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French Working Visas Explained

26 Feb 2021

Following the changes in legislation brought about by Brexit, an increasing number of employers advertising seasonal jobs in the French Alps are requiring applicants to have either a valid EU passport or a French working visa. This article provides further information on the different types of working visas available to non-EU nationals who are looking to work a ski or summer season in France.


UK citizens working in France for up to 90 days will not require a visa. They will need to obtain a temporary work permit unless travelling for a reason that is specifically exempted, e.g. a sporting, cultural or scientific event, seminar or trade show. A seasonal job in a resort is not exempt from this work permit requirement.

UK citizens working for more than 90 days in France will require a Long Stay Visa and a temporary work permit.

Long Stay Visas are required for any stay in France exceeding 90 days. Whatever the duration of your planned stay, the duration of your long-stay visa must be between three months and one year. In order to extend your stay beyond the period of validity of your visa, you must apply for a residence permit at a prefecture.
During its period of validity, the long-stay visa is equivalent to a Schengen visa, enabling you to move around and stay in the Schengen Area outside France for periods not exceeding 90 days over any period of 180 consecutive days, under the same conditions as if you held a Schengen visa.

Work permits are also required to support your application for a long stay visa. Documentation will be requested at the time of your visa application.

Seasonal workers from outside the EU can apply for a long stay visa if they are hired as a “travailleur saisonnier” (seasonal worker) i.e. a job linked to seasonal requirements such as tourism and agriculture. As a foreign employee, you are not permitted to work in France for more than six months in any twelve-month rolling year. You can have several employers; however, they will all have to request authorisation for you to work using form called a "Demande D'Autorisation De Travail Pour Conclure Un Contrat De Travail Avec Un Salarie Etranger Resident Hors De France" (Ref.15187*02).

As a seasonal worker, you will be issued a multi-year residence permit bearing the statement “travailleur saisonnier” (seasonal worker). In the two months following your arrival in France, you will be required to visit your local police station to request a multi-year residence permit bearing the statement “travailleur saisonnier”.

For the following seasonal contracts, your employer must re-apply for a work permit. During the validity period of your multi-year residence permit, you will not need a visa to enter France and take up a new seasonal job but your new employer(s) must obtain a work permit for you which you will have to show at the border.

Non-EU citizens from certain countries may also be eligible for a Young Traveller Working Holiday Visa. This is a scheme designed for young travellers aged 18-30 who want to work in France for more than 90 days. This is a long stay visa containing the statement: “vacances travail” (working holiday). Its duration is one year and may not be extended, unless otherwise stipulated. It will entitle you to undertake paid employment on a secondary basis, without prior approval from the French Administration.

Currently there are 15 countries who have access to this programme:

  • Australia
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • Russia
  • Taiwan
  • Uruguay

UK citizens are not currently able to take part in this programme but this situation may change in the future if the UK enters into a bi-lateral agreement with France.

To apply for a French Visa there are 3 dedicated visa application centres located in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. These centres are operated by TLScontact, who have been appointed to process applications before they are submitted to the French Consulate general in London for a final decision. Applications can be made up to 180 days prior to your planned date of travel and applicants are advised to allow at least 20 working days for processing. Once visa applications are transferred to the Consulate in London, they are generally processed within 2 to 15 working days.

Read more at France Visas - the official visa website for France


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