France Launches French Tech Ticket, A Startup Visa For Foreign Entrepreneurs

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French Minister of State for the digital economy Axelle Lemaire announced last week a new entrepreneur visa package called the French Tech Ticket. With this package, foreign entrepreneurs could get a work visa, a $14,000-$28,000 grant (€12,500-€25,000) for each team member, free office space in an incubator in Paris as well as an English-speaking administrative advisor.

Announced at La French Touch Conference and limited to 500 applications for now, teams who want to apply need to be co-founders, with at most three co-founders and one French founder who lives abroad. They need to work on a startup, speak English and stay at least six months in France.

Every six months, around 50 people will be awarded this French Tech Ticket — the first batch will start in January 2016. In many ways, the French Tech Ticket is reminiscent of the Start-Up Chile program. In 2010, the Chilean Government started accepting dozens of teams every six months, giving them a visa, a $32,000 grant (CLP 20,000,000) and a bit of mentorship.

Many saw Start-Up Chile as a great way to travel and bootstrap your company thanks to the grant, and France is looking to recreate the same thing. But of course, Chile and France are both looking to convince entrepreneurs to stay longer after the initial 6-month program.

The French Government is partnering with the city of Paris for the incubator part of the package. This package was officially announced by President François Hollande in October 2014, but Lemaire already hinted at this project in April 2014. She also wanted to extend this visa program to talented developers, but it looks like it didn’t make the cut.