Why a visitor visa is not the right choice

People ask me this question all the time: I’m a freelancer, or I work for a US company at a job I can do remotely. Can’t I just continue to do that work from France, and get a visitor visa?

Sometimes, the French consulate will tell you yes, because you’re nottechnically “seeking work in France” - but the answer, for several reasons, is a resounding NO.


Well, for starters, you may not be violating any IMMIGRATION rules by telecommunting from France, but you and your company would be violating both French employment law AND tax law (both of which the French consulates around the world and the préfecture know very little about).

The short explanation is – if you have a carte de séjour, or a visa, you’re a French tax resident, and you need to pay social taxes and income taxes in France FIRST. It doesn’t matter where your employer or your clients are – it matters where YOU are, physically, doing the work.

And guess what? You can’t register any type of business or pay taxes if you’re on a visitor visa. If you DO, you risk two things: your visa not being renewed (because you violated your agreement not to work in France), or committing tax fraud, by not reporting the income you earn in France while you are a French tax resident (and required to report 100% of your worldwide income).

It’s a catch-22, sure, which is why I want to help you avoid getting into that situation, especially since it can be quite difficult to switch from a visitor visa to another kind of visa. It’s even harder if they suspect that you’ve already been working without authorization.

I’ve been working with a client who got herself into that particular quagmire, and honestly, it’s a situation I wouldn’t wish on anyone. So please check out this video to avoid the pitfalls of working remotely in France.

I’m going to be completely honest: It’s not that hard to do things the “right” way by getting a visa that allows you to set up a business in France. And in France, there’s only one “right” way to do things. If you’re serious, and you can put together a serious visa application for a self-employment project – regardless of what your field, credentials and experience are – you’ll likely get your visa application approved. Then, you’ll have a year to build your business and your income so your visa will be renewed.

It’s a lot easier than trying to “régulariser” your situation if you get set up incorrectly to begin with.

So watch my video here, then comment on it if you have specific questions about setting up a business or getting one of those visa types to work in France. 


And then, comment on it if you have specific questions about setting up a business or getting one of those visa types to work in France.

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