Topic 2 Information on permits and requirements for working in France

Whether you need a visa to live and work in France depends on your residence status, nationality, and the type of work you will be hired to do.

  • Nationals of the EU and EFTA countries can work and live freely in France
  • Other nationals need a visa or a work permit (autorisation/permis de travail)
  • A person holding a long-term visa that equals residence permit (VLS-TS)
  • A holder of a residence permit (carte de séjour) that permits working, such as “passeport talent” (multi-year residence card), “étudiant” (student), etc.
  • Short-term residence permit under certain conditions (carte de séjour temporaire d’un an)
  • A person holding an APS (autorisation provisoire de séjour)
  • By a specific work permit requested by the employer before arrival in France ot the person concerned. This work permit is required to obtain a visa and a residence permit.
  • Long-term residence permit (carte de resident dix ans )

The employer must verify the existance of a work permit when hiring the employee and this is done by sending a copy of the residence permit/visa  to the Préfecture, at least 2 days before the start of employment. Some of the residence permits have certain limitations to their validity – for example, the ones issued in the overseas departments normally only allow working in these departments and not in metropolitan France.

In France, asylum seekers are not allowed to work during the first months following their application. If after 6 months the OFPRA (Office Français de Protection des Réfugiés et Apatrides) has not made a decision on your asylum application, you can apply for a work permit. A promise of employment or a contract of employment must accompany the application. If the employment contract proposal is made during the validity of the certificate, your future employer must request a work permit .Whatever the time of filing, the application is examined according to the rules that apply to all foreign workers in France. In particular, the administration analyzes the employment situation in the profession and the employment pool concerned.The duration of the work permit cannot exceed the duration of your receipt, which is 6 months. The work permit is renewable until the decision of the Ofpra.

As soon as a person is recognized as a refugee or benefits from subsidiary protection, they have the right to work in the same conditions as a person of French nationality. It is also possible to enlist in the Job Centre (Pôle Emploi) and get help at finding a job.

Nationals of EU and EEA countries (European Economic Area) and Switzerland

Non-European nationals holding one of the following residence permits:

→ Ten-year resident or “long-term – EU” resident card issued by France;

→ Long-stay visa or residence permit mentioning “private and family life”;

→ Four-year residence permit issued to the beneficiary of subsidiary protection and to the members of his/her family

→ Algerian nationals holding a ten-year residence certificate, and those holding a certificate of residence bearing the mention “private and family life”, may also freely develop their commercial or craft activity in France.