When traveling to France, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require a work permit. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.
What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?
As a business visitor to France, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:
Nationals of the European Union, the United States and many other select countries are eligible for a visa waiver and are not required to obtain a visa in order to enter and conduct business activities in France.
France is a member of the Schengen Area, a free-travel zone comprised of 27 European countries. If your nationality is not eligible for a visa waiver in the Schengen Area, you will be required to obtain a Schengen C Visa prior to travel. Visa-waivered nationals, as well as those who are required to obtain a visa, are authorized to travel to France and throughout the Schengen Area. Please note that travelers may not spend more than 90 days within any 180-day period inside the Schengen Area.
The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under French law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in France, even if conducted for a short duration.
In limited circumstances, foreign nationals may engage in certain professional activities without obtaining work authorization while on assignment, although strict preconditions must be met. An individual assessment is required before deciding whether an assignment exemption is applicable.
The requirements for a work permit depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in France. The most common French work permits are:
Nationals from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland are not required to obtain a work permit in order to work in France. However, registrations or other formalities may be required prior to working or residing in France.
Additional work permit exemptions for short-term and long-term assignments are available in France, such as under Vander Elst rules and Employee of EU Service Provider. In this case, a legal assessment to determine the possibilities for a work permit exemption should be obtained prior to traveling.
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which governs post-Brexit relations between the EU and the U.K., has altered immigration regulations in the affected countries. Please be sure to contact your immigration representative for full details regarding the TCA’s impact in France.
Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.