Investor Visas in France

Making investments in a country's national economy in exchange for a permanent residence status or even citizenship has become a very popular and widely advertised type of immigration program worldwide in the last couple of decades. This is especially true for the member states of the European Union.

This region attracts lots of potential immigrants by its high standards of living and other perks. At the same time, the local governments are desperate for any foreign direct investments these days. All in all, these factors make any investor visa in the EU a mutually beneficial agreement.

The most common type of investment for this particular purpose is the purchase of a private or commercial property, and the permanent residence permit obtained this way is known as a golden visa. However, real estate is not the only economic sector one can invest in.

In the following sections, we will explain how to get a golden visa in France. Technically, this country does not provide residency in exchange for investments in real estate, but there are several alternatives, all of which the French government welcomes very much. We will describe each of them in turn, explaining the general application procedures, as well as which documents you will need to submit in the process. 

Starting Your Own Business

The main point to understand is that the French government does not provide the right of permanent residency in exchange for any passive investment. By the latter, we mean, for example, buying a private property or investing in government bonds so that the invested funds work for you.

France wants you to take an active part in its economy if you would like to obtain a legal status in the country. One way to do that is to start your own business there. In fact, of all the member states in the European Union, France offers the most attractive terms and conditions for startup ventures.

The company that you will use as the grounds for obtaining a permanent residence permit does not have to be yours entirely, though. The basic requirements at this stage are:

  1. The minimum of 300K euros must be invested in the company's tangible or intangible assets.

  2. You must share at least ten percent of its formal ownership.

  3. The company must employ at least fifty French citizens within four years starting from the date of the initial investment.

  4. You must also own at least 30% of the company's shares.

Note: the minimum investment amount will be reduced to 30K euros in the case of a brand-new startup venture, provided the other conditions are met as stipulated above, and further down to 20K euros in the case of a technologically innovative enterprise.

French Tech Visa

Provided you meet the requirements from the previous section, you will be granted a tech Visa, which, effectively, means that the government recognises your technologically innovative contribution to the country's economic benefits and appreciates the creation of additional jobs for the nationals.

In addition to that, you will further increase your chances of being legalised in the country by investing specifically in the following sectors of the national economy:

  • Fashion design,

  • Heavy industry,

  • Culture and education,

  • Media and biological sciences.

Moreover, they seem to favour startup ventures in the cities and regions listed in the table below: 













Le Havre















Sophia Antipolis



Required Documentation

If you decide to follow this path to permanent residency in France, you will need to submit the following documents (in addition to the standard package of papers required for immigration purposes):

  • Your university degree in the field of the intended business operation (it must be at least at the Master's level).

  • A licence, obtained in France or recognised by the French authorities, for the specified commercial activity.

  • A business plan that conforms with all the formal presentation requirements in France.

  • Police clearance from your home country as well the European Union.

Needless to say, all the required documentation must be translated into French, certified by a notary and, ideally, come with an apostille. And this applies to all the documents listed in the following sections as well.

Note: your Master's degree must be issued by an educational institution recognised in France; otherwise, you will also need to submit a local recognition certificate issued by the relevant government authorities in the country.

Application Procedures

If you are in France at the time of application, the procedure will be as follows:

  1. Submit all the required documents at the relevant government office that is nearest to your place of residence, together with the documentary confirmation of your legal status in the country, whatever it might be at the time of application.

  2. Fill in the CERFA 12753 application form and attach to it:

    1. Certified confirmation of having sufficient funds to support yourself and your family.

    2. Proof of basic proficiency in French language, as well as of elementary acquaintance with the fundamental values of French culture.

  3. If your application is approved, you will be issued a French Tech residence permit, which will have to be renewed every four years. You and your family will be able to reside, travel and seek employment in France or anywhere in the European Union during the validity period of this visa.

If you would like to apply outside the country, you can do it at any French Consulate, the required documentation, as well as the application procedure, will be basically the same, but you will, in this case, have to submit your application within 180 days before the intended date of arrival.

Note: make sure you come to renew your permit at least 60 days before its expiry date.

Passeport Talent

Actively practised in other places in Europe and around the world, this legalisation option boils down to granting residence permits to the aliens who are considered to be talented enough professionally for making significant contributions to the economic, cultural or scientific development of the country.

Specifically in France, provided you can document your talents, they will want you to conduct your professional activity in the country for at least 90 days, and your immediate family will be able to accompany you in this period. This privilege will be granted to your:

  • Spouse and children (of any age),

  • Parents and parents-in-law.

Furthermore, both your husband or wife and your 18-years-old kids will be allowed to seek local employment too. This permit will be valid for four years starting from the date of your first entry, and the renewal process will be almost automatic as long as you continue to exhibit your nationally significant talents.

In technical terms, this type of residence permit is available to the following professional categories:

  1. Highly qualified and distinguished employees of a company involved in a technologically, commercially, artistically or scientifically innovative enterprise.

  2. Employees of a French or foreign company that forms part of a transnational corporation recognised for the distinctions listed in the previous category.

  3. Active members of the higher educational institutions worldwide that have been recognised as capable of making exceptional contributions to the French technological, commercial, artistic or scientific progress, or to the effective promotion of the fundamental European values.

  4. Employed, self-employed or freelance performers of highly creative artistic or literary work, as recognised by the relevant French or international authorities. 

Necessary Documentation

The paperwork required for the skilled residence permit is minimal and includes the most obvious documentation of your talents, distinctions and professional achievements, as well as the basic legal residence conditions in the European Union, such as the proof of income, medical insurance, police clearance, et cetera.

Note: it is very important that your and all members of your family, including your underage children, visit the nearest police station to your place of residence in France and get registered there; otherwise, you run the risk of failing to receive a multi-entry one-year temporary residence permit.

Visitor Visas for Foreign Property Owners

Even though you cannot apply for a French residence permit on the basis of investments in the national real estate sector, you will still be eligible to special visa regulations if you own a private or commercial property in the country:

  1. The application process will be a lot more hassle-free and speedy.

  2. The processing time will be considerably shorter too.

  3. The renewal of your visa will be virtually automatic.

  4. You will need to submit additional documents in order to confirm that you indeed own the property, as well as that you are economically viable. More specifically, they will want to see:

    1. Certified notary attestation of the property sale.

    2. Contract of the property transfer.

    3. Confirmation of your paying the relevant property tax.

    4. In case you rent out the property in question, the most recently paid bill for the corresponding income tax.

    5. Proof of a sufficiently large income, foreign or local, to support yourself and your family for the entire duration of the visa.

Provided you can document all these conditions, you should expect no trouble whatsoever with getting and renewing the visa, nor will you have to wait long before you get it.


Permanent Residency for the Financially Independent

An alternative way to obtain a French residence status is simply to confirm that you have a stable income from outside the country that will be sufficient to support yourself and your family without looking for a job in France.

Note: in this case, you as well as the members of your family will be strictly prohibited from seeking employment inside the country or anywhere else in the European Union!

The income stated for this purpose may be passive or active, such as:

  • Actual salary in the case of formal employment.

  • Personal income in a self-employed or freelance format.

  • Dividends from investments in government bonds, shares or stocks.

  • Social benefits, such as a pension fund, for instance.

  • Income from renting out a private or commercial property outside the country.

After completing the required paperwork (see below), you will be granted a long-term visitor visa, followed by a temporary residence permit issued for 12 months. And in five years time, it will provide sufficient grounds to apply for a permanent residence status too. Moreover, there will be no need, in this case, to take a French language or culture test.

Formal Requirements

For this purpose, you will only need to confirm that you:

  1. Earn at least 1.5K euros per month for yourself, as well as additional 225 euros for your spouse and 150 euros per each underage child.

  2. Own or rent accommodation anywhere in France, which must provide at least 16 sq.m. for you and your spouse, plus another 9 sq.m. per each additional family member.

  3. Have at least 20-30K euros in a French bank account (the final amount will depend on the size of your family).

  4. Do not intend to seek an additional income in the country or anywhere in the European Union, except through freelance, non-corporate activities.

Note: based on our professional experience, you will have much better chances to obtain this type of long-term visa if you earn your income from more than one and diverse sources, such as rental contracts, dividends, your parents' pensions, to name a few.

Further discussion of this legalisation option falls outside the scope of our article, but you can visit this page for a more detailed elaboration on the subject. 

Visa Renewal Process

When you arrive in France, you will have to live there on a temporary long-term visa for at least a year in any case. Then, you will most likely be granted a permanent residence permit, which you will have to renew every two to five years, depending on the type of permit you have applied for.

Once you have stayed in the country permanently for at least ten years, you will be eligible to apply for French citizenship, provided you continue to meet all the specified conditions. And keep in mind that, whichever path you choose and whatever stage you are at, all of these terms will also apply to your spouse, underage children, parents and parents-in-law.

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