Business Visa for Gite

My partner and I are looking into moving to France permanently and would really appreciate if we could get in touch with people that can give a bit of advise or share their story.
We are looking for a house with a gite to rent it out. So we would need a professional/non-professional business visa. Does anyone has any idea how hard it is to get this visa? We find it quite hard to get information about the requirements for this visa and if we should find a property first or apply for the visa first.
Anyone has been through this process or know someone that we could be in touch with?
Thank you!
Michele

My understanding is that to get a business visa from gîtes you would need to be a louer en meublé professionnel (LMP), which means you would need to have a business plan that showed a turnover that was over €23,000 euros. And this business has to be your main income. (Which is logical as if you income from other sources was more than that then more likely to get an inactif visa…)

So it is not enough just to set up a small business as louer en meublé non-professionel (LMNP) that turns over a few thousand as this is unlikely to be seen as a serious business and just an sideline occupation.

€23,000 may sound easy, but you will be unlikely to get this from a single gîte, and it is not enough for a couple to live on particularly happily. A rule of thumb is that your profit will be half that. You probably need a turnover of over €50,000 to show a serious and viable business plan.

This article is quite realistic

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I’d say you’d be doing exceptionally well to get an income of €23,000 with 2 gites unless they’re super high end ones and open all year.

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Turnover, not income!

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Hi JaneJones, thanks for the reply, it is very helpful.
We don’t need the income from the gites to survive, once the sale of our house is completed, we could retire if we wanted. The gites would be “pocket money”.
We found some properties with quite a few gites included. So let’s say I can create a business plan showing I could achieve €23,000 because they are high end and there are quite a few of them. But then after a year, when I am due to renew the business visa, I didn’t achieve the full target. Would that mean my visa wouldn’t be renewed? Thanks again.

If the gîtes are for supplementary income I would think that the visa authorities might question the need for a business visa. If you are LMP that must be your primary income to get that statute. See here:

https://www.service-public.fr/professionnels-entreprises/vosdroits/F32805

It sounds more as if you are inactif early retirees……who want to have a small activity. Which is what we did and are LMNP, but I don’t know whether people from UK can do this freely now. Or whether a LMNP that earned lots would qualify for a business visa.

Also, and others may have more detail here, if you are under state pension age setting up a business in France could affect your pension rights. If you have a business you have to pay into the french state health and retirement pot. I think (don’t know for sure so you need to check this) that when you reach pension age it is the last country where you paid in that becomes your competent state so you would no longer be eligible for an S1 (where the UK pays for your healthcare once you reach pension age).

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Hi JaneJones
Very informative comments that have helped me (similar situation).

When applying for a visitors visa you must promise not to engage in any professional activity whilst in France. LMNP containing the exporession “non professional” is in my opinion sufficient to enable someone to operate as an LMNP business and not be in breach of the visa promise (not to engage in any professional activity).
Do you agree?

No, not at all!

Things have become much clearer since I wrote that 9 months ago!

It remain a hotly debated subject but the consensus of opinion backed by views from authorities (which I can’t put my finger on this second), is that running your gîte(s) yourself is work! And if you wish to do that you need an entrepreneur visa that allows you to work, requiring a business plan that shows you will turn over at least €23k and neatly being the threshold for a professional LMP.

The only way to satisfy the visa conditions is to subcontract everything to a management company. It is then passive income from your investment in the same was as shares. That way you can be LMNP with a gîte or gîtes turning over under €23k, and having a non working visa. Of course this will take a massive chunk out of your profits! And it an be hard to find management companies that will do everything (maintenance, changeovers, welcome and departure, etc).

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I was vaguely thinking that non-professional means sort of voluntary work where “you don’t get paid” and seems I wasn’t far off the mark. The idea of a management company would work though wouldn’t it, as Jane suggests

:joy::rofl:.Yes, not going to get rich running LMNP gîtes on a visiter visa!!

A ballpark guesstimate would be that 50% of your turnover vanishes in overheads and so on (for non-classified gîtes you are only taxed on 50% of your turnover via micro-bic so tax authorities must reckon this is an average). So your €23k is now €11.5k. Then you pay income tax, social charges and CFE tax, which will reduce your clear profit by another chunk. Let’s be generous and say you are left with €10k now. And from that you pay the management company…leaving you with not very much at all!

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I probably wasnt terribly clear in my message!
If “we” have a gite and it is registered as LMNP it is therefore generating revenue of less than €23,000 (& is non professional).
If I read mihoz’ message correctly they have sufficient income to support themselves and not be a burden to the French state, in which case setting up a gite that meets the LMNP rules and is registered as such they can then carry out that trade whilst in France on a visitor visa - Do you agree with this?
As soon as revenue exceeds €23,000 the "enterprise becomes professional.

We have second home (since 2003) in France and an adjacent gite (since 2019) registered LMNP etc. We do not rely upon the income.
We only let it when we are there and to date revenue has not exceeded €2,700 per annum.
As a consequence we are applying for visitors visa to enable us to have longer than permitted under the 90/180 rules. We meet the income requirements and are retired.

I have been researching this situation since last December because I did not want to make a promise to get the visa that was not honest.
Enquiries to TLScontact are met with a reply to ask the French consulate - the French consulate when asked refer you back to TLScontact!!!
Despite my best efforts it seems impossible to gain a definitive decision from any governmental department or agency. I would like this definitive answer but in its absence will proceed as mentioned above.

If I have understood correctly what Jane is saying, then this is your stumbling block.

Carrying out any “trade” that gives you an earned income, on a visitor visa, is questionable. You would be working (cleaning the gite, marketing/taking bookings/keeping the books) and generating income from all that. It seems a lot of activity to be doing on a visitor visa, when you are basically supposed to be here as a tourist and are not allowed to work.

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No.

What I am trying to say is that since Brexit it’s impossible for British people to come to France and have an LMNP gîte as a sideline, unless completely devolved to a management company,

It is classed as work, even tho’ called LMNP!

I can’t find my reference doc, but perhaps explaining the background to LMNP will help you see the issue. LMNP are described as such because they are subsidiary to one’s other professional activities, not because they are not classed as work. That is the whole point of the criteria that split LMNP from LMP - threshold of €23k and being more than 50% of your income.

In France anything where you get so much as 1€ Is a commercial activity and is classed as work. There are a few things that are tax exempt - selling your own personal possessions at a max of 2 vide-greniers a year for less than €5k, renting a room in your house for less than €760 a year - but that’s about it.

The non-professional title is a red herring and does not mean what you are wanting it to mean!!

I’m sure there are some people who have signed the statement for the visa promising not to work, and who have then set up a gîte. And no doubt many of these will never be questioned. But France takes labour laws very seriously and if the authorities do investigate they will be in deep, and expensive, doo-doo.

Edit: what I forgot to add is that you can do long term meublé as LMNP on a visitor visa as that is passive income. So the standard 12 month (automatically renews) meublé contract would be ok.

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Have you thought about how you will declare this income to the French authorities?
Are you intending to remain UK resident and declare in France as a non-resident?

@Nickinfrance It’s all become a bit complicated since Brexit.
You will need to make sure that you actually do everything “by the book” because if you break the terms of whichever Visa you end up with … you can be ejected and refused re-entry.
Although it might sound over the top, that is the bottom line. So it’s important to ensure that all the details and rules of the Visa are followed to the letter.

As has been mentioned… Visitor is for visiting.

And they will be committing fraud and will be punished. Nul n’est censé ignorer la loi ( which doesn’t mean ‘nobody should ignore the law,’ but ‘nobody should be ignorant of the law’ which isn’t quite the same thing and actually trickier.

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