Do you want to create your business in France or even freelance?
The Profession Liberale visa allows freelance work in France. You won’t need to find an employer to sponsor your self-employment visa. You will even have access to a multiple-year permit!
There is no France digital nomad visa as such. But if you are planning to stay more than three months in France and you want to have the option to extend further, this is your safest and most compliant option!
And if you follow the process correctly, being a freelancer in France can even become your pathway to a French passport. It is a great chance to make your dream of living in France come true. It takes a bit of effort, but it is worth it!
Now, let’s see how to get the France freelance visa!
The Profession Liberale visa request
The type of visas
If you are coming to France intending to create a business, there is a big chance that you wish to stay for more than a year. You can apply for a visa up to 3 months in advance for a long-stay visa and 6 months in advance for a short-stay visa.
When you will be filling out the visa request form on the France-visas platform, you will have to choose among one of the 3 durations:
- 0-3 months: This will give you access to a short stay visa (non-renewable) for stays under 90 days.
- 3-12 months: This will give you access to a one-year non-renewable visa.
- One year and beyond: You will get a renewable one-year visa. So it will give you access to a renewable permit.
So, the third option described above is the one you will need to go for.
How to prepare a successful file to request “Entrepreneur / Profession liberale” visa?
Make sure you check the consulate website or France-Visas website (translated into several languages) to prepare your file with the latest updated official list.
It is a good idea to come over-prepared in terms of paperwork as the administration may ask elements not mentioned on their list, depending on your situation. Also have extra copies of your paperwork, just in case.
What about your family members?
There is no Entrepreneur / Profession Liberal – Family visa. Therefore you will have two options for them to come to France:
- Your spouse meets the requirements for his/her own visa (entrepreneur, visitor, EU Blue card, student, employee visa for example)
- Your spouse and children can apply for the family reunion. However, this is not a route I would recommend since the delays are very long.
This is possible after you have resided legally for 18 months in France (Article L411-1). In that case, you should also prove that you have sufficient income and proper housing to welcome your family.
What type of company can you open to get the Profession Liberale visa?
Which legal status for your business?
There is no restriction in terms of the company status to establish.
You can even choose to go for self-employed status, also called Profession Libérale – yes the same name as the visa but it is not limited to them – or you can operate under your name with the micro-entrepreneur status for example. You also have the option to join an existing company, whatever the type, as a partner.
The 2 main elements that will be essential for your France’s self-employment visa request and later the renewal of your permit will be to:
- Register your company with the appropriate URSSAF Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE)
Each business activity type has its own CFE. Make sure you register through the CFE matching your business activity.
- Prove that your business is economically viable. The company must justify enough revenue to pay the foreign entrepreneur the French minimum wage at least. This applies both to your company or the one you have joined as a partner.
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In which sector can you open your business to get the Profession Liberale visa?
Do you want to have the freedom to start any type of business to come to France?
Good news, the Profession Liberale visa doesn’t specify restrictions in terms of sector. You can open your gite in an old farmhouse, do online freelance work or even be a baker in France!
The immigration status doesn’t have restrictions. However, the activity itself may be restricted in terms of the qualifications required.
Important: Make sure your self-employed or company’s activity is subject to specific regulations. If this is the case, you must meet the requirements in terms of qualifications/diplomas as well as any other conditions.
Extra tips to prepare your “Entrepreneur / Profession liberale” visa request file
The French administration will request documentation to answer the following questions:
Who are you? What will you do in France? Why are you moving there? Why are you qualified to start this business? Tell us about your business plan. What is your projection of how much you think you can charge? What is your estimated revenue for the next 3 years? …
A 2 to 3-page business plan will help you to be synthetic and to the point. But you can also choose a longer version.
The following documents are not in the consulate list but may be a good idea to add to your file:
- A synthetic one-page curriculum (French way of making a curriculum).
- Articles about your activities (if it already exists), references, …
- Proof of previous business sold,
- Letters of interest from potential future clients…
The interview at the French Consulate
This interview is more of an appointment to check your documentation. They will ask you any questions they may have about the documentation provided. You will also be requested to pay the visa fee of 99 EUR (2021 figure to be paid in the local currency). This will be confirmed to you in the appointment confirmation e-mail.
This appointment will be held in your home language (or the language of the country where you are residing and requesting the visa from).
If any documents are missing or extra documents requested, you will be given an e-mail address to send these documents to. Once your file is complete, the visa will be processed. Depending on the consulate, the visa can be sent back by postal mail within the next 10 business days.
You will also be provided with a form called « demande d’attestation OFII ». You should keep this document as you will need it in France to validate your France freelance visa. If you lose it, it won’t prevent you to validate it, you will need to get one from OFII (see below).
Once in France
You have a VLS-TS “Entrepreneur / Profession liberale” visa
Your visa validation into a residence permit
What is OFII?
OFII is the French Office for Immigration and Integration (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Integration). It has several duties. The ones that interest us today are the welcoming of non-EU nationals to France and facilitating their integration.
Don’t expect relocation services or personalized advice here!
The main OFII objectives  here is to:
- Provide pieces of training to facilitate the integration to the French culture and civics
- Provide free of charge French courses when identified necessary
- Make medical consultations to check you are healthy when entering the country.
The OFII medical appointment does not apply to some immigration status. However, it does apply to the Entrepreneur / Profession Liberal visa, unless you were previously on some other status and registered to the French Assurance Maladie (the National healthcare system).
The validation of your entry visa as a residence permit is subject to validating these 3 steps. You will be requested to sign the CIR (Contrat d’Intégration Républicaine). This is your commitment to take the integration pathway and pieces of training assigned to you.
Receiving a 4-year residence card will be possible only when attending the pieces of training and accepting the values of the French Republic (mainly the French way of secularism).
Validate your entry visa online within your first 3 months
Good news for you, the validation process of your entry visa into a residence permit is now done online since February 18, 2019!
The VLS-TS exempts you from requesting a residence permit from the Prefecture your first year in France! But you absolutely need to validate your entry visa. This validation must be done within the first 3 months following your arrival.
You will need to provide these documents via the online validation platform:
- Visa information
- Date of entry in France
- Address of residence in France
- The « demande d’attestation OFII » form provided by the French Consulate
- Your credit/debit card to pay the residence permit delivery tax (200€ for the Entrepreneur visa validation)
You will receive 2 e-mails:
- A first email with your login details. You will be able to access your account. You will download the validation of your VLS-TS visa.
- A second email confirming the information you provided.
Make sure you print and keep your visa validation document. You will need to provide it as the tax proof of payment when you will collect your residence permit.
Now you will just need to wait to be called in for an appointment with OFII. You will receive your convocation by postal mail or by email depending on where you live.
CAUTION: If you do not validate your visa within the 3-month time frame, you will no longer be staying legally in France. You will not be able to leave the Schengen zone and re-enter the country without a valid visa.
Your first OFII appointment: your Contract of Integration (CIR)
Your first visit to OFII will last half a day.
You will need to provide the following documents:
- The copy of the convocation you received by e-mail,
- Proof of address in France (energy bill under 3 months).
- Confirmation of the validation of your visa.
You will be given a French assessment test. If you already have a French diploma, such as the DELF. It is a good idea to bring it. This may avoid you from taking this test!
You will sit with an OFII representative.
You will sign your CIR. During this appointment, the first 2 days of your 4 days French civics course will be scheduled. Also, if your French assessment test shows that you need French classes, your OFII representative will explain to you how it will work.
47,3 % of the people received A1 French classes in 2018 with OFII. Depending on the results of your language test, you will be given 50h, 100h or up to 200h of French classes according to your level. Classes usually take place on Saturdays.
After the completion of every training, you will be provided with an attestation. All your attestations will be necessary to renew your residence permit when your visa (VLS-TS) expires.
Your OFII second visit: the medical examination
This medical appointment is mainly for prevention purposes.
You will also have to take a chest X-Ray as a Tuberculosis scan during this appointment. You will see a few specialists that will make a general check-up. They will ask questions about your medical history.
You have a VLS ” Entrepreneur / Profession Liberale “
Your Prefecture appointment
In some cases, instead of receiving a VLS-TS (Visa Long Séjour valant Titre de Séjour), you can be provided with a simple Long Stay Visa (VLS). In that case, you will not need to validate your visa. However, you will have to go to the local Prefecture within your first 2 months in France to request a 12-month entrepreneur/profession liberal permit.
If you are issued a VLS, the mention “carte de séjour à solliciter dans les 2 mois suivant l’arrivée” (Permit to request within 2 months following arrival) will be written on your visa.
When you request the permit at your local Prefecture, you will need to pay 200 EUR plus 25 EUR to issue the card. The payment will need to be in fiscal stamp. You will need to provide proof of payment when picking up your 12-month permit at the Prefecture.
The documents needed
You will need to go to the Préfecture to get the updated list to request your permit. As a general rule the below documents are requested:
- Your valid passport and valid for at least three months after the visa expiry date;
- Your Long-stay visa or valid residence permit (in case of change of status);
- Proof of marital status and nationality:
- Passport (pages covering marital status, validity dates, entry stamps and visas);
- Birth certificate with filiation;
- Where applicable, spouse’s residence permit; copy marriage certificate or the children’s birth certificates with filiation (documents applicable at the moment of the application);
- Proof of address dated within the last six months (or, failing that, certificate of accommodation provided by a private individual or a hotel); or a lease contract dated less than 3 months,
- Three recent passport photos following the Prefecture requirements,
- ” Entrepreneur/independent professional ” temporary residence permit application form Cerfa nº.13473*01,
- Applicant’s criminal records extract or equivalent from your home country,
- Documents providing evidence of the applicant’s ability to carry out the planned commercial, industrial or entrepreneurial activity,
- Evidence of financial means corresponding to the gross annual statutory French minimum wage (SMIC),
- Proof of payment of the stamp duty,
- Plus all the business-related documents that were provided for the initial self-employment visa request.
What happens after the first year?
The first renewal
Two months before the expiry of your temporary residence permit (VLS-TS or permit), you must submit a renewal application at your local Prefecture. Do not wait until the end of the validity to request the renewal.
Once you have provided a complete file, you will be given a recépissé. This receipt authorises you to work and travel until you receive the card permit (Titre de séjour also called Carte de séjour).
When you prove that you continue to meet the conditions for eligibility for the Entrepreneur / Profession Liberale visa, you will be granted a 2 to 4-year permit extension. Proof of a comprehensive healthcare cover will also be requested.
With this card, you will not need to do any immigration processes for the next few years! Congratulations!
The 10-year card
After 5 years residing continuously in France, you can secure a long-term residence card with the mention “Long-Term Residence CE”. This is a 10-year permanent residence card.
To be eligible to get the permanent residence card, you must continue to meet the conditions for initial eligibility and prove sufficient resources and have healthcare cover. 
You also need to provide a French level diploma attesting you have the A2 level minimum. After 5 years of living and working in France, I hope that you reached this lower intermediate level. 
This 10-year residence card is renewable indefinitely.
A pathway to French citizenship
Are you looking for a door opener to an EU passport?
The Entrepreneur/Profession liberale visa is one of the pathways towards French citizenship . This means that the years under this immigration status count towards the 5 years required to meet the 1st requirement for citizenship request.
After 5 years of continuous residence, you can start the French citizenship request in parallel to your first 10-year card request.
Be ready for a lengthy process!
It can go up to an 18-month process depending on the Prefecture. You will need to prove that you have a B1 level with the appropriate diploma.
You will also have an “assimilation interview” in French to show your integration into French culture. 
French citizenship doesn’t happen easily. For this reason, the 10-year residence card should be requested first. It will give you the peace of mind to go through his long process.
To wrap up
The Profession liberale visa is not an easy one to get as you must prove the economical viability of your business but on the other hand, you don’t need to find an employer to sponsor your visa.
Every entrepreneur take risks to succeed. The business plan and paperwork requested to get the visa are also an opportunity to plan better your business in France to succeed.
This France freelance visa is the way to start over in France by creating your passion job! And to crown it all, it allows you to request a French passport if you want to once you check all the requirements. A great opportunity to consider!
 Ceseda Art. R. 311-3
 Art. 1 – Loi n° 2016-274 du 7 mars 2016
 Ceseda Art. L314-8
 Ceseda Art. L-413-7
 Art. 21-24 of the French Civil Code
Mlle Guiga – would it be acceptable to show a business plan for the profession liberale visa where I was working remotely full-time for a U.S.-based company that pays me an annual salary? Or would I have to become a consultant paid by the hour?
If you are a salaried employee this is not a self-employment situation.
The only thing you could do would be to explain that since you have experience in the same field this will help to launch your business. But it is very different to be a salaried employee than having to sell your services and find clients. Your business plan will need to show, among other things, that you can do the job (the service that you offer), and that you can sell it.
I hope this helps,
Mary Frances Pearson
May I have the contact information for MADEMOISELLE GUIGA. She sounds like an expert in French visas for USA citizens. I need professional advice. Many thanks
Hello Mary Frances,
Thank you for your note.
You can contact me at [email protected]
I’ll be happy to help.
Thanks so much for the in-depth summary here, and for your ongoing activity in the comments section. I have three questions that stem from not understanding if the approach to the profession liberale visa is different for someone who plans to incorporate a business in france vs just operate as an individual freelancer. My case is the latter. Please allow me to share context first.
I am a freelance Film + Commercial Producer / Production Manager based in Toronto – and would love to move to Paris to work in the same capacity.
I am hired on a project to project basis by different Production Companies to execute commercial films/videos. I make more than the French minimum wage per year, and can prove it with past invoices and pay stubs. My girlfriend lives in Paris and can provide a letter stating that she will host me at her home in Paris, we will live together. I can also provide a bank statement showing enough savings to sustain myself for a year in France.
In addition, I have relationships with 2-3 production companies in Paris who are willing to write letters of intention of hiring me on a project-to-project basis.
1. I understand I can apply to the visa as a freelancer. But the checklist doesn’t have a freelance specific section; but more so for starting a business/incorporating in France. If I apply for this visa do I NEED to incorporate in france, or is it ok to assume I’ll be working as an individual freelancer and not incorporate?
2. In addition to the letters of intent on company letterhead – do I need to ask them for the 3 other administrative documents (tax and incorporation) as well, or not necessary/only if I’m joining a company, as per the visa wizard? Again ~ the freelancer angle is lost as the instructions progress.
3. From my Toronto-based clients. Would it help to proivide letters of recommendation + statements saying that they will continue to hire me for projects where I can produce from a remote location i.e. Paris? As support for the income portion of my application? Or is this messy?
My short films and commercials have played at festivals around the world, and won a couple of prizes – I will be sure to include all this as well to strenghten my application.
Any other advice is hugely welcome. I am trying to get this all wrapped up this week to submit by Friday.
Thank you dearly,
It sounds like you have a good visa application file going for you! Well done.
The entrepreneur/Profession liberale visa applies to people either working as freelancers or creating their company in France as well as incorporating an existing company in France as a partner (not an employee meaning with a French work contract in that case a salaried visa will apply).
1. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “incorporated” in France. In any case, you will need to register either as a micro-entrepreneur (the easy self-employed tax regime) or as a French registered company (such as an enterprise individuelle) to be able to pay social contributions in France.
2 – It depends if you’ll join the company as a partner of the company, if so, they need to prove that the company is economically viable. So any official documents and contracts proving it should be provided.
3- Yes, it would help. It won’t be messy if you present it nicely with numbered annexes.
I hope this helps. If you need more detailed and personalised feedback/information, I also offer a clarity call.
Best in your new venture!
I’m feeling confident 🙂
One more quick question-
I’ve learned that freelance workers in the French film industry sign up for Intermittents du Spectacle ( https://www.enspectacle.fr/qui-sommes-nous/ ) – where all taxes, benefits and payroll goes through. I’d be working as a CDD for each of these production companies on a job-to-job basis, and once I accumulate 500hrs of work I’d be automatically enrolled into the Intermittents du Spectacle program for the next year, and so on..
Should my cover letter mention this plan? Should I be careful with overstating details and try to keep things more big picture success plan for my freelancing ventures here?
Thanks SO MUCH.
Hi,, thanks for this article and your responses.
I just want to clarify my situation and if iam eligibile for this type or not.
Iam a customer service representative working remotely from home ((salary vary from 500 to 800 euro less than SMIC but can prove savings around 20.000 euros).
I have two minor kids one 3 yrs and one 3 months , so what kind of visas i will apply for them?
Am I eligible to this kind or a visitor visa will be better for me and kids!
What about the possibilities of change of status from freelancer to Salarie ou chercheur scientifique.
Ur help would be sooo appreciated.
There is little chance the Entrepreneur/Profession liberale visa will be granted if you are not generating the French SMIC from your business. It may be granted but it will not be renewed since your savings will go away and you won’t be making the minimum amount needed to live in France. You need to show in your business plan that you will reach the required turnover by the end of year one to have an Entrepreneur/Profession liberale permit granted.
The visitor visa doesn’t authorise you to work from France as you will not be compliant from a tax perspective.
Then a change of status is possible as long as you meet the requirements of the status you are requesting.
Best to you,
Thanks for ur response .
I got your point but only about minor kids ! Can i be a master student or autopreneur and i apply for them as dependents or minor visitors depending. On my savings and proving being in charge of their expenses during my study .
Thank you so much for this article! I am a freelancer with clients here in the US but would love to move to France since I don’t have ties to a physical work location. However, I am a confused by some of the points made. Mainly, do I need to have an entire years minimum wage salary in my savings account? Or, can I prove that I exceed the French minimum wage with my clients? I make about $6500 a month, but I don’t have much of a savings.
French law doesn’t require to show savings for this visa. However, many consulates will require to see savings proof even though it is not a legal requirement. They may accept your file considering you can prove good earnings but only the consulate can really answer this based on your visa request file. Best,
Wow 😍 I am very impressed with your detailed and useful information regarding Profession Liberale Visa. I am so glad that I found your site, as it’s a lot easier to follow as compared to the official France Visas website.
My husband and I have traveled around the world pre-pandemic and since the pandemic, we haven’t been outside of NZ. We’ve also been to France several times.
I have a few questions to ask and I hope that you will take the time to answer them, I would very much appreciate your time and effort.
1. I am an NZ citizen, and I have been self-employed for the past 6 years. My source of income is through my online business Website content that allows me to generate incomes from ad networks, and affiliate products as well as a YouTube channel. I also earn at least equivalent to the minimum legal wage in France and/or above the minimum wage in France. My estimated revenue in the next 3 to 5 years is expected to increase. My first question is, can my self-employment status be accepted or considered under a Profession Liberal visa? Of course, I will be able to provide all the relevant documents such as proof of income.
2. My husband is not self-employed. He works for a company but works from home so technically he is able to live anywhere in the world. If I apply for a Profession Liberale visa will I be able to include him as my spouse? How does that work?
3. I have been checking the official France Visas website under Visa Wizard to check the relevant visa we would need to apply. The one we found for a New Zealand passport under Plans: Business and then Purpose: Liberal or independent profession, which I’m assuming it’s the same as the Profession Liberale visa. Is this correct? https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en/web/france-visas/ai-je-besoin-d-un-visa?p_p_id=NeedVisaApplication_WAR_fvfoportalvisasportlet&p_p_lifecycle=0&_NeedVisaApplication_WAR_fvfoportalvisasportlet_implicitModel=true
4. However, under the Liberal or Independent Profession visa on France Official Visas website does not say anything Self-Employment under Purpose of Travel Stay. Please read below from France visa’s website:
“Reminder of your application
* Nationality : New Zealand Age : 40 Place of submission of application : New Zealand Type of visa requested : Long-stay (> 90 days) Destination : France Travel document : Ordinary passport Issued by : New Zealand Plans : Business Purpose : Liberal or independent profession
Supporting documents required
The supporting documents to be provided are as follows:
* A travel document, issued less than 10 years ago, containing at least two blank pages, with a period of validity at least 3 months longer than the date on which you intend to leave the Schengen Area or, in the case of a long stay, at least three months longer than the expiry date of the visa requested. Be sure to transmit (scan) ALL PAGES of your travel document containing visas, entry and exit stamps or any other inscription.
* ID photograph.
* If you are not a national of your country of residence: proof that you are legally resident in that country (e.g. residence permit).
* Purpose of travel/stay
* Authorization corresponding to the exercise of your profession. If subject to an “Ordre” : Authorization from the “Ordre professionnel”. In case of medical/paramedical profession : Proof of registration with “Conseil de l’Ordre” or, if applicable, authorization to practice from the Ministry of Health.
* If the activity is not subject to a specific authorization : Signed document specifying your professional project in France and any document justifying your professional capacity (diplomas, qualifications, professional experience, etc.).
* Documents proving the capacity of the activity to provide a level of sufficient resources at least equivalent to the minimum legal wage in France, corresponding to full-time work.
* In case of continuation of an existing professional activity, any document proving the activity is effective must be provided in addition.
The amount to be paid is : 99 euros (€), or about 168.60 NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR. This amount is for informational purposes only and must be paid in the currency specified by the Consulate / Embassy. Certain individual cases may give rise to different prices, in accordance with applicable regulations. The amount indicated in local currency is subject to exchange rate fluctuations and is susceptible to change.
5. I’ve also heard from others that they were able to apply their visa via •Plans : Talent Passport – International talents, Purpose : Artistic and cultural profession / Talent as self-employed. So upon checking this option I found the written Self-employment. “If you are self-employed person : Documents justifying his status as an artist or author of a literary or artistic work, and his project in France.” So can you please help me clarify if the the Talent Passport Artistic and Cultural Profession visa would also be applicable for my self-employment status?
6. I’m very confused whether to apply under the Plans : Business, Purpose : Liberal or independent profession OR Plans : Talent Passport – International talents, Purpose : Artistic and cultural profession / Talent as self-employed. I really hope you can help me clarify this so I don’t end up wasting money for visa applications for myself and my husband.
7. Also, will you recommend that we hire a French immigration visa lawyer for our visa applications?
I am sorry for the very long questions, but I would very much appreciate if you could answer them. I look forward to reading your answering. Have a great day.
These are really many questions…
For such personalised and extensive questions I offer a 1:1 clarity call.
I’m sure a self-employed I’m sure you understand.
You can reach me via email if you wish to schedule a call: [email protected]
Best to you both,
Hi Guiga. Thank you for this very well written article. It has been most helpful.
I came to France as a student 4 years and 3 months ago. After school, I applied for the proffesion liberale residents permit and received it. It is now up for renewal and I would very much like to have it renewed for 4 years.
What are the things that you would advise that I do to maximise my chances of that happening? I have been told that it also entails one having earned a certain level of income in the preceding year (around 23,000€, I think). Can you confirm that this is true and if it is not, what is a more accurate figure to aim at?
Thank you as I await your response.
Hopefully, it comes before my prefecture appointment in a week’s time.
Thanks in advance!
The only criterion for the issuance of an “entrepreneur – liberal profession” permit is to prove the economic viability of the project and the fact that you earn more than the French minimum wage each month (SMIC).
From a strictly legal point of view, it is therefore not even necessary to justify much more than the SMIC.
However, some Prefectures ask for more, even if this is not in line with the law. So if you earn at least the SMIC and your renewal is being rejected, you can start proceedings with the assistance of an immigration lawyer.
I hope this answers your question.
All the best to you,
Thank you for all the information you provided. I’m living in France since 2015 as a student. Now I’m holding an APS visa which will expire in 12th of March 2022. I have already got my Siret number and now I want to renew my carte de sejour and get a freelancer card. I have tried through several websites to get an appointment but I couldn’t. I live in Paris and I would appreciate your help. How can I get an appointment to change and renew my APS carte de sejour and get a freelancer one? Thank you in advance and have a great day!
It is indeed a challenge to get an appointment with the Prefectures… You will have to keep trying online to book an appointment. You can try connecting at midnight several days of the week. Sunday nights are often a good day as they often open new slots.
Be aware that the APS jeune diplomé (now called “recherche d’emploi / création d’entreprise”) is only valid for 12 months and cannot be renewed. This means that you need to request directly the permit entrepreneur – profesional liberale. For the Prefecture this is not a renewal but a change of status (important to know when making the appointment)
More information about the “recherche d’emploi / création d’entreprise” here:
Good luck to you.
I have run a chalet holiday business for 12 years but I live in the UK. Obviously pre-brexit I could come and go as I pleased to run my business in france but now i need a work permit and a VISA however, no one seems to know which VISA is appropriate for someone in my position. I had my VISA appointment last week in london as a ICT seconded employee but that’s now been reclassified by the French consulate to a self-employed/Profession liberale VISA and I’ve had to also re-submit my work permit in line with this. However, reading more into this VISa it also doesn;t seem appropriate as I do not want to take up french residency, I just want to be able to go back and forth as required to run my business/liasie with guest and staff/ conclude contracts etc. but I need more than 90 days in 180. Do you agree that this VISA is the right one for me and how do I ensure I am granted the VLS and NOT the VLS-TS which requires the Validation and all the other faff that goes with it? I would just need the 12 month permit that I can then renew 2 months from the end but then do I still need the medical etc.? Its so confusing and the consulate are taking days and days to respond to my questions! Thank you so much in advance for any clarification.
If you need to stay longer than 90 days in a period of 180, you are residing in France (from an immigration perspective – and maybe also from a tax perspective but this is another topic you need to see with a tax accountant). And since you are residing in France you require a residence permit. There is no third option between the 90-days short stay and the residence permit with all the validation and OFII process.
Also, the only difference between a VLS and VLS-TS is that with the VLS-TS you request the residence permit by the end of the first 12 months visa. A VLS-TS is renewed into a resident permit and not another VLS-TS.
FYI – a visa authorises to enter a country and a residence permit authorises to remain in the country (more than 90 days). The VLS-TS is just an exemption to request the actual card permit when you first arrive.
If the business is yours (vs being salaried), yes the profession liberale visa applies to your situation.
I hope this clarifies.
All the best to you,
can i convert my visit visa into self employement residence permit once i am in france,is it possible?
bonjour , tout d abord je vous remercie pour tout ces informations enrechissantes , et ce superbe article qui est redigee d une maniere tres professionel !
je voulais juste me renseigner , je suis entraine de preparer les documents necessaire pour le visa entrepreneur /professions liberale , un des documents (spécifiques relatifs à l’exercice d’une activité en nom propre ) à présenter : ”un justificatif de l’engagement de cautionnement pris par un établissement de crédit ou une entreprise d’assurance agréée pour se porter caution et ayant leur siège en France , ou une attestation de solde créditeur d’un compte au nom du demandeur ouvert auprès Dun établissement de crédit ayant son siège social en France” . si je ne trompe pas , vu que je suis de nationalité russe , et je suis résidente en russie , je dois donc présenter une attestation émanant du mon banque qui certifie que j’ai en possession dans mon compte bancaire une somme de 19 074 € , qui couvrira mes dépenses durant ma présence en France ? si vous pouvez me renseigner sur ce point la?
et en ce qui concerne La présentation sur papier libre du projet accompagne d’un budget prévisionnel pluriannuel,Peut-elle être en anglais ? et juste 1 a 2 pages ?
Le formulaire CERFA ou je peux le trouver ?
desole pour la frequence de mes questions !
Merci beaucoup !!!!
Bravo pour votre message en français!
Oui, c’est tout à fait ça pour le relevé de compte bancaire.
Votre business plan doit généralement être présenté dans la langue du pays où vous êtes (russe) ou en français. Je ne pense pas qu’ils accepteront un document en anglais, mais il faut vérifier avec le consulat de France en Russie.
Etant donné que vous parlez déjà bien français, cela serait une bonne idée de faire le document en français.
Il vous sera utile pour votre demande de titre de séjour l’année d’après pour la Préfecture.
Je recommande au moins 3 pages pour le projet. Pensez au type de business plan que vous montreriez à votre banquier pour avoir un prêt bancaire. Une personne qui ne connait pas votre projet doit comprendre facilement votre vision, mission, objectifs et organisation…
Le lien du CERFA est fourni dans l’article de blog.
My son is currently in France on a VLS-TS visa which is valid till end of January 2022. He has completed his studies and has received a CDI and would like to convert his visa to a Work Permit. Can you please advise if this is possible and how?
He did not apply for a Social Scurity when he arrived but did validate his visa within 3 months of hs arrival.
Congratulations to your son!
The process will depend a lot on the salary level your son is paid. The salary will determine the type of work visa and if his employer will need to request work authorisation from the DIRECCTE (the local entity of the French ministry of labour).
I have done a visa summarizing the 6 types of work visas, this may help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frp7Df_T0N4&t=2s
All the best!
I arrived to Paris with this profession liberale visa on Octoeber 1st and I also validaed my entry the same day.
How long does it take to be called in for an appointment with OFII? When should I receive this letter ( I am in the 6eme arr. of paris)?
Should I have received somethibg by now?
Do I have to wait for this initial OFII visit before I apply for the carte de sejour and carte vitale?
I intend to start a SASU as my business structure. Do I have to wait for all the above to get started or can I jut go ahead and startany of thee before the OFII visit?
Thank you so much
You will need to be a bit patient, two weeks is very short for the French administration timeline…
However, I cannot tell you when you will receive your appointment. If you haven’t received anything within the next month, you can reach out to OFII.
For the Profession liberal status, the carte de séjour is requested by the end of your first year (within two months before the expiry of your VLS-TS).
You can apply to French healthcare once you have created your SASU, already with your VLS-TS. You don’t need an OFII document for that.
You will find more information about the healthcare registration here with the form in English too:
All the best,
Thanks for the information.
I have some questions, I got my master’s degree in France and I have a temporary residency in France for 3 months later.
Now I am in France and also I started to work as a researcher with a research office in one university in Europe but from distance(online). Now I would like to renew my residency as a freelancer and stay in France, But I am a little confused that which one of the mentions ways is better for me. My salary is a bit less than SMIC but I have a contract with them for a year.
I really appreciate your help to know your ideas about my situation.
I’m not sure I understand your situation.
Are you a researcher (employed by a French university?) or a freelance?
You are saying that you currently do not live in France but you want to renew your permit. Is your current student visa still valid? If it is not, we are not talking about renewal but a brand new request, or you may have the possibility to request a return visa (visa de retour).
If you are a freelance and have more than one client, you can request the Profession liberale visa and have the micro-entrepreneur status to pay the social security contributions to France. By the end of the first year under the Prefession liberale you will need to prove that you reach the SMIC to receive the multi-year permit, otherwise, depending on your income level the renewal may either be rejected or given just for one year until you reach a stable income.
All the best to you
I am hoping to retire from my university teaching job in a few years, and move to France. My main source of income will be my pension + American social security, but I would like to continue my research and writing (to publish articles and books that I will be paid for). Will it work to apply for the profession liberale visa, with this retirement income as my baseline support? (It will be well above the SMIC). My business plan won’t be very typical, I’m afraid!
I’ve been giving some thought to certifying in a TESOL course as well, in order to do private English lessons. Would one application cover both these possibilities?
Thanks for your very helpful article!
It sounds like a great project that you have!
Under the Profession Liberale, everything that you invoice should be directly linked to your company mission. Here it looks that you will have two unlinked missions (English classes and research work).
I’m afraid your visa won’t cover both possibilities.
All the best in your project
Great information! However, I have a question and I hope you can help. I’m looking to move to France next year. I’m retired and have a pension and savings, so finances aren’t a problem. However, I am setting up an online photo store, and I may sell a few stories to online sites. My income will be minimal, it’s more for self-motivation and maybe a bit of fun money. I’ve done extensive research and don’t know how I could do this. Would I really need to do all the requirements for profession liberale visa – degrees, business plans & budgets etc.? It’s seems to be excessive for the little project/hobby I would like to do. I think I would fit into the category of “micro-entrepreneur” but do I have to be a resident to do that? Can I get a VLS-TS and then just sign up as a micro-entrepreneur? Or, maybe I just have to give up my dream?
Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated! (By the way, this is a wonderful website you have here.)
Yes, you will need a profession liberale visa even if you invoice just a few euros/dollars a month. So indeed it is a lot of work for a hobby, I agree. Or you can do your hobby and keep it to yourself or offer it to friends…
The visitor visa doesn’t allow work at all.
The VLS-TS is just for the first year, then at the end of the 1st year you request a permit. There is no possibility to stay on a VLS-TS.
Yes, you can create your micro-entrepreneur status under a VLS-TS, once you are in France.
I hope this answers your questions.
Hi Guiga can be tell more about the micro entrepreneur and how u can obtain the temporary visa using the micro entrepreneur status. I’m planning to a start a cyber Secuirty services company with a online website but initially I need some time to design my website and employee few people. Till then I’m planning to be on the micro entrepreneur status.. Is it possible for me to get a temporary visa for Atleast 1 year so that I can study about the France and learn more things on how I can promote my business, where I can find employee for my company.
Yes, you can request the Profession liberale visa and create your micro-entrepreneur status once in France. Actually, the large majority of people requesting this visa have micro-entrepreneur status at first. If your initial plan is to be self-employed this is the visa you need (vs the student visa). You will have more information about the micro-entrepreneur status by downloading the booklet from this page too. All the best to you.
Thank you for this article! it really helped a lot with the doubts I had and is more detailed than any other blogs I’ve read so far!
My name is Kay and I’m an Indian who graduated with masters in fashion design from Paris and am now looking to set up a freelance career here in fashion. Unfortunately, I don’t already have a client list, potential clients or receipts of past work as I am just thinking of starting up and I have to apply to renew my visa immediately as well. However, I do have enough savings to last me the entire year which I can show in the form of a letter from the bank. Do you think I would still have a chance of getting the freelance visa under these circumstances? Or are my chances on the lower side?
Hope to hear from you soon!
Hello Kay, Congrats for the master’s degree !
This master actually allow you to request the visa “recherche d’emploi, création d’entreprise”, (that you may have heard of under the name APS graduate or jeune diplomé in France).
This is a one year visa that allows you to work or start a business. You will find more information here: https://expat-in-france.com/stay-in-france-after-studies
This will give you the time to meet the criteria to request the Profession liberal, have a few clients and start to make a small earning.
Also, some people choose to get a loan (bank or personal) to show some savings on a bank statement for their visa file application.
I hope this helps,
Best of luck in your new venture!
Thank you for your helpful article and the resources provided.
I am still a bit confused. I and my business partner wanna expand our business in France and want to apply for the passeport talent création d’entreprise.
We both are the founders of the current company outside of France and will also be the founders of the future company in France. Therefore, we will, inevitably, have the same set of business plans and financial projections. Therefore, would it be a problem when we submit our applications?
And do we need to have the new company set up in France first before submitting the applications?
Thank you in advance.
This is not a problem to have the same set of papers.
You will only be able to set up the French company once you reside in France. what you need to include in the your visa application file is an explanation of the type of company.
I always recommend having a chat with a French chartered accountant before submitting the visa file.
All the best in your new venture,
hi MADEMOISELLE GUIGA,
This is very great article of yours.
I would like to apply for passport de talent for opening business in france. Do you think it a good idea to work with immigration lawyer?
The Passeport Talent Entrepreneur is a great visa!
You will find more information about the Passeport Talent entrepreneur here: https://expat-in-france.com/france-entrepreneur-visas/
Not all immigration lawyers are familiar with Entrepreneurs visas. But having a professional helping puts you on the best track.
They could review your file and advise to improve it but there is never a guarantee of success (and I wouldn’t trust a professional that give this guarantee.
I can also assist with visa application files reviews. You will find more information on my coaching service here: https://expat-in-france.com/one-to-one-consult/
All the best in this entrepreneurial project!
I’m in a bit of a complicated situation here.
Currently on the Travail-Vacances visa valid for 1 year expiring this October, non-renewable, and I’m hoping to change my status to Profession Liberale within France. Normally my current visa type does not allow me to do the switch within France, and I would have to return to my home country, Australia, to do the paperwork. But at the moment, it’s almost impossible to go there with a lot of border restrictions, airport closesed, flight cancellations and financially unfeasible.
I have previously lived in the UK for 5 consecutive years and applied for my French visa there. I don’t really have much connection to Australia apart from having my passport. I am also trying to contact the visa centre in London to see if I can apply for the new visa there instead. (although I no longer have a valid resident permit for UK, I am only able to be there as a visitor/tourist status)
I have been trying to get in touch with the prefecture for clarification but haven’t had luck to get a helpful answer yet. I was wondering if you have any tips regarding my situation?
I understand. Unfortunately, I don’t have good news for you.
The Working-Holiday visa (WHV) is not renewed and the change of status is not authorised.
The fact that you were previously resident in the UK has no impact on your current situation. Having any type of UK visa will not allow you to reside in France. UK citizens now also need to have the appropriate visa (with the visa motive matching their situation) to be able to come to France since the Brexit.
Your only option will be to go back to Australia to request the relevant visa for France.
After the Prefecture might give you a recépissé of 3 months if you really cannot travel (and provide concrete proofs of it), but you will need to see with the Prefecture directly. It will be at the Prefecture’s discretion.
Hi Guiga, thanks for your amazing article! It cleared a lot of questions for me. I’m currently preparing the long-stay visa for Profession libérale from my home country, so I’m not in France right now.
I’m a bit confused over the CFE registration. Shall I register the creation of activities before my visa application? Or after? Because CFE asks for my residential address but it seems not to include an address outside France.
Also, I have been doing freelance project management on the side (as I have a full-time job), so the freelance income doesn’t meet the French minimum wage. However, I’m confident that it would not be a problem once I go full-time freelance with my clients in hand. Would It be a problem for the application?
Thank you so much again!
Thanks for your feedback!
The company registration and the CFE are done once in France.
Regarding your second question, it is normal that you do not have income for a new business. The consulate only wants to see that you have a solid business plan with financial projection and that you will have income (French minimum wage) when you renew your visa after one year in France.
Good luck with your visa application preparation!
I applied for a profession libérale visa last week and was immediately contacted via email with subject line “missing documents” asking to provide “Proof that you will get paid in France ( any paid contract or any future paid contract ?)”
The email of course says not to resond asking if you actually have to provide the documents, you have to, etc. I was under the impression, however, that I did not have to have actual future contracts in order. I do know a potential employer/acquaintance in France that is going to write a future contract for me, but my work is project based and its unlikely this contract would be year-long or particularly high-paying.
Do you have any insights? I provided all the other documentation suggested here. Is it advisable for the contract to state specific things in terms of wage or duration, in your opinion?
I just found this website and my documents are due in two days, so any quick responses would be much appreciated :).
I can also provide a contract saying that I will get paid by a US company that I currently work for doing consultation from abroad (which I do plan to do), but I’m not sure if this is applicable in this case?
I understand. I hope my response is not too late.
You need to provide letters of intention from the future client you are referring to, provisional contracts are also fine, as well as your US contract. It is recommended to indicate the wage and a possible duration. Tell your client that this letter is not a commitment just an intention. It doesn’t have the value of a contract.
By asking for these documents the consulate wants to make sure you are coming prepared and will have the opportunity to make an income by the visa renewal time.
I hope this helps.
Thank you for the elaborate post! I plan to apply for a 6 month liberale visa. I am on a dutch permit at the moment so the application process is different. However, I can travel freely to France with my current permit. I am currently registered as a freelancer in the netherlands. Do you know if I can submit the application in France in that case? Does the consulate ask for bank or income tax statements in addition to the documents you stated above?
Thanks and kind regards,
If you are currently on a Dutch permit, you can travel for a duration of 90-days to France over a period of 180 days.
You will need to follow the process explained in this post but submit the French visa application to the French consulate in the Netherlands.
Yes, you will need to give proof of income and savings so this can be done with your bank statement and tax returns.
So much useful information, Thanks! I am looking to apply for this visa, I have a few questions. I am in France since 2018 on a student visa for my Master and have APS now, I registered as auto-entrepreneur for an e-commerce but looking to register as a Marketing Consultant Freelancer as I have a contract from a company based in New York, how can I modify my business from a trader to freelancer? Do I need to cease the business and re-register a new one as a freelancer? How will that impact my visa application?
Thanks in advance!
You can work in France under the Profession Liberale permit but with a foreign company. From an immigration point of view, you do not necessarily need to close your US-based business to open a French one. From a tax perspective, you may want to consult an accountant to see what is preferable in your situation.
Within the 2 months before the expiration of your APS (now called Recherche d’emploi – création d’entreprise ;), you will need to submit a change of status to the Profession Liberal permit.
I hope this clarifies. All the best in your venture!
I’d like to apply for the VLS-TS Profession-Liberale visa,
but I dont see on the French Visa Website the option I am looking for.
I am a self employed freelancer paid by a UK firm.
I have been working for them for two years, I work from home.
I would like to re-locate to France and continue to work for the same company.
I meet the SMIC requirements.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
To find the Entrepreneur visa option, you first need to select below Your Plans > Business and then below Main purpose of your Stay > Entrepreneur and Independent profession.
BEWARE – If you have the micro-entrepreneur business status, you CANNOT have a unique client. This would be considered as a “disguised” work contract and a way for the employer to avoid paying the relevant social charges.
You will need to have a minimum of 2 clients to be able to have the micro-entrepreneur status. It is important that you state clearly in your business plan that you will have several clients.
If the consulate has a doubt about this, they may reject your visa request.
Then if it is granted and you still have one client only, you and your employer (yes it will be considered as an employer and not a client since it is unique) will have problems with URSSAF.
I hope this will help you to set it up the right way.
Hi! Thanks for this very useful article. When setting as a self employed business, must the clients be in France for it to count under this visa? My husband’s clients are often from around the world and one day we’d like to relocate to France permanently. His clients would likely continue to come from around the world. He works from home. Thanks!
Thank you for your message. Yes, this visa is applicable with clients anywhere in the world.
However, you CANNOT have a unique client. This would be considered as a “disguised” work contract and a way for the employer to avoid paying the relevant social charges.
I will soon write another post detailing the different visas when having a company in France. The Profession Liberale is one of them, and great for a start, but depending on the turnover and the company types, it may not be the best fit. Stay tuned for more information.
I hope this answers your questions.
All the best,
Great article. With so much change it is hard to know what is best in terms of Visa.
We are a family of 4. Myself, my partner, 14 year old son and 67 year old mother.
We have bought a house in France and this completed on 25th January 2021. Given the completion date and the fact we are still in the UK, we are not covered by the withdrawal agreement in terms of residency before 31st December 2020 and are currently waiting for travel restrictions to ease before we can travel/move to France. We will run our own business in France so I think we should be looking at a Profession Liberale Visa ? Is this the VLS/TS.
I did register as an auto-entrepeneur and received a SIRET number and I thought Social Security number. However on applying for l’assurance Maladie I’m told the social security number is wrong. I have now raised this with ameli.fr.
Sorry this is a bit long winded but I’m getting very confused as to what steps to take and in what order ? I assume first step would be the long-term visa VLS/TS ? And do we all need this ?
Thank you for your nice feedback.
Yes, the VLS-TS Profession Liberale is what you will apply for if you plan to relocate to France for more than one year and open your business in France.
Regarding your mother, depending on her situation, the visitor visa may apply but she will need to prove her level of income and how she will sustain herself in France.
When you apply for a SIRET you are provided with a “fake” Social Security Number. You still need to apply for the Social security number (SSN) directly to CPAM (Assurance Maladie). You will find the process in this article with the application form in English if that helps.
One SSN should be applied for per adult of the family with one application form each. You can send all the files together. I recommend you to send it by recorded mail and keep copies. Your underaged children will depend on one either one of you. You will also find the application forms fort hem in the other post I linked.
Indeed, the first step is the visa request and then, once in France, the SSN application. You need to reside in France to apply for an SSN.
I hope this clarifies.
Good luck with this big step! All the best!
Hi Guiga, I’m so glad you made this post! I’m currently looking into work opportunities for next year and I think it would probably be easier to apply for this visa and become a Freelance English teacher than finding a private/internationally school that would hire me and sponsor a visa! Do you know if it’s possible to apply for this visa in France and do a “changement de statut” or do you think I would need to go back to the US. FYI I am an American on a travailleur temporaire visa that expires in September when my current CDD ends.
It is a great plan I think!
Yes, you can request a “changement de status” directly at your local Prefecture in France without having to go back to the USA. Once you have a Long-Stay permit, you can do a change of status from France within two months before the expiry of the current permit.
It is better not to wait the last minute and submit your “changement de status” request between 2 months and 6 weeks before the expiration of your current Travailleur temporary permit.
You will go from one PERMIT to another without having to go through the VISA request at the consulate in your home country.
If you currently have private students, you can already plan to ask them for letters of interest.
Do not hesitate to ask if you have any other questions!
I hope this helped!
Very helpful and really appreciate the links to the resources. But I still have some questions.
How do I know if I have a VLS-TS or simply a VLS? I applied for “greater than 12 months” as I’m planning to permanently move to France. The visa I received is marked “Type D” with the Remarks being “ENT/PROF.LIB”, so I know it’s the Profession Liberale visa. But they also included a slip of paper telling me I must register and validate within 3 months, with email address, visa info, date I entered France, home address and credit card details for payment.
I’m confused, as the steps to validate them are different.
BACKGROUND: US citizen, currently legally resident in Germany, retired (70 years old) and receiving US Social Security, and working part-time as freelance English teacher online, which I will continue in France.
Thank you for your comment. Congratulations on receiving the Profession Libérale visa!
The mentions on the visa can vary from one consulate to another so it is difficult to give a straight forward answer. But it sounds like you have been giving a VLS-TS.
Is there a CESEDA article number mentioned on your visa or also the mention “carte de séjour à solliciter dans les 2 mois suivant l’arrivée”? If it is mentionned “carte de séjour à solliciter dans les 2 mois suivant l’arrivée” it means you have a VLS.
As you have been given the form mentioning that you should validate your visa within 3 months following your entry into France, I would say it is a VLS-TS and you should connect to the given website to validate your visa. You will receive 2 emails as explained above.
In your situation, as you will not have a stamp in your passport proving your entry into France (I assume you will travel directly from Germany?), I advise you to either:
– At the French airport, you should request a “déclaration d’entrée sur le territoire français” as you didn’t automatically go through customs. You can either do it at the customs desk at the airport
– At the Police station within the first 3 days following your arrival request a “déclaration d’entrée sur le territoire français”.
You should also keep any other proofs to your travel to France (travel ticket or if coming by car, the toll fees ticked, gas payments…). The French administration will want proof of your entry date. The more the better.
I hope this helps.
Have a good arrival in France and don’t hesitate to tell me if you have other questions.
Yes, that helps a lot — and since I’ll be arriving from Germany by train, so I’ll probably just head to the closest police station and get my passport stamped.
As for the paperwork, I guess 2 1/2 years in Germany has trained me… 🙂
I’m happy I could help! Have a good settling-in (again?) into French life!
Thank you for this article, very helpful.
I currently I’ve in France I have been here since June 2018. My husband plays rugby here so he’s on a Employee Visa I am on a visitor visa, is it possible for me to apply for this Visa? And can I apply for it while I am living here? Or do I have to go back to NZ? Thank you
Many thanks for this nice comment and for reaching out.
Yes, you can apply for this permit from France. You will need to go to your local Prefecture and make a change status request (demande de changement de status). The list of documents to prepare is the same + any other documents the Prefecture may decide to request.
You will not need to go back to NZ to request the Profession Libérale visa from the French Consulate there.
Just a clarification to avoid misunderstandings with the Prefecture, the “visa” is only requested abroad to enter France. Once in France, you request a residence “permit” at the Prefecture. No (entry) visas are delivered within France.
The change request should be done two months before the expiration of your current visitor residence permit.
I hope this helps. All the best in your new business adventure!
super article full of must-have information to settle in france 🙂