SHARE
COPY LINK
Paywall free

MOVING TO FRANCE

Get everything you need for Moving to France in our new newsletter

Moving to France can be a daunting task - with so many questions around immigration paperwork, finding somewhere to live and learning the language. Our new monthly newsletter will help you get the answers you need. Sign up below.

Get everything you need for Moving to France in our new newsletter
If you are thinking of moving to France then sign up for our new newsletter. Photo by Kin Wai Cheung on Unsplash

The Local France is written by foreigners who are resident in France – which means we have all made that move and know exactly how daunting it can be.

Whether you’re coming to France to study or to work, moving for love or to enjoy a well-earned retirement, there’s a lot that you need to know.

If you’re moving from non-EU countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia or the UK you will likely need a visa, and all new arrivals will need to organise French healthcare – as you’ve probably already guessed, the move will involved a significant amount of paperwork.

Then there’s the issue of finding somewhere to live – whether that’s the difficult process of persuading a landlord to rent to a foreigner or navigating the French system of property purchases.

And finally there are the cultural challenges – from learning the language to making sure you don’t accidentally upset a French person and navigating the thousands of small differences between France and your home country.

That’s why we’re launching a new monthly newsletter aimed at people who are moving to France, or just thinking/dreaming about making the move.

We will look at all aspects of the practicalities of upping sticks and moving countries, and offer some insights in the culture shocks you might expect when arriving in France. We’ll point you in the direction of all our essential articles geared towards people moving to France.

For paying members of The Local, our team will also also be on hand to try and answer your questions and dig into the topics you need to know more about. 

You can sign up for the monthly newsletter by clicking on the link below or by visiting your newsletter options via the “My account” page. If you are reading on the app and the sign up box does not show for you please email [email protected] and we’ll add your email address to the list.

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

WORKING IN FRANCE

Explained: How to get a visa if you want to move to France for work

If you are looking to move to France for work as a foreigner, then you will need to be realistic about your options and residency status. Here are some things you should know.

Explained: How to get a visa if you want to move to France for work

Hollywood has inspired many to dream of moving to France, whether that be a calmer life in a small village or the romantic idea of working in Paris, mirroring the lives of iconic characters from hit series like Emily in Paris.

In reality, moving to France as a foreigner for work is more difficult than portrayed on the big screen, especially if you are not a citizen of an EU country.

To begin, we have a helpful guide to job-search websites, as well as tips for writing a French CV and converting your foreign qualifications.

There are also several benefits to first getting a higher education degree from a French institution, including a shortened wait time when applying for French citizenship and a one-year buffer to find a job. 

But before you start sending out applications, you will want to be realistic about your options for moving in the first place – in particular with regards to visas and work permits.

This article is focused on people moving to France in order to work – you can find more information about the situation for people already in France here, and on moving to France as a retiree here.

Visas and residency

The first and most important thing you will need to consider is your residency status. If you are an EU citizen or French national (including dual nationals), then you have the right to work in France and you can disregard this section.

Non-EU citizens, including Brits, need to think first about a visa.

Citizens of some countries – including the UK, USA and Canada – are entitled to spend 90 days in every 180 visa free in France, but if you’re planning to move here and work then you will need a visa and then a residency card (titre de séjour).

Certain residency cards act as work permits, automatically conferring the right to work in France, while others require a separate document – a work permit, or autorisation de travail.

Meanwhile, visas like the visitor visa explicitly forbid working in France and require that applicants declare they will not “exercise a professional activity” here.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What type of French visa do you need?

If you are the spouse or parent of a French national, then you would likely hold a vie privée et familiale (family and private life) residency card. Included within this status is the right to work in France without the need for a work permit or any tie to a particular job.

The same goes for spouses of EU nationals – who would hold the carte de séjour membre de famille d’un Européen – the full right to work in France is included within this residency status.

Holders of the student visa or residency permit also have the automatic right to work, albeit with a limit of 964 hours per year.

Which is the best visa/residency card option?

For those who don’t have any family connections to France such as a French spouse, and who haven’t studied at a French university, there are four main options;

Posted worker status

This is for people who are already in work and whose company is willing to keep them on in their existing role and send them to France to work.

This option is usually only available to people with higher seniority, so you would be unlikely to benefit as an entry level worker and crucially requires the agreement of your employer.

There are two residency permits related to seconded employees, and both confer the right to work in France, albeit only for your current employer.

The first (Salarié détaché) requires that the person have at least six months seniority within the organisation. The employment contract – which remains with your home country, so it is technically not a French contract – should consider you to be a manager or expert.

The idea is that this is a short-term status that does not put you on a path toward long-term residency in France. As such, this card cannot exceed a maximum of three years and it is not renewable.

Because you are essentially considered a temporary visitor to France, you cannot count your years as a posted worker when applying for a 10-year carte de résident, and there are different implications for taxes and social charges, dependent on the bilateral agreement France has with your country of origin.

If you wish to change jobs once in France, then you would need to go onto a different residency card. More information on changing status here.

Posted workers can also take advantage of the ‘passeport talent‘ – more on that below.

Talent passport

This is one of the best options for foreigners looking to move to France for work – if you can qualify for it.

It’s relatively new, it began in 2017 and is intended to bring foreign talent, especially tech start-ups, to France

It typically lasts up to four years, acts as its own work permit, so your employer would not need to go through the process of applying for one on your behalf. Plus, the procedure to bring your family is simplified

READ MORE: Three things to know about work permits in France

There are 11 different statuses within the ‘talent passport’ umbrella from researchers to artists and investors – more details in our guide.

However, many of the statuses require minimum salary and education levels.

For example, the requirements for the ’emploi hautement qualifié’ category include holding a higher education degree (or five years of relevant professional experience), being offered an employment contract of at least one year, and earning a (gross) salary of €53,836.50.

For those coming from countries with high salary levels, this may sound feasible, but according to France’s Observatoire des Inégalités this salary would put you in the top eight percent of earners in France.

There is also a status especially for posted workers called salarié en mission.

In order to qualify for this, you must have at least three months’ seniority at your company, which belongs to an ‘international group of companies’. You must have been “asked to carry out a mission at the French company within the conglomerate” and be offered a French employment contract.

You must also have a (gross) salary of at at least €38,165.40 (as of 2024).

This card lasts up to four years and unlike the salarié détaché card it can be renewed. As your residency card is related to your specific employment contract, at the card’s expiration you would need to switch onto a new status that takes into account your new contract. 

For example, if you no longer benefit from the ‘talent passport’, you may need to follow the process to apply for a standard salarié residency card.

READ MORE: My status changed, do I need to change my French residency permit?

The standard salarié visa

The salarié status (or travailleur temporaire if you are offered a short-term contract) is the generic residency status for foreign workers in France.

In order to apply for this card, you need to have already been offered a job – the process is that the employer offers you a job and then the employer will need to request an autorisation de travail for you.

In some cases, the employer might have to demonstrate that you are more qualified than an EU candidate and that the job was published for at least three weeks with the French public employment agency before submitting a work permit application. These requirements are dispensed with if the applicant holds a higher degree from France.

Once the work permit is issued, you then apply for the visa.

The benefit to this status is that it can apply to all types of jobs, as there is no minimum salary for the work permit aside from the existing minimum wage in France. 

However because of the extra paperwork involved and the extra time required, non-EU candidates are in general less attractive to French employers. In practice this means that employers are often reluctant to hire non-EU staff for low-wage jobs, and non-EU candidates need to prove that they have something special to offer to make the extra paperwork worth while.

You may see job adverts that specify that candidates must already have the right to live and work in France, or that employers will not sponsor visas.

The self-employed visa

If you want to either set up your own business or work on a freelancer/ contractor basis, you will need to apply for the ‘entrepreneur’ visa.

You don’t need a job offer to qualify for this, but you will need a detailed business plan to prove that you will be able to support yourself financially – or evidence of savings.

Visas are decided on an individual basis, but the guideline is that you will need to provide evidence that your work will provide income at least equivalent to France’s minimum wage (currently €1,766.92 gross per month).

Once in France you will need to register yourself as a business, and you should also check in advance whether you will be able to work in your chosen field in France – there are many ‘regulated professions’ that are only open to people who have French qualifications or are a member of a French professional organisation.

READ ALSO France’s self-employed visa and how to apply for it

Other options

The above options are the most commonly-used, especially for people who want to move to France and live here on a long-term basis.

However there are some alternatives, although most of them are aimed at short stays.

Probably the most popular method is via the working holiday visa, also known as the young traveller visa, which allows you to stay in France for one year and work – and does not require sponsorship from an employer, so you can arrive in France and then look for work.

They are used a lot by people who want to work the ski season, the wine harvest or in holiday camps, or who just want to travel and do the odd bit of bar work to supplement their income as they go.

However these are limited to people aged between 18 and 30 or 35 (depending on the country) and are also limited by nationality. Citizens of just 16 countries can apply for these and Brits and Americans are not eligible.

EXPLAINED: France’s working holiday visa

If you already have a job lined up you can apply for a long-stay visa travailleur saisonnier (seasonal worker) which allows you to work six months out of every 12 in France and is specifically targeted at sectors like agriculture and tourism.

However, like the salarié status, you will need a formal job offer in place and your employer will have to secure a work permit on your behalf.

READ ALSO What are the rules on short-term and seasonal work in France?

If your aim is to develop your language skills then working as an au pair is also popular. There is a dedicated visa/ residency permit for this role, but you must be under 30 to qualify.

In this situation, your employer then counts as your sponsor for your visa, and because you generally live with the family that also takes care of accommodation. It’s a great way to meet people, improve your language skills and really get immersed in French life, but it can also be very hard work depending on how many children you are taking care of and how well behaved they are.

READ MORE: Being an Au pair in France – the good, the bad and the tantrums

Many people want to move to France as a digital nomad or to work remotely, but France does not have a specific ‘digital nomad’ visa.

READ MORE: Digital nomad: What are the rules on working remotely from France?

Some foreigners move to France  on a ‘visitor’ visa with hopes of continuing to work remotely for a company based outside France.

However, this is a legal grey area and you will need to consider the implications it will have on other parts of your life here – from tax to social security contributions and insurance.

READ MORE: Ask the experts: What’s the deal with remote working and France’s visitor visa?

SHOW COMMENTS