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Working Holiday Visa in France for Canadians

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France is one of the main destinations for which the Working Holiday Visa Programme (WHV) is used. Canadians who want to benefit from a cultural and professional experience in France are increasingly numerous.

Conditions of the French WHV

To be eligible for the WHV in France you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen living Canada when submitting your application;
  • be between 18 and 35 years old;
  • have not yet benefited from the France WHV yet;
  • have a sum of about 2,156 euros (approximately 3,000 Canadian dollars), to cover your needs throughout your stay;
  • if you are partially covered or cannot be covered at all by the welfare system, you must show proof of health insurance which covers your health care and repatriation needs for the duration of your stay in France.

Your stay abroad can last a maximum of 36 months. If your Working Holiday Visa has been granted to you for a period 12 or 24 months, you are allowed to extend it to 36 months, provided that the purpose of your stay is study-related.

Thanks to the Franco-Canadian agreement signed in March 2000, you are permitted to access mainland France, French-European departments, French overseas departments (Guyana, Reunion, Guadeloupe, Mayotte, Martinique) and the French local authority of Saint-Pierre-Et-Miquelon.

 Good to know: 

You are allowed to leave France during your stay as many times as you want to, provided that you return to France after each trip.

How to proceed

Since the latest Franco-Canadian agreement signed in 2015, Canadian citizens are exempted from the obligation to obtain a temporary work permit. However, those who have submitted an application for the WHV before this date must contact the Labour Department – Direction régionale des Entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi (DIRECCTE) – to obtain a temporary work permit.

You must also provide the following documentation:

  • a long stay visa application duly completed and signed
  • a control sheet pertaining to your application
  • your Canadian passport, which must be valid for 6 months after the expiration date of your visa
  • 1 photocopy of the first six pages of your passport
  • evidence of financial resources or proof of funds
  • evidence of health assurance which covers your health care outside the Canadian territory
  • complementary health care and repatriation insurance
  • a “séjour vacances-travail” application form presented in the form of a cover letter
  •   three recent ID photos on a light background, one of which must be attached to your application

You have to submit your application to the Consulate-General of France of your region (i.e. Consulate-General of Toronto, Consulate-General of Montreal or Consulate-General of Vancouver).

The processing time to obtain the WHV varies depending on the consulate to wich you have made your application.

Once you have obtained your French WHV, you have to obtain a Social Security Number (the equivalent of the Social Insurance Number SIN in Canada), unless your prospective employer has already provided you with one.

 Attention:

It is recommended you keep copies of all submitted documentation in a separate file.

 Important:

If you are from Quebec, you must inform La Régie de l'assurance maladie Québec (RAMQ) about your temporary stay outside Quebec. The RAMQ will provide you with a specific document when you receive your Working Holiday Visa.

Stay in France after the end of the WHV 

Young professionals program

After the expiration of your France Working Holiday Visa, you have the possibility to stay in the country for a limited period thanks to the Young professionals program (3A visa). This employer-specific work permit allows young Canadian professionals to work and/or study in their field of activity while deepening their knowledge and experience of French culture and of the country itself.

The conditions to obtain this specific work permit are almost the same as the ones to obtain the France WHV:

  • being a Canadian citizen living in Canada when submitting the application
  • being between  the ages of 18 and 35 years old
  • holding a Canadian passport which must be valid at least 3 months after the expiration date of the WHV

The WHV is valid for a period of 4 to 12 months, and can be extended up to two periods of 12 months, provided that the extension is related to studies or internships.

To be granted this extension, you must show evidence of a diploma or a document that attests to your professional experience less than 12 months prior to your application date, and, if needed, a certificate recognising your professional qualifications.

University exchanges

The visa for University exchanges allows young Canadian students to benefit from an exchange program between French and Canadian universities. This visa is valid forl 4 to 12 months and can be renewed twice.

International Co-operative work placements 

This employer-specific permit allows young Canadians to obtain an internship in France in their field of activity. This visa can also last for 4 to 12 months and can be renewed twice.

 Useful addresses:

Consulate-General of France in Toronto
2 Bloor Street East, suite 2200 (22nd floor)
Toronto, ON, M4W 1A8

Consulate-General of France in Montreal
1501, rue MacGill College, bureau 1000 
Montréal, Québec, H3A 3M8 

Consulate-Generale of France in Vancouver
Suite 1100 (11th floor) - 1130 West Pender street
Vancouver, BC-V6E 4A4

 Useful links:

Embassy of France in Ottawa
Consulate-General of France in Toronto
Consulate-General of France in Montreal in French
Consulate-General of France in Vancouver
Labour Department – Direction régionale des Entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi (DIRECCTE)
Régie de l'assurance maladie Québec (RAMQ)

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