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Immigration & Work Permits

Work Permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in France, as established by immigration laws.  Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the French market.  If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use an outsourced management company or GEO Employer of Record to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.


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Citizens of the 28 European Union countries or countries that form European Economic Area (i.e., Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) are not required to obtain work permits or visa to visit or work in France.

For citizens of other countries, arranging a long-stay work permit (for more than 90 days), also known as “visa de long sejour”, to work in France is a complicated process. There is a number of procedures set by various authorities that must be strictly complied with, including different bureaucratic obstacles. In general, the application can only be made by an established French company, except if foreign company (Detache) is transferring its employees (“salaries en mission”) inside the group of companies (intra-company transfer).


1. A contract must be signed between the French sponsoring company and the employer.

2. French employer should first file an application with the Labor Department (“Direction Regionale des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi” or “DIRECCTE”).

3. When this application is approved, it is then processed by the National Agency for the Reception of Foreign Nationals and Migration (“Office Francais de l’Immigration et de l’Integration” or “OFII”).

4. Once approved by OFII, it will inform the employer and forward the approval to the French Consulate in the employee’s country of residence.

5. The employee will then be contacted by email and asked to take an appointment on line to apply for its visa.

After that, the employee and their family members will be able to collect their long stay visas from the French Consulate. The average duration of this process is about six weeks (however, processing times will vary according to the nationality of the applicant and local conditions of the issuing authority). For the sponsored employee this visa acts as both a residence and work permit.

Generally, spouse of the employee is not allowed to work in France, unless certain circumstances (e.g. intra-company transfer) applies. Long stay visa holders must register with OFII during the first three months of their stay.

Duration: 1 year (can be extended in certain circumstances)


List of documents may vary depending on the employee’s country of residence. Here is a general list for Australian and American citizens:

  • Application form (for each visa applicant);
  • Identity photographs;
  • Tickets or detailed flight booking information (prepared by the travel agency);
  • Original passport or travel document (For US citizens, must have been issued less than 10 years ago, be valid for at least three months after your return to the US and have at least 2 blank visas pages left);
  • Processing fee;
  • Residence form;

For Australian citizens there are also some additional documents required:

  • Police certificates for countries where the applicant stayed for more than 1 year;
  • 1 «Demande d’attestation OFII» with the first part (« RUBRIQUES A REMPLIR LORS DE LA DEMANDE DE VISA ») duly completed;

Some other documents that might be required:

  • Supporting evidence of residence in France;
  • Documents proving medical coverage;
  • Documentary evidence of means of livelihood for the period of stay;
  • Supporting evidence of  socio-professional situation (letters of reference, CV, academic transcripts, etc);


The application fee for this visa is EUR 99 (except for certain countries and in certain circumstances)

Use the Shield GEO Employer of Record Solution

Shield GEO does not provide sponsored work permits in France at this moment.

Types of visas in France

Category Description of Visa
Short-Term Visas (less than three months) (also known as “visa de court sejour”)

To visit France for a period of time of up to 90 days, Schengen visa must be obtained from the French Consulate. The visa is granted for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180 day period with single or multiple entries allowed.

The applicant must provide a passport valid for at least three months after the date of return to the country of origin, a return ticket, evidence of sufficient financial resources, evidence of accommodation for the stay in France, and travel insurance with a minimum coverage of up to EUR 30,000 covering the whole period of stay in France.

The Short-stay Visa can authorise training assignments of up to 90 days. No extension of stay is possible.

Cost = EUR 60

Long-stay Visa (“visa de long sejour”) (more than three months)

This visa authorises foreign nationals to stay in France for periods of longer than three months. It is necessary to register either with the OFII or at the prefecture upon arrival.

This visa is usually valid for one year but can be issued for a shorter period. To extend it a residence permit application must be filed at the foreign national’s local prefecture at least two months before the expiration of the visa.

Cost = EUR 99

Corporate Executive Visa

Corporate executives include the Managing Director (“Gerant”) of a French limited liability company (“Societe a Responsabilite Limitee” or SARL) or the Managing Director (“Responsable en France”) of a branch or a liaison office, the President and/or Managing Director of a French corporation (“Societe Anonyme” or SA), the President and/or the Managing Director of a simplified corporation (“Societe par Actions Simplifiee” or SAS). These corporate executives must obtain this type of visa to stay and work in France.

The sponsoring employer must apply for a work permit to the OFII, the Ministry of the Interior and the DIRECCTE. The basic requirements for the applicant is that the employee has been employed by an international company for more than six months and earns a gross monthly salary of at least EUR 5,000.

Intra-group transferee card

Employees in this category (“salaries en mission”) are those who are working in a group of companies and who are assigned to a French subsidiary or the company in this group. To meet the basic requirements the employee has to be working for the group for at least three months before the assignment in France, and their expected monthly gross salary while working in France must exceed 1.5 times the legal minimum salary (known as the SMIC), which is EUR 2,186 gross in 2015.

The intra-group transferee card is now only issued to employees with significant experience in the area in which they are employed. There are two types of employees in this category: those who become employees of the French company, and those who, while working in France, remain employees of the overseas entity (“detaches”).

Duration: three years (with ability to extend).

EU Blue Card

This visa’s purpose is to facilitate entry, residence and working in France for highly qualified workers from third countries. To meet the requirements of this visa class applicants must present an employment contract in France (must be valid for at least one year), have a gross annual salary equivalent to at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary (EUR 52,750 since 2014), and prove that the applicant has a diploma equivalent to at least three years of higher education, or provide documents which demonstrate that they have at least five years of professional experience at an equivalent level.

The Prefect’s decision to issue a EU Blue Card must be notified in writing to the applicant within 90 days of the application. If notification of approval is not received within 90 days, the application is automatically deemed refused.

Duration: this card is valid for 3 years (with ability to renew).



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