Friday, April 6, 2012

The Awesome French Skills and Talent Visa

France has an interesting visa named the Skills and Talent visa. The visa is good for three years and can be renewed once (six years should be enough to let you apply for permanent residency). What's great about this visa is that you do not need a work permit. Work permits are notoriously hard to obtain in France, but the French government knows that they need skilled workers.

The castle in Carcassonne, France
Carscassonne, France
Photo by Jondu11 (click the image!)
The Skills and Talent visa was introduced in 2009 and is designed to attract skilled workers in a speculative fashion. By "speculative" I mean "speculative on both sides". The French assume you will be good for the economy and you assume you can get a job. Actually, you need to submit a specific "project" to qualify for the visa and that project may be employment related, or perhaps you intend to write the next great American novel. Either way, if you have enough experience and can demonstrate the competence to carry out your project, a 3 year French visa may be waiting for you.

So let's say that your project is to start an expat employment agency. If you get the Skills and Talent visa, you are still at liberty to take a job in a café. So long as you can convince the French government that you have the intent and the means to pursue your dream in France, this is a great opportunity.

You don't need to speak French for this visa, but it is probably a good idea to state your intention of learning it. Also, if you have a spouse and children, bring 'em along! They will receive a Vie Privée et Familiale card, allowing them to live and work in France, too.

Update: Honestly, if you think you could be successful in France, why not apply for this visa? You will have to pay $129 for a Long Stay Visa application, but if you know you could pull this off, what do you have to lose? There's absolutely no barrier to applying (unlike, say, a work permit). If you're crafty enough to put together a smart application, this could be your ticket to Europe.


  1. It *is* a very interesting option. I've heard however that the implementation has been rough. Very few of these cards have actually been issued. Remains to be seen as well how this type of visa fits with the EU Blue Card scheme. It's worth looking into though.

    1. Damn. I forgot to mention the Blue Card in this post. As far as I can tell, there's an excellent chance that you could use the Skills and Talent visa to qualify for a Blue Card, thus giving you expanded Schengen access. Thanks for the reminder.

      As for not many being issued, I've read about some people getting them (the latter has a description of the recipients project). Of course, some have it harder than others. It actually sounds like the hardest part might be fighting the bureaucracy.