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Work Permits

France - Work Permits

If you wish to work in France you may need to have a work permit. EU nationals generally do not need a permit as they have the right to live and work in the country. This also includes owning a business and being self employed. Some of the newer member states of the EU will find that their citizens still need to make an application for a work permit. These include Estonia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia. This is for a transitional period although the restrictions are likely to be in place for a number of years.

If you are from a non-EU country you will need to have a work and a residency permit. One will rely on the other so they should be applied for at the same time. You need to give information on the type of work that you plan to do and the permit that you are given will depend on the information that you provide.

A company in France will need to prove that there is no local or EU citizen who is qualified to do the work in order to be able to hire a non EU citizen. It is mainly larger firms who will go to this trouble as for smaller firms it can be costly. The approval process can take several months so it is essential that those applying already have a firm job offer in place.

In order to get clearance to hire a non-EU national a firm will need to advertise the vacancy with the ‘Pole Emploi’ the French equivalent of the UK Job Centre. If there are no French applicants who are suitably qualified then the application can be made to the Department Directorate of Work, Employment and Training. The assessment will take into consideration the applicant’s experience, qualifications and the overall situation regarding employment in France. The applicant will need to undergo a medical examination either in France or in their home country, making an application for the relevant visa and applicants may be issued a temporary resident’s permit. The acceptance of any particular applicant may be subject to conditions and it is the responsibility of both the applicant and the employer to ensure that these are adhered to.

The temporary resident permit may or may not give you the right to work. The conditions of the permit will be noted on the visa. Once you have this if it does not give you the right to work you can make an application for a change in this status. This application can be done directly at the local ‘prefecture’. They will take your application and send it on to the DDTEFP, which will look at your stay in France and make an assessment made on your skills and the need for skills in the sector you want to work in.

There are several different types of work permits. Some people will simply have a residency permit which gives them the right to work or you may have separate work and residency permits. Those who have a permanent resident permit (carte de resident) are automatically entitled to find work in France.

Those who have a provisional permit for residency or one of the short-stay visas will need to make a separate application for a work permit. If your application is approved you may be given a temporary residency permit which allows you to work, but it will state that you will be employed, self employed or the type of work such as artistic or scientific. This type of visa will also specify which area of France you will be allowed to work in. Alternatively you may be given a temporary work permit, but this is normally used for employees who are remaining with their current employer but simply transferring to a French base.

The documentation that is required is the same as for a residency permit but will include details of the work that you are planning to do, so you may need to send a copy of your new employment contract or letter confirming an offer of employment. Other documentation will include passport, copies of birth certificates and marriage certificates if relevant, a completed application form and the relevant fee.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.