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June 20, 2024

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France Financially Independent Person Visa: Guide 2024

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France Financially Independent Person Visa: Guide 2024

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Who are Financially Independent Persons?

Financially independent persons are those who can sustain their lifestyle without needing income from employment, typically through savings, investments, or other sources of passive income. The concept can vary greatly depending on age, career, and life circumstances.

In France, Financially Independent Persons (FIPs) are individuals who demonstrate sufficient financial security to reside within the country. This concept is common across many European countries, which often offer legal residence options to wealthy foreigners. The defining criterion for such residence in France is the possession of financial resources that are at least equivalent to the net minimum annual wage (SMIC, Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel de Croissance).

Individuals who meet these criteria can apply for a Financial Independent Person (FIP) Visa, also known as a Passive Income Visa, an Independent Means Visa, or a Visa Visiteur & Carte de Sejour, allowing them to live in the country for up to 12 months. Importantly, those residing on a Visiteur visa are not permitted to work and are not required to have proficiency in the French language. The provisions governing this type of visa are encapsulated in the Code on the Entry and Residence of Foreigners and the Right of Asylum, specifically Article L313-6. This legal framework ensures that FIPs can sustain themselves financially in France without the need for employment and are able to show rental income, bank deposits, interests, royalties, dividends, etc. (multiple sources would be beneficial). 

France Financially Independent Person (FIP) Visa Overview

As for the popularity of the French FIP Visa, it has gained attention among expatriates and individuals seeking a peaceful and culturally rich environment. The attractiveness of France's diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and one of the fastest paths to EU citizenship without the need to reside in the country. Please check the program’s requirements below. 

Visa Class France Financially Independent Person Visa
Who is it aimed at? Foreign individuals with sufficient passive financial means to support themselves in France without employment
Financial Amount Recommended monthly passive income:
€3,000 - for a main applicant;
€1,500 - for a spouse;
€750 - per child
Contribution to the Country No investment or donation is required
Application Processing Time 2-3 months
Residence Requirements None, beyond proving the passive financial means during the stay
Language Requirements Not required
Income Sources Passive income is necessary (e.g., investments, pensions, rental income). Employment income is not allowed.
Type of Residency "Visiteur" visa grants a stay of 12 months and leads to a one-year Carte de Sejour, which is renewable
Path to Citizenship Not directly provided; After five years of holding residency in France.
What do I need? Personal Documentation:
Full copy of birth certificate with the most recent entries
Passport (pages concerning civil status, validity dates, entry stamps and visas) or consular attestation with photo or photo ID or consular card with photo or certificate of nationality under 6 months with photo
Proof of domicile less than 6 months old
E-photo
Certificate of Criminal Record (16 years and older)
Proof of your resources reaching an annual amount equal to at least €16,784.32 (bank certificates, surety bonds for creditworthy persons, pension security for pensioners, etc.)
If you are under the care of a third party: documents proving sufficient resources of the guarantor, proof of financial responsibility and identity card of the guarantor
Certificate on the handwritten honor of not working in France
Proof of sickness insurance covering the duration of your stay in France
Proof of residence in France
Legalization Requirements:
Foreign documents have to be legalized by the French Consulate or apostilled (if ratified by Hague Convention)
Foreign Language Documents:
Documents have to be translated by a national public translator in France
Original Documentation:
All documents must be original

Benefits of France FIP Visa

This visa is particularly appealing for its numerous benefits that cater to both personal and professional growth. The following are some of the key advantages of obtaining the French Passive Visa:

Residency and EU Citizenship Status

The primary benefit is the pathway to residency in France. Initially issued for one year, this visa can be extended, allowing individuals to establish a long-term presence in France. After five years of holding residency, applicants may pursue French citizenship, providing them with the option to fully integrate into French society without stringent residency requirements throughout those years.

No Employment Requirement

Unlike many other visas, the FIP Visa  does not allow holders to engage in local employment in France. It is designed for individuals who have a source of income from outside the country. By design, this visa facilitates the stay of individuals who can contribute to the cultural and economic diversity of France without the necessity to enter the local job market.

Ease of Renewal

The renewal process for the FIP Visa is straightforward for holders who continue to meet the visa’s financial criteria, primarily related to their stable foreign income. This streamlined renewal underscores France’s commitment to accommodating individuals who contribute economically without engaging in local employment, making it a conducive environment for long-term stays and cultural immersion.

Access to Healthcare and Education

Visa holders are entitled to access France’s public healthcare system, renowned for its high standards and broad accessibility. Additionally, visa holders can enroll their children in public educational institutions, ensuring high-quality education from primary through higher education. France's education system is highly regarded globally, with OECD statistics highlighting that over 90% of children attend publicly funded schools. This comprehensive access to public services ensures that living in France as a Visa Visiteur holder is both a practical and enriching experience.

Cultural and Business Integration

Living in France offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a culture known for its art, cuisine, and intellectual heritage. The Visa Visiteur also facilitates integration into the French business ecosystem, which is known for its robust support structures for startups and SMEs, including various funding opportunities, incubators, and networking events. According to the French Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance), over 70% of foreign entrepreneurs report positive experiences with business integration in France, citing the availability of support services and networking opportunities. 

Favorable Tax Regime

France offers a range of tax incentives for new businesses, especially those in innovative sectors. Notably, startups can benefit from the French Research Tax Credit (Crédit d'Impôt Recherche, CIR), which offers a tax break of up to 30% on eligible research and development expenses. This can significantly reduce the fiscal burden during the critical early stages of business development and operation. Moreover, the Young Innovative Company (Jeune Entreprise Innovante, JEI) status provides further relief, including exemptions from payroll taxes and corporate tax reductions for up to eight years. 

Family Inclusion

The visa allows for the inclusion of family members (spouses, financially dependent parents, and children) under the same application, facilitating a smoother transition for wealthy foreigners moving to France with their families. This inclusivity strengthens family ties and enhances the relocation experience by providing a shared journey into French life and culture.

Real Estate Market 

Residents have access to the real estate market in France.  With an average annual appreciation of about 4.5% over the past five years, according to Statista, properties range from chic Parisian apartments at approximately €10,000 per square meter to charming villas on the French Riviera. The rental sector is robust, making up about 36% of the housing market, as reported by INSEE, driven by high demand in urban and tourist areas. 

Requirements for France Financially Independent Person Visa

To qualify for the French FIP Visa, applicants must meet specific requirements outlined by the French government. The key criteria include:

  1. Monthly Income Requirement:
  • Applicants must prove a monthly income of at least €1,398.70 net payments, over 1 year.
  • It is recommended to have a monthly income of at least €3,000.
  1. Source of Income:
  • The income must be derived from resources brought from abroad. 
  • This could include your own resources (annuities or pensions, real estate income, etc.) or those of a family member.
  • Remuneration for personal work is not considered an eligible source of income.
  1. Bank Statements:

It is necessary to provide bank statements that clearly show a balance of at least €36,000. This serves as evidence of financial stability.

  1. Residential Address in France: 

Applicants have to prove their address in France and submit utility bills, rental agreement, certificate of ownership, etc. They may buy or rent property in France of any amount.

  1. Employment Restrictions:

Working as an employee for someone else is not allowed under this visa category. However, self-employment or ownership of a business is permitted.

  1. Renewal Requirements:

Each renewal of the FIP Visa requires applicants to prove the continued sufficiency of income to support their stay in France.

  1. Path to Permanent Residency and Citizenship:
  • The visa is initially granted for 1 year, with the possibility of renewal for an unlimited number of times.
  • After 5 years of holding residency in France, visa holders can apply for citizenship.

How to Apply for a France Financially Independent Person Visa

Applying for the FIP Visa in France, you should start the application online on the official platform, ideally 4 to 2 months before your planned visit to France. You can navigate through the process based on the following:

Step 1. Initial Visa Application (Visa Visiteur)

The first phase of your application involves obtaining the Visa Visiteur. This process typically spans 1-2 months and must be handled through the French Consulate located in your home country. Upon receiving your visa, you are required to enter France within the next two months to commence the subsequent procedures. This includes the mandatory validation of your Visa Visiteur at the Office Française de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII). Shortly thereafter, you will start the process of converting your visa into a residence permit, which generally concludes within approximately 2 days.

Step 2. Medical Examination

After settling in France, within 3-4 months of your arrival, you must undergo a mandatory medical examination. This assessment is conducted by the OFII to ensure compliance with health regulations.

Step 3 (Optional). Residence Permit Card Issuance

As the expiration date of your visa draws near—about 2-3 months before—it is crucial to begin the application process for your temporary residence permit card (Carte de Séjour). This will also take place at the OFII, where you will be guided through the necessary steps to obtain your residence permit.

Step 4 (Optional). Carte de Résident/Permanent Residency 

After living in France for 5 years on a temporary residence card, you can apply for the Carte de Résident, which grants permanent residency status. This application is also processed through the OFII and requires proof of continuous residence, financial stability, and integration into French society, such as language proficiency and understanding of civic rights and duties.

Step 5 (Optional). Citizenship

Following the acquisition of permanent residency, you may apply for French citizenship right away. The basic requirements are as below: 

  • Confirmation of Main Residence. You must provide documents confirming that France has been your main place of residence.
  • Proof of Long-term Accommodation. Examples include recent utility bills (less than 3 months old), taxe foncière if you are a property owner, or taxe d'habitation if you are renting.
  • OFII Medical Certificate. This certificate, obtained in the first year after validating your long-stay visa, must be presented.
  • Language Proficiency. French language skills at level A2 are required for applicants under 65 years old.
  • Tax Declarations. Provide tax declarations from France, ideally covering the previous five years. If not available, the last 2-3 years' declarations are acceptable.
  • Evidence of Integration. This includes membership in local groups, charities, clubs, and reference letters or other confirmation of positive and successful integration into French society.

5 Tips from Golden Harbors for getting a Financially Independent Person Visa

Based on our experience,  if you are considering applying for a visa that allows you to live in a foreign country as a financially independent person, you should follow these five key tips to increase your chances of approval:

Understand What Passive Income Is

Our team recommends that our clients show passive sense for the last 12 months in order to qualify for a French visa. Passive income is earnings derived from sources other than a traditional employer. This can include income from rental properties, dividends from investments, interest from bank accounts, royalties from intellectual properties, earnings from stocks or bond investments, income from a business where the owner is not actively involved, annuity payments, and returns from lending money on peer-to-peer platforms. For the French visa application, you will need to demonstrate that your passive income is steady, reliable, and sufficient to support your living expenses without the need to work in France.

Securing Medical Insurance in France

France requires all visa applicants to have comprehensive health insurance coverage. This insurance must cover all risks within France and be valid for the duration of your stay. Importantly, the insurance policy must be issued by a French insurance provider to meet the specific requirements set by the French government. If your current health insurance does not meet these criteria, you will need to obtain a policy from a reputable French insurer that provides the necessary coverage. 

Translation by a French Certified Translator

For your French visa application, any supporting documents that are not in French, such as financial statements, insurance policies, legal papers, medical reports, and personal identification documents, must be translated by a certified translator. It is crucial that this translator is certified in France to ensure that the translations meet the stringent standards required by the French authorities. These certified translations are necessary to validate the authenticity and accuracy of your documents in the application process. Be sure to verify the translator's credentials and ensure they have the necessary certification recognized by French institutions to avoid any delays or issues with your visa application.

Address in France 

Having a fixed address in France is a requirement for the visa application. You can either buy or rent a property. Renting might be easier and less of a financial commitment for many applicants. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a virtual address service in France. These services can provide you with a French address for your official correspondence and may include additional services like mail forwarding.

Consult with Immigration Experts

Navigating the application process for a financially independent person's visa can be complex. It is advisable to consult with immigration lawyers or advisors who specialize in the country’s immigration laws. Golden Harbors can provide valuable guidance, help avoid common pitfalls, and ensure that your application meets all the required criteria. These experts can also assist with compiling the necessary documentation, interpreting the latest immigration policy changes, and representing your interests in communications with immigration authorities to streamline the application process. Their expertise can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful visa application.

FAQ

How Difficult Is It to Get a French Financially Independent Person Visa?

Obtaining a French Financially Independent Person Visa is generally manageable for those who meet the requirements. The process involves demonstrating adequate passive income to sustain oneself without employment in France, securing comprehensive health insurance, and providing proof of accommodation. While all non-French documents must be translated by a certified translator, and applicants must affirm their non-engagement in any professional activity, those who can clearly meet these criteria find the application process straightforward. With organized documentation and clear evidence of financial independence, securing this visa can be a smooth and achievable process.

How Much Money Do You Need to Qualify for a French FIP Visa?

To qualify for a French Financially Independent Person (FIP) Visa, applicants must demonstrate sufficient passive income and savings. Specifically, the main applicant needs a recommended monthly passive income of at least €3,000. Additionally, if applying with a spouse, an extra €1,500 per month is required, and for each child, an additional €750 per month. Regarding savings, it is recommended that the main applicant show a bank balance of about €36,000. For a spouse, an additional €18,000 is recommended, and for each child, a further €9,000. 

How Long Can You Stay in France With a Financially Independent Person Visa?

With a French Financially Independent Person Visa, which is a type of long-stay visa, you can stay in France for up to one year. This visa allows you to reside in France without engaging in professional activities. After the initial year, if you wish to continue staying in France, you need to seek a residence permit (Carte de Sejour). 

Can You Get French Citizenship With a French FIP Visa?

Yes, you can get French citizenship with a French FIP visa. To apply for French citizenship, applicants must provide comprehensive documentation verifying their residence and integration into French society. Essential documents include proof of long-term accommodation, such as recent utility bills or property taxes ('taxe foncière' for homeowners and 'taxe d'habitation' for renters). An OFII Medical Certificate, obtained in the first year after validating a long-stay visa, is also required. For those under 65, proof of French language proficiency at the A2 level must be shown. Tax declarations for ideally the previous five years (or at least the last 2-3 years if not available) are necessary to demonstrate fiscal residence. Additionally, evidence of active participation in French community life through memberships in local organizations, charities, and clubs, supported by reference letters, underscores successful integration into French society. These documents are vital for establishing both the continuity of your stay and your assimilation into the cultural and social fabric of France, key criteria for citizenship eligibility.

What Are Other Residency Options in France?

France offers several attractive residency options for non-EU nationals seeking to live and work within the country, catering to a variety of talents and purposes. The Talent Passport Visa for Business Investor is designed for individuals planning significant economic investments in France, providing a pathway to residency for those contributing to the French economy. Similarly, the Tech Visa for Founders, also known as the Talent Permission Visa for Business Start-Up, is aimed at entrepreneurs launching innovative technology companies in France. This visa streamlines the process for tech founders and includes privileges like a four-year, renewable residence permit. Beyond these, France also offers visas for skilled professionals, students, artists, researchers, and employees of innovative companies, ensuring a diverse range of options for those looking to make France their new home.

France

Residence Benefits

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Visa-free entry

to the EU and the Schengen area countries

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Global mobility and freedom

within 3 months

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Access to EU banking system

the right to open and service accounts in reliable class A EU banks

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Global mobility and freedom

expansion, entry into the international market, filing a company in France allows you to renew a residence permit via a business for the whole family

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Return on Investment

option to buy a real estate property with potential of passive income, and the prospect of selling assets in 5 years

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Global mobility and freedom

for investors who have been in France for 5 years and have filed tax returns for the last two years

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No restrictions on dual citizenship

there is no need to renounce your existing citizenship in the future when obtaining French passport

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Global mobility and freedom

main applicant's family members (spouse, financially dependent parents and children) can apply for a residence permit as part of family reunion

France

Residence Permit

Processing Time and Terms

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Sign a service agreement, fill out application forms, and pay the initial service and due diligence fees.

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Sign a service agreement, fill out application forms, and pay the initial service and due diligence fees.

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we prepare the documents required for submission to the French Embassy and the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII)

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real estate property purchase or lease in France.

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registration for a national visa "visiteur" at the Embassy of France.

visit France to register documents in OFII and register your residence permit.

There are Always Options to EXPAND YOUR BOUNDARIES! Let's Discuss Yours

Every client is unique

Every case requires an individual approach and solution. Our years of experience in the industry allow us to provide both.

We will answer all your questions and provide detailed information about the available second passport and residency programs to help you make the right choice.

Victoria

Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors

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Victoria

Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors