May 24

How I got the competencies and talents card for France as an Entrepreneur & Blogger| Carte de séjour compétences et talents France

by in france, paris, travel

quote nelson mandela

May your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears. ~ Nelson Mandela

My journey to residency in France actually began in 1997 when I left Canada at the age of 21 to spend a year as an au pair in Caen. I learned a lot that year: about the French language, the culture and the history, and I also learned a lot about myself. I learned that I loved travel and languages and that I was fiercely independent.

16-odd years later, I found myself in France again, this time on a Working Holiday visa, exercising that independence as an entrepreneur, promoting the same au pair programs to young women that influenced me and my career. After 12 months living in Rouen, I had improved my French language skills, grown my business as an independent professional and explored many different parts of France and I decided that I wasn’t quite ready to leave this country despite the ending of my Working Holiday.

After discovering the Carte de Competences et Talents, I had renewed hope that I could continue my life in France and with a bit of determination, I set out to prepare my application for this elusive French visa. With much research I came to understand that the basis for this visa is the ability to demonstrate a kind of intellectual, scientific, cultural, humanitarian or athletic influence and economic / financial sufficiency.  Since the industry I have built my career on is a direct relation to cultural exchange between Europe and Canada, I was confident this was the visa for me. So 120 pages later (3 sets of documents, each 40 pages) and 3 weeks after my interview at the Consulate of France in Vancouver , my Competencies and Talents card for France was approved. Here I share with you how I prepared my application, according to the list of required documents on the Consulate’s website.

The carte de séjour compétences et talents (competencies and talents residency permit), valid for a renewable 3-year term, may be granted if, given your skills and talent, you might contribute in a significant and sustainable way to the economic development, or to the outreach, notably intellectual, scientific, cultural, humanitarian or athletic of France and, directly or indirectly, of your own country.

Two long-stay visa application forms downloaded from the French consulate website: easy-peasy

Five identification photos: since I was in France on a Working Holiday when I decided to prepare for this visa, I had a set of photos done in a photomaton at the metro station which meets the requirements for all French government documents.

Passport Copies: the simplest part of this process!

Police Records: having spent 1 year in France prior to applying for the carte de compétences et talents, I requested an extrait de casier judiciaire (bulletin n°3) for free by mail and upon arrival in Canada, I requested a criminal record check at my local RCMP detachment in Burnaby and included both documents in my application package. carte de competences et talents france

Curriculum Vitae: I have been devoted in my career, having always worked with international students and study & work abroad programs, so my project proposal was clearly consistent with my previous work experiences, which I understand to be an important factor in this application.

Project Letter describing the reasons for the work project and indicating, among other things, its value for France and for the applicant’s country of nationality. My project letter consisted of 1151 English words (and a copy in French) with a specific outline: statement of motivation, description of business activities in France + cultural implications, description of business activities in Canada + cultural implications, industry-related honours & awards, notes about finances,  personal interests relevant to French & Canadian culture (this travel blog in particular!). The basis for the competencies and talents card for France is economic development, or to the outreach, notably intellectual, scientific, cultural, humanitarian or athletic of France and, directly or indirectly, of your own country” so I chose the cultural angle, which is most relevant to my business, and pursued that, detailing specifically the cultural, linguistic and educational benefits of studying and working abroad for young French & Canadians as well as the social media consulting I provide for various French clients promoting the French language and culture.

Proof of available finances

  • Affidavit of financial support from family: considering my business is relatively new and my 2012 income was feeble, I bolstered my application with an affidavit of financial support from my parents using a form borrowed from France’s Working Holiday visa application form. I had my parents declare that they would support me with minimum $1000 CAD / month for the next 3 years if required. Of course, they would bring me home to live in their basement before they would give me money to support a life of luxury in Paris!
  • 2013 Sales Record: this was not a required document but to indicate the growth in the business between 2012 – 2013, I included a very confidential financial record submitted a list of clients and sales figures from 2013, year-to-date
  • 2012 Income Tax: this is the one required financial document, and my weakest point in the application but clearly the additional supporting financial documents were sufficient

Documents to establish the applicant’s ability & prominence

  • Copy of highest degrees and titles
  • References: I had a couple of clients and partners both in France and in Canada write references for me attesting to my work and the cultural relevance of the business
  • Awards certificates: since the application requires you to establish industry prominence, I figured there would be no better way than to include copies of 3 award nomination certificates for my business, Latitude International Education

Being innately highly organized, I prepared 3 sets of documents (as required) with cover pages and carefully tabbed and labelled each section following the order of the list on the website. The look of relief the visa officer had when I presented this dossier was a sign of good things to come! Less than 3 weeks after submitting my application, I received this message by email:

Your visa has been approved and is ready to be issued. You can come to the consulate any weekday at 3:30pm in order for us to issue the visa.

When I picked up my passport, with my visa pasted inside, the Consulate returned one set of documents to me and along with a letter detailing what I needed to do upon arrival in France. This is where the only glitch came into play.

After arrival in France

The letter from the Consulate instructed me to present myself within 2 months to the Prefecture de Police in Paris, where I was planning to reside, and where they would issue my carte de séjour after submitting the remaining items:

  • justificatif de domicile – proof of address in France
  • 3 photographs which they returned to me from my original application
  • some proof of status of spouse and children which didn’t apply to me

After waiting more than 2 hours at the Prefecture de Police, I was informed I was in the wrong place and ought to go directly to OFII – the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Integration – which I did immediately. Within 10 minutes of arrival, I had submitted all required documents and was told to wait for a response by post. 2 weeks passed and I received an appointment for an immigration medical at OFII and the carte de séjour was issued the same day, after a chest x-ray and conversation with a doctor and paying a 260€ tax for the card.

Accommodation in France and Proof of Addresscompetencies and talents card for France

Since I had rented a short-term apartment at the beginning of my stay in Paris, I didn’t have the proof of address needed by OFII straight away. The Consulate told me I had 2 months to present myself to authorities therefore finding a long-term apartment rental in Paris was #1 priority and my biggest concern.  I luckily found my apartment, a bright and clean 20 square metre studio in Montmartre (including electricity and wi-fi!), within just 3 weeks of arrival. As accommodation is a big concern for many expats in Paris, I suggest using an agency to alleviate some of this worry or booking something short-term through airbnb. Since a signed rental agreement was not sufficient proof of address for OFII and I didn’t have electricity in my name, I requested an attestation de hébergement from my landlord, sending him a completed template which he promptly returned to me, signed and sealed.

I’m now comfortably settled in Paris, with a 3 year, renewable carte de séjour in my pocket and having successfully navigated the system up to this point. Many expats, foreign students and working holidaymakers complain about a complicated and bureaucratic system in France, but with 3 French visas  over the past 16 years and many wonderful experiences, I say with confidence that this is a country that has welcomed me and accommodated me and taught me much about language, culture, business and myself.

Due to to the high volume of enquiries I receive on this topic, and my expertise as a study & work abroad consultant, I am making myself available for skype consultation regarding the Competencies and Talents Card for France at the rate of 50€ / hour. Please contact me if interested.

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49 Responses to “How I got the competencies and talents card for France as an Entrepreneur & Blogger| Carte de séjour compétences et talents France”

  1. From A Cook Not Mad (Nat):

    Great post Jeanette! Helpful to many I’m sure.
    A Cook Not Mad (Nat) recently posted…Travaasa Hana MauiMy Profile

    Posted on May 24, 2014 at 6:25 pm #
  2. From Michael Huxley:

    Great post, seriously useful for anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps!
    Michael Huxley recently posted…Travel Safety Advice. The Good, The Bad And The Downright Crazy.My Profile

    Posted on June 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm #
  3. From Dave Cole:

    Congrats on getting this carte de sejour! This is a great guide and may come in useful to my wife and I, given her extensive time in France.
    Dave Cole recently posted…Tasting Tella, Ethiopian Home BrewMy Profile

    Posted on June 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm #
  4. From Bianca @itsallbee:

    Congratulations on the card. Great post for anyone living or hoping to live in France as well as all that is involved in getting the paperwork sorted.
    Bianca @itsallbee recently posted…Middle-Eastern Weekend |Tales From Tel AvivMy Profile

    Posted on June 15, 2014 at 10:36 pm #
  5. From Simone:

    Congratulations on getting through! Very helpful post for others needing help applying.
    Simone recently posted…Huh?! Signs of ChinaMy Profile

    Posted on June 15, 2014 at 11:31 pm #
  6. From Alli:

    Congratulations on this achievement! Very thorough and well written post for others hoping to achieve the same 🙂
    Alli recently posted…Dawn at Angkor Wat – Former Glory & Fighting to SurviveMy Profile

    Posted on June 16, 2014 at 3:06 am #
  7. From Kate:

    Great info, thanks, and congrats! Out of curiosity, what amount of educational and professional background did you have when applying for this visa? Trying to gauge my chances, having only a BA degree. 😉

    Posted on June 16, 2014 at 4:25 am #
    • From jeanette:

      Hi Kate! Thanks for your comment. I have a college diploma and more than 13 years of work experience in one industry (study & work abroad / international education). I think the emphasis is more on related work experience, viability of your proposed project, and demonstrating specifically cultural, intellectual or scientific benefits.

      Posted on June 16, 2014 at 8:39 am #
  8. From City Sea Country:

    Congrats on receiving the carte de séjour. Many helpful tips for non European members.
    City Sea Country recently posted…Life Changing Choices And Who To Listen ToMy Profile

    Posted on June 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm #
  9. From Karen Warren:

    A lot of hard work, but it paid off in the end. Hope you enjoy your time in France.
    Karen Warren recently posted…The Mystery of the Moeraki BouldersMy Profile

    Posted on June 16, 2014 at 3:17 pm #
  10. From Emily:

    What a long process! This is such a great post – so much detail! Congratulations on the carte de séjour, too.
    Emily recently posted…Potosi – Colour and TextureMy Profile

    Posted on June 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm #
  11. From Laura:

    Congratulations Jeanette, thanks for sharing!! Very thorough and useful for people following in your awesome footsteps 🙂
    Laura recently posted…HomeMy Profile

    Posted on June 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm #
  12. From Rashad Pharaon:

    Congratulations! Many friends of mine seem to think France is a little xenophobic with their long-term work visas, but this just goes to show that it’s very doable. You must be ecstatic 🙂

    Posted on June 16, 2014 at 11:57 pm #
  13. From Brianna:

    What an informative post for anyone looking to live and work in France.
    Brianna recently posted…Luxurious stay at the Sans Souci ViennaMy Profile

    Posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:36 am #
  14. From The Wandering Wanderluster:

    Congratulations on getting the card! It sounds like a lot of work but I am sure its worth it.

    Posted on June 17, 2014 at 11:54 am #
  15. From NomaderHowFar:

    Congratulations!! What do you plan on doing work wise for the 3 years? And are you planning on living in France for a long time and just travelling in small amounts while there?
    NomaderHowFar recently posted…‘Time’ My Travel Inspiration!My Profile

    Posted on June 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm #
    • From jeanette:

      Thanks! I run a study & work abroad company for young Europeans & Canadians, so my work keeps me traveling. It’s all business, and all pleasure, all the time these days! Nice mix. 😉 (http://studyworkabroad.ca & http://aupaireurope.ca)

      Posted on June 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm #
  16. From Bob R:

    Congrats and indeed quite helpful info. Saying you’ve applied or are applying is one thing; having all the various hoops and hazards laid out is quite another.
    Bob R recently posted…View From a Room – OstravaMy Profile

    Posted on June 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm #
  17. From Erin:

    What a fantastic step-by-step tutorial, almost, of this experience. This will be super useful to someone walking in similar shoes. Congrats on your success!
    Erin recently posted…The Versatile Blogger AwardMy Profile

    Posted on June 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm #
  18. From Bente Vold Klausen:

    Congratulation and good luck with your life in France. A very informative post for those wanting to do the same.
    Bente Vold Klausen recently posted…Why not stay overnight in an old lighthouse?My Profile

    Posted on June 17, 2014 at 6:13 pm #
  19. From Margherita @The Crowded Planet:

    Great tips! I’m a EU citizen so this is not directly relevant to me, but it’s very well explained and I’m sure it will be useful to many!
    Margherita @The Crowded Planet recently posted…A Quirky Trip around RajasthanMy Profile

    Posted on June 17, 2014 at 11:28 pm #
  20. From Nina:

    Congratulations on getting your carte de sejour! Very interesting information, I had no getting this carte would take so long. Well done!
    Nina recently posted…The Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa – a luxury stay in an overwater villa (pinch me, I must be dreaming)My Profile

    Posted on June 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm #
  21. From Antonette:

    Great story – welcome to Europe, i hope you enjoy your time here!
    Antonette recently posted…we12plog: from Norway to Curaçao!My Profile

    Posted on June 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm #
  22. From Jules:

    Congrats on getting the card! Very detailed and informative post. Seems like a mission, will be very helpful to anyone looking to do the same.
    Jules recently posted…We Reveal Our Best Budget Travel Tip!My Profile

    Posted on June 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm #
  23. From The Brave Dame:

    This must be helpful to many. Great idea to post this. Keep it up! 🙂

    Posted on June 19, 2014 at 4:31 pm #
  24. From Anu @ Country Hopping Couple:

    Informative post! Congrats on getting the card!! After all that hardwork, it must feel really great!
    Anu @ Country Hopping Couple recently posted…Beautiful Castles Around The World – Part 3My Profile

    Posted on June 20, 2014 at 3:06 am #
  25. From Brad Frankel:

    I love that you went back to setup what you experienced. I am also doing something similar with Flooglebinder, to share my experiences with others. Hope it goes well and congratulations on getting the card.

    Posted on June 20, 2014 at 11:25 am #
  26. From Catherine:

    Hello!
    Thank you for sharing your experience, I’m going to demand this type of titre de sejour too, although I’m already in France and there is going to be a comission who will decide if I can have it, I’m so scared…Could you, please, answer some questions?
    1) What did you write in your Curriculum Vitae? Did you start from your education or it was only a professional experience? How big your CV was?
    2)How did you start your Project Letter? Was it like “Dear Sir/Madame, let me present you my candidature for…”? Did you write it or you typed it on your computer? How many pages it took? 2-3?
    3) What are the References? Can be a Reference a letter from somebody where is it written that I have a bit of experience?

    Posted on July 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm #
    • From jeanette:

      Hi Catherine, Sorry for the late answer. Think of this as similar to a business or university project, so handwritten would not be very professional. Consider your “Project Letter” as a business plan or proposal, writing this should help you also to clarify in your own mind your professional goals in France and how you plan to achieve them. It’s good to have some structure to this proposal and be sure to answer the questions Who? What? When? Why? How?.

      Typically a CV is more detailed than a resume; mine was 2 pages in length and detailed my academic and professional background and achievements. References are letters written by colleagues, professors or business partners that can make a professional attestation to the quality of your work.

      I hope this information helps! Bon courage!

      Posted on July 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm #
  27. From Nadeem:

    Hi jeanette,

    I am a Pakistani designer living in dubai since 9 years.. willing to relocate to europe and get to know about the France talent passport… Cn you please let me know what are the conditions and requirement for this kind of visa? Can we apply for this kind of visa in country of residence or we have to come to france to apply for this??? What are the major factors should keep in mind before applying and to fulfil the requirement???

    Posted on August 7, 2014 at 5:55 am #
  28. From Althea:

    Quick question – which consulate did you apply at? NYC?

    Posted on October 29, 2014 at 7:53 pm #
    • From jeanette:

      Hi! Thanks for your comment. As you can read in the article, I applied at the Consulate of France in Vancouver.

      Bon courage!

      Posted on October 29, 2014 at 9:29 pm #
  29. From Gustavo Junqueira:

    Nice job Jeanette! It’s quite inspiring for those thinking of moving abroad like me. Maybe in 16 years from now I might get tired of full-traveling life and I’ll “start” the process! hehe
    Gustavo Junqueira recently posted…Qual o tamanho da sua zona de conforto?My Profile

    Posted on November 20, 2014 at 9:54 am #
  30. From Findia Group:

    Thanks for sharing!

    Posted on December 12, 2014 at 9:21 am #
  31. From Shad:

    Hi Jeanette,

    I just came across your post, very informative. I’m leaving for Paris in about 2 weeks to get the Carte de séjour. I was informed by the embassy in Toronto that I’d be asked for a health insurance, birth certificate along with the proof of address in France.

    My question is; did you get a health insurance from France, or from the OHIP in Canada; also, did you have to get your documents (if you got them in Canada) translated to French?

    I’d appreciate any information you can share,

    Thanks!

    Posted on December 22, 2014 at 3:57 am #
  32. From Naomi:

    Hi Jeanette,

    Super helpful post! I’ve been researching this visa and it seems very elusive- not many reports of anyone getting it- so it’s really helpful to hear someone actually has! My question to you– do you know anyone else who as been successful with this type of visa? Does it seem to be getting more common, or do you have the sense you got lucky in same way?

    Also, on this visa, how do you pay French tax and does it allow you to participate in the French health system or creche for kids?

    Best,
    Naomi

    Posted on January 4, 2015 at 6:41 am #
    • From jeanette:

      Thanks for your comment. No, I don’t think I got lucky at all. I have worked very hard to get to this place in my career and in France. I have a long history with France as an au pair, student and working holidaymaker and met all the requirements for this visa. I think it is a visa that serves a great purpose for a specific type of candidate and I think the French government is rightfully quite selective about who is granted the competencies and talents card.

      Since my company is Canadian-based and I plan to return to Canada eventually, I filed for determination of fiscal residency with Revenue Canada and have been deemed a Canadian resident therefore I am required to pay tax on all my worldwide income in Canada. I am not in the French health care system; I have private travel medical insurance.

      Bon courage! Good luck! 🙂

      Posted on January 11, 2015 at 9:23 pm #
      • From Mimi:

        I got this carte but due to jealousy of a French guy in my project he stole and destroyed everything for the success only days before I was scheduled to present the re-newal of the carte. I was devastated at the betrayal loss and traumatized at the appointment but I tried to get by without telling them. My renewal was refused even though I had a masterpiece project past success money etc. they gave me a 1 year professional carte instead. But one year is almost up and I lost time recovering this year. Now I am better but fear the renewal since making money and paying taxes is crucial to them. Any advice?

        Posted on March 6, 2015 at 10:35 pm #
        • From jeanette:

          Due to to the high volume of enquiries I receive on this topic, and my expertise as a study & work abroad consultant, I am making myself available for skype consultation regarding the Competencies and Talents Card for France at the rate of 50€ / hour. Please contact me if interested.

          Posted on March 15, 2015 at 1:08 pm #
  33. From Naomi:

    Thanks, Jeannette! I’m sure you’ve worked hard- wasn’t trying to imply otherwise! I’ve just not heard of many people being successful with the skills and talents card. Thanks for the information on the tax and health pieces. While you’ve not done so, do you know if it’s possible to join the French health system on the skills and talents card?

    Cheers,
    Naomi

    Posted on January 12, 2015 at 7:51 pm #
    • From jeanette:

      Due to to the high volume of enquiries I receive on this topic, and my expertise as a study & work abroad consultant, I am making myself available for skype consultation regarding the Competencies and Talents Card for France at the rate of 50€ / hour. Please contact me if interested.

      Posted on March 15, 2015 at 1:08 pm #
  34. From Mimi:

    By the way, I am American. And I am an artist who reached considerable success.

    Posted on March 6, 2015 at 10:55 pm #
  35. From Carrie Anne:

    Thank you so much for posting this!!! I am in the process of applying for mine now 😉

    Posted on September 11, 2015 at 7:39 am #
  36. From Amanda:

    Hi there!

    I’m currently putting together an application for the compétences et talents visa myself, and your post has been amazingly helpful! I did have one question that I cannot find the answer to anywhere: Do you need an “apostille” on your FBI Background check for the visa application? (I’m in NYC)

    If you happen to know the answer to this, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Thank you,
    Amanda

    Posted on May 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm #
    • From jeanette:

      Thanks for your message and sorry for the late answer. As you can see from my post, I am Canadian therefore didn’t do an FBI check but I would suggest following exactly this list available on the French consulate website (the consulate nearest to you). I haven’t seen so far that anyone needs to have an apostille on criminal records check.

      Bon courage!

      Posted on May 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm #
  37. From Andrew Benteau:

    Hi Jeanette,

    Thanks for creating this page, it’s very helpful to know this is possible. I have also studied and worked in France on visas 2B and 2C, and am now ready to go back on visa 3D.

    I have been looking into the auto entrepreneur status and everything I’ve found seems to indicate that it’s not possible while on a working holiday visa.

    Is that accurate? If so, how did you get around that?

    I have signed some contracts with French comic publishers to translate and publish their books in the USA and Canada, which seems like it may be interesting for the competences et talents card, but I wanted to start with the working holiday first. I could receive the revenues through my Canadian corporation but that doesn’t seem legit to me.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer,

    Andrew

    Posted on April 3, 2017 at 1:15 am #
    • From jeanette:

      I kept my company registered in Canada and business bank accounts there too. After researching the auto-entrepreneur status in France, I found it best to be avoided!

      Posted on July 11, 2017 at 9:55 am #
  38. From Ryan:

    I love this blog. I went to school in Paris and have a french diplome bac + 3.
    Quick question. If you get this visa do you have the right to work if you need to supplement your life? If so how many hours?

    Posted on July 8, 2017 at 12:12 am #
    • From jeanette:

      Yes you can work in the same domain as your project and there is no limit to the number of hours. Bon chance and enjoy France!

      Posted on July 11, 2017 at 9:53 am #

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