Work Permits for France

As with most countries, there are certain requirements expats must meet before moving to France to work. These vary depending on the expat's country of origin.

Citizens of the European Economic Area (which consists of the European Union, as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland don’t require work permits to find employment in France.

Non-EU nationals must go through a complicated work permit process for the right to employment in France. In 2011, the French government made further efforts to reduce legal immigration by cutting the number of job categories open to non-European foreigners. As such, work permits in France are notoriously difficult for expats to get.

Eligibility for a work permit in France is related to employment status, and it's usually necessary for expats to find employment before relocating. Expats may need to rely on their prospective employer to obtain the permit on their behalf.

Expats looking for employment in France may also need to prove that their skills are unique and cannot be found among EEA nationals, which can be a troublesome task. Patience is a valuable asset, as expats are bound to experience France’s infamous bureaucratic process first-hand.

Applying for a work permit for France

Expats planning to work in France for longer than three months are required to have a long-stay visa, which can only be applied for after their prospective work contract is sent to the French Ministry of Labour for approval. Once the contract has been reviewed and approved, an appointment can be made to apply for the visa.

Expats arriving in France on a long-stay work visa are required to register with the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII - French government agency in charge of migration and welcoming foreigners).

Work visas for France vary in their length of validity, requirements and number of entries depending on the type of worker and their field. Common work permits of expats moving to France include the Skills and Talents permit, issued to foreigners who can potentially contribute to France in some way (as determined by the French authorities), as well as the Employees on Assignment permit for those relocated to France by their company.

*Visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.