Working in France

As with most information regarding the bureaucracy in France, this information can only be used as a guide for obtaining a work permit.

Always double check!

In general , EU citizens, nationals of the countries which signed the European Economic Area agreement and Swiss nationals may work freely in France.

If you are a foreign national, you can not be employed in France without first having obtained a residence permit.

For foreign nationals with a permanent professional activity, the work permit and the residence permit appear in one single document: resident card or temporary residence permit.

The decisions for work permits and to issue residence permits are taken by the Chief of Police.

Work permit
In reality, the Director of the Labour, Employment and Vocational Training office of the département who issues the work permits upon delegation from the Chief of police. Public authorities’ decisions are chiefly based on the employment situation in the requested profession and the geographical area in question.
They can also take into account the pay conditions proposed and how you will be housed.

Residence permit
Different residence permits, authorising foreign nationals to work in France, are issued by the Chief of police:

– The temporary residence permit (carte de séjour temporaire)
Valid for a maximum of one year, it states, according to the circumstances,
“salarié” (employee),
“travailleur temporaire” (temporary worker) for employment contracts for a period of less than one year,
“travailleur saisonnier” (seasonal worker) or “travailleur en mission” (worker on assignment).

For freelance professions, the permit states the profession in which you wish to work.

– The resident card (carte de résident)
Valid for ten years, it authorises the holder to work. It can be issued to those who have already resided in France with a residence permit for more than five years without interruption, under certain conditions provided for by the law or as of right in certain situations: French spouse, parent of a French child, etc.

The Act dated 24 July 2006 created a residence permit stating: “compétence et talent” (expertise and talent).

To prepare your application correctly, contact a specialised association or duty office which will help you to collect all the essential documents and will make the formalities easier for you.

Documents required to stay (and work) in France

Entry and residence of EU, EEA & Swiss Nationals
EU, EEA & Swiss citizens intending to live in France should have a valid passport (only nationals from Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands can seek employment upon production of their national Identity Card). However, please note that British citizens native of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not regarded as EU citizens.

According to EU law, EU nationals have up to 3 months to apply for a “”Carte de séjour de ressortissant de l’Union Européenne”” (EU resident permit) at the “”Préfecture”” or “”Commissariat de Police”” (Police Station) of your place of residence. The “”Carte de séjour”” will be granted upon production of:

– A valid passport, a birth certificate or a marriage certificate, and proof of accommodation. Proof that you pay contributions to the French Social Security scheme, 3 passport photographs. A contract of employment or the necessary authorisations from the Chamber of Commerce in case of self-employment. Or if you are retired a proof that you receive a state pension (from France or your home country) If you are student you need proof that you have registered with a French University.

– Or if you are married to a French National, a copy of your marriage certificate

If you are staying for a limited duration, a resident permit will be issued for this period of time, after which your situation will be re-examined.

If you are planning to stay on a permanent basis, a resident permit will be issued for 5 years. After these 5 years, your permit can be renewed for 10 more years if you are still employed on permanent basis.

Please note that the right of residence – granted with the resident permit – can be extended to the permit holder’s spouse; dependant descendants under 21, dependants ascendants and spouse’s ascendants.

Entry and Residence of non EU Nationals
Non EU Nationals are not allowed to take up employment in France, even temporary, paid or unpaid, unless they have obtained an “”Autorisation de Travail”” (work permit) before arriving in France. The prospective employer should apply for this permit to the:

Office des Migrations Internationales
14, rue Brague 75015 Paris
Tel: 0033 1 53 69 53 70


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