How to get the Profession Liberale Visa (the basics)

Very often I’ve gotten an email starting with, “…there seems to be no information at all online about the Profession Liberale visa.”  It’s true.  For whatever reason, there’s not too much information about it.  So this article will be a small corrective to that problem.  Unlike Visitor status, in which the requirements are straightforward and you have to really mess up in order not to get or renew it, Profession Liberale (hereafter PL) is a bit vaguer, and more importantly, as I’ve stated before, requires you to start a business.  Don’t take that part of it lightly.  If you’re looking for an easy way to stay in France, choose Visitor status.  There’s nothing simpler for the wide public.

Begin at the Beginning

All French immigration dossiers have an order to them.  PL starts with your cover letter.  It will be written in the language of the country you are applying from.  If you are applying from the US, it will be in English, and if you are applying from here, it will be in French.  It does not have to be long.  Mine was about 1000 words and a full 3 pages.  You’re explaining to them why you want to be in France and what your business plan is.  What are your qualifications to pull that off?  What are your financial projections?  You’re not pitching to an investor, but your narrative needs to be that this is a serious endeavor on your part, that you have the ability and skills to execute well, and that your projections are reasonable and not wildly optimistic.  Remember that you cannot apply for PL from Visitor if you have not renewed your Visitor status at least once.  

Evidence

I often tell people that “trust, but verify” is the fundamental principle of presenting your visa applications in France.  The French are happy to take you at your word…as long as you have paperwork to back up your assertion.  Your cover letter is going to be accompanied by your evidence.  Been published in print or on the web in the field you are entering into in France?  Include that.  Have a degree (the French are obsessed with certifications and degrees whereas we silly Anglo-Saxons look to your work history) in the field?  Have a certified copy of your diploma, and if it’s not in French and you are applying in France, have an official translation of it.  Have a French style resume, which is a “CV” here?  Have that also, in the proper language for your application.  There are other things you should include as well, but remember the principle: you’re simply “proving” everything you asserted in your cover letter.

The rest of your dossier is full of the standard things required in a residence visa – lease, health insurance, etc.  PL is a right to live and right to work visa so the cover letter and evidence only covers your right to work.  You still need to give them all the assurances that you know what you’re doing in terms of accommodations and aren’t just showing up here with hope as a strategy for finding lodgings.

Not Done Yet…

If and when you do get the PL visa, you still need to actually make money.  Again, there’s not clear evidence on what threshold you need to reach in your first year, but it seems that if you can take in at least 15,000€ of topline revenue in your first 12 months, you will get renewed, and not just for another year, but for four years.

I hope that gives a bit of information to fill in the gap left by the French government on this visa status, and good luck with your application should you decide to go down this path.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

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