Help! Overwhelmed and confused (non-EU citizen on WHVisa)

Hi, I am interested in opening a business in France. What are the very first steps I need to take - the category I would go into is auto-entrepreneur or micro-entrepreneur.

The services I would offer are simple - house cleaning, child minding, dog sitting and mothers aide (assistance with shopping, household tasks).

Where do I start? I am based near Hossegor.

Thank you,


These services all sound like they fall into the category of “service à la personne”.
You can provide these services via the CESU platform, which is a government scheme that gives those who use your services (your “employers”) a tax credit (provided they are French taxpayers). It works out cheaper for them more advantageous for you. For example for 1 hour’s work at SMIC (national minimum wage) you would receive 8,66 net, with full employer cotisations paid, and taking the tax credit into account the total cost to your employer would in most cases be 6,90€. As a micro entrepreneur paying your own cotisations you couldn’t afford to charge anywhere near as little as 6,90€ per hour so it would be hard to compete.
So in your case I wouldn’t rush into opening a business. There’s nothing to stop you if you want to, you can have your own micro entreprise alongside working via CESU, but setting up a business brings certain obligations. Unless you can see advantages that would make it worthwhile, and especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed and confused already at the thought of starting a business, why not keep life simple, start off under CESU and see how it goes?

Sorry - I just looked back at some of your other posts.
It seems you’re not an EU citizen, and that being the case the first step would be to obtain a carte de séjour that gives you the right to work in France. Without that you wouldn’t be able to start the process of setting up a business as you wouldn’t get past the ID checks, nor would you be able to work under CESU without a French social security number I’m afraid.

Isn’t that her Catch-22? Without an income stream she won’t be able to get a carte de séjour, and without a carte de séjour it will be difficult to set up a business. Life as a non-EU citizen is not very easy. Especially if you are already here as the standard long stay visa must be applied for from your country of residence, and I don’t know if having already had a working holiday visa would rule out a further application.

Tilly… Haven’t you already told us on another thread that you have used up all Visa possibilites … so I rather think you may need to ask your Embassy for advice, in case you end up staying here illegally… which doesn’t bear thinking about, does it :thinking:

It is a bit of a catch-22 but the way out of it is to come up with a convincing business plan. That’s how France controls immigration and it’s not an unreasonable ask. It’s to ensure that immigrants will be able to look after themselves, and preferably be net contributors to France,.
By comparison the requirements for a UK Tier 1 entrepreneur visa makes France look positively welcoming. Australia doesn’t exactly make immigration easy either.

Get your thinking cap on Tilly. What skills do you have?

I’m presuming that when Tilly’s Visa runs out, she will need to go back to Australia (wherever) and apply again…

or doesn’t it work like that… ???

I believe that in some circumstances you can apply for a change of status while you’re here. But I don’t know a lot about it and what little I do know is second hand - Brits aren’t usually the best people to ask about visas, for obvious reasons. Though it looks like we’ll have to get a lot more knowledgeable about them in the future :roll_eyes:

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Thank you for everyone’s responses so far. What an incredible group of people willing to help and share their knowledge!!

It is exactly how I feel re. this scenario - the catch 22. The Long Stay Visa is the one I would like to obtain.

I am currently on a Dutch working holiday visa so I have temporary Dutch residency - the fact that I would need to apply in my country of residency wouldn’t matter as it’s technically the Netherlands for now. This also means I am ‘safe’, I haven’t over stayed anywhere and as I am not working, I am doing no wrong by ‘holidaying’ in France.

I understand that if the above jobs isn’t a strong enough cause for a business - I am sure there are loads of other things I could do. Do places exist in France that help you forecast your business plans? That might be a good start point for thinking outside of the box.

I found a list of required documents for the Long Stay Visa. There are things like the below I don’t understand…

  • Creating a foreign legal person : Proof of nomination or a letter of intent from the competent body for the nomination + copy of the articles of association of the legal person under foreign law.
  • Proof of the letter of guarantee from a French-based credit institution or approved insurance company to stand guarantor, or proof of a credit balance from an account in the applicant’s name opened at a French-based credit institution.
    (From what I understand no visa, no bank account… no bank account, no visa).

Would anyone that has commented previously be willing to have a look at the list and just clarify - where & who would provide what? Or should it all to this thread?

ALSO what about Tour guiding for example? I could quite easily conduct environmental & educational tours in my region for example… Would that have more business substance than a the ‘service a la personne’ examples I gave in my original post?

The things you quote are for people creating a business ie when they say ‘legal person’ they mean a legally recognised entity with financial means, which could for example buy or rent business premises, provide services, pay taxes, employ people, that sort of thing.
The second thing is purely to make sure you have funds.

Do you speak/read/write French? What are you qualified to do, job-wise? We like qualifications in France.

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Not sure what you’re asking but a “personne morale” or a “legal person” is a business entity, if that helps at all.
Out of context it’s a bit hard to see what this relates to, but I’m not sure this is the right bit for you to be looking at if you’re thinking micro entreprise, this sounds like it’s aimed at big corporate investors.

Have you got much business experience, do you know how to write a good business plan? If not, there is plenty of info on the internet or you can buy books. A business plan isn’t just about saying what services you will be offering. It’s about showing that you’ve done your market research (gathered facts and statistics and produced a report), you’ve identified a market for that service, you have a solid marketing strategy for targeting customers, you’ve done realistic projections of turnover and expenses in year 1, year 2, year 3, you have funding in place to launch your business and provide sufficient cashflow until you start making a profit. That’s what will be assessed to evaluate how feasible your business proposal is. Tour guiding sounds interesting, so what substance can you give it? Who would your customers be, what booking system would you use, how and where and when would you market the tours, who are your main competitors, would you be positioned more towards the budget end or the upmarket end, what would your USP be? Having a good idea is just the starting point, after that there’s a lot of work to be done to turn it into a business proposal. The CCI does have business advisors but you might get back into the Catch22 situation there because as a visitor to France I’m not sure you’d qualify for business advice, CCIs are basically about helping the local business community.

Are you sure about that? I thought working holiday visas were for temporary visits. By definition, being on holiday means that your permanent home, ie your country of residence, is somewhere else.

(Edit - sorry Vero I didn’t see your post, I started replying, then I wandered off to get something to eat, then I finished the post and never checked to see if anyone else was still awake and answering!)

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That is what I thought too. A working holiday visa doesn’t confer residence, it is just a temporary thing.

Exactly that. I have no residency or working rights in France, hence trying to apply for a long-stay visa. I have had all these things previously (when I was on a French working holiday visa -valid 12 months - now expired).

Now I am on a Dutch one (it was one of the closest countries and one that took applications for age) - Any rights I currently hold are just for the Netherlands, I am allowed to physically be in other countries. As I have zero status in France, I am just visiting (again).

Re. the status of residency - you are an official resident of the country to which visa you hold for that period of time stated on your visa. On my French visa, for example, I had enough residency rights to apply for a bank account, carte vitale, even access the chômage on my temporary rights. I’ve had the same for the UK (access to the NI, tax status, banking rights) and now for the Netherlands… Unfortunately!!! When I had my French visa I didn’t set myself up properly- bumbling backpacker, loving life on a ski season, backed up by a intoxicated summer coast side!

Hi Tilly,
Throwing this out here as a suggestion - can you set up a business entity in the Netherlands with your current Dutch visa ? That would seem to me to be a possible way in - you could then perhaps use the Dutch legal entity as your legal basis (e.g. Dutch entity sending detached employee to work in France, etc), then decide whether or not to transfer all of your activities over to a French legal entity as a subsidiary of the Dutch entity that you would have created in the meantime. The problem I see with such an approach is that you would still need to make a showing of having sufficient funds to cover all of the payments that would need to be made, including not only your salary, but also private healthcare and the obligatory detached employee state contributions that would be due to the French state. I think really you would need someone well versed in immigration and employment law as it applies to non-EU citizens to help you out here.

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Trouble is Alex, working holiday visas are what they are
they are for a specific purpose, and setting up a business while you’re there does not really fit with that purpose. Yes in a sense you are “an official resident” of the host country in the sense that the visa gives you temporary rights, but, on the understanding that you will go back home at the end of that time.

Pitting your wits against immigration rules looking for loopholes to explore is a fun mental challenge, but a lot of experience and expertise has gone into writing those rules and they’re designed to be bomb proof. In the end it’s usually more constructive to spend your time working out how to meet the criteria rather than looking for a way round them, IMHO.

Just to clarify on the detached worker rules - detached workers remain covered by the social security system of the country where their employer is based (ie a posted worker in France doesn’t contribute to the French soc sec system); they need a work permit to work in their host country unless they have the automatic right to work there; their detachment is time limited; and the time they spend in the host country doesn’t count as legal residence as such (eg. a Brit posted to work in France can’t apply for a CdS on the basis of living and working there because by definition he is a UK resident on a temporary posting, covered by the UK social security system and expected to return to the UK at the end of the posting). So in effect the scheme has inbuilt protection against being used to bypass immigration.

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The other thing that occurs to me is that even if you have a Dutch visa that allows you to physically be in in other EU states, you can’t actually be in France for more than 90 days without a French visa unless you are an EU citizen - which you are not. (And even if you are an EU citizen you are supposed to request one, but up to now this has been ignored).

So you are potentially getting yourself into the sort of muddle which would not be good if picked up by French authorities. It’s the kind of black mark on your record that could go against you in applying for any sort of French visa.

I know it might sound unlikely, but the French can be draconian about these sorts of things…talk to any non-EU immigrant without significant financial resources. If you are “sans papiers” life is not easy. I hope you at least have adequate health insurance.

“I only hold an Australian passport and am currently here ‘hanging out’ with thanks to a UK working holiday visa and a temporary residency card for the UK.”

“I am currently on a Dutch working holiday visa so I have temporary Dutch residency - the fact that I would need to apply in my country of residency wouldn’t matter as it’s technically the Netherlands for now.”

So which is it? UK or NL?
What qualifications do you have?
What skills do you have that we need in France? We have plenty of baby-sitters, dog-walkers, plant waterers etc.
How will you support yourself? (since none of those jobs seem to me to be a way of earning a living).

Obviously, bureaucracy is the mother’s bane of creativity ;-), unless you happen to be the bureaucrat, I guess.
I was tempted to write “Go home, re-apply from there via the proper immigration channels with all the paperwork” ;-), but “off-the-top-of-my-head” beat me to it.

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That’ll be Merriam Webster’s third definition of “creativity”, as in “creative accounting”, will it ? :rofl:

“3 : managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits
creative financing
also : deceptively arranged so as to conceal or defraud
creative accounting”


Marketing them to whom? If you want to be doing educational tours in the sense of teaching schoolchildren or students, you have to be qualified and have endorsement from the relevant body.

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