20 December 2008

French Competence and Talent Visa

Before I handed out my resignation letter to my Syrian boss in UAE, I knew I wanted Europe to be my next stop. I just didn't know how. But in my ignorance, the conspiracy of the universe took over. One day, a friend called me up to share about the French Competence and Talent Visa.

Also known as the Skills and Talent permit, the visa allows highly skilled foreign nationals to carry out professional activity of their choice in France for a period of 3 years (renewable to six). It is a new type of visa added by the French authorities to promote economic development of both France and the grantee's country. In the Philippines, only 100 slots are available for this year.

Who's eligible
France is eyeing out holders of Doctorate or Master's degree who already had work experience. Sounds heavy? I felt your pain in reading those words. I already had an overseas work experience but I don't hold any highfalutin titles. But they must have smelled my hunger and thirst. Sometimes, hunger and thirst are equally important as that of credentials. So if you think you can contribute to the development of France and Philippines, and is brave enough to learn the French language, then I think it's high time that you apply.

Applying is very easy. All you have to do is submit to the French consulate a letter stating your career plans, along with other requirements. Don't be shocked when you the see the long stay visa application form. As it is written in French, you have to find someone to translate it for you or seek a good free online translator such as Systran. Remember to hand out two sets of the requirements plus six passport size pictures with white background. Although not required, it is best that you wear a business attire or smart casual attire even if you're just submitting your documents. Although they don't say it, first impression does count. And oh, don't forget that the embassy closes at 12noon. When my friend and I submitted our requirements, we came an hour too late so we had to go back the next day.

Parlez-vous Francais?
You don't need to speak, write and read French to be able to qualify. But I recommend that you state your intention to learn the language. Logic tells you that you should really be serious on your aim to learn the language if you don't want your French dream to turn into a nightmare.

1. The visa is F-R-E-E.
2. If you're married and have kids, you can take them along with you. Your family will be granted a Private and Family Life permit, which will enable your family members to live there. Your spouse is also entitled to work in France.
3. As a visa-holder, you are protected by French Laws. You are entitled to social and health insurance.
4. If Paris is your dream, this is seriously a dream come true.

Sorry to say but work is not included. After the granting of the dream and the million-dollar feeling comes the hard part. After the consul hands you the visa, you're out on your own. That means looking for work, looking for a place to stay and all the other details vital to survival in a foreign land. Clearly, the visa is not for the faint-hearted. To be a dreamer is not enough. You have to be brave enough to battle through the obstacles that come with the package. And according to the consul, having connections is key in landing a job that you like in France. He was blatant in saying that he doesn't want us to end up washing dishes there.

Waiting Period
In China, it takes a month to know if you qualified or not. In the Philippines, it only takes about a week or two to know if you made it or not. How would you know? The embassy will call you, congratulate you and ask you to claim your visa.

The Evidence
A jeweler and a physical therapist were among the pioneer recipients of this kind of visa. My close friend who's a fashion designer/interior designer also qualified and is off to Paris on April. As I was researching in the net, I found two others who were given the visa. One of them is Timi. Timi is now in Paris working as a technical writer. She's one of the reasons why I created a blog. A generous soul who helped me a lot in plugging the dream into reality.

For Further Reading
The French Competence and Talent Visa by Timi
'Competence cards' given to Filipinos seeking work in France
Few Filipinos availing of France's all-access cards-envoy
France opens door to Chinese students and 'foreign experts'
France Visa


Julii.t said...

hola soi juliana de Argentina, quiero saber que quiere decir "paris for free" bueno nada muchos abrazos :)

Anonymous said...

Bonjour Jela!

Etes-vous a Paris maintenant? Je suis a Paris le 8 janvier. A bientot! - Anne

jelalyn said...

Yep. I'm now in Paris. A bientot!

Anonymous said...

Hello...I am interested to apply for the French Competence Visa Program. I just want to know if I really have to submit it personally or can I just submit it via snail mail?

jelalyn said...

"Interview" is conducted upon submission of the documents therefore, you should submit them personally. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hello Jela! i've read in the other sites u put that there is certain amount u have to contribute like a fund and u can only widraw it when u come back to Philippines? I would like to ask how many percent of your salary is it?

were u able to find job now too? just if u want mind me asking ;) Ciao!

jelalyn said...

Unfortunately, I can't answer that yet coz I'm still in the process of getting hired.=)Visit Timi's blog. She might be able to answer your question.

Anonymous said...

Jela, was the interview hard or is it just a casual talk between the applicant and the consul? Is it like a job interview? Thanks for patiently answering our questions :)Good luck on all your endeavors in paris!

jelalyn said...

Interview happens upon the handing out of the visa. Actually, it's more like an orientation.

The head of the visa section gave us a preview of what to expect in France and gave us the list of requirements in applying for the carte de sejour. He also asked us a couple of questions-a series of really harmless questions.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

bonjour jela! I am currently working in the carribean right now so is there still a chance to be given a visa? or i need to go back to the phil? i have just known about this now. and the 100 slots are the only slots for this? or is there another batch or something?
thanks... alotte

jelalyn said...

unfortunately you have to go back to the Philippines if you plan to apply for it. From what I've heard, application is now ongoing for this year's 100.

do you seriously want to trade the glorious sun of the carribean with the dreadful winter days of Paris?=)

Anyway, good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jela,

I am working on my cover letter as I am planning to apply for the COmpetence and talent Visa. Any tips on how my letter should sound? ANy particular thing that I need to include?

Many thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Hello jela!

I know it's difficult to live there in france, but i'm really interested to go there and find a work. just like to ask if this 100 slots can be applied yearly?

thank u & hope to hear from u soon.

jelalyn said...


Yes, the embassy provides 100 slots every year. From what I've heard, there are still plenty of slots left for this year.

Bonne chance!

Anonymous said...

great post...have learned ALOT thanks!! just wondered if you have to renew your carte every year?! and did you have to have the medical exam too? can't seem to find any info on that kind of 'after-the-fact' stuff! Thanks :-)

abhishek said...

Hi Jelayn
I am interested to apply for skiklled and talent visa.
Had u certificate from alliance france for french languge when u applied??

I have stared to learn from local institue.Allice will start in january.


Kimiko said...

I recently acquired the visa myself (I'm American)...here is my story:

First off. The Visa Competences et Talents is meant for artists and independent professionals and it is the only one I am aware of that will allow you to work in France without first having secured employment. What? Yes! You can actually move to France without a job, or some of the other requirements they usual impose. I didn't have to prove I have health insurance (which I do, but it was one less step),which for some can be quite an expensive problem. Here is a link with some information on the visa for which I applied:


It is important to note that depending on how you label yourself, you may or may not be required to have a higher degree. Because I approached it from the angle of being an 'artist', I was able to get around the degree question.

These are the things I provided when I put in my application:

The application

Five photos (special requirements)

My birth certificate (this MUST be translated into French, and while they don't always ask for it during the initial application process, it will be required if and when you are approved. It cost me 60 euros to have it translated)

A letter saying my criminal record was clean (I went to the police station in Chicago on the South Side for this. I didn't need the FBI version). I was able to get this the same day I went in to ask for it. I also did not need to supply fingerprints.

Letters, translated into French, attesting to the legitimacy of my profession skills. I believe it was very helpful that I had a letter from someone in Paris saying he would be willing to give me a job if I did receive my visa.

My high school transcripts

$225 U.S.

A Post Paid US Postal registered envelope in which they will send you back your documents.

Once I had all of the documents I made an appointment at the French consulate in Chicago. You can not apply for this visa from within France. It also must be noted that it can take up to six weeks to receive a response.

Once I received the approval it became necessary to submit documents to received my carte de sejour. The visa itself is only good for three months and is basically traded in for the carte de sejour, that is renewable every year for three (or six, if I decide to re-apply) years. From Paris I went to the Prefecture located on Ile St. Louis to submit:

Attestacion de Hebergement - Spelled incorrectly, I am sure. This was a letter from the woman I was subletting from saying that I was renting from her.

A photocopy of the i.d. of the woman who I was renting from

A photocopy of the electric/phone bill of the woman I was renting from

Five more pictures (of which they used two)

My passport

It must be noted that the office for the Visa Competences et Talent is on the 1st floor (not ground floor) of building F, not the normal place people usually go to get their carte de sejour.

Four weeks later I went back (this morning, actually) and received a temporary carte de sejour that will be made permanent after I go to the doctor. I am waiting, apparently two or three weeks, for a letter to arrive telling me when my doctor's appointment is. On the same day I can receive my permanent carte. But that will cost me another 270 euros.

Sounds simple, right?

If you have all of your ducks in a row and know the ins and outs, it's really not so bad. I made a lot of mistakes, partly due to not speaking French very well and partly due to there being some contradictory information on each French Consulates website.

The total cost (not including travel) will end up being somewhere around $800 U.S. dollars, fyi.

jelalyn said...

You don't have to renew the carte every year 'coz it's valid for 3 years. If you want to extend your stay after that period,you can re-apply for another 3 years.

Everyone has to go through a medical exam before the carte de sejour is handed out. You will be sent a letter of your medical appointment, more or less the same time as you will receive your convocation. The time and procedure of processing of your carte depends on where you are filing your documents.

When I applied for the Competence Visa in the Philippines, I wasn't enrolled in Alliance yet. I just stated my intent to learn the language, and I guess they believed me. However, I think it's a plus point if from the very start you are already learning French and you have a certificate to prove it.

In every country, I guess the application process of this kind of visa varies.

Anyway,for all the recipients, I'm really interested in meeting you up guys...It would be cool to share experiences.

munna said...

Hi Jelalyn,

I am in India and an IT professional. I wish to apply for the french talent visa for highly skilled professionals. I have a couple of queries. What is a project and how much of funds we need to show to support the project? Can the funds include fixed assets as well or should it be a savings one?


jelalyn said...

Hi Munna,

The "project" is basically your career plan/s during your future stay in France, as well as your long-term career plan in your home country. Although the visa is renewable, you have to keep in mind that the recipients are not encouraged to stay in France permanently. They have to go back in their country and contribute what they have learned during their stay. Therefore, while composing your letter, you have to convince the Embassy on how France and your country will benefit from your stay there.

When I applied, they didn't check my financial capacity. But you have to ask your French Embassy there, because the requirements are different in every country.

Good Luck!

munna said...

Dear Jelalyn,

Merry christmas and many thanks for your transparent response. I now need to hurry up to the embassy for clarifying the financial aspects.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jelalyn,

Is there any restrictions on the number of pages to compose a career plan?when i started to write, i could finish it in 3-4 pages. I had infact covered maximum areas. Your opinion on this??

- munna.

jelalyn said...

In my opinion, I think you should keep the letter to one page only. You should capture their interest(whoever they are),without boring them to death with lengthy words. Remember,there may be hundreds or maybe thousands of you applying for the visa and keeping your letter short may give them the favor of making their tasks easier, as well as saving your documents from the ill-fate of being thrown straight up to the trash bin. Anyway, you have your CV, employment certificate/s, diploma, etc. to support all your achievements.

Win their hearts, dear...Merry Christmas!

munna said...

many thanks Jela!!

irene said...

hi jela,

i and my GF plan to apply for the same visa for paris. now the problem is she is philipino and i am a indian citizen. we would like to know how can we proced in this now. is that possible for me to come to phillipines and apply for a visa from phillipines as a indian citizen or this is not possible in our case ? shall i have to apply from india only and if so how can i take my GF with me ..please suggest me here so we could plan ahead..

jelalyn said...

From what I know of, you have to apply in your home country.

If you are married, either one of you can just apply. If approved, you can take the spouse and kids with you.

Since you're not married, I think both of you have to apply and take your chances. The answer lies in how the embassies see your records. Do give it a try...you won't lose anything.

AnnIrene said...

Thanks jela,
yes we try both individually then and try our luck.

pushpanjli said...


Anonymous said...

Well living in france is very easy specially if you could speak the language and understand it. and also if you are ready for the changes in your life as france is different from the philippines.

for jelalyn, i want to ask, what you do? are you interested to do some work? how long you been here? what is your educational attainment?do you have any background for healtcare services? if you do let me know... email me at lou.dane@rocketmail.com

Anonymous said...

What are you offering? where are you located. Email me mailto:jelalynmarcus@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

hi jelalyn! are you still in paris? may i ask what medical clearance do we need to submit in the embassy of france in manila? thank you! ��

Aerial said...

Is anyone here willing to give me more details on what your projects actually were and how you went about proposing it? You can email me - mslydiakoh@gmail.com

I'm a performing artist, and am very interested in applying for this visa. It would just be nice to know some examples of actual projects that made it (like what sort of things they are looking for) and how they were proposed.

Thank so much!