A new French-US visa deal has been agreed, following negotiations that began a year ago.
Aimed at giving investors, businesspeople, and their families the ability to stay longer and benefit from simplified application procedures, the visa agreement signals both countries’ keenness to strengthen trade and create jobs.
C’est fait ! Les entrepreneurs français aux 🇺🇸 pourront bénéficier d’un visa plus long et les entrepreneurs américains en 🇫🇷 d’une procédure simplifiée.— Olivier Becht (@becht_olivier) November 21, 2023
Heureux d’officialiser cette avancée pour notre relation économique aux côtés de @USAmbFrance, @RolandLescure et @cjweissberg. pic.twitter.com/2cQ7BT3CNk
“It’s done!”, trumpeted Olivier Becht, French Minister for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, on social media platform X on 21 November. “French entrepreneurs will be able to benefit from a longer visa and American entrepreneurs from a simplified procedure. Happy to formalise this progress for our economic relationship.”
France and the US suffer from poor reputations when it comes to the ease of dealing with bureaucracy and the ease of entering the country respectively.
Now, under the terms of the new deal, which came into effect on 16 November 2023, French citizens are now able to apply for an extended US visa, extending the time in which they can be in residence in the US from just over two years to four.
Meanwhile US citizens applying for pre-existing four-year “talent” French visas and renewals, should find the process easier and quicker in the newly agreed fast lane.
But whether it’s in the land of “liberté, fraternité et egalité” or the land of the free, the new rules will not apply to everyone.
Who is it for?
The arrangement was finalised in Paris, formalised on the US side, perhaps appropriately for a deal that is aimed at high-net worth individuals, by Denise Campbell Bauer, the US Ambassador to France and Monaco, and by Becht on the other.
For French citizens aiming to live in the US for a time, just two categories of visa come under the agreement Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2). These apply to industry leaders, directors and supervisors or those with skills considered essential. What’s more, they must be involved in “substantial trade” in qualifying areas such as services or the tech industry.
The new four-year duration brings the period these French executives and their families can stay in the US into line with the French talent passport for US citizens.
Those going in the other direction, from the US to France, will find that visa fast-tracked, but only if they invest via a company they hold 30% ownership of, or if they acquire a stake in a firm via a significant investment of at least €300,000, with a plan to create jobs.