Fact sheet : work permit

Date of update



Are you 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.

Citizens of a European Union or European Economic Area Member State or Switzerland can work in France without a work permit. Please have a look at our dedicated fact sheet.


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, like the Talent Passport permit as well as the ‘Intra-company transfer’ residence permit. These residence permits are equivalent to a work permit. No additional steps are necessary. Please see the ‘Residence permits’ section for further details.


  • A specific work permit requested by the employer before arrival in France for people. This work permit is required to obtain a visa and a residence permit. It is thus necessary in particular for the procedures for the introduction of employees on permanent contracts (excluding the Talent Passport), temporary workers on fixed-term contracts and posted workers excluding intra-group mobility.

These work authorizations must be annexed to the single employee register, which is available to the labor inspection supervisors.


The exercise of a regulated profession also implies the possession of a specific diploma or qualification specific to the profession in question (for example: health professions, lawyers or accountants).


Helpful tip :

As of Tuesday 6 April 2021, applications for work permits will have to be done online via a dedicated portal for :

  • the hiring of a foreign employee currently outside France ;
  • the hiring of a foreign employee currently in France.

Find all the information on the process to follow on our dedicated fact sheet  “Obtaining a work permit”


Work permit validity


Certain residence permits valid as work permits and special work permits allow their bearer to work as an employee:

  • For any employer or for a specific employer only; and/or
  • In one or more set geographical areas.

A work permit issued in an overseas department or region (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion) is valid only in that department. Foreign talents holding such a permit and who wish to move to mainland France to engage in paid employment must obtain a new work permit.

A work permit issued in mainland France does not entitle its bearer to work anywhere else than in mainland France. Foreign talents wishing to work in one of the overseas territories must have their employer request another work permit.

The requirement to seek a new work permit does not apply if the bearer holds :

Holders of a residence permit Passport talent mention “European Blue Card”

During the 1st and 2nd year of validity of such a residence permit, the holder of a “European Blue Card” Talent Passport can only exercise the salaried activity that justified the issuance of the residence permit.

At the end of the 2nd year under cover of this residence permit, its holder may exercise any salaried professional activity in metropolitan France as well as in an Overseas Department or Region.


Highly skilled employees: “Talent Passport – European Union Blue Card”

Exemptions from work permit

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 and customarily for an employer established in an EU or EEA Member State or Switzerland in the context of providing a service, subject to proof of a residence permit issued by the European State authorizing work in this State.
  • for a three months or less period, foreign employees who are nationals of third countries, coming to French territory to exercise a salaried professional activity 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.
Helpful tip :

The post-Brexit transition period expired on December 31, 2020.

The requirement for a British citizen to obtain a work permit in order to work in France will depend on his or her date of arrival in France.

If you resided in France before January 1, 2021 and started a professional activity before this date, you will be able to continue your professional activity without having to apply for a work permit.

If you reside in France from January 1, 2021 and begin your professional activity after this date, you will have to apply for a work permit under the same conditions as any other non-European citizen unless the residence permit applied for includes it.

For more information, do not hesitate to read our dedicated sheet “Fact sheet: British nationals and their family members”


The authorities were able to clarify by publishing information these cases of exemption from work permit and the activity sectors concerned.

In addition, the list of documents to provide, to justify the exemption from work permit appearing in Appendix 1 of the information, must be sent to each foreign employee concerned. These documents have to be provided in the evet of a labor inspection.

Access to the information on the exemptions from work permit