From the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Gothic architecture of Reims, to the refreshing coastal French Riviera – France is indeed the world’s top tourist destination. But other than its unrivaled beauty, people from all over the world are coming to France to live and work.
France is developing an intellectual and cultural economy, in addition to being a major contributor in manufacturing, technology, energy, and transport. There are plenty of attractive opportunities whether you’re starting a career or looking for growth. Not to mention, a 35-hour working week is a key to a high standard of living.
Here’s what you need to know on how to apply for a French work visa.
Do I need a work visa in France?
A work visa in France is a type of long-stay visa, and whether or not you need one depends on your nationality. The following nationals do not need any long-stay visa:
- EU and EEA nationals
- Nationals of Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, and the Holy See
- Foreign nationals who have acquired permanent or long-term resident status in other EU countries
- Students who attended school in France beginning 16 years of age until present
- Third-country nationals who are marked “Family of a French National” or “Famille de Français”
Additionally, the same nationals and Swiss citizens do not need long-stay visas for the Overseas Departments and Regions of France (DROM) and Territorial Collectivity Overseas (CTOM).
Foreign nationals not mentioned above need to apply for a work visa in France.
What are the requirements to apply for a work visa in France?
French Work Visas have several classifications and each has its own requirements. These are salaried employment, international talent, and young professionals.
In general, the following documents are needed:
Basic Requirements for All Work Visa Types
- Fully accomplished French Work Visa Application Form
- Passport with at least two blank pages and valid for three more months after your stay in France
- Two photos no older than three months
- Proof of financial means (recent bank statements, letter from a sponsor, employment contract with salary, and similar documents)
- Proof of no criminal record
- Proof of payment for visa fees
- Proof of Accommodation
- Travel health insurance
For a Salaried Employment Visa (“travailleur temporaire” or temporary work), you are fulfilling a contract for either fixed-term, seasonal work, paid sports, paid internships, modeling, language teaching, airline professions, medical professions, and other paid employment.
Additional Requirement for Salaried Employee Work Visa
- Work permit granted by an employer
- OFII Form (or a validation letter from the French Office of Immigration and Integration about your stay in France)
- Other supporting documents stated in France’s visa wizard
For International talent, you are hired by an organization as a potential contributor to the French economy, especially in scientific, cultural, or humanitarian fields. You may be a highly qualified employee, a researcher, an artist, a self-employed professional, or have an international reputation.
Additional Requirements for International Talent Work Visa
- Proof of employment situation
- Proof of professional qualifications (degrees, certificates, employment history, portfolio, etc.)
- If highly-qualified employee, proof of higher education and salary
- If researcher, hosting agreement with an institution
- If artist or performer, proof of financial resources coming from your activity
- If self-employed professional, proof supporting professional situation
- If a self-employed professional starting an enterprise, details of the project and proof of investment
- Other supporting documents stated in France’s visa wizard
Lastly, the French government supports international exchanges between young professionals through bilateral agreements. You must come from a participating country and meet the age conditions before you can apply.
Steps on Applying for a Work Visa in France
Besides a few differences in documentary requirements, individuals applying for any of these French work visas generally follow the same steps.
1. Gather the documents necessary for your situation
Identify which visa category is appropriate for your qualifications and the type of work you are looking for. Review the list above or use the visa wizard to see the required supporting documents and submission fees specific to your country.
2. Submit your visa application online
Once your documents are complete, you can now submit a French work visa application online. Fill out the online application form and follow the on-screen instructions. You will again receive a list of documents to bring to your appointment, so double-check if there are any more you haven’t prepared yet. Also, note that all documents must be in English or French.
After you complete this process, print the application form and the receipt of the request. You must bring this to your appointment.
3. Arrange your appointment with French consular services
For a long-stay work visa, your application and appointment should be at least three months before your planned departure to France. Make sure to have plenty of time before your departure date when you arrange an appointment.
Locate a French consular service or visa application center in your country from this list. Countries that are not yet eligible in the online application can directly visit these consular offices in their countries.
4. Attend your appointment in person and submit your files
Be present and on time on the day of your appointment for your French work visa. Bring a copy of your printed application form and receipt, and all the documents you prepared in step 1. The consulate will receive your documents, collect visa fees, capture biometric data, and retain your documents (including your passport) in order to review and forward them to the French consulate.
Fees are usually around 99 EUR for a full-rate long-stay work visa application but may change depending on the country you’re from or if you’re eligible for exemptions. Biometric data include photographs and ten individually taken fingerprints. Previous biometric data in the case of Schengen visas can’t be reused.
5. Track the progress of your application.
Your French work visa application will take between five and 20 working days, or up to two months in some isolated cases. You can track your application on France’s official visa tracking page. At any rate, you will be notified when you can collect your passport and the success of your application.
While waiting, better know in advance the procedures for your arrival in France.
6. Validate your Work – Residence Visa
Generally, the long-stay work visas above are already equivalent to a resident permit (VLS-TS). However, you still need to validate your VLS-TS within three months of arrival in France.
I hope that this article on how to apply for a work visa in France was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!