Which Visa Type - Advice Please

Hello All,
brand new here.
Need a little advice from those who have done it regarding precisely which visa type to apply for as when using the Visa Wizard nothing really fits our situation & the Embassy in London doesn’t seem to be keen on answering questions.
My wife & I are buying a property that has an existing Gite business that we are going to continue & purchase further property once in France to expand the earning potential, we know we need a long Stay Visa (VLS-TS) however do we need to follow the Professional Purpose route and look at the Self Employed/Liberal Activity route or would we be OK with the Touristic/Private long stay approach given that across the course of the first year there will be some income from existing bookings but we will really be building things up during that time, although as we have looked into registering under the auto Entrepreneur scheme I am assuming it will have to be the professional purpose route, experience, thoughts and ideas welcome.


To run a gîte in France now you need a visa that allows you to work, so you have to get a professional one. Tourist visa does not do it. So you will need to develop your business plan and prove that you will meet the financial threshold.

Thanks for the prompt response, its as I suspected, it would be interesting to hear from someone who has gone through it recently as I wonder wonder what the revenue projection vs saving split looks like as realistically you might just meet the French minimum wage standards from the earning potential but it might simply be easier to live off the savings accrued & allocated to the 2nd property for a number of years…

The self employed route is “cheaper” as your GHIC can be used to get the VISA whereas you need full PHI with the touristic one. They are both okay to follow but you’ll have to provide more paperwork going down the self employed road although you’ll potentially save the money of a private PHI :wink:

Cheers Fabien, thats a good call from an insurance perspective had already budgeted for PHI, House/Contents & Public liability for the business but had not considered GHIC from a PHI perspective as we would apply for Carte de Sejour as soon as possible but worth considering

En revanche,if you want to have any sort of income-earning business then you have to have a working visa. There has been a lot of debate about this, as there is a non-professional category of gîte business that many people use (turnover under €23k and less than 50% of income, called LMNP) But that was pre Brexit and everything I have read says you now have to have a working visa even to run a non-professional gîte. I will see if I can find the reference to this.

As JaneJones mentioned the “problem” with the entrepreneur’s application is that you need to qualify for it (business plan, sustainability, etc.)… so it’s more complex but the GHIC can be used with that application whereas it cannot be used for touristic VISAs (except if you’re retired with a pension) and therefore you will need some PHI which is often expensive. Either way you can have a look at our visa insurance offers if you’d like as well :wink:

thanks Jane, I suspect from having looked at LMNP status that as we want to craft a range of offerings over time we will be registering as a professional/business category

Do you mean Carte Vitale rather than Carte de Séjour?
If you will be working then as soon as your business is registered and active, you are entitled to join the state healthcare system via the cotisations you pay on your earned income.

The only other thing to consider is your age. If you are coming over here on the pathway to retirement so only a few years off your UK state retirement age then need to consider that. UK state pensioners who have not worked in France have the UK as their competent state once they hit that age, and get an S1 which then means they are exonerated from 2 of the 3 social charges. Saves approx 10% on your tax bills.

Note that running an LMNP doesn’t count as ‘work’ in that sense although it does in every other sense! The French system is hugely idiosyncratic.

If you are a way off retirement age then don’t think about it as the system will probably have changed by then!