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Visas, Work Permits and Migration

Expanding into a country or hiring a workforce abroad can lead your business to great profits, but unfamiliar laws and regulations can counteract your company’s goals and plans. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO service we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence. French visa, residency and permit regulations require expert guidance as they vary according to the country foreign nationals live in – the European Union, the European Economic Area and other foreign nationals are all affected by these complex regulations.

Our team is trained to research the latest information on France visas and work permits and therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. By reading this guide you will get familiar with all the requirements so you or your employees can start working in France in no time.

What Types of Work Visas and Permits are there?

When travelling abroad for work, business or pleasure, most people need either an entry visa or work visa, work or residence permit depending on the country they are going to and which country they are travelling from. In France the process is highly complicated and although information is readily available, the procedures can be tricky for the uninitiated and professional advice will be a boon!  Those not on the exempt list will require a Type C Schengen Visa also known as a Short-Stay Visa or Uniform Stay Visa which allows them to:

  • Visit family
  • For holiday and cultural reasons
  • For training, business meetings and internships
  • For paid work under certain circumstances (e.g., for less than 90 days)

This visa does not permit citizens to bring their families or settle in France. They can apply for single entry or multiple entry. People who are not in the EU, EEA or EFTA also require ‘permission to work’ as well as a Short-Stay Visa and a short fixed-term contract.

To work for less than 90 days:

A Temporary Work Permit (ATP, autorisation proviso ire de travail) applied for by the employer from the French Labor Ministry.

To work for more than 90 days:

For longer stays and longer periods of employment, prospective employees require a Work Permit. These permits can be through:

Long Stay Visa (VLS-TS) or Visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour (VLS-TS) – allows the individual who holds it to live and work in France for one year. This visa must be validated by the l’Office Francais de l’Immigration et de I’Integration (OFII) before they enter France. This can be used as a Residence Permit, and also serves as a Work Permit. There are a number of categories of the VLS-TS Visa which can be found at: https://www.welcometofrance.com/en/fiche/long-stay-visa-equivalent-to-a-residence-permit-vls-ts

The Talent Passport Permits

‘Salarie qualifie’ – For highly skilled and qualified workers with:

  • A degree and/or up to five years’ equivalent professional experience
  • A work contract for one year with income over twice the minimum wage
  • ‘Enterprise Innovante’ – A work contract for one year with income over twice the minimum wage, and the job must be related to the company’s research and development strategy.
  • ‘EU Blue Card’ – A work contract for one year minimum, which requires a degree or three-year educational diploma or up to five years’ equivalent professional experience. The salary agreed to must be at 1.5 times the average French gross salary.
  • Specific Work Permit – If the foreign national does not possess a Visa or Residence Permit or qualify for the Talent Passport Permit, the employer applies for a ‘specific work permit’ to be submitted at least three months before the employee is due to start their job. The contract can be fixed or permanent. After receiving the work permit, the employee must then apply for the entry visa and residence permit.

Temporary Worker Permit marked ‘Employee’ This allows salaried employment for those who do not qualify for the Talent Passport or other Long-Stay Visas, but will need:

  • A fixed-term work contract
  • The employer will need to apply for a Work Permit and acceptance will depend on the regional employment levels i.e., “opposability of employment status”
  • How to obtain a France Work Visa?
  • European Union (EU), European Economic Association (EEA) and Swiss nationals do not require a Residence Permit, Work Permit or Visa to travel to live or work in France.
  • Third Country nationals who are not on the visa-exempt list and whose employment will be for less than three months need to obtain:

Employment contract

A Short-Stay Visa – this can be obtained from a French Consulate or Embassy in the individual’s country of residence and started online. A Temporary Work Permit applied for by the employer from the French Labor Ministry. For longer periods of employment and residence in France, a Work Contract that needs to be authorized by the *DIRECCTE (the French Regional Department of Enterprise, Competition, Consumer Affairs, Labor and Employment). A Work Permit, a Visa and a Residence permit are all required to live and work in France for up to a year. Depending on the occupation and salary, the qualifications and educational documents will determine the necessary paperwork.

Salaried Employees Visa

For this, applicants must have:

  • a work contract (fixed or permanent) authorized by the DIRECCTE for up to 12 months
  • Permission must be obtained by employer to employ foreign Third Country nationals
  • Talent Passport Permits

Applicants require:

  • Highly qualified and skilled workers with high-level qualifications,
  • a contract of one year or more with up to 1.5 times national gross average salary

Specific Work Permit

If the foreign national does not possess a Visa or Residence Permit to allow paid work and does not qualify for the Talent Passport Permit, the employer applies for a ‘specific work permit’ which must be submitted at least three months before the employee is due to start work.

Temporary Worker Permit marked ‘Employee’

This is a Temporary Work Permit allowing salaried employment for those who do not qualify for the Talent Passport or other Long-Stay Visas but will need:

  • A Fixed-term work contract
  • The employer will need to apply for a Work Permit and acceptance will depend on the regional employment levels i.e., “opposability of employment status”

Those without Work Permits:

These need to be applied for by the employer and must be submitted at least three months before the employee is due to start work. Also, the employer must have tried to find a suitable French candidate through a government portal or through a private organization.

How to apply for Work Visa / Work Permit in France

  • Find a job
  • Examine the type of visa and work permit required
  • Employer applies for relevant work permit through the local employment office (DIRECCTE) where the employee will work. Some Long-Stay Visas such as VLS-TS / Talent Passport Permits can be used as a Residence and Work Permit
  • After receiving the work permit, a Long-Stay Visa needs to be applied for which acts as both Visa and Residence Permit
  • When arriving in France, contact the L’Office Francais de l’Immigration et de I’Integration (OFII) with completed OFII form. They endorse the passport with a sticker to show the employee is legal in France. Work Permits Allows employee to apply for Work Visa and Residence Permit to work in France.

The employer has to apply for the Work Permit (excluding e.g., VLS-TS / Talent Passport Permits) three months before employee is due to arrive. When the application is sanctioned, it goes to the OFII and once agreed the employer is notified and it will then be sent to the Embassy or Consulate where the application originated. This allows the employee to apply for a Long-Stay Visa.

Documents required for Work Permit:

  • Letter explaining employee’s job description and duties and reason for enrolment
  • Application for work permit Cerfa no. 15187*1 when employee is outside France
  • Recent extract of commercial register
  • Proof up to date with social security payments
  • Proof employer tried to fill the position in France
  • Copy valid passport of employee
  • Proof of residence in home country
  • Copy of employee’s qualifications relevant to position
  • Employee’s CV with evidence of skill for position

For companies outside France other documentation is required. All relevant documents need to be sent, by employer, to French Immigration Office (OFII) to be approved.

A VLS-TS Long-Stay Visa:

Applied for at a local French Embassy / Consulate where the prospective employee is resident. The process can be started online via the French website but an interview may be needed in person for the necessary biometrics. An external service provider can be utilized to help with the visa process.

Documents required:

  • Application form for Long-Stay Visa, Form 14571-05 for salaried employee, can be completed online visa France-visas
  • Valid Passport issued within the previous 10 years and valid until three months after employee’s expected departure
  • Two passport photographs
  • Submit a OFII Form
  • Other paperwork will depend on which Long Stay Visa is being applied for.

When arriving in France, a notice will be attached to passport. Within three months, the holder must register with the OFII to have the Residence Permit authorized.