You’ve started a new life, you’ve made new friends, or maybe you’re only halfway through your France bucket list. Simply put, your first year in France on a Working Holiday Visa is coming to an end but you aren’t quite ready to leave. If you are Canadian, the good news is that you can extend your working holiday by another 12 months through an autorisation provisoire de séjour (APS) on French soil!

Alternatively, you also have the option of applying for an extension from Canada at a VFS Global centre. You would simply follow the same steps as your initial application, and it does not have to be done before the expiry of your first WHV; there can be a break.

At the time of writing, extension or renewal is not possible for nationals of other countries. To confirm the latest rules, check out our article Introduction to the Working Holiday Visa (WHV) to France, which contains links to the sites of the French embassy in various countries.

What is an autorisation provisoire de séjour (APS)?

Translated literally, autorisation provisoire de séjour means temporary residence authorisation. Since the French administration uses very specific terms for its various permits, we will continue referring to it as the APS. Avoid using any unofficial English translations when communicating with administration as it may cause confusion about the exact permit at hand.

The APS is a document that allows a foreign national to temporarily stay on French soil. Like the Working Holiday Visa, the APS authorizes holders to stay for a set period while also granting open work authorization. It is a separate document, not a sticker in your passport.


How do I apply?

Your application must be addressed to the local préfecture of your département (i.e. the administrative centre of the French department where you reside). Each préfecture may function slightly differently. Some are by in-person appointment only, while others ask for the application to be mailed. Unfortunately there is no single standard procedure; contact your préfecture to understand what they require.

If you are asked to mail your application, you can do so by going to the Poste. There you will need to buy a green envelope and send it en recommendé, which means with a tracking number and requiring the recipient’s signature. This way you can be certain of your applications secure delivery.

When to submit my application?

You should submit your application 2 months before the end of your Working Holiday Visa. Préfectures normally process applications in the order received. It is therefore important to receive your APS before the expiry of your WHV.

Préfecture contact information:

prefecture 1
prefecture 2

What documents do I need?

Make sure you have access to a printer, as the APS application dossier consists of many papers. You will need to include the following and anything else that your préfecture might ask for. Do not forget anything, otherwise the préfecture might send your file back.

  • Photo ID: main passport page
  • Residence permit: your Working Holiday Visa page
  • Proof of residence dating from no longer than 6 months ago (e.g. utility bills or statement of rental insurance)
  • Proof of funds equivalent to €2500 (e.g., bank statement, work contract, pay slips)
  • Proof of private health insurance
  • 3 recent ID photographs

If you don’t have a printer at home, you can go to Corep. They have 50 locations in France, including Paris, Lille, Bordeaux, Marseille, and more. Alternatively, some local public libraries may allow members to print for free. For the ID photos, you can find any photo booth. They are dotted around all major cities, including in train stations and malls.

A note about health insurance

As mentioned above, you should try to submit your APS application 2 months before the end of your WHV, and as a part of the application, you need to include proof that your health insurance will cover you for the second year. However, some insurance providers may not allow subscribers to extend their plan until one month before the end of the first coverage. As a result, you might not have proof of second year coverage in time for your APS application. In this case, you should include some sort of proof or explanation in your application that you are not yet able to extend your insurance but will do so as soon as it is possible. Then, follow whatever instructions the préfecture gives for you to provide the insurance later. That might be by email, mail, or in-person appointment.

Is the APS application free?

Yes, there is no application fee. The only expenses that you may incur are for the ID photos, printing your documents, and mailing them to the prefecture (if applicable).

If you encounter urgent problems

The préfecture should be your first and main point of contact for the APS application. But if for whatever reason they are unresponsive or unable to advise on your status as a WHV holder and you are within two months of your visa end date, you can try to contact the Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories. Explain your situation and urgency, and provide standard personal identifiers including date of birth, passport number, and visa number. It is advisable to send your message in French, as that may facilite a timely response.


In February 2023 I moved from Vancouver to Paris. Adventures await.
En février 2023 j’ai déménagé de Vancouver à Paris. Des aventures m’attendent.

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