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WORK PERMITS

Working in France: Who needs a work permit?

If you want to work in France and you are not an EU citizen you will need a visa, but you may also need a work permit - known as an 'autorisation du travail' or 'permit du travail' - here's how they work.

Working in France: Who needs a work permit?
Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP

Who?

This applies to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country, so for example Brits, Americans, Canadians, Australians.

Most people who have long-term residency permits or cartes de séjour plurianuelle will not need a work permit (full details below) and Brits who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement – ie those who moved to France before December 31st 2020 – won’t need one either.

Where?

There are some exceptions where a work permit is not required:

  • work at a sporting, cultural or scientific event
  • work at a seminar or trade show
  • the production and broadcast of cinematographic and audiovisual works (such as musicians putting on concerts)
  • modelling
  • personal service workers and domestic workers working in France during their private employers’ stay in the country.
  • providing an audit or expertise in IT, management, finance, insurance, architecture and engineering, under the terms of a service agreement or intra-company transfer agreement.
  • occasional teaching activities by invited lecturers

Responsibility

The key thing about the work permit is that it is the responsibility of the employer to get the permit, and likewise the employer who will end up in trouble if they are found to be employing people who do not have the correct permit.

This is in contrast to the visa or residency card, which it is up to the employee to sort out (although you will need to have the work permit in order to get certain types of visa).

The process for employers, however, can be pretty complicated and involves them demonstrating that there is a valid reason that they are not employing an EU worker instead – for example they might need to show proof that they have advertised the job and got no responses in France.

It is the administrative complexity and expense (in certain circumstances employers have to pay extra tax for non-EU employees) that make some employers reluctant to recruit non-EU workers who do not already have the right to live and work in France, which can make getting their first job more difficult.

It’s not impossible of course, but you are at a disadvantage compared to EU candidates, who can be employed with no extra paperwork or expense. 

Short-term work

You will only need a work permit if your period of work is more than 90 days – so for example people on business trips do not need them, neither do contractors or freelancers doing short projects.

Visas

The key thing to know is that a visa and a work permit are two different documents, with different requirements to fulfil to get one.

However, not every non-EU citizen living in France needs a work permit, as certain types of visa or residency card ‘act’ as a work permit as well.

The basic rule of thumb is that people who already have the right to live and work in France don’t need a new work permit for every new job they get – the main categories of people who need them are recently-graduated non-EU students who studied in France, and people arriving in France to take up a new job.

The French visa website HERE gives you a simulator (shown below) that you can click through and find out if you need a work permit, depending on the type of visa or residency card that you have.

Service-public official website

Once you are onto a carte de séjour pluriannuelle – the long-term residency card – you are unlikely to need a work permit.

If you are coming to France on the talent visa (passeport talent) you also won’t need a work permit, as the visa also acts as a permit.

Certain types of visa, such as the visitor visa, does not allow you to work at all, so you would need to swap your visa for a work visa, as well as also potentially getting a work permit. 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

French schools, renting property and vocabulary: 6 essential articles for life in France

From how to quit your job in France to choosing the best French school for your kids and learning all the vocabulary of France's cost of living crisis - here are six essential articles for life in France.

French schools, renting property and vocabulary: 6 essential articles for life in France

In the last two years, many people across the world have either considered leaving or have left their jobs amid the “Great Resignation” (or La Grande démission, en Français). 

If you have thought about quitting your French job, or perhaps you simply want to understand the procedure for resigning in France, we’ve put together a guide that should answer all of your questions. 

EXPLAINED: What you should know if you want to quit your job in France

Next, the French government is recommending that everyone become familiar with this website, and you’ll really to know how to use it if you will be living in France during the winter of 2022-2023. 

Ecowatt is the government’s ‘energy forecasting’ website. It will provide you with daily updates and give you an idea as to whether the electrical grid is under stress due to energy shortages. The Local put together an article on how to sign up for alerts, which will help you keep track of whether your area is at risk for short, localised power cuts this winter.

‘Ecowatt’: How you should use France’s new energy forecasting website?

Amid potential energy shortages this winter and the cost of living crisis, foreigners living with France have been faced with learning a whole new set of French vocabulary words.

It can be difficult to keep up to date with the French news – even for native-French speakers. To help you follow along and stay informed, The Local has compiled a list of French terms you are likely to hear when the government or media discusses inflation, along with their English translations.

The French words you need to understand France’s cost of living crisis

Parenting in a country you did grow up in comes with unique challenges and joys. One thing anglophone parents tend to wonder about is whether or not they should send their children to international schools (where English might be more widely spoken) or opt for local French schools.

The Local spoke with some anglophone parents, and compared the advantages and disadvantages of the various options in order to help you make the best decision for your family. 

What kind of school in France is best for my kids?

Many foreigners living in France prefer renting to buying. When looking for that perfect home or apartment, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost – renting in France depends largely on where you live. Renting in a rural or suburban environment will differ greatly from renting in a big city. Nevertheless – renters across France are faced with the same question: furnished or unfurnished? 

The two options differ in terms of price, convenience, and sometimes availability. You can read The Local’s guide to renting property in France.

Renting property in France: Should I go for furnished or unfurnished?

The 2024 Olympic Games are already on the horizon, even though they might seem far away. The city of Paris and its surrounding suburbs have already begun extensive preparations to host athletes, their families, and the thousands of fans who will come to enjoy the Games.

If you live in France and you are considering attending the games, The Local has put together what you need to know in order to secure your tickets.

How to get tickets for the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics

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