March 2015

This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in France. The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.

Overview

BUSINESS VISITOR

Permitted Activities – Business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

• Attending business meetings or discussions;
• Making sales calls to potential clients provided that the visitor represents a commercial entity outside of France;
• Attending seminars, conferences, fairs or “fact-finding” meetings;
• Participate in short-term training sessions of less than one (1) month – two (2) week maximum is recommended, however. Should the training session extend beyond this 2 week – 1 month timeframe, a Training Permit will be required;
• Participate in exhibitions and seminars organized by the company, trade organization, universities, etc.

Type of Business Visas – The Schengen “C” visa is the typical visa issued to business travelers. Note that many nationalities benefit from a visa waiver arrangement with the Schengen area and are permitted to enter visa free for business visits of up to 90 days in any 180 day period.

Basic Requirements

1. Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment;
2. Proof of medical coverage of at least EUR 30,000;
3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to France;
4. No intention to permanently reside in France;
5. A ticket for onward travel from France;
6. Proof of funds. 

While you are in France for this short trip you cannot

1. Productive work and profit oriented activities;
2. Bill clients in France for any type of service;
3. Be supervised  and Receive a salary or other remuneration from the host entity in France;
4. Have your name tag at the French office;
5. Obtain business cards/have your signature showing an office address in France;
6. Enter France with a copy of your assignment contract, if you have a pending WP application.

Estimated Processing Times – This varies by diplomatic post and country.

Maximum Time On Visa – This visa allows business people to make a short business visit to France for up to 90 days in any 180 day period during the visa validity. However, it is strongly recommended that each business trip does not exceed two weeks in-country. Visas cannot be extended in country.

Typical Documents Required – All travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:

• a valid passport or other acceptable travel document and in some cases;
• a valid visa or authority to enter France.

EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION                     

Basic Requirements – There are several immigration categories in France for corporate transfers, but the principle visa category for temporary employment is the “salarié en mission” work permit. This permit

This permit is for French companies sponsoring overseas workers to fill highly specialized or managerial positions in order to provide a specific expertise to a project. The overseas worker must earn at least 1.5 times the current French minimum wage and must have at least three months of experience within the same company group outside of France. The employee can be seconded to France (i.e., remaining on the home company’s payroll and social insurance system – in absence of a social security bilateral agreement, the home employer will however have to contribute to the French social insurance system) or included on the French host company’s payroll and contribute to the French social insurance system.

Process Overview – The process for obtaining a salarié en mission permit is as follows:

1. Work Permit (salarié en mission) Application;
2. Type D Visa Application – filed at the French Consulate General with jurisdiction over the employee’s place of residence;
3. Residence Permit (carte de séjour) application – filed with the local Préfecture.

Estimated Processing Time – immigration in France is governed on a jurisdictional basis and, as such, processing times will vary depending on the employee’s location in France:

• 6 to 8 weeks from the day the WP application is lodged to the work starting date in France for the centralized process “salarié en mission-guichet unique” in the following jurisdictions (“Départements”): 69/75/92/38/31/63/59
8 to 12 weeks from the day the WP application is lodged to the work starting date in France for all other jurisdictions (“Départements”)

Validity periods – The salarié en mission Work Permits are valid for up to three (3) years, depending on length of assignment. Renewals of a maximum of 3 years are possible, after which permanent residency cannot be obtained.

Family Members – Dependents (spouses and children) of salarié en mission Work Permit holders are granted permission to work in France as long as the work permit holder is in France for at least six months.

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