France is one of the most visited countries in the world, so it’s no wonder that you are interested in making it your permanent place of living, or at least an extended holiday.
And of course, Paris, as one of the most famous cities in the world, is a prime spot for relocating to Europe. However, a designated digital nomad or remote worker visa doesn’t exist in France. So how should you go about staying and working from there long-term? Luckily, foreign nationals can still apply for a visa that allows them to remain in the country longer.
Working remotely in France for a US company is possible and can be done in two main ways: staying in France for a period under 3 months or applying for one of the French visas for a long-term stay.
Working remotely in one country and living in another isn’t that easy. It’s always better to work for a local company when living abroad, but what if you want to keep your US job and move to France? There are some ways to go about it; read more in this article.
Can you work remotely in France for a US company?
Generally speaking, you can work from France for a US company, but there are many factors to pay attention to, such as local tax and residence regulations.
Here’s what you need to know from a legal point of view:
- Non-EU citizens will need a residence and work permit
- EU citizens can live and work for a foreign company in France freely
Ultimately, if you work for a US company but live permanently in France, you are theoretically working there. Therefore, your local residency must also allow you to work in that country, which means obtaining a work permit.
You can read more about this topic in this article: Working a US job remotely from Europe: All you need to know.
Living in France and working for a US company: All you need to know
France is popular among US tourists, and there are many compelling reasons for that. French culture, art and architecture are some of the most remarkable in the world, and American travelers tend to be pretty familiar with attractive staples of French society.
By having a remote job with a US company, you can move to France and still continue to pursue your career. But there are some limitations to it.
Working as an independent contractor for a US company
If you don’t need to worry about visa issues in France, one of the best ways to work for a US company while living abroad is to become an independent contractor. This makes you responsible for your own tax payments and tax compliance.
To become a contractor, you will need to register a business or a sole proprietorship in the US, or any other country. That way, you can bill your US employer.
But we understand that being an independent contractor isn’t the best solution for everyone. For example, employees might want to keep their benefits and have a secure retirement. That’s almost impossible with the status of a contractor.
Be aware, however, that working as a contractor for a US company won’t entitle you to any residence permit in France as long as your professional activity isn’t connected to France. Furthermore, as a contractor living and working in France, you will pay local taxes, which are pretty high (40% is average).
Being an employee of a French company or French branch
One of the easiest ways to live in France and work for a US company is to simply work for that company’s French branch. However, even though that’s the simplest way for you, it’s not as such for your employer since they must hire you officially under French law and pay French taxes.
And as we stated above, taxes are incredibly high in France, where you and your employer will contribute about 40-45% of your gross pay for obligatory charges every month.
However, you should definitely go for it if you have such an opportunity. Being an employee in France will give you a French residence and work permit as well.
Continue to be a US employee
The last option to live in France and work in the US is to keep your employee title in your American company.
Just keep in mind that doing this can be a legal nuisance, thus this solution is more appropriate for a short-term stay in France. Continuing to be a US employee while living abroad long term must be well weighed and coordinated with your employer.
Visa and residence permit for remote workers in France
Another important element of living in France as a foreigner is getting informed about available visa and residence permit options.
EU/EEA citizens can stay in France for an unlimited time. They just need to register in the city they live in.
Nationals from third countries need a visa to live and work remotely from France for longer than 90 days in a 180 day period. Some non-EU nationals might even need a visa for entering and staying within 90 days.
However, this doesn’t apply to citizens of some western countries, such as the US, Australia and Canada. Citizens of those countries can work remotely in France for up to 90 days visa-free. After that, they should apply for residency.
As a non-EU citizen, there aren’t many visa options you can apply for as a remote worker in France. For a regular work visa, you need to have a job at a French or American company with a branch in France.
So what are your options?
Temporary work visa
Temporary work visas can be issued for several reasons and generally give you permission to stay up to one year in France. Possible purposes for your visa application include:
- Transfering to a French branch of an international company
- Temporary, seasonal work
- Foreign language teaching jobs
- Professional medical employment lasting less than a year
- Searching for highly-skilled work after graduating from a master’s-level qualification in France
- Work exchange program for young professionals aged 18–30
General work visa for living in France
Besides short-term work visas, foreign nationals can apply for long-term residence permits for work purposes. These are suitable for both employment and self-employment.
However, most French work visas are dedicated to high-skilled professionals, including:
- The multi-year talent passport for highly-skilled workers and entrepreneurs (passeport talent).
- Internal transfer to a French branch of an international ICT company for senior management and staff with high-skilled expertise (salarié détaché ICT).
- Long-term repeated seasonal work (travailleur saisonnier).
- Long-term internships or traineeships (stagiaire).
To get a work visa, you will usually need to have a job offer. If you’re starting a business or working as a self-employed individual in France, you will need to show the economic viability of your project and that you have sufficient funds to start it.
Visa for internal transfers
If your US company transfers you to France, you can apply for a special residence permit known as a work visa for internal transfers. However, it applies only to senior management positions or jobs involving high-level expertise.
Visa for fixed-term and temporary employees
A regular work visa is also available if you are delivering services in France or have received a job in a French company.
The requirements for this type of visa are:
- An employment contract will be either fixed-term or permanent
- An employer can be a sole proprietor, a company, or another type of organization
Simplified visa requirements apply if your employment contract does not exceed 90 days, and professional activity include:
- Sporting, cultural, artistic, or scientific events
- Conferences, seminars, or trade fairs
- The production and distribution of cinematographic or audio-visual performances, or music publishing for artists and technicians directly involved in production and realization
- Teaching activities on an occasional basis, by visiting salaried teachers in France
“Passeport talent” or “Talent passport” residence permit
While there isn’t an equivalent to a digital nomad visa in France, the Passeport talent visa is the closest it gets. It was created to attract self-employed individuals who are looking to invest in or become self-employed in France.
If you aim to open a business in France, take control of an existing French company or make a direct economic investment there, this visa is the right choice.
Some of the investment requirements are to:
- invest at least 30,000 EUR in the project when willing to create a business
- make an equity investment of over 10% in a company’s social capital.
However, this visa might not be the best option for you if you are working for a US company and looking to enjoy a French lifestyle. Nonetheless, entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones who are qualified for a Passeport talent visa. It also applies to the following groups and their respective requirements:
Employees of companies known as “new innovative enterprise:”
- Your employment contract must be longer than three months, and your job must be directly related to the company’s research and development project.
- Your salary must be at least equal to two times the minimum legal wage in France for a full-time worker (2*18,254 EUR gross).
Employees of companies belonging to the same international group of companies as your current employer:
- You have been employed by your current company for at least three months and have been asked to perform professional activities in a French company belonging to the same group.
- Your working contract period is more than three months.
- Your salary must be at least equal to 1.8 times the minimum legal wage in France for a full-time worker (1.8*18,254 EUR gross income).
Employees of public or private research or higher education organizations:
- You are responsible for research or a higher education mission as part of a job agreement, which isn’t longer than 4 years
- You have at least a Master’s degree.
Highly qualified employees:
- Your work contract in France is equal to or exceeds one year
- You hold a university degree or have at least five years’ comparable professional experience
- Your salary is at least 1.5 times the average gross salary in France (1.5*35,891 EUR).
Furthermore, this residence permit is available to the self-employed, who need to do at least one of the following:
- Create a business in France or take control of one
- Make a direct economic investment
- Engage in an innovative economic project recognized by a public body
- Take up a corporate appointment in a French company
Additionally, you can stay in France under a self-employed visa, but you will need to meet several criteria– the most important being that your work must involve the French market. This means that self-employment activities outside of France won’t allow you to stay and work in the country.
Furthermore, you will need to undertake industrial, manufacturing, handcraft or agriculture self-employed activities or engage in a new development sector in France.
Besides that, the following groups might have trouble obtaining a self-employed visa according to the French law:
- real estate agents
- finance enterprises
- HR companies
- artists, and writers
Requirements for a self-employed visa in France:
- have a non-salaried activity;
- demonstrate the economic viability of your project;
- show that your project provides you with sustainable financial resources at least equivalent to the minimum legal wage in France for a full-time worker representing 18,254 EUR gross per year
- provide documents showing the respect of the legislation of your field of activity.
Paying taxes while working remotely for a US company from France
So… What about your taxes? Do you need to pay taxes in France, the US, or both? Here everything will depend on your nationality and how long you are staying in France.
Generally, you pay taxes where you:
- Earn the money
Ultimately, the income from employment is taxed in the country where the taxpayer is a resident. Hence, if you establish a residency in France, you should start paying taxes there.
Tax residents are someone who either has all their work or economic activity in France or someone who has all of their full-time residency in France. If you fall into any one of those three categories, then you need to make the annual tax declaration.
If the individual spends more than 183 days per year in France, they become a resident and are subject to taxation in France. However, it’s possible to become a tax resident even before reaching 183 days per year.
Ultimately, remote workers legally residing for more than 183 days in France need to pay taxes. The worldwide income will be taxable, including money earned from a US company. But it also considers pension, income from shares, and rented properties.
Hence, if you live in France the predominant time of the year, thus have your residence there, you will need to pay most taxes there. It includes:
- Income taxes
- Social security taxes
Depending on your circumstances and nationality, you may end up filing tax returns in both France and your home country – but this doesn’t mean that you have to pay tax twice on the same income since France has double taxation agreements to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
However, if you are based in the US (or another country) regularly throughout the year and are just leaving for some time, you will continue to pay your income taxes in the US.
Social security in France
If you are based in the US regularly throughout the year, and you are only staying short-time in France, your employer will continue to pay payroll taxes in the US. Therefore, if you work remotely abroad for a US company as an employee, your social security and medicare taxes will still be deducted from your salary.
They only need to contribute to social security in France if you are hired with the French branch. But if so, it can be pretty expensive for both the company and the employee. In France, the employer usually pays about 50% of the employee’s salary in social security taxes.
Consequently, social security is a requirement for all employers in France, but also as a resident (if you become one), you most likely will need to contribute to pension and healthcare funds.
The American IRS generally requires US citizens and green card holders to file an income tax return, even if they live and work abroad. It applies for the annual income above $10,000 per year as an employee or $400 as someone who is self-employed or a freelancer.
The US has a double tax treaty with France, which states that you pay tax in France if liable. Yet, US citizens must also fill in the US tax return every year. Thereafter, you can claim a credit against US tax for the amount of tax you have paid in France.
US expats in France may also have to file a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) if they have over $10,000 in total in non-US-based bank and investment accounts throughout the year.
As a tax resident in France, you will pay French income taxes, which you can see below (2022):
|Annual income||Income tax rate|
How to get a remote job and work from anywhere in the world?
If you want to work remotely from France, but don’t have a suitable job yet, apply for one with us! We hire talented people from around the world to allow them to work from anywhere. We mostly have positions open for IT help desk support and occasionally admin roles. So don’t wait and apply for a remote job with us here!