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How Can I Get a French Work Permit From Outside of France?

If you have plans to travel to France for work in 2021, you will need to know the rules for acquiring a work visa, and, in particular, how you can do this from your home country. Thankfully, the process of applying for a French work visa is relatively straightforward and can be completed in just a few weeks. In this article, we will explain how foreign nationals can acquire a French work permit from outside of France.

Do I Need To Apply For A Work Permit To Work In France?

If you are from a country outside of the European Union (EU), and hence you do not have the rights of free movement, you will need a permit to work in France, whether on a temporary (i.e. up to 90 days) or permanent basis. In France, it is the responsibility of the employer to apply for a work permit on behalf of the employee from the local immigration DIRECCTE (Direction regionale des enterprises, de la concurrence et de la consummation, du travail et de l’emploi) office.

The French Government visa website states, “Any employer or company operating in France wishing to recruit you must first request authorisation from the French authorities using form 15187”. This form is specifically for migrant workers who are residing outside of France. The application is typically submitted no less than three months before the migrant worker is due to start their role in France. There are some exceptions which apply, meaning that the employer does not need to request permission to employ a foreign national; specifically, if the period of employment is less than 90 days, and in the job is in one of the following areas :

  • Sporting, cultural, artistic or scientific events;
  • Conferences, seminars or trade fairs;
  • The production and distribution of cinematographic or audio-visual performances or music publishing for artists and technicians directly involved in production and realisation;
  • Providing teaching activities, on an occasional basis, by visiting salaried teachers in France;
  • Providing your employer’s services (not companies) during your stay in France.

This exception also applies to foreign models who are planning to come to France.

After your employer has submitted the 15187 form to request your employment, this will then be processed, and if successful, your local French embassy will be informed, allowing them to start dealing with your visa application.

DIRECCTE will take into consideration a range of factors when considering your permit application, including

  • The level of supply and demand for the particular occupation/role
  • How well the applicant’s skills, experience and qualifications match the requirements of the role
  • The arrangements made on behalf of the migrant worker in terms of accommodation
  • The employer’s previous compliance with employment and immigration law
  • The employee’s previous compliance with visa/permit conditions (if they have previously held a permit in France)
  • The conditions and pay being offered must compare favourably to those given to other employees in the same role; this includes the salary being offered, which must be at least equal to the national minimum wage of €18,473

The French immigration office assessing the work permit application typically have up to two months to process the request from when all details have been submitted and received. If no response has been received within this timescale, it is likely the application has not been successful.

Do I Need A Visa To Work In France?

Depending on your country of origin, you may need to apply for a visa to enter France. It should be remembered that a visa and permit are different. Whereas a permit allows you to stay in France for a specific purpose, a visa is needed to gain entry at the border. You will not need to apply for a visa if you are from a country in the EU, or from Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, St Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, or Venezuela.

If you are travelling to France to work for up to 90 days, you will need a French short-stay work visa from your local embassy. If you are staying for more than 90 days, you will need a French long-stay work visa. The long-stay visa will be valid for up to one year (and must be validated within three months of arriving in France) and will contain the word “salarié” (meaning employee) if you are on a permanent employment contract, or “travailleur temporaire” (meaning temporary worker) if you are on a fixed-term contract.

Once your work permit has been approved, you will receive an invitation to visit your local French embassy in person to apply for your work visa. You will need to provide your completed application work, your approved work permit, your passport, along with a ‘hiring form[PM2] which has been filled and signed by your employer.

Travelling To France To Start Work

Assuming that your visa and permit are approved, and you have these in hand, you can travel to France to start work. On arrival in France, you then have three months to complete and submit a declaration form with the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII). You may also be required to undergo a medical examination.

Final Words

Obtaining a work visa for France is relatively quick and easy. Your employer will ensure that your work permit is requested, and you will be invited to apply for a work visa, which once granted, will allow you to travel to France. If at any stage you are unsure of the process, or the best visa route to apply for, either speak to your local French embassy or to an immigration lawyer. As you complete the process, you will be advised of the documents you will need to provide, the conditions which will apply to your permit, and what you need to do on arrival in France in your local region.

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