely need to be leaving the Schengen area, but the fact of returning somewhere other than "home" could call your visa application into question. (The French aren't necessarily bound by the written word in the same way the "anglo-saxon" cultures are.)
- I need to travel for business next year. Does the Working Holiday Visa allow me to exit/re-enter France for business purposes? I'd only be gone for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.
Good question. Since you're expected to be working in France, it might cause some concern, particularly if you admit you're traveling "for business." Normally, border control in France is pretty light, but you'd be taking your chances.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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