France and US Announce New Visa Deal to Attract Investors

France and US Announce New Visa Deal to Attract Investors

France and the United States have signed a bilateral agreement to simplify and extend visa procedures for investors looking to relocate across the Atlantic.

The deal aims to boost economic ties by removing barriers for businesspeople and entrepreneurs.

The pact was formally announced on November 21 by France’s Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and the US Ambassador in Paris.

It came into effect last week, following negotiations sparked by French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to America last year.

How does this Franco-American visa agreement work and who stands to benefit?

Simplified Talent Visa Investors for US Investors Going to France

For American citizens looking to set up shop in France, the process of obtaining a four-year “talent passport” residency permit has been streamlined.

This scheme, called Passeport Talent, already offered longer-term stays for investors buying French businesses or startups.

However, the latest deal simplifies and speeds up applications and renewals.

To be eligible, Americans need to invest via a company they own at least 30% of or make a personal investment with a lasting share of, a French entity.

The minimum thresholds are €300k for companies and 10% of capital for personal investments.

The visa also covers spouses and children under 18 years old.

Additionally, it is renewable, providing the business meets targets like job creation.

“I'm delighted to formalize this progress for our economic relationship,” tweeted Minister Delegate Becht last November 21. “French entrepreneurs will be able to benefit from a longer visa and American entrepreneurs from a simplified procedure.”

Longer US Visas for French Investors and Executives

The second part of the bilateral pact extends the validity of E-1 and E-2 investor visas for French citizens heading to America.

The duration has been upgraded from two years to the maximum four years allowed under immigration law. Family members are also covered for the length of stay.

To qualify for Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visas, French nationals must be moving to the US to direct and develop substantial business operations.

Alternatively, they can fill an essential executive, supervisory, or specialist role in an American company that engages in significant trade with France. There is no minimum capital requirement.

Combined with France’s “French Tech Visa” for entrepreneurs, the extended US visas remove obstacles for startups and investors looking to tap into transatlantic ties. It's part of a wider drive to strengthen business links between the allied nations.

What About Other EU Visitors and Immigrants?

For now, the reciprocity deal on long-stay visas is limited to citizens of the two countries involved: France and the United States.

Nationals of other EU member states cannot benefit directly from these extended US visas or France’s simplified talent visa process.

However, France has been expanding its four-year talent passport to other groups like students, researchers, and artists.

The minimum investment threshold is also lower for EU citizens compared to Americans and other nationalities.

Additionally, the European Union is currently developing its own US-style electronic travel authorization system called ETIAS.

From 2025, the €7 ETIAS visa waiver will allow EU visa-exempt visitors like Americans to freely enter France and other Schengen countries for up to 90 days.

Multiple entry will be permitted within a three-year authorization period.

As an EU-wide border control mechanism, ETIAS will gather pre-travel information to identify security threats without imposing travel delays.

French and European authorities hope streamlining checks will attract more business and leisure visitors from key global markets.

How France’s New Investor Scheme Impacts Immigration Policy

France’s bilateral visa deal with the US does not officially change its general immigration laws or policies.

However, it does further a long-term national strategy to boost economic migration and investment by removing barriers and red tape.

Back in 2016, France unveiled its “welcoming talents” program to attract skilled foreign professionals.

Residence permits, visas, and fast-track schemes were enhanced to compete with similar drives globally.

Technology experts, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors were all targeted with incentives like the four-year “talent passport” permit.

The Western European nation has also been reforming its broader approach to newcomers.

Residency pathways were expanded for foreign graduates of French universities in sectors with recruitment shortages.

Additionally, in 2018 new immigration legislation set multi-year targets for economic migration based on labor market needs.

This aimed to ensure businesses can recruit foreign talent while integrating immigrant communities.


By cementing ties and aligning investor visas with the United States, France hopes to further position itself as open and welcoming for global talent.

The visa agreement has been praised by Minister Delegate Becht as progress for bilateral business and mobility.

It certainly removes obstacles for startups and investors across the Atlantic.

Additionally, by formalizing deeper economic links, France also signals its ambition to remain a leading destination for enterprising global citizens seeking opportunities in Europe.