France is one of the main destinations of the Working Holiday Visa Programme (WHV). Canadians who want to benefit from a first cultural and professional experience in France are more and more numerous.
To be eligible for the France WHV you must:
- be a Canadian citizen and live in Canada when submitting your application
- be between 18 and 35 years old
- not having benefited from the France WHV yet
- have a sum of about 2,156 euros that is at least some 3,000 Canadian dollars, in order to cater for 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 during the whole stay in France.
Your stay abroad can last until a maximum of 36 months. If your Working Holiday Visa has been granted to you for 12 or 24 months, you are allowed to extend it to 36 months provided that the extended period deals with studies.
Thanks to the Franco-Canadian agreement signed in March 2000, you are allowed to access to mainland France, to French European departments, to French overseas departments (Guyana, Reunion, Guadeloupe, Mayotte, Martinique) and to 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 come back 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, for those who have submitted an application for the WHV before this date, you 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 provide a list of important documentation: Long stay Visa application duly completed and signed, a sheet of control, your Canadian passport which must be valid until 6 months after the expiry date of your visa 1 photocopy of the 6 first pages, evidence of financial resources or proof of funds, evidence of health assurance which covers your health care outside the Canadian territory, a complementary health care and repatriation insurance, an application form “séjour vacances-travail” written like a cover letter, 3 recent ID photos on a light background among which one has to be sticked on the application form.
You must duplicate your application file (one file containing the photocopies of all the required documents).
You have to submit your application to the Consulate-General of France of your region (Consulate-General of Toronto, Consulate-General of Montreal or Consulate-General of Vancouver).
The processing time to obtain the WHV varies depending on Consulates.
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 a specific document when you will receive your Working Holiday Visa.
Once you have obtained your France WHV, you have to obtain a Social Security Number (the equivalent of the Social Insurance Number SIN in Canada) if your employer has not done it yet.
Stay in France after the end of the WHV
Young professionals program
After the end of the validity of your France Working Holiday Visa, you have the possibility to stay in the country for another limited period thanks to the Young professionals program (3A visa). This employer-specific work permit allows young Canadian professionals to work in their field of activity and study while widening their knowledges for French culture. The conditions to obtain this specific work permit are almost the same as the ones to obtain the France WHV: being a Canadian citizen and live in Canada when submitting the application, being between 18 to 35 years old, and holding a Canadian passport which must be valid at least 3 months after the expiry date of the WHV.
The stay can last until 4 to 12 months, and can be extended to two periods of 12 months provided that the WHV period has been extended for studies or internships.
To obtain this permit, you must show evidence of a diploma or a document that attests of your professional experience less than 12 months prior to your application and if needed, a certificate of professional qualifications recognition.
The visa for University exchanges allows young Canadian students to enjoy University exchanges in France. This visa can last until 4 to 12 months and can be renewed twice.
International Co-operative work placements
This employer-specific permit allows young Canadians to make internship in France in order to work in their field of activity or study abroad. This visa can last until 4 to 12 months and can be renewed twice.
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
Embassy of France in Ottawa www.ambafrance-ca.org
Consulate-General of France in Toronto www.consulfrance-toronto.org
Consulate-General of France in Montreal in French www.consulfrance-montreal.org
Consulate-General of France in Vancouver www.consulfrance-vancouver.org
Labour Department – Direction régionale des Entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi (DIRECCTE) www.direccte.gouv.fr
Régie de l'assurance maladie Québec (RAMQ) www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca