Do you need a work permit?

Do you need a work permit?

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You are coming to work in France as a foreign employee of a company located in France or abroad

Whatever the length of your stay for business purposes, you must typically obtain a work permit before you can take up paid employment in France.

There are a number of exemptions from the work permit requirement as well as multi-year residence permits that are equivalent to work permits.


Helpful tip: Citizens of a European Union or European Economic Area Member State or Switzerland can work in France without a work permit.


Step-by-step guide:


To get your personalized guide, go to the ‘My procedures’ section.

What is a work permit?

A work permit may take various forms:

  • A long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS) or a residence permit authorizing the holder to take up paid employment. Please see the ‘Residence permits’ section for further details.
  • A specific work permit for people whose residence permit does not allow them to work.


Helpful tip: These work permits must be appended to the Official Employee Register, made available to inspectors from the Labor Inspectorate.

To work in a regulated profession, you must also have a qualification or skill specific to that profession (for example, healthcare professionals, lawyers and chartered accountants).


For further information:

Regarding the recognition of foreign qualifications in France, please see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development website.


Are you exempt from the work permit requirement?

A number of employees are exempt from the requirement to obtain a work permit:

  • Citizens of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) Member State or Switzerland.
  • Citizens from outside these countries working lawfully (with a residence permit issued by a European country) and customarily for an employer established in an EU or EEA Member State or Switzerland in the context of providing a service.
  • Foreign employees undertaking paid employment for three months or less in one of the following fields:
    • Sporting, cultural, artistic and scientific events.
    • Conferences, seminars and trade shows.
    • Production and distribution of cinematic and audiovisual works, shows and recordings.
    • Modeling and artistic posing.
    • Personal service workers and domestic workers working in France during their private employers’ stay in the country.
    • Audit and consulting in IT, management, finance, insurance, architecture and engineering, under the terms of a service agreement or intra-company transfer agreement.
    • Occasional teaching activities by invited lecturers.
  • Spouses of French citizens, parents of French children, and close family members of French employees in possession of a temporary ‘Private and Family Life’ residence permit.


For further information:

Decree 2016-1461 of October 28, 2016 listing exemptions from the work permit requirement.