If you’re from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you are free to get a TEFL job in France without a work permit (with the exception of Croatian nationals) If you’re coming to France with a family member who has a permit for certain types of highly skilled work, you may also be able to teach English without a work permit.
Here is a listing of the current EU countries. Citizens of those countries do not require a work permit to teach English in France. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK (which will change very soon).
The EEA (European Economic Area) includes EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market. Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market; this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in a TEFL job in France as other EEA nationals.
Croatian nationals don’t need a visa to visit France but do need prior work authorization and a residence permit indicating “EC – all professional activities.” After five years of legal residence in France, they no longer need to apply for a work permit, and the residence card will state ‘EU – permanent residence – all professional activities.” If you are a Croatian with a Master’s degree (or equivalent), then you don’t need a work permit.
Most other individuals require a work permit to teach English in France, and they have to have this authorization before a visa/residence permit can be issued. This is something organized by a prospective employer, your school. So first of all, you have to find an English-teaching position.
French law says that if you’re going to teach English in France for less than 90 days, you need your school to get you a temporary work permit approved by the French Ministry of Labor, the DIRECCTE (Direction regionale des enterprises, de la concurrence et de la consummation, du travail et de l’emploi). This authorization to work is then sent to the French embassy/consulate in your home country where you can apply for your visa.
You’ll need a short-stay work visa to teach English in France for less than 90 days, unless you’re from the EU/EEA/Switzerland. If you’re from Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, St Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Singapore, S. Korea, US or Venezuela, you don’t need a visa to enter France but you need to make sure that your employer has organized a valid work permit for you at the time of departure. To be sure of the latest rules, check with the French consulate in your home country.
If you’re planning on teaching English more than 90 days/3 months, you have to apply for a long-stay visa, which also acts as your residence permit. Your prospective school has to set up a work contract and send it to the local division of the French Ministry of Labor. If any family members will be coming with you, then the employer will need to start the “accompanying family member” procedure at the same time. If the French Ministry of Labor approves the contract, it is sent to the Office Francais de l’Immigration et de l’Integration (OFII).
After approval by the OFII, the work contract is forwarded directly to the French embassy or consulate in your home country responsible for issuing your visa. You (and any relatives coming with you) will then be invited to isit the embassy/consulate in person to apply for a long-stay visa. Upon arrival in France, you have to register with the L’Office Francais de l’Immigration et de I’Integration (OFII).
Holiday Working Visa
This is a one-year permit to work in France for Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders. The individual has to be between 18 and 30 years old in order to become eligible. The consulate is going to provide further details.
Professional Development Visa
It is a 1 ½ year work permit issued to Americans between 18 and 35 after completing the 120-Hour TEFL Certification in France. Graduates identify a school that gives them a contract for a year or the entire time. This is a paid assignment. The school is required to pay at least the minimum salary in France. Of course, it’s up to the school to pay you more. The school doesn’t have to apply for a work visa. The work visa is issued by the French consulate upon application by the Chamber of Commerce. French schools may really appreciate this process.
Students can take on paid work during their course. You can study French at a government-approved school. They’ll give you a student visa. During your time as a student, you are legally allowed to work. A graduate from the Paris TEFL school registered for a French-language program in Paris a month ago. She obtained a student visa for one year.
For more information:
DIRECCTE – French-language website of the French Labor Ministry Directions régionales des entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi. Go the main website, and you can be redirected to the French region you need.
OFII -– this is the English-language website for the L'office Francais de l'immigration et de l'intégration, the French agency in charge of migration. There are offices all over France; look on the website for contact details of your nearest one.
France Diplomatie – English-language website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information on visas and migration to France.