Advice from Aussies working in france

Hi, are there any active members in this group who can help with some questions about living and working in france?

Has anyone successfully made the move and are working in France.

I need to work. So I was thinking of setting up or buying a business as I want to live in the french alps.

I would like to talk with some Aussies who are working for themselves.

Thanks kindly



You do not seem to be having a lot of luck in your quest.

My understanding is that you cannot get 6 month visa any longer and it will be for 12 months. On arrival in France with that visa it is compulsory for you to attend OFFI (equivalent of Dept of Immigration) for a medical (brief and straight forward) and to complete basic paperwork - it is not overly difficult. They then apply a sticker on your passport which in essence is your first Carte Sejour. At the end of each 12 month period ( actually about 2 months before it expires) you need to go to the Prefecture for renwal for a further 12 months.

You need considerable paperwork (Birth certificate) and be able to show that you can financially support yourself for 12 months as well as private health insurance. These documents need to be translated into french.

Bank accounts in France are important and need to be set up as soon as possible. You can use your Australian Drivers Licence for up to 12 months, but it is smarter to have it transferred to the french licence as early as possible as this means that you do not need to pass any french driving tests etc.

If you are keen I have produced a pdf booklet explaining a lot of the issues faced by Australians in coming to France. Simply send me a personal message or your email address and I can send it to you.

It is based on our situation, being on a Long Stay VISITOR Visa but some of the aspects will still apply to you if you come in on a business visa. It is our clear understanding that you cannot set up as an AE on a Visitor visa. Indeed we were told strictly that we could not earn an income of any nature from within France. My wife has had to re-establish her small online business through Australia, but at least it works.

Your situation no doubt is frustrating, but if you can arrange it, it is worth the hassle (and they don't simply stop once you get here)



Hi Nicole

Thanks, I'm not sure it that blog post helps or turns me off trying : ) I think I've actually read it before.

Yes getting a long stay visa is the first step, I managed to get a 6 month visa 2 years ago for another reason. So I know the drill a little, but I didn't have to visit any prefectures etc as it was non working and only 6 months.


Hi Ashley

I have found this blog post which is quite interesting (by an American - but still non-EU so relevant) -

I'm trying to find out whether you can set up as an AE once here on a visitors' visa. In any case, to secure a visa in the first place, you would need to have sufficient funds to support yourself for a year (the blog post mentions 1800€ a month).

Hope this helps a bit.


So are there any Australians working in France?? Or this group all on non working visas?

I’d love to hear From any one who is running a small business in France

Hi Ashley, there is a little group on Facebook called "Aussies in France" which you can join (it is a closed group) and there are a number of people working as employees and and who also have their own businesses in that group. If you search for it on FB you can post the question there and no doubt there will be some interesting feedback relating to the various, sometimes rather creative, ways people have managed to reside here. The other place that might yield some answers is ABIE Australian Business in Europe which you can join too -they have regular functions / meet ups. Good luck!

I am based in Bretagne near Gourin. I have a few marches de Noel booked in and I have created a Facebook page Merilyn wilkinson artiste. Fingers crossed all will go well.

If your principal place of residence is in France, then you need to register as a Tax resident. Then you are assessed and taxed on world wide income, but can benefit from tax offsets for taxes paid in another jurisdiction (provided there is a bi-lateral Tax agreement). To the best of my understanding, you cannot avoid the French Tax system if you are living here for more than 6 months or if your principal residence can be shown to be here.

As I mentioned earlier, my wife earns a very modest income from an online business run through Australia, but this still needs to be declared and assessed here in France.

I agree with Howard that establishing a business here is complex and you should consult a french accountant to discuss the possible scenarios and which is best for you.

Thank Howard, I don't have any other outside incomes.

I'd like to work, but I think it will be impossible to get sponsorship. So this is why I am going down the business route and look at working for myself.

Thanks for the feedback

Good to hear.

All seems well under control. Good luck with the glasswork. Where are you based as my wife may like to look at your product sometime when you are settled and ready.


Establishing a French business in France is a complex and expensive business and once you are operating, you may regret the amounts of money you have to pay to the state for little or nothing in return.

However, as other replies have indicated, you could get a visa to live in France fairly easily and even if you work here, if your income comes from outside France, you could be treated as non-resident for tax and charges.

Once you become established, you may find opportunities to change your situation, so you have more security, if you want to stay long term.

Re: But I have been told that should anything happen to my husband that I will have to return to Australia.

Frankly that sounds like a statement to be viewed with suspicion. Is your spouse a French citizen?

Even if he is a non-French, EU citizen, you get a 5 year residence permit by him "exercising his treaty rights". After 5 years treaty rights, I think you have permanent residence, which has nothing to do with your being married to an EU citizen.

Since I wrote the above I've read other responses, which say the similar. If you have residence due to married with an EU citizen, EU immigration law trumps French law or any EU country (it's something the Brits are complaining about).

Yes Grahame I have my Carte Sejour after i was on my long stay visa for the first 12mths and when we got married they gave me the Carte Sejour and I have been registered with pole emploi and through them I was able to do a six mth French language course with GRETA which has now given me the language certificate I need to apply for French citizenship after living here for five years. The carte Sejour is renewable for the permanent residency but never really permanent as it is always reviewed after 5-10yrs. This year I have registered with La Maison des Artistes and have my siret no and have started doing markets. As I am a glass artist, so hopefully I will start having some income.

G'day Graham

Yes I've check the the consular site and various forum. I know different visa option. Setting up or Running a business is the only option I have. That is why I'd like to hear from any Australian who are currently working in France and running a small business as I know there are alot of taxes and different business structure to consider.

I've been to France a few time and I lived in the Alps for 6 months last year on a short term no working visa.

As I'm 40 years old I need to be able to work .

I'm trying to connect to any Aussies, to see what they think about running a small business in France.




From Oz you have only a couple of options to enter France on a long term basis. Check out the French Consulate website to see the various types of visas available to you for entry. My understanding is that you can use a Long Stay Visitor Visa as we have done, but this does not permit you to be employed or run a business within France. Alternatively you could apply for a Long Stay Working Visa, meant for the employee but you would need to be sponsored by a french company to be granted this status. Finally you could apply for a Long Stay Visa for creating and establishing a business in France. This sounds more like what you need but you would have to provide a Business Plan, French Bank account details and heaps of other interesting information.

Please see the link below

Probably worth trying to talk to the Consulate, but my experience is that they are not overly helpful.

My wife & I have been in France for almost 3 years now but on Visitor visas and this means that we cannot work or run a business in France. We are both retired but my wife runs a small online shop but this has to be based back in Aust

Hope you have some luck with your enquiries


As I understand it, if you apply for a Visa as the spouse of an EU citizen, you should then be entitled to remain in France. You would need to apply for a Carte Sejour immediately under that visa.

This could and probably would mean that you have to go back to Aust to apply for a new visa. I am assuming that you are currently on a Long Stay Visitor visa as both my wife and I are on.

Once you have been resident in France for 5 years, you can then apply for a permanent residency. Best to check with your prefecture.

Possibly you could go to the Mairie and get them to verify that you have lived in the country for 5 years and then you could apply for permanent status.

I understand that this would still mean another year in your case. If you came back on a new status visa, you would probably have to wait a full 5 years.

Just my thoughts based on what I have read and experienced here.

Goodluck! I thought I would say something as I was mis informed when I arrived and I bought a house before I found out. I was already in a relationship so lucky we were able to get married. I have lived here now for 4 years. But I have been told that should anything happen to my husband that I will have to return to Australia.

I am 40 and only have an Aussie passport, so I know it is going to be difficult. So I'm trying to see what other people have done.

It will depend on your age and your passport. If you are young enough for a working visa. Or if you have an EU passport. As an Australian passport holder I was told that I can buy a house in France and live in France but my income must be sourced outside of the country. I was told I could never work in France or go on the system. But being married to an EU citizen allows you to work and access the system.