France Visa and Work Permits

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France Work Permits and Visa Specialists

Expanding into a country or hiring a workforce abroad can lead your business to great profits, but unfamiliar laws and regulations can counteract your company’s goals and plans. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO-service we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence.

French visa, residency and permit regulations require expert guidance as they vary according to the country foreign nationals live in – the European Union, the European Economic Area and other foreign nationals are all affected by these complex regulations.

Our team is trained to research the latest information on France visas and work permits and therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. By reading this guide you will get familiar with all the requirements so you or your employees can start working in France in no time.

What Types of Work Visas and Permits are there?

When travelling abroad for work, business or pleasure, most people need either an entry visa or work visa, work or residence permit depending on the country they are going to and which country they are travelling from. In France the process is highly complicated and although information is readily available, the procedures can be tricky for the uninitiated and professional advice will be a boon!

 Those not on the exempt list will require a Type C Schengen Visa also known as a Short-Stay Visa or Uniform Stay Visa which allows them to:

  • Visit family
  • For holiday and cultural reasons
  • For training, business meetings and internships
  • For paid work under certain circumstances (e.g., for less than 90 days)

This visa does not permit citizens to bring their families or settle in France. They can apply for single entry or multiple entry. People who are not in the EU, EEA or EFTA also require ‘permission to work’ as well as a Short-Stay Visa and a short fixed-term contract.

To work for less than 90 days:

A Temporary Work Permit (ATP, autorisation proviso ire de travail) applied for by the employer from the French Labor Ministry. 

To work for more than 90 days:

For longer stays and longer periods of employment, prospective employees require a Work Permit. These permits can be through:

  • Long Stay Visa (VLS-TS) or Visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour (VLS-TS) - allows the individual who holds it to live and work in France for one year. This visa must be validated by the l’Office Francais de l’Immigration et de I’Integration (OFII) before they enter France. This can be used as a Residence Permit, and also serves as a Work Permit.

    There are a number of categories of the VLS-TS Visa which can be found at: https://www.welcometofrance.com/en/fiche/long-stay-visa-equivalent-to-a-residence-permit-vls-ts

  • The Talent Passport Permits:
  1. 'Salarie qualifie’ - For highly skilled and qualified workers with:

    A degree and/or up to five years’ equivalent professional experience
    A work contract for one year with income over twice the minimum wage

  2. 'Enterprise Innovante’ - A work contract for one year with income over twice the minimum wage, and the job must be related to the company’s research and development strategy.

  3. ‘EU Blue Card’ - A work contract for one year minimum, which requires a degree or three-year educational diploma or up to five years’ equivalent professional experience. The salary agreed to must be at 1.5 times the average French gross salary.

  • Specific Work Permit - If the foreign national does not possess a Visa or Residence Permit or qualify for the Talent Passport Permit, the employer applies for a ‘specific work permit’ to be submitted at least three months before the employee is due to start their job. The contract can be fixed or permanent. After receiving the work permit, the employee must then apply for the entry visa and residence permit.

  • Temporary Worker Permit marked ‘Employee’ - This allows salaried employment for those who do not qualify for the Talent Passport or other Long-Stay Visas, but will need:

    - A fixed-term work contract
    - The employer will need to apply for a Work Permit and acceptance will depend on the regional employment levels i.e., “opposability of employment status”

How to obtain a France Work Visa?

European Union (EU), European Economic Association (EEA) and Swiss nationals do not require a Residence Permit, Work Permit or Visa to travel to live or work in France.

Third Country nationals who are not on the visa-exempt list and whose employment will be for less than three months need to obtain:

  • Employment contract
  • A Short-Stay Visa - this can be obtained from a French Consulate or Embassy in the individual’s country of residence and started online. 
  • A Temporary Work Permit applied for by the employer from the French Labor Ministry

For longer periods of employment and residence in France, a Work Contract that needs to be authorized by the *DIRECCTE (the French Regional Department of Enterprise, Competition, Consumer Affairs, Labor and Employment). A Work Permit, a Visa and a Residence permit are all required to live and work in France for up to a year. Depending on the occupation and salary, the qualifications and educational documents will determine the necessary paperwork.

Salaried Employees Visa

For this, applicants must have:

  • a work contract (fixed or permanent) authorized by the DIRECCTE for up to 12 months
  • Permission must be obtained by employer to employ foreign Third Country nationals

Talent Passport Permits

Applicants require: 
  • Highly qualified and skilled workers with high-level qualifications, 
  • a contract of one year or more with up to 1.5 times national gross average salary

Specific Work Permit

If the foreign national does not possess a Visa or Residence Permit to allow paid work and does not qualify for the Talent Passport Permit, the employer applies for a ‘specific work permit’ which must be submitted at least three months before the employee is due to start work.

Temporary Worker Permit marked ‘Employee’

This is a Temporary Work Permit allowing salaried employment for those who do not qualify for the Talent Passport or other Long-Stay Visas but will need:

  • A Fixed-term work contract
  • The employer will need to apply for a Work Permit and acceptance will depend on the regional employment levels i.e., “opposability of employment status”

Those without Work Permits: 

These need to be applied for by the employer and must be submitted at least three months before the employee is due to start work. Also, the employer must have tried to find a suitable French candidate through a government portal or through a private organization.

How to apply for Work Visa/Work Permit in France

  • Find a job
  • Examine the type of visa and work permit required
  • Employer applies for relevant work permit through the local employment office (DIRECCTE) where the employee will work. Some Long-Stay Visas such as VLS-TS / Talent Passport Permits can be used as a Residence and Work Permit
  • After receiving the work permit, a Long-Stay Visa needs to be applied for which acts as both Visa and Residence Permit
  • When arriving in France, contact the L’Office Francais de l’Immigration et de I’Integration (OFII) with completed OFII form. They endorse the passport with a sticker to show the employee is legal in France. Work Permits Allows employee to apply for Work Visa and Residence Permit to work in France.
  • The employer has to apply for the Work Permit (excluding e.g., VLS-TS / Talent Passport Permits) three months before employee is due to arrive. From April 2021 applications should be through the dedicated portal: https://administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr/particuliers/
  • When the application is sanctioned, it goes to the OFII and once agreed the employer is notified and it will then be sent to the Embassy or Consulate where the application originated. This allows the employee to apply for a Long-Stay Visa.

Documents required for Work Permit:

  1. Letter explaining employee’s job description and duties and reason for enrolment
  2. Application for work permit Cerfa no. 15187*1 when employee is outside France
  3. Recent extract of commercial register
  4. Proof up to date with social security payments
  5. Proof employer tried to fill the position in France
  6. Copy valid passport of employee
  7. Proof of residence in home country
  8. Copy of employee’s qualifications relevant to position
  9. Employee’s CV with evidence of skill for position

For companies outside France other documentation is required. All relevant documents need to be sent, by employer, to French Immigration Office (OFII) to be approved.

A VLS-TS Long-Stay Visa:

Applied for at a local French Embassy / Consulate where the prospective employee is resident. The process can be started online via the French website but an interview may be needed in person for the necessary biometrics. An external service provider can be utilized to help with the visa process.

Documents required:

  1. Application form for Long-Stay Visa, Form 14571-05 for salaried employee, can be completed online visa France-visas
  2. Valid Passport issued within the previous 10 years and valid until three months after employee’s expected departure
  3. Two passport photographs
  4. Submit a OFII Form

Other paperwork will depend on which Long Stay Visa is being applied for.

When arriving in France, a notice will be attached to passport. Within three months, the holder must register with the OFII to have the Residence Permit authorized.

How much is a France Work Visa?

  • Long-Stay Visa for up to one year - €99 (US$110)
  • Short Stay Visa for three months - €80 (US$88)
  • VLS-TS ‘Employee’ with Residence - €269 (US$317)
  • Talent Passport Permit - €269 (US$317)
  • ‘Employee’ or Temporary Workers’ Residence - €269 (US$317)
  • EU Blue Card Permit - from €269 to €449 (US$317 to US$529)

For taking necessary biometrics, each Embassy / Consulate may make a charge. Agencies will also charge for any service provided, but should not be more than €40.

Working Visa / Permit for France

There are many types of Work Visa and Work Permits, plus employees also require a Resident Permit. The process for these travel and work documents is highly complicated for the uninitiated employers and employees. Most documents must go through a variety of government departments so professional advice can be a life- and money-saver!

However, you may be pleased to know that European Union (EU), European Economic Association (EEA) and Swiss nationals do not require a Residence Permit, Work Permit or Visa to travel to live or work in France! On the other hand, Third Country nationals and companies may need help with the options available to make sure the correct documentation is applied for.

Generally, when employing foreign nationals from outside France, this is where the process starts. An employment contract is required, and the employer needs to apply for the relevant Work Permit. 

Documents required for the Work Permit include:

  • Letter explaining employee’s job description and duties and reason for employment
  • Application for work permit Cerfa no. 15187*1 when employee is outside France
  • Recent extract of commercial register
  • Proof up to date with social security payments
  • Proof employer tried to fill the position in France
  • Copy of employee’s valid passport
  • Proof of residence in home country
  • Where necessary, copy of employee’s qualifications relevant to position
  • Employee’s CV with evidence of required skills

For companies outside France other documentation is required and must be sent, by employer, to French Immigration Office (OFII) for approval. This is then sent to the French Embassy / Consulate in the employee’s home country where the biometrics will be taken, and the Work Visa / Residence Permit can be applied for. Some documents will need to be translated into French if not already in French or English.

The next step is deciding which Work Visa is required and whether or not it is valid as a Residence Permit. Choosing the correct Visa is vital or it may be rejected which will be time consuming and expensive.

  1. The Long-Stay Work Visa or VLS-TS (Visa de long séjour Valant titre de séjour VLS-TS) is applied for at your local French Embassy / Consulate with the required documentation.
  2. The Talent Passport (10 types). These come with a Residence Permit and can also serve as a Work Permit and allow the holder to live and work in France for one year when validated by the L’Office Francais de l’Immigration et de I’Integration (OFII); after which a Residence Permit (Carte de séjour) must be applied for.
  3. Also available, ‘employee’ or salaried and temporary work visas; EU Blue Card for highly skilled and educated employees; employees on an assignment permit.

Basic documents required:

  • Application form for Long-Stay Visa (Form 14571-05 for salaried employee) can be completed online visa France-visas
  • Valid Passport issued within the previous 10 years and valid for three months after employee’s expected departure with room for visa stamps / stickers
  • Two passport photographs
  • An OFII Form

Other paperwork will depend on which Long Stay Visa is applied for.

France Business Visa

Citizens traveling to France who are not part of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Association (EEA) or on the visa-exempt Schengen list, will require a Business Visa. This allows businesspeople to stay for 90 days in a 180-day period for such as conferences, meetings, networking, training, or other business purposes but not paid work. The Fee is €80 (US$96).

Two forms must be completed:

Complete the online form and applicants are given a list of paperwork required, including the Schengen Visa application which can be completed online, printed off and signed ready for submission. The following documents must be included with the application:

  1. Passport which has three months validity after the duration of the stay, and has issued within the last 10 years, with two vacant pages for a visa stamp/sticker
  2. Completed and signed application form for the Business Visa
  3. Two color passport photographs 
  4. Copies of previous visas held from any country
  5. Travel insurance receipt up to €30,000 (US$35,424) to cover illness and repatriation
  6. Proof of flights, accommodation, and itinerary
  7. Proof of financial status to cover duration of stay e.g., letter from sponsor willing to cover costs; recent bank statements and any others that apply to your circumstances
  8. Proof of accommodation while staying in France e.g., rental agreement, hotel reservations or similar
  9. Invitations from French companies – private and public with dates and addresses, plus which portion of the expenses they will be covering
  10. Letter from home employer allowing travel and what activities are to be expected e.g., meetings, conferences etc.
  11. Business Statements from bank over the previous six months

However, other documents may be required.

An appointment must be made to submit completed forms and requested paperwork at least two weeks and not more than three months before the trip – in person. This can be done through:

  •  At a French Consulate or Embassy
  • A Visa service provider who acts on behalf of the French authorities
  • A neighboring country where France has authorized visa processing

France Visa for EU Citizens

No visa, work permit or residence permit is required by EU Citizens to live and work in France. However, they will need either:

  • A valid national ID card or a valid passport 
  • The qualifications for any job they apply with the appropriate documentation

After three months in France, they are required to register with their local town hall or municipality where they can also apply for a residence permit if desired.

France Visa for USA Citizens

US Citizens do not require a visa to visit France for 90 days for tourism or business. However, from 2022 a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa waiver is required.

A valid passport with a validity up to six months from date of leaving France is advised by the U.S. State Department. Also, the 12-page (emergency) US passport is not accepted as a valid travel document to enter France visa-free. You may need to show a return ticket and financial stability for duration of stay. 

Third Country nationals looking to work in France for less than 90 days can do so without a visa but need a Temporary Work Permit and short-term employment contract. A Temporary Work Permit (ATP, Autorisation provisoire de travail) is applied for by the employer from the French Labor Ministry.

For more than 90 days, a Long-Stay Working Visa is required plus an employment contract, work permit and residence permit. This will depend on qualifications, skill levels, salary offered and occupation, from the Talent Passport to the ‘Employee’ Long Stay Visa.

The process for the work visa and residence permit starts in the country of residence at a local French Embassy but can be initiated online. An interview is required to take biometrics. The employer will have to submit the application and necessary documents for the work permit, which will be sent to the Embassy where the Long-Stay Work Visa is then applied for.

France Visa for Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are permitted to stay in France (a member of the Schengen area) for 90 days in six months without a visa. From 2022 a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa waiver is required. 

A minimum of three months is required on a standard passport after the stay in the Schengen area, but it is always best to check with travel company/airline to validate travel documents.

Canadians who wish to work in France for less than 90 days can do so without a visa but need a Temporary Work Permit and short-term employment contract. A Temporary Work Permit (ATP, Autorisation provisoire de travail) is applied for by the employer from the French Labor Ministry. 

To work longer than 90 days, an employment contract is needed plus a Long-Stay Work Visa and Residence Permit which can be applied for in Canada. The employer needs to apply for the Work Permit, which is required for the Work Visa.

France Visa for Chinese Citizens

All Chinese citizens require a short-stay Schengen visa to enter France for 90 days in a 180-day period for tourism and cultural purposes. Many documents are required:

  • Application Form for France
  • Passport with six months validity with two empty pages for stickers/stamps
  • Recent passport photo
  • Flight reservations and itinerary
  • Former passport if any
  • Cover letter with applicants details and travelling companions
  • Details as to status – employed, student, retired, business owner – plus supporting document
  • Proof of accommodation while in France
  • Financial status
  • Travel insurance up to €30,000

For more details and further information, check out this link.

For those who wish to work in France for less than 90 days, a Temporary Work Permit, a Short-term Visa and Short-term employment contract are all needed. A Temporary Work Permit (ATP, Autorisation provisoire de travail) is applied for by the employer from the French Labor Ministry.

Citizens wanting to work for longer than 90 days must apply for a Long-Stay Work Visa and Residence Permit. They should have an employment contract and the employer must also apply for a work permit. The Work Visas range from the Talent Passport Permit to the Long-Stay ‘Employee or Salaried’ Visa. A work permit is required before applying for the Work Visa.

France Visa for UK Citizens

UK citizens do not require a visa to enter France to holiday or visit friends for a 90-day period. However, from 2022 a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa waiver is required. For longer stays, a Long-Stay national D Visa should be applied for.

If UK citizens wish to work in France, they can do so for up to three months without a visa, but a Temporary Work Permit and short-term employment contract are needed.

A Temporary Work Permit (ATP, Autorisation provisoire de travail) is applied for by the employer from the French Labor Ministry. 

For more than 90 days, a Long-Stay Working Visa is required plus an employment contract, work permit and residence permit. Take care with the paperwork as it is plentiful with numerous categories and types of travel and working documents for applicants to choose from. This will depend on qualifications, skill levels, salary offered and occupation from the Talent Passport to the ‘Employee’ Long Stay Visa.

Work with Bradford Jacobs PEO services

Bradford Jacobs are the global authority on France work visa requirements and the vital link to solving complex visa issues. Mistakes will be costly to your business plans so don’t take the risk. Contact us today for more information.