Working for a French startup is now easier than ever (thanks to the new French Tech Visa)

Station F
Published in
4 min readMar 21, 2019


Recruiting talent is one of the biggest startup challenges but things are about to get easier. Earlier this month, the French government announced a new French Tech Visa for employees with objective to fast-track hiring international talent for French companies.

This visa is valid for 4 years and renewable, with no diploma requirements (previously Master’s degree required), extends to immediate family members, and is free! No visa cost or need for long billable hours with immigration lawyers, €368 for administrative fees suffice.

To dive into the implications of this new visa for the French ecosystem, we speak to the Director of La French Tech, Kat Borlongan, who is in fact based at STATION F. The French Tech Central gathers 30+ public administrations on our campus for entrepreneurs (both STATION F residents and exterior) to access easily.

STATION F : How will the French Tech Visa be a game-changer for the French startup ecosystem?

Kat Borlongan : Depending on how you look at it, the new French Tech Visa can be a lot of things. You can think of it as a product upgrade via a new decree, a KYC platform and with some components of customer success.

But you can also — as I personally like to — think of it as a message to the global startup ecosystem. The Visa is our special way of telling French startups « Build international teams for international success. We’ve got your back. » And our way of telling talent abroad that, at a time where other countries are feeling less hospitable, France remains open, welcoming and ambitious.

If these two messages get out to and through our community, I think the French Tech ecosystem will be on track to something really spectacular in the coming years.

What are the main objectives of the French Tech Visa?

In the short term, we made this a priority to remove dangerous hiring bottlenecks some of our startups in a hyper growth phase are experiencing. We also wanted to give our startups this « unfair advantage » as they compete with startups in other countries or even the tech giants for top tech talent globally.

In the long term, we want to build one the largest pools of international startup-compatible talent, right here in France. For an ecosystem like ours, talent is everything. If we’ve got that pinned down, I believe everything else will follow.

What other initiatives has the French Tech Mission put in place or expect to put in place to attract foreign talent?

Hiring the French Tech Mission’s first-ever CMO! This team has traditionally communicated with a slightly institutional tone and primarily in French. Attracting talent, however, is an international B2C play. While waiting for this new team member to come onboard, we’re experimenting with content like below video or other articles on for those considering France. (Feat. Some of our favorite neighbors at Station F by the way.) So far, so good.

We’re releasing pilot services starting May for our French Tech Pass companies, 100+ of France’s fastest growing scale-ups. It includes, amongst other things in the works, a special Welcome Desk right at Station F with soft landing services for the foreign employees of these companies. We’ve also been brainstorming with our team members from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about how to best leverage France’s vast diplomatic network. So far, so good.

Now that’s just the French Tech Visa for employees, but the visa also extends to Founders as well as Investors. Some might think that this all sounds more ideal in theory than in application — it’s France after all, administrative procedures can never be easy, right? That’s a negative this time around, folks. In fact, two Korean founders in the Founders Program) — Danbee and Jihyung of Wishupon— managed to firmly settle their business in France for 4 years within 3 months.

To get the Passport Talent Visa, it took only two weeks! (amazing! 😉 ). Then, to get the residence permit, it took another two months all-included: from sending an email for a rendez-vous, to submitting all the documents and acquiring a temporary residence permit. 🙂 Of course, a letter from Station F also really helped us to communicate and prove our business in France.

Danbee, co-founder of Wishupon

The French startup ecosystem is moving up and fast. If you have been considering to work in France, whether it’s to establish your own business or work for a startup, now is the time to take the leap! Of course, we would be delighted to welcome you at STATION F. Note that applications to the Founders Program are open until April 1st for Batch 5 (entry in July) 😉



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