Now, France has a visa for startup entrepreneurs, techies, and VCs
Two years after the French government launched the French Tech Ticket, an ambitious scheme to encourage foreign startups to build a base in France, their newest programme, the French Tech Visa, goes one step further and invites various patrons of the startup ecosystem to nest in the country. It’s an easier way to get a four-year visa for you and your family and is part of the 'Passeport Talent' scheme launched in 2016.
According to their website, the French Tech Visa aims to attract foreign tech talent — foreign start-up and scale-up founders and employees, foreign talents joining a French start-up or scale-up, and foreign investors and business angels. However, citizens from the European Economic Area and Switzerland do not need such a visa.
With the French Tech Ticket, foreign entrepreneurs would receive a work visa; a $14,000–28,000 grant for each team member; an office space, free of cost, in an incubator in Paris; and lastly, an English-speaking administrative advisor. However, the French Tech Visa is an easier and more inclusive programme to net a four-year stay in the country. Its general features, as enlisted on the website, are that it has a four-year validity on a renewable basis; a Talent Passport – Family granted to the spouse of the main applicant, guaranteeing identical family treatment and automatic labour market access as an employee, business founder, etc; no work permit required for any work performed as an employee; and lastly, under certain circumstances, a fast-track procedure will also be provided.
As a founder, there are three ways to get the French Tech Visa — applying to the French Tech Ticket programme, applying to France-based startup accelerators and competitions (wherein La French Tech will be partnering with them to provide the participants exclusive support to the French Tech Visa application process), and to directly apply to the French Tech Visa programme for founders, which can be done by contacting one's local French Consulate or the local prefecture (if you already reside in France), and follow the general procedure to apply for a Passeport Talent.
A Passeport Talent is a document that permits residence to young graduates who are employees of a young, innovative company; highly skilled workers (holding a European Blue Card); researchers, business creators; the bearers of an innovative economic project; and investors, corporate officers, performers, and foreigners with a national or international reputation in science, literature, arts, education, or sports.
As a startup employee, you can either find a job in one of the 100 leading French startups that their government will identify and shortlist, or apply to the 'French Tech Visa for Exceptional Talents'. Lastly, as a VC, you may expand your venture capital firm in France, work in a French venture capital firm, or directly apply to the French Tech Visa for investors.
This move comes just a little ahead of France's presidential election and is a bid to foster the country's tech ecosystem and make it rife with talent and resources.