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I'm presently employed in France. I did a masters degree in France, and then applied for a residence + work permit and got a job in a large retailer. I don't have EU citizenship. My intention is to reside here permanently and apply for naturalisation (so, 2.5 years to go until I can apply for citizenship, 4 years until decision).

My broard field of work is operations research (the mathematical side of management science). I'm finding my employee status to be somewhat of a ball-and-chain around my ankle, in that the work I do could generate orders of magnitude greater value for both me and my employer/others if done as a startup or independent consulting business. The organisational dynamics of my employer makes me strongly doubt that we could come to an agreement on a "joint venture" vehicle.

Is there a titre de séjour for this sort of situation (a salarié wanting to go independent)? I've looked at compétences et talents and I almost certainly wouldn't qualify, not being a well-known entrepreneur or sports star.

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    How do you figure 2.5 years? My understanding is that with a masters from a French university you could qualify earlier than that. Also, did you grow up in a country with French as the official language of teaching? – Gala Mar 30 '15 at 23:53
  • My degree is a a single year MBA, so doesn't meet the two-year requirement. My engineering degree is from overseas, and I learned French from study, not from it being an official language where I grew up. – feelingblah Mar 31 '15 at 6:05
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There is such a thing as a carte de séjour “indépendant” with slightly easier requirements than a complétences et talents card or European blue card but I don't know all the details and I am not sure whether it would be available to you. In particular, the website implies that you should have a long-stay visa (no mention of any possibility to transition from another status) and show that your income is higher than €1457.52 per month (but I don't know how you could prove that even before starting your consulting business).

A few other ideas, with various levels of craziness:

  • Apply for naturalization as soon as possible. As I commented, it might be possible earlier than you think. On the other hand, the minimum residence requirement is not all there is to it, many people who have lived in France for many years still get turned down because their “insertion professionnelle“ is deemed insufficient. Having a stable work contract (“CDI“) really helps, which is why it might be safer to stick with the job until you get all this sorted out.
  • Depending on your personal situation, you might go for a carte de séjour vie privée et familiale. Once you have it, you can do many things including starting a business.
  • If you lose your job (but not if you leave voluntarily), you might be able to get the benefit of your current carte de séjour and at least one renewal, together with unemployment benefits and possibly some support from the pôle emploi (they love people who want to start a business). Probably not what you are aiming for but I thought it could be interesting to know.

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