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How to get a work visa in France

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You Want to work in France but you’re not a French national? You’ll need a work permit if you’re not a national of a country in the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA). This article sets out the different ways you can become eligible to work in France.

Comment obtenir un visa de travail en France ? En image, la carte de visa français avec le drapeau de l'union européenne

You’re an EU national or an EEA national

As a citizen of a country in the EU or the EEA, you can enjoy free movement and access the French labour market, which means you can work in France as a salaried or independant worker under the same working conditions as French citizens as long as you have a valid passport or identity card.

This applies to the 27 countries in the EU and to countries in the EEA such as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

You can also be accompanied by family members. Even if they aren’t citizens of an EU country, an EEA country, or Switzerland, they can stay in France for longer than three months and access the French labour market. To do this, they will need a carte de séjour (residence permit) for a family member of a Union citizen. This permit is valid for five years. You can get a carte de séjour from the prefecture in the within two months after your arrival in France. Various documents will be needed including a visa, proof of your family relationship, supporting evidence such as proof of your job, training, resources, etc.

Prium Portage can support you with all this and provide an employment contract.

You’re a national of a country outside the EU

Work permit for a first employment in France

If you’re a non-EU citizen wanting to take on your first job in France, you’ll need a work permit (autorisation de travail or permis de travail). This is a visa, residence permit or document that allows the holder to work.

But how do you get one?

Step 1 – Official job offer: The employer or portage salarial company must look for a candidate who is already on French territory and publish a job offer. If no candidate is found after three weeks, they can apply for a work permit.

Step 2 – Work permit application: The work permit application is filed online by the employer.

Step 3 – Work permit approved or refused: The authorities will approve or refuse the work permit within two months of the application. If the employer hasn’t had a response after two months, this means the application has been rejected. Since April 2021, a new digital platform has been introduced for work permit applications, so processing times have been around three weeks.

Total process length: six weeks to three months (three weeks to look for a candidate already in France and three weeks to two months to hear back from the authorities).

Step 4 – Visa approval: When you arrive in France, you must get your visa approved within three months.

The employer has to pay a tax, with the amount based on the employment contract length and the gross salary paid.

  • Employment contract longer than three months and shorter than 12 months:
    • €74 for a salary below or equal to €1,603.12
    • €210 for a salary between €1,603.12 and €2,404.67
    • €300 for a salary above €2,404.67
  • Employment contract of 12 months or longer:
    • 55% of the gross monthly salary for a salary below €4,007.79
    • €2,204.29 for a salary above €4,007.79

Passeport Talent

If you’re qualified, you can get a Passeport Talent (Talent Passport) residence permit and your employer doesn’t need to obtain a work permit.

To do this, you need to meet three criteria:

  • Obtain a relevant qualification in France (professional degree, specialist Master’s, Master of Science, DEA, DESS, engineering diploma, etc.)
  • Have an employment contract of over three months
  • Minimum gross annual salary of €40, 295

If you live outside France, you need to apply at the French consulate or embassy in your country. If your application is approved, you’ll get a Passeport Talent long-stay visa. If you live in France, you can apply online four to two months before your current visa or residence permit expires.

Cost: 225 euros.
Period of validity: the permit is valid for the same amount of time as the employment contract, with the maximum being four years. It can be renewed.

European Blue Card

If you’re highly qualified, you can get a Passeport Talent – carte bleue européenne (Talent Passport – European Blue Card) and your employer doesn’t need to obtain a work permit.

To do this, you need to meet three criteria:

  • Have a qualification evidencing three years of higher education, or have five years of professional experience
  • Have an employment contract of at least one year
  • Have a gross annual salary of at least €53,836.50

Already have a European Blue Card for another EU country? If you’ve been in that country for at least 18 months, you can apply for a Passeport Talent – carte bleue européenne in France in the month after you arrive.

If you live in France or elsewhere, you must apply online, then attend an appointment at the French consulate or embassy in your country to get the long-stay visa. You’ll be given a temporary three-month work visa that says “C SEJ A SOLLIC” (meaning a residence permit needs to be requested) within two months of your arrival in France.

If you live in France, you can apply for the European Blue Card online four to two months before your visa or residence permit expires.

Cost: 225 euros.
Period of validity: the permit is valid for the same amount of time as the employment contract, with the maximum being four years. It can be renewed.

You’re a foreign citizen outside the EU who wants to change employer in France

Before French Decree no. 2021-360 of 31 March 2021 regarding the employment of foreign workers, it was recommended that foreign employees with a salaried residence permit, Talent Passport or Talent Passport – European Card didn’t change employer during their first two years. Following this decree, you can change employer when you want. However, your new employer must apply for a work permit before you can start work. In this situation, they don’t need to publish a job advert offer.

You don’t need to do anything.

You’re a foreign student who wants to work in France

If you’re a foreign student in France with a student long-stay visa or a student residence permit, you have the right to work in France. However, you can’t work for more than 964 hours per year, or 60% of legal working hours.

Under portage salarial rules, the umbrella company must charge your clients at least 35 euros (excluding VAT) per hour.

Changing from student to worker status in France

If you’ve studied in France and then want to become a salaried worker in France,
your employer must apply for a change of status. This gives you a salaried worker or temporary worker residence permit.

If you have a Master’s (or equivalent), these are the conditions:

  • You must have signed an employment contract or an official job offer in the two months before your student residence permit expires, in line with your studies.
  • Your gross monthly salary must be at least €2,404.67.

Your employer can apply for a work permit. With a Master’s, you can also apply for a Passeport Talent.

If you have a degree or two years of higher education, these are the conditions:

  • You must have signed an employment contract or an official job offer in the two months before your student residence permit expires, in line with your studies.
  • The job must be in a shortage field. The public services site lists these for different regions.

If your job isn’t in a shortage field, your employer must have sent a job advert out to different recruitment sites for three weeks and not had any candidates.

Prium Portage is here to help

Are you a foreign national or a student who wants to work in France?
Prium Portage is here to help you secure your work permit via the application or status change process. You can be employed by our company so you can carry out your role.

Meet our International business developer

Ophélia ABBÉ
International business developer
E-mail: [email protected]

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Catégorie(s) : Prium International

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