You are considering immigrating to France?

In the following we will give you a brief overview what immigration options France offers for South Africans and other non-EU citizens.

The good news is that France offers several options for your immigration.

We see clients immigrate to France for many reasons – work, studies, personal relationships, and retirement. At younger ages, the first two categories may be the most appropriate.

In terms of studies, were you to complete a Masters program in France (even a 1-year MBA, or any other qualified masters degree), this would enable you to stay in France after your studies and apply to join the French labor market as if you were a European national, so long as the job corresponds to your studies and the salary is above 28 000 € annually. There are a lot of universities offering English programs. This would be our recommendation for those who do not yet have an “in” to the French labor market.

In terms of work, these are generally harder to obtain if you are coming into France without a connection to a French corporation and without knowledge of the French language. There are several subcategories:

  • Intra-corporate Transfer Seconded Worker visa (Salarié Détaché ICT) – for workers transferred from their corporate affiliate to one in France, and who stay on South African payroll while in France
  • The visa categories called “Talent Passport” for highly qualified workers, such as the Talent Passport European Blue Card – with a job offer of a work contract of at least one year, and a salary of at least 54 000 € annually
  • The Talent Passport Employee on Mission Visa, which is similar to the Intra-corporate transfer but the individual is on local, French payroll
  • And several other possibilities to consider, including an entrepreneur visa. Lastly, if you have personal means or if you can telework from a distance, there is the category of the Visitor visa, for those who promise to not seek work in France and can cover their expenses via their personal means or telework.

For foreigners who wish to retire in France: France does welcome non-EU nationals who wish to move there to retire providing that they can justify the following:

  • The financial capacity to be moving to France (as you would not be authorized to work or set-up a business here under that category of permit), this basically means that for each person you need to show that either you have savings, rental income or a retirement fund that shows for each person a minimum of 18,255 Euros per year.
  • Medical insurance coverage, with a minimum of 40,000 Euros per person as residents in France, this is not travel insurance and must be valid for a 12 month period when you file for the visa
  • An address in France, this can be temporary housing

If you meet the above then you will be able to obtain a “Visiteur” visa at the French embassy or consulate abroad. It is issued for one year and can be renewed indefinitely in France at the local prefecture. You are allowed to spend considrable time outside France. After 5 years one can apply for residence permit (carte de sejour) and even citizenship. Owning a property in France is not sufficient. The above criteria are crucial.

Please contact us for any questions regarding your immigration to France.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice regarding immigration & visa, setting up business, property transfer & investment.

By Andreas Krensel