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Passport to Success: How South Africans can Secure a France Talent Passport

posted 12 months ago

WHY IS FRANCE AN EXCELLENT DESTINATION TO BUILD MY FUTURE?

France is a beautiful country that offers a high quality of life with a great range of financial opportunities. There are several factors that makes France a great country to settle in. Economically, many businesses in France are thriving, even in the face of difficult economic times. Furthermore, French society is very diverse and welcoming to newcomers from all over the world. 

Visitors from all around the world, including South African citizens, can enjoy the beauty of the country and the variety of cultures which make up its population. South African visitors can also benefit from the country’s excellent transportation networks and great selection of attractions and activities to explore. It is also a country that values the work life balance to a very high degree.

France also offers a great range of educational opportunities, with a number of world-renowned universities and colleges. South African citizens and their families who wish to move to France can take advantage of the French education system to pursue higher studies and gain valuable skills. 

Moreover, the country offers excellent healthcare and social security systems, making it the perfect destination for those seeking to enjoy a safe and secure environment. 

HOW CAN I IMMIGRATE TO FRANCE?

If you have an idea that will create new business in France and wish to live there, or if you have substantial money and wish to invest in France, the French Talent Passport is the solution to your visa needs. The French Talent Passport is a residence-by-investment program that will allow the investor and qualifying family members to obtain 4-year renewable residency cards in less than 3 months.

For citizens of countries in the European Union, European Economic Area, or Switzerland, no special visa is necessary.

Citizens of those areas already have the same rights to start a company in France as a French citizen.

However, for individuals outside that area, such as South Africans, they will need a residence permit, which can be acquired through the French Talent Passport.

HOW CAN I GET A FRENCH TALENT PASSPORT PERMANENT RESIDENCY?
THE INVESTOR OPTION?

The France Talent Passport has two types of investment programs – one for investors (the France Talent Passport for Investors (View the program) and another for business creators (the France Talent Passport for Business Creation (FTPBC)). 

The France Talent Passport for Investors (FTPI) requires you to invest a substantial amount in France – at least EUR 300,000. 

The payment does not need to be invested all at once; you will need to initially commit EUR 50,000, but the remainder of the investment can be made within the next 4 years.  The applicant under the FTPI program will also need to create and maintain permanent full-time jobs for French workers.  

The investor and their eligible family members receive renewable residency cards that are initially valid for 4 years. Processing is rapid, taking less than 3 months.  

HOW CAN I GET A FRENCH TALENT PASSPORT PERMANENT RESIDENCY?
THE BUSINESS CREATION OPTION

The second form, the French Talent Passport for Business Creation (View Program), is for those with innovative ideas wanting to set up a company in France.  To be eligible, they must first have a master’s degree or equivalent and at least 5 years of relevant professional experience.

The applicant will also need to have a real and serious plan to form an economically viable business in France.  The proposed venture will also require an investment of at least EUR 30,000 and sufficient annual financial resources at least equal to the latest legal minimum wage in France. 

The French “Talent Passport – Business Creation” grants you to stay in France with the validity period from 1 to 4 years in maximum. The number of years is dependent on the nature, the characteristics, and the duration of the business you plan to set up. This Talent Passport residence permit is renewable. 

CAN I QUALIFY FOR FRENCH CITIZENSHIP WITH THE FRENCH TALENT PASSPORT?

Both programs of the French Talent Passport can lead to permanent residency and citizenship after 5 years of legal residency, and subject to passing a language test

In both cases, for South Africans, the amount involved for either Investment (FTPI) or for Business Creation (FTPBC) is less than most other residency-by-investment programs.

PROCEDURE TO OBTAIN THE FRENCH TALENT PASSPORT, STEP-BY STEP GUIDE

The French “Talent Passport–Business Creation” is a program offered to foreign company founders from outside the EU, the EEA, or Switzerland who plan to set up a company in France. The success of the application is subjected to the nature, characteristics, and duration of the proposed project. Successful applicants from the “Talent Passport–Business Creation” will be granted residence permit for a duration from 1 to 4 years maximum, on a renewable basis.

There is a difference in the procedure depending on whether you are in France or overseas, for example, in South Africa. 

FOR SOUTH AFRICANS RESIDENTS OUTSIDE FRANCE:

  • Step 1: The applicant supplies the supporting documents and application and requests a letter certifying the existence of a credible plan to form a viable business in France. You begin the application for a “Talent Passport” long-stay visa authorizing entry into French territory on the official France-Visas website.  
  • Step 2:  The business creator applies for their long-stay visa and/or residence permit, attaching the certificate and other supporting documents. You do this through the French consulate or French embassy.
  • Step 3:  Upon submission of a completed application. The government will then grant the visa.   

HOW DO I ENTER FRANCE?  HOW DO I OBTAIN MY FRENCH TALENT PASSPORT AND A PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT?

  • Step 4: You can then travel to France showing your visa at the border/airport. Upon arrival in France, you can work immediately with this visa.
  • Step 5: You then request your Residence Permit online through the dedicated website: https://administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr/particuliers/#/  Should we even mention this or just remove it?
  • Step 6: The prefecture or sous-prefecture in which you are living issues your residence permit. France has 96 prefectures which are the local municipalities.
  • Step 7: If in compliance with all requisite terms the applicant may request that the prefecture extend their permit at the appropriate time.  

FOR SOUTH AFRICANS WHO ALREADY RESIDENTS OF FRANCE:

If you are already resident in France through another type of residence permit you will change your residence status. You will then need to show that you are eligible for the new permit type.

WHEN SHOULD YOU START THE PROCESS?

If you are a resident outside of France, then you must start your application at least 3 months before the time of your arrival. If you are already in France, then start 3 months before the previous residence visa expires.

WHAT IS THE COST OF THE FRANCE TALENT PASSPORT?

In addition to the costs outlined above, the charge for the long stay visa authorising entry into France is EUR 99. As well, you pay a fee of EUR 200 to the OFII (Office Francais de l’Immigration et l’Integration). Plus, there is tax duty of EUR 25. They then issue the permit. 

CAN I INCLUDE MY FAMILY IN MY APPLICATION FOR THE FRENCH TALENT PASSPORT? 

Yes, you can include your spouse and dependent minor children (under the age of 18).  Your spouse must apply for a “Talent Passport – Family” residence permit. This allows them to live, work and study in France as long as the main applicant’s residence permit is valid.   

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR MY FAMILY OF THE FTP?

They also can enjoy benefits such as the healthcare and education systems.  The cost again is EUR 99 and then EUR 225 for each member as outlined for the main applicant above. 

The applicant and their family can also enjoy travel within the 26 European countries of the Schengen Area for 6 months each year (90 out of every 180 days).  They face no language requirement. Finally, as noted earlier there is a pathway to citizenship after 5 years of valid residence, although there is a language test at that point.  

WHO CAN APPLY FOR THE FTP?

For both type of investments, whether for the France Talent Passport for Investors (FTPI) or the France Talent Passport for Business Creation (FTPBC), any nationality from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland and Algeria is eligible. There is no language requirement, as noted above.  For the France Talent Passport for Business Creation (FTPBC) there are the educational and work experience requirements outlined earlier. 

 

CAN I GET ASSISTANCE WITH MY APPLICATION FOR THE FRENCH TALENT PASSPORT?

Explains Guillaume Matz, Partner at Harvey Law Group (HLG) from their Paris office, “The FTPI or the FTPBC are effective and proven pathways to French permanent residence and ultimately, if you wish, French citizenship. The process is complex, and we recommend you get professional help from experienced immigration lawyers.”

Harvey Law Group (HLG) is an international law firm specialising in investment immigration, with offices in both France and South Africa, as well as more than 20 locations worldwide. Contact them for an appointment to discuss your concerns on [email protected] or find out more information about the French Talent passport here: Program Details

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