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    This document aims to inform foreign WHV holders going to France with a working holiday visa (WHV) of the different recruitment formalities.

    We recommend that you become familiar with this document before leaving for France and add it to your favourites because you will probably need to consult it frequently once you are in France.

    If some of your questions remain unanswered after reading this document, leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

    The Obligation to Hold a Work Authorization

    Before hiring a foreign worker, the employer has the obligation to verify that this individual has a valid residence permit allowing them to work in France as an employee. If that is not the case, the worker must request a work authorization from the competent authorities.

    France currently delivers working holiday visas to youth from the following region and countries:

    - Argentina
    - Australia
    - Canada
    - Hong Kong (the Special Administrative Region)
    - Japan
    - New Zealand
    - Russia
    - South Korea

    France and Brazil signed a WHV agreement in December 2013 but it has not yet entered into force.

    WHV Holders Still Concerned by the Obligation to Obtain a Temporary Work Authorization

    The WHV holders from the following countries are delivered a long stay visa that allows them to stay in France without having to obtain a residence permit:

    - Australia
    - Canada
    - Japan
    - New Zealand
    - Russia
    However, this visa does not allow them to work. For each job, they must obtain a temporary work authorization (TWA) for the expected duration of the employment.

    WHV Holders Exempted from the Obligation to Obtain a TWA

    WHV holders from the following destinations are delivered a long stay visa that entitles them to work. These individuals are not required to take specific steps before starting to work.

    - Argentina
    - Hong-Kong (the administrative region)
    - South Korea

    Important Note:

    Administratively, there is currently confusion about the nationalities requiring a work authorization. Before starting your job search, and even before arriving in France if that is an essential point for you, contact the office of the Direction Régionale des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi (DIRECCTE) serving your area of residence to confirm if you still need a work authorization.

    The Steps to Obtain a Temporary Work Authorization (TWA)

    This part only concerns nationals from Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Russia on a WHV in France.

    Required Documents

    Generally, you will have to provide the original and a copy of the following documents:

    - the form to request a TWA
    - your work contrat in the prescribed form (the contrat must be for a fixed-term and include the end date of your employment. This date cannot go beyond the validity period of your working holiday visa. That being said, some WHV holders were able to obtain a TWA with a contract of indeterminate duration referred to as “ contrat à durée indéterminée (CDI)”.)
    - the identification page in your passport (the one with your photo ID and your personal information)
    - the working holiday visa affixed in your passport
    - a pre-addressed envelope with a stamp (sometimes, a second letter is requested so a copy can be sent to your employer)
    - identification photographs (originals only)

    The required documents to apply for a TWA can vary depending on the department. Therefore, it’s important to contact the office of the DIRECCTE serving your area of residence to confirm the necessary documents and the number of copies to provide before submitting your application.

    Where to Submit Your Request for a TWA?

    The application must be submitted in person to the office of the DIRECCTE serving your area of residence. In some offices, you can also avoid the line up by going through the counter for individuals with a student permit referred to as “permis de séjour étudiant” (even though the WHV isn’t one). The unit of the DIRECCTE you must see is the foreign labour service referred to as “Service de la Main d’Oeuvre Étrangère (SMOE)”.


    There are no fees to obtain a temporary work authorization.

    Processing of the Request

    Some offices of the DIRECCTE send the TWA by mail while others process applications on site.

    Once your application has been reviewed, the DIRECCTE will hand you directly or send you by mail a copy of the form stamped by the French authorities. This form is your TWA and it will grant you the right to start working for your employer for the expected period of employment.

    Each time you will find new employment, you will have to apply for another TWA.

    Employment With a Temporary Placement Agency

    You can do short temporary asignments for a temporary placement agency. The agency will provide a work contract that will allow you to apply for a TWA.

    Pre-Employment Declaration (PED)

    This part concerns all employers who wish to hire foreign WHV holders in France.

    The employer must transmit a pre-employment declaration (PED) referred to as “declaration préalable d’embauche (DPAE)” (formerly referred to as “declaration unique d’embauche” i.e. one-time employment declaration), regardless of the type of contract.

    This declaration must be done at the earliest eight days before hiring or before the trial period of the WHV holder and at the latest the minute preceding the beginning of work.

    The PED also allows the employer to request the WHV holder’s registration with the French social security system if it is their first job in France so he or she can then ask for a social security number.

    How to Submit a PED

    There are two ways to submit a PED: by mail or online.


    Employers can submit the request online through one of the following websites:

    - URSSAF (directly through URSSAF or through Net-entreprise.fr) for a non-agricultural sector employee
    - the Mutualité social agricole for an agricultural sector employee

    The employer will immediately receive a reply acknowledging reception of the PED of which he will have to hand you a copy for your files.

    By Mail

    Employers who do not have access to the Internet can download the request form for the PED, fill it out and submit it by registered mail with a receipt acknowledging reception to the URSSAF or the Mutualité sociale agricole to which they report to. The receiving organization will then send the employer a document confirming the reception of the PED and the information recorded.

    In this case as well, the employer must hand you a copy of the PED or a copy of the receipt acknowledging reception for your files.

    Unforeseen Circumstances

    If, for any reason, you will not start working on the expected date, the employer must cancel the PED in the same way it was submitted.

    Useful Links:

    - Procédure d'embauche sur le site de ServicePublic.fr (general information on the recruitment process)
    - Effectuer la déclaration préalable à l’embauche sur net-entreprises.fr (submitting a pre-employment declaration)
    - La déclaration préalable à l’embauche à l’URSSAF (pre-employment declaration with the URSSAF)
    - La déclaration préalable à l’embauche à la MSA (pre-employment declaration with the MSA)

    Employment Declaration to the Prefecture for a Foreign Worker

    Under the French labour code, the employer has the obligation to verify with the prefecture the existence and validity of the TWA, or for foreign nationals who do not require a TWA, the validity of the long stay visa for employment purposes. This process therefore concerns all WHV holders in France.

    Where to Submit the Employment Declaration

    In the two business days before the date of hiring, the employer must send the prefecture of the department in which the workplace is located (or in Paris, the police prefecture referred to as “Préfecture de police de Paris”) a letter dated, signed and sent by registered mail with a request for a receipt of acknowledgement on reception or an email, accompanied by a copy of your working holiday visa and your TWA, if it applies, and information on you and the employer.

    Other documents may be required depending on the department. In case of doubt, the employer should consult the website of the prefecture of which his business depends for detailed information.

    Processing of the Request and Processing Times

    The prefect will inform the employer of his response within two business days by email, mail or fax. Unless otherwise stated, the employer is considered to have fulfilled his obligation after this two-day period has passed.

    Useful Links:

    - Liste des préfectures (the list of prefectures)
    - Code du travail - section 6 : contrôle des autorisations de travail (Labour Code - section 6 : checking process for work authorizations)

    Steps to Obtain a Social Security Number

    The social security number is a code that allows, amongst other things, employers to identify the employees for whom they are paying employer contributions so that these employees can get coverage in case of sickness or an accident.

    It is a unique and personal number composed of 15 digits.

    The number is composed, in that order, of the following information:

    - the individual’s gender (1 for a men and 2 for a women)
    - the last two digits of the year of birth
    - the two digits of the month of birth (from 01 to 12)
    - the number 99 is assigned to individuals born abroad. Otherwise, it’s the department of birth.
    - the three digits of the country’s INSEE code (Argentina: 415; Australia: 501; Canada: 401; South Korea: 239; Hong-Kong: 230; Japan: 217; New Zealand: 502)
    - the following three digits are an order number assigned by the INSEE
    - two digits that correspond to a control key determined by an algorithm using the preceding digits

    The Social Security Number for Foreign WHV Holders in France

    WHV holders carrying out paid work in France must obtain a social security number.

    This number grants you the right to work but it does not entitle you to French health insurance benefits. If you remember, a requirement to obtain the working holiday visa is to subscribe to a complementary health insurance that covers hospitalization, medical evacuation and medical fees.

    Useful Links:

    - La définition et la composition du numéro de sécurité sociale (the definition and composition of the social security number)
    - L'attribution et l'utilisation du numéro de sécurité sociale (the assignment and use of the social security number)
    - La page Immatriculation à la Sécurité sociale : premier emploi de ServicePublic.fr (registering with the French social security system)

    Requesting a Social Security Number

    Part 1 - The Employer

    For individuals born abroad and for whom it is the first time working in France, it is the employer that starts the process for the assignment of a social security number when they fill out the pre-employment declaration (PED).


    Some employers can be reluctant to the idea of hiring WHV holders because they don’t have a social security number. Not having a social security number is not a valid reason to refuse to hire a candidate and it is important to specify that it is not illegal. The employer can simply ask for one by submitting a pre-employment declaration.

    Part 2 - The WHV Holder

    When you receive your first pay slip proving you have worked at least 60 hours you can ask for a social security number. You must submit the original and a copy of the following documents:

    - your employment contract
    - your first pay slip (you need to have cumulated at least 60 hours)
    - a bank account identification (referred to as “relevé d’identité bancaire (RIB)”) to your name and delivered by your bank
    - the identification page in your passport (the one with your photo ID and your personal information)
    - the working holiday visa affixed in your passport
    - your birth certificate legalized and dated less than three months
    - an official translation of your birth certificate in French, if your birth certificate is written in another language

    Additional documents may be required. Contact the office where you will submit your request before submitting your application.

    Where to Submit Your Request for a Social Security Number

    You must submit your request to the office of one of the following organizations serving the area of your workplace:

    - the Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie (CPAM) (non-agricultural sector employees)
    - the Mutualité sociale agricole (agricultural sector employees)


    There are no fees to request a social security number.

    Processing of the Request and Processing Times

    Once your file has been submitted, you will receive a certificate of registration with your temporary social security number. This number generally starts with the number 3, 7 or 8. This number must not be provided to your employer; it is only intended to be used so you can follow up with your request.

    After reviewing your file, if your request is accepted, you will be assigned a definitive social security number within two to three months. Delays due to missing documents for example, can further delay the reception of your social security number. You should therefore ensure that you have all necessary documents from the start.

    Once you have obtained your social security number, you will no longer need to request a new one each time you get hired. Your French social security number will remain valid your entire life.

    Special Cases

    You will have to request a social security number for yourself from one of the organization mentioned previously in the following circumstances:

    - your employer did not request your registration with the social security system
    - you are working for multiple employers
    - you occasionally or intermittently work for the same employer
    - you work for an employer whose business does not have an establishment in France

    A Few Tips to Avoid Complications

    Here are some tips to consider:

    The odds are very high that most employees in the French administration will not know about the WHV. You may therefore receive different instructions depending on the person you are speaking with. Your dealings will often require a lot of perseverance!

    Contact the office of the organization receiving your application or your request to confirm the list of required documents, accepted submission methods and processing times.

    Create a personal file for each request or application you will submit and keep it in a safe place.

    Be ordered and meticulous in how you prepare your file.

    Before submitting your request or application, ensure that you have all the required documents; forgetting something could easily delay the process and make you lose time.

    Ensure you have readable and integral copies of your original documents. Don’t forget to make a copy of the back of these documents when it applies.

    Favour the use of email or mail with an acknowledgment receipt in your interactions with French authorities when it is possible, and keep copies of all your communications.

    You can bring more documents than what is required if that makes you comfortable but you should only provide them when requested to do so.

    Finally, remember that for a lot of French nationals, French administration can also be somewhat of a mystery sometimes!

  2. #2
    Avatar de ClaraMaude
    Noemie 32 ans

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    do you have these informations in French? thank you

  3. #3
    Avatar de murielj

    Montréal, QC, Canada
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    Message de ClaraMaude
    do you have these informations in French? thank you
    Elles sont avant tout disponibles en français
    Formalités pour l'embauche en France (pour les étrangers en PVT) - pvtistes.net
    Tu as posté dans la discussion qui traduit en anglais le dossier initial