Both French and British Governments have recommended citizens to apply for a Carte de Séjour. Many people are also thinking about registering a business to get into the French system. The idea is that registering a business will get them a French social security number, carte vitale and will then make it easier to get a carte de séjour.
Need to generate some income
This is, in theory, a great idea, but you have to think long term. A carte de séjour may be issued in the short term until Brexit is finalised, but as soon as rules for non-EU members* will apply, Prefectures and French Embassies will also start looking at your business income. And if the business is not seen as viable or does not generate a source of steady income, your carte de séjour will not be renewed! Documents such as attestation fiscale from Impots, Securite Sociale des Indépendants (SSI) or URSSAF will be requested as proofs. So, a business with no or low turnover, will not be any help long term.
Business income to renew carte de sejour
Looking at customers from the US, Canada or Australia coming to France, French Embassies issuing visas or prefectures looking at renewing visa are looking for a regular income of at least 1500€ per month. This can come from the business, pension or savings, but people must prove that they can afford to live in France. Bear in mind that “income” is not your turnover, but your business revenue. For a micro entrepreneur, this would be seen as 66% of your turnover for a profession libérale, 50% for an artisan and 29% for activité commerciale.
This will undoubtedly be applied to British citizen soon, as a recent article from The Independent seems to be confirming. Since this article was published, the Prefecture back-pedaled, since so far the non-EU rules do not apply to British citizens. They cancelled this warning, as even if the rules were to be applied, all sources of income from this family should have been considered (including savings and private pensions).
Does it mean that this is the end of a dream? It could be short term if you don’t brainstorm on potential sources of income.
Work on your business plan
From my point of view, it means that your move to France needs to be planned even more than before and that from now on, you will need to work on your business and financial plan - even for a small business! Which extra services could you add to your dream project to make it generate more income?
*Non-EU members currently have to apply for a business visa, before they can register a business. This means having to provide a business and financial plan, as well as give proof of disposable income or savings.