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Work in France: a guide to French work visas and permits

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Considering a job move to France? Find out whether or not you need a visa or permission to work in France, as well as the steps you need to take to apply for a work permit in France.

Do you have questions about how to work and live in France? To legally reside and work in France, individuals of certain nationalities are required to get a French work visa. Depending on the nature of your job in France, you may be eligible for one of many different types of work permits. Your residency status in France is going to play a role in determining whether or not you can get a work visa there. Before applying for a work visa in France, you will almost always be required to have a job offer in hand.


Do you need a work visa in France?


If you are from a country in the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland, you do not need a work visa to be able to find employment in France. It is possible that you will not need a work permit if you come to France with a family member who already has one, provided that they have a permit that allows them to do certain categories of highly skilled labor.

The vast majority of other persons are required to get authorization to find employment in France. They cannot issue a visa without first obtaining this authorization. This procedure will be planned and executed on your behalf by the potential employer. Find a job first since you need an employer to help you get the permission you need before you can start working. Check out our guide to job hunting in France if you need any assistance in finding employment in France.


Working for less than 90 days


Your employer is responsible for obtaining a temporary work visa for you if you will be working in France for fewer than ninety days. The French Ministry of Labor, the DIRECCTE (Direction regionale des entreprises, de la concurrence et de la consummation, du travail et de l'emploi), or a convention d'accueil stamped by the local prefecture (French for "local authority" or "administrative office") provides this information to the employer. If you are a scientist, researcher, or teacher, you are exempt from this requirement. After that, this authorization is sent to the French embassy, where you will apply for a visa.

Unless you are from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you will require a short-stay work visa to work in France for a period of fewer than ninety days. It is not necessary to get a visa to visit France if you are a citizen of the following countries: Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, the United States of America, or Venezuela. At the time of your departure, you must confirm that your company has arranged for a legitimate work visa for you known as a convention d'accueil.

Check with the French consulate in your native country to make sure you are up to date on the most recent regulations.



Working for more than 90 days


You need to apply for a long-stay work visa if you want to work in France for more than ninety days. This document serves double duty as your residency permit. Your employer is responsible for drafting a work contract and submitting it to the appropriate department of the French Ministry of Labor. If any members of your family will be accompanying you, then the employer is required to initiate the process for accompanying family members as well. If the DIRRECTE gives its stamp of approval to the contract, it will then be sent to the French Ministry of Immigration and Integration (OFII).

After the OFII gives its approval to the contract, it will be sent straight to the French embassy in the country where you now reside. After that, you will be sent an invitation to personally visit the embassy to apply for a long-stay visa. Bring in your passport, a completed application form, and any further papers that may be required. You are required to register your presence with the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) as soon as you arrive in France (OFII).


Different types of visas to work in France


When it comes to working in France, you may choose from a wide variety of residency permits, each of which has its own set of prerequisites. Some permits exclude migrants from being required to sign the Acceptance and Integration Contract (Contrat d'Accueil et d'Intégration), which is one of the main conditions that migrants must fulfill before being allowed to settle in France (CAI). The signing of this contract should facilitate the integration of migrants into French society. By signing it, both parties agree to the terms: the French government will provide training courses, and the migrant will take part in those courses.


The Talent Passport permit


In 2016, the government of France took steps to make it simpler for non-EU/EEA/Swiss people to get certain types of work permits. A good illustration of this would be the passport talent permit. This permit presently contains 10 different types, which are as follows:



skilled recent grads


workers of a firm that is known for its innovation


highly-skilled workers (EU Blue Card holders)


the personnel serving on an assignment under a work contract from France


researchers/scientists


leaders of an original and groundbreaking economic enterprise


economic or financial investors


corporate representatives


artist/performers


a person who is recognized on a national or worldwide scale for their achievements in areas such as science, literature, the arts, education, athletics, and so on


In a nutshell, if you are an executive, an independent professional, or an employee who, in the eyes of the French authorities, has the potential to make a significant contribution to the French economy, particularly in intellectual, scientific, cultural, sporting, or humanitarian fields, and if you will be involved in a particular project, then you are eligible to apply for this residence permit, which is valid for four years and can be renewed after that time, and if you are granted the permit, you will be allowed to


The criteria for this permission might vary widely depending on which of the aforementioned categories you fall into; nevertheless, some of the more basic requirements are as follows:



present paperwork, which typically consists of a bachelor's degree or higher, a full curriculum vitae, information on the task, and proof that adequate financing has been secured.


satisfy any additional requirements that have been outlined by the Commission Nationale des Competences et Talents,


an employment contract that has been authorized by the DIRECCTE and is normally for at least three months is required.


There is information accessible on the websites of the French National Assembly and the French Public Service. Both websites are written in French. If you are granted this permission, then each member of your family is eligible for their own vie privée et familiale card. Because of this, your spouse will be able to lawfully find employment in France. It is not necessary for either you or your spouse to sign the CAI.

Permits for temporary employees who are employed or paid on a salary.

You are eligible to apply to bring your family to France if you have had a long-stay residence permit tagged employee or a temporary worker for at least 18 months. A one-year guest visa is available for request by spouses (but not partners) and children under the age of 18. (without being able to work). They are obligated to sign the CAI.

The EU Blue Card is for employees who have a high level of education and/or expertise.

This is a residence and works visa for highly trained employees that may last anywhere from one to three years. To be eligible, you must have a diploma or degree that attests to three years of higher education or five years of professional experience in a specific field, a work contract for at least one year, and a monthly salary that is at least 1.5 times the French average gross annual salary (in 2017, this amount increased to €53,836 per year). In addition, you must have a work contract for at least one year. You have to put in a minimum of two years working in the industry for which you were accepted into the program before you are eligible to take on any highly qualified position.

You will be eligible to work in other EU countries after completing 18 months of residency in France. After five years, you will be able to apply for the renewable, long-term European Union residency card that is valid for ten years. After living in the country for five years, family members are eligible to apply for a residence visa based on their private and family life. They, too, are qualified to apply for a long-term residence card in the EC. They are exempt from the requirement that they have CAI.

There is a possibility that the highly-skilled employees (EU Blue Card holders) qualifying category of the passport talent visa will be expanded to include holders of this particular permit.


Employees on assignment permit


If you have been employed by a company located outside of France for a minimum of three months, are being seconded to one of your employer's companies based in France or another company in the same group, and will be earning 1.8 times the minimum wage (approximately €2,664 per month), then you are eligible to apply for this permit, which is valid for three years and can then be renewed. This permit is valid for three years and can then be renewed.

This permission allows your spouse to join you in France, but they will not be able to find employment until they have been here for at least six months and have received a vie privée et familiale permit. If you are a senior manager, you may be eligible for a variant of the permit that enables your family to join you at the beginning of your assignment and allows your spouse to find employment. In either scenario, neither you nor your spouse will be required to sign the CAI.

Probably, the particular permission will now be included in the qualification category of the passeport talent permit for personnel on a mission with a French work contract.


Exceptional economic contribution allows


If a foreign investor plans to generate more than 50 jobs or invests a significant amount of money (at least 10 million euros in physical or intangible assets), they may be eligible for a residence visa valid for ten years. Your spouse and any children who are still under your care are likewise entitled to the same privileges. The CAI does not need the signature of your spouse.

Probably, the economic and financial investors qualification category of the above-mentioned passport talent visa may soon include this particular permit as one of the qualifying categories.

Graduates and current students

During their studies, students have the option of taking up paid part-time employment (a maximum of 964 hours a year). You may be required to get a visa to study in France; there are many kinds of visas available, depending on the program that you want to enroll in.

Student interns

You have to be enrolled in a college or university in your own country, and the work experience has to be relevant to what you are learning in school. Even while most internships are unpaid, employers often provide stipends or other forms of compensation to interns. You will need to have a signed internship agreement (convention de stage), which must be signed by you, your company in France, and your school or college in your home country. In addition, you will need to have travel bookings, evidence of lodging, and proof of financial stability.


Scientists/researchers permit


You may be eligible for a temporary scientific activity residence permit (carte de séjour temporaire'mention scientifique') if you hold a master's degree or higher and plan to conduct research or teach at the university level. If you are eligible, you will need to demonstrate that you will be engaging in scientific activity. This is good for one year, and you may renew it once each year for a maximum of four years total.

Probably, the researcher's qualification category of the Passport Talent Visa may soon add this particular permit as a qualification need.

You are required to present proof of your status and the length of the research endeavor, in addition to having a hosting agreement (convention d'accueil) from a university or scientific institution. Your spouse and their family are eligible for a residence permit that states "vie privée et familiale," which translates to "private and family life," but they must still comply with the CAI's standards.


Seasonal workers permit


You are eligible for a residence permit that is valid for three years if you are working with a seasonal contract that lasts for more than three months. This permit is renewable for further three-year periods after the first three years have passed. It permits you to engage in seasonal employment for a maximum of six months out of every year, regardless of how many years you have worked. You are only allowed to dwell in France for a total of six months each year, and your primary home must be located outside of France. However, you are permitted to have several contracts running concurrently so long as you do not stay in France for more than six months in any given year. It is possible that your family will not come with you.

Au pairs

If you are between the ages of 17 and 30 and want to work as an au pair with a French host family, your host family will need to organize an au pair contract (accord de placement) and get it approved by the DIRECCTE. If you are between the ages of 17 and 30 and want to work as an au pair with a French host family, click here. Before you can acquire your visa, you will also need to have a letter of acceptance from a language school that specifies the minimum number of hours per week that you will be attending (10 hours minimum).


Working your way through France's job market


Pôle Emploi, the French national employment website, or the European Work Services EURES are two resources that may be used in the pursuit of employment in France.


Read on for more...


DIRECCTE - this is the French language website for the French Labour Ministry Directions régionales des entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi. If you go to the primary website, you will be able to be transferred to the appropriate area in France.


This is the English language version of the website for the L'office Francais de l'immigration et de l'intégration, which is the French agency in charge of migration (to access the English version, click the "EN" in the top right corner of the page). The OFII acronym stands for "office français de l'immigration et de l'intégration." There are offices located all across France; check the website for the contact information of the office that is most convenient for you.


This website is the English version of the website for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it may provide you with further information about visas and migration to France.


Service-Public is the name of this website, and it is for the public services provided by the French government (in French). See this page for the contact information of your local mairie (town hall), as well as this page for the contact information of other local departments and public services.


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