British expats moving to France should ‘allow three months for their visa’ warns expert

Brits in France: Expats discuss pool maintenance business

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Relocating to France may be a project for many Britons, but the rules and regulations of moving to another country and starting a business may be stopping them from realising their dreams. Valérie Aston helps Britons who want to start a new life in France with her company, Start Business in France.

Most British expats, Valérie said, were moving to the seaside, “take the coast from Brittany all the way down to Biarritz and then over to the Med side: that’s where expats move to”.

She continued: “Paris is more for Americans. British expats usually want a nice house in the countryside, not too far from the sea and the mountains.

“Aquitaine Occitanie is the place to be for young couples, PACA for older expats.”

Britons moving to France and looking to set up a business have an easier time now than even just a decade ago.

Valérie has seen the evolution.

She explained: “It’s pretty easy to become an expat in France. France has become very “pro” entrepreneur in the last 10 years.

“We used to be a bit behind other countries but we caught up, especially with the micro entrepreneur status for freelancers. It really helps to create your first business. Everything is online and it’s pretty easy to set up.

“And France considers setting up a business as an alternative to employment.

“It’s gotten much better for expats. The administrations are now online and the tax system is more transparent than it was before.”

While it’s easier for expats to set up their businesses in France, there are new complications.

Valérie said: “One of the problems right now for Britons is Brexit. You now need a visa for entrepreneurs. It may seem more complicated but it doesn’t have to be. It just means you need to do more work before the move. You need a business plan, you need to know what your numbers are going to be.

“It may sound scary but it helps, because expats are better prepared for their moves and know what they’re doing when they get to France.”

While Valérie saw no real impact from Covid on the projects of Britons who wanted to relocate to France, she saw an impact after Brexit.

She explained: “We had a rush after Brexit, people wanting to come in as quickly as possible. We thought 2021 was going to be flat, but it hasn’t been the case. People just get more organised before their moves.

“Before expats were looking at houses, now they also get their business plans in order.”

Rules and regulations were the hardest thing to understand for British expats, Valérie said, with many jobs in France requiring official certification.

Valérie recommended Britons check the regulations with an expert before submitting their business plan for an entrepreneur visa.

She warned: “If the regulations have not been checked, they risk their visas being rejected.”

And no matter what, Valérie said Britons should allow enough time for their visas to come through.

“You can’t just move anymore, and it’s important to know that when you’re preparing your move, you need to allow three months for an answer on your visa.”

Start Business in France

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