Work permit in France: 4 things you should know

Hiring an employee to work in France? Non-EU highly skilled migrants are required to get a work permit (Authorisation de travail). Simply request one? It’s not that easy! There are a lot of different work permits depending on employment level, salary, and duration of stay. So how do you obtain the right work permit? And what about the processing time? 4 things you need to know about the work permit in France.

All citizens from the EU, the EEA, Monaco, Andorra, and San Marino are allowed to work in France without a work permit. For all others, a work permit is required. Before obtaining a work permit, an employee has to have a signed employment contract for working in France.

Is a work permit in France similar to a residence permit?

That depends on multiple factors. A work permit can be issued as a residence permit, which gives the employee the right to work in France or as a specific work permit (accompanied by passport and/or visa).

Is your employee working in France for less than 90 days? He/she requires a short-stay permit. This is a temporary work permit (ATP, Autorisation provisoire de travail) that has to be approved by the French Ministry of Labour. It can be requested for example when the employee visits France for a short-term project or for specific meetings etc. There are some exceptions, where there’s no employment contract required. These exceptions are captured in a Ministerial Decree.

When employed for a period longer than 90 days, the employee must apply for a long-stay work visa the equivalent to the residence permit (visa de long-séjour valant titre de séjour, VLS-TS). This can be valid up to 12 months maximum. This type of visa allows the holder to enter and reside in France throughout its validity period, without any need to apply for a residence permit. A sticker is just affixed to the holder’s passport.
If needs be, after 12 months, the employee needs to apply for a temporary residence permit that can be valid for 4 years.


What is the right work permit in France for highly skilled migrants?

To support talent from all over the world to come and work in France, the government decided to set up a residence permit in 2016 called Passeport Talent, the talent passport. This is a long-stay residence permit, renewable for up to four years. It allows employees to live and work in France, eventually with their families.

The talent passport is only granted to employees who are likely to make a lasting contribution through their skills in the development of the French economy. Depending on the type of talent passport required, the employee needs to meet different requirements.

Passeport talent “Salarié qualifié”

  • The employment contract has a duration that exceeds a year;
  • The employee holds a qualification demonstrating at least five years of higher education awarded by a State-recognized higher education establishment;
  • The employee will earn a minimum annual gross salary at least equal to two times the minimum legal wage in France for a full-time worker which is €36,946.00.

Passeport talent – “Entreprise innovante – exercice d’une activité salariée”  for qualified employee hired by a new innovative company if:Passeport talent “Salarié qualifié”

  • The employment contract has a duration that exceeds a year;
  • The job is directly linked to the company’s research and development project;
  • The employee will earn a minimum annual gross salary at least equal to two times the minimum legal wage in France for a full-time worker of €36,946.00.

Passeport talent “Carte Bleue Européenne” (EU Blue Card)

The EU Blue Card is an approved EU-wide work permit. This residence permit is meant for highly skilled migrants of third-country nationals in the EU. The validity of the EU Blue Card is based on the duration of the employment contract, with a minimum of one year. The maximum duration is four years. After that, it’s possible to renew the card. To get a Talent Passport with the remark EU Blue Card, these are the conditions to meet:

  • The employee has a valid employment contract for highly qualified employment for at least one year;
  • It involves a highly qualified employee, which means he/she qualifies at least three years of higher education, or;
  • The employee has five years of comparable professional experience ;
  • The annual salary in the employment contract must be equal to or higher than the salary threshold defined by the Member State (at least 1,5 times the average gross annual salary in the Member State concerned). The minimum annual gross salary set in France is € 53.836 as of January 1st, 2017.

How do you request a work permit in France?

For a long-stay work visa, the employer must first submit a work permit request. The employer is required to send:

  • The Kbis extract (company’s ID);
  • Proof of payment of social security coverage;
  • A signed employment contract;
  • Relevant documents attesting the civil status and nationality of the candidate, and in the case of a residence in France, the document authorizing him/her to legally reside in France;
  • The evidence of the research for a local unemployed employee on local job centres (except if it involves an application for a Talent Passport);
  • Documents proving the qualification and experience of the employee to occupy the position applied for.

All these documents need to be sent to the local division of the Ministry of Labour, or as the French call it: the DIRECCTE. If the application is approved, it will be sent to the French Immigration Office, so-called OFFI.

Once approved there, it is sent to the consulate or embassy in the home country of the employee. The employee will then be invited for an appointment at the embassy to apply for a long-stay visa that will allow him or her to work in France.
The employee will need to show the passport, temporary residence permit, a completed application form, and other specified documentation about the work and residence permit he or she is applying for.

What is the processing time for a work permit in France?

The process of obtaining a short-stay work permit is about 5-12 days. A long-stay work permit in France can take some time. The average duration is about six weeks.
According to the law, a long-stay visa application has to be processed within 2 months but in reality, processing times and costs vary according to conditions and the nationality of the employee.

Complicated? Parakar helps you out!

Parakar is happy to help you out with obtaining work permits for your company. We have a French entity and are registered as an employer with the French authorities. Therefore, we’re able to get work permits on a fast track. Furthermore, we’re fully known with all regulations to obtain the right and valid work permit. 

We can give you advice about the right permits for different scenarios. Our local HR experts in France are native speaking. They are happy to help you out if you need any information regarding obtaining a work permit in France. Get in touch now!

Resumption of visa issuance
Due to Covid-19, France decided to suspend the issuance of visas. According to the latest update, France’s diplomatic and consular posts are once again issuing visas, so it is now possible to apply online via the France-Visas portal.
All diplomatic and consular posts will process study visas as best they can, considering the health conditions. In countries where restrictions on external borders have been lifted (Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay), the following additional categories will be prioritized (with possible local variations based on current capabilities at the posts):

  • Professional grounds for settlement in France;
  • Family grounds for expatriation to France;
  • Holders of a residence document (residence permit or long-stay visa serving as a residence permit (VLS-TS) expiring after 15 June.

There will be a particular focus on the reception conditions for visa applicants from a health perspective.

Additional information will be provided to users by the relevant posts and contractors in countries where the reception of applications has been outsourced. For the most accurate information regarding this subject in relation to Covid-19, please visit:

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If you are looking for a work permit directly the most relevant criterion to be able to obtain a work permit in most European countries, is to have a job offer or contract offer first.
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