Can foreign students freelance in France?

The answer is yes, but…, there is always a “but” somewhere.

The move to study in a foreign country is exciting but what can be challenging is the fact that soon you’ll need to start looking for ways of making an honest income before your savings run dry.

Sometimes there is the need to finance a lifestyle even if it is not an extravagant one and without the proper certificates for qualifying for a decent job the only thing that could work for you right now is freelancing. But how? I’ll try as much as possible to shed light on this and maybe by the time I’m done you will have an idea of where to start. So yes you can, but:

1. You need a proper visa:

If you are on a student visa you’ll have to wait for a year before you can be allowed to work as a freelancer but in the meantime, there are on-campus job opportunities that allow you to work for 20 hours based on your course schedule.

2. Be ready to be tax compliant

After the one year has expired you can now be able to freelance but first of all, you will be required to register with the URSSAF and get your business number after which you will be required to report that you’re a freelancer and be tax compliant. Enlighten yourself with tax compliance for a foreigner in France.

3. Need to obtain a health record

A health record is also very important. You should obtain one so that nothing stands in the way of your startup.

4. Portage salarial

This means you can legally work as a freelancer but it is without registering as a business but by working through a portage salarial. Through portage salarial you sign a contract under a portage company, you become their employee and they handle all the paperwork.
The advantages of using portage salarial are that there is full social security protection such as paid holidays, it provides training opportunities, unemployment and incapacity benefits, workload revisions and many others.

5. What kind of business will you be freelancing

Last but not least establish your speciality.

Take time to creatively come up with a brand that people can use for their projects.

From the language used, and the arrangement of the content to graphical presentations.

Be deliberate as much as possible. Be clear to the point and avoid having your ideas all over the profile.

Be organized and let the ideas flow logically.

Use platforms that are well-known and legit for example Upwork and Fiverr where they have a customer base that is searching for a wide array of skilled sellers.

Foreign student freelancer in France

However some of these platforms may not be available in France for example Upwork, therefore you can try Twago which is the largest marketplace for European freelancers.

Language barriers can be a hindrance, hence if you are not fluent in French, freelance in France caters to English speakers, so don’t worry about it.


Learn more about freelancing and consulting in France.

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