Advice for Australians applying for the French working holiday visa

Updated 2022-10-02 13:10

A true love affair has developed between Australians and France. The reasons for this are numerous but often include the star-studded gastronomy, the country's rich history, the unique architecture, the mythical monuments (do we really need to mention the Eiffel Tower?), the diverse French culture and, of course, the romantic atmosphere. But did you know that it is possible to go to France on an extended holiday (which would allow you to immerse yourself in the local life) while taking a small job to earn your living during your stay? Yes, the WHV in France is available for Australians!

An increasing number of young Australian nationals are traveling to France every year to gain a different work experience while discovering the French lifestyle. Procedures have been simplified thanks to the French Working Holiday Program (WHV), which was signed in November 2003 and enacted in February 2004.

If you are an Australian national attracted by the prospect of such an experience, read on to learn more about eligibility and conditions.


Please note that all information in this article applies to Australian citizens only.

How to be eligible for the Working Holiday Visa in France as an Australian national?

If you want to benefit from the WHV in France, below is the list of requirements to be met:

1. Your nationality and passport

To benefit from the WHV agreement between France and Australia, you must have a valid Australian passport. You must be an Australian citizen and resident in Australia at the time of application. The passport must also be valid for 12 months after your arrival in France. The passport must also have a minimum of two blank pages so that the authorities can put your visa in it and stamp it on arrival and departure from France.

Be very careful not to lose your passport once the WHV visa is affixed to it — the long list of things you would have to do to reapply for it after in case of loss may put you off!

2. Your age

To benefit from the working holiday permit in France, you must be aged between 18 and 35! This means that you can apply until you are 36.

3. Having sufficient funds

As with any other WHV in any other country, you must have some savings set aside to cover all your needs when you arrive in France. French authorities will ask you to provide proof of financial means to live in France (at least for the beginning of your stay) at the time of your application — for example, a bank statement from the last 3 months.

For Australians, a minimum of AUD $5,000 is required on their bank account - which is approximately €3,200or USD $3,600.

4. Having a health insurance policy

Each participant will need to take out a health insurance policy before arriving in France. Proof of insurance must be submitted with the WHV application. The insurance policy must include cover for all risks related to hospitalization, illness, disability, maternity, and repatriation.

This requirement must not be neglected, or else you might not be accepted. Also, you would not want to be left with a hefty bill to pay out of your own pocket during your stay, should an unforeseen medical event occur!

5. The number of times you have participated in the program

Have you participated in the WHV in France before? If the answer is yes, unfortunately, your second application will not be accepted. According to the agreement between France and Australia, only one participation per candidate is accepted. However, if you have participated in the WHV in another country, such as Japan, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, or another, that should not be a problem.

6. Purchasing the airline tickets

In addition to the proof of savings mentioned above, you will need to be able to afford a return air ticket. If you do not purchase a return ticket, you will need to make an affidavit promising that you will leave France before your visa expires.

7. The quota per year

As you probably already know, when two countries enter a work permit agreement, a quota of participants per year is decided to control the number of people entering the country on that particular visa. This quota is usually updated on January 1st every year. However, no quota has been specified for the agreement with Australia — which means that you don't have to worry about getting a place.

8. The validity period

Once you have received your visa, you will have a 12-month countdown to travel to France. Once you arrive, your WHV will be valid for 12 months and will not be renewable. However, it will give you access to the whole country and allow you to leave and come back as many times as you wish as long as the visa remains valid.

9. No accompanying persons

To be eligible for the Working Holiday Visa in France, you must not be accompanied by any dependents. If you decide to go to France with your spouse, they will have to make a separate request that will be processed independently — they also have to meet all the conditions mentioned above.

What are the procedures for obtaining your WHV in France?

You are entitled to submit your application to any French Consulate, but it is recommended that you contact the Consulate General in Sydney. If you are from the Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth areas, you may need to contact the Greek Consulate General in these cities.

You must provide the following documents:

  • a completed and signed long-stay visa application;
  • an Australian passport valid for three months after the visa expiry date;
  • two recent passport size photographs (ICAO standard);
  • Proof of financial resources or proof of available funds (bank statement for the last 3 months);
  • one year's health insurance covering you from the date of your arrival in France;
  • an extract from the criminal record not older than three months;
  • proof of a return ticket to your country of residence; and
  • an application fee of 99 euros (about $A144), which must be paid by credit card.

Good to know:

Although it can take up to 2 weeks to process your WHV application, it is possible to apply for a working holiday visa between 3 months and 15 days before your expected arrival date in France.


Australian nationals must obtain a work permit when applying for a job in France.

Where to submit your France WHV application?

Since January 2021, all WHV applications for Australians in France need to be submitted through VFS Global. Although the French Consulate will still be responsible for processing the visa applications, you will need to visit a VFS Global office to submit the required documents and for them to collect your biometric data.

To begin, you will need to start your application through the France-Visas website. Once you have submitted your application, you can call a VFS Global visa application center to make an appointment to provide biometric data (fingerprints and photo taken) and to pay the applicable fees. VFS Global offices can be found in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Useful addresses:

Consulate General of France in Sydney:

Level 26 - St Martins Tower

31 Market street

Sydney NSW 2 000


Consulate General of France in Melbourne:

37-39 Albert Road

Melbourne VIC 3 004


Consulate General of France in Adelaide:

Level 1 300 Flinders Street

Adelaide SA 5 000


Consulate General of France in Perth:

Level 7, 16 St Georges Terrace

Perth, WA, 6,000


Good to know:

After your arrival in the Republic of France, you will need to validate your long stay visa within 3 months (ideally immediately).

Things to consider before moving to France on a WHV

1. The cost of living in France

Having an idea of the cost of living is important before you travel to France. Here is a table that will give you an idea of the cost of living in France - (source Numbeo; as of July 2022):


Currency : Australian dollars (AUD)



1-bedroom flat (in the city center)

1 179,45

1-bedroom flat (outside the city center)


3-bedroom flat (city center)

2 453,54

3-bedroom flat (outside the city center)

1 716,45



Water, electricity, air conditioning, heating, waste collection for an 85m² apartment


Internet (60 Mbps or more, ADSL/cable, unlimited data)




1 ticket (one way) for local transport


Monthly pass for local transport




Rice (1 kg)


Milk (1 L)


12 eggs (normal size)


Bread (500 g)


Chicken (1 kg)


Red meat (1 kg)


Oranges (1 kg)


Bananas (1 kg)


Apples (1 kg)


Potatoes (1 kg)


Onions (1 kg)


Water (1.5 L)


Wine (mid-range bottle)


Local beer (0.5 L)


Imported beer (0.33 L)


Cigarettes (pack of 20)




Movie theatre - 1 seat


Sports club - monthly cost for 1 person


2. Looking for work in France

The job search in France is an important step. It is recommended that you start by updating your CV and then going to search engines and specifying where you intend to live during your stay (at least where you would like to work). However, here is a list of websites that we recommend you consult when searching:

  • Adecco
  • France-emploi
  • Monster
  • Pôle Emploi
  • Indeed France
  • Neuvoo France
  • Jooble France

Practical idea: consider giving English language lessons!

3. Looking for accommodation in France

Arriving in France with accommodation already arranged is recommended. This will give you peace of mind when you get off the plane, as you will already have a place to rest and feel safe. Here is a list of websites we recommend for your search:

  • Immobilier France
  • Se loger
  • PaP
  • Super Immo
  • Paru Vendu
  • Fnaim
  • Logic Immo
  • Bien Ici

For those looking for a temporary option, check out or Airbnb! Hostel options are also available across France.

4. Packing - clothes and equipment required in France

The clothing and equipment you wear will obviously depend on the season you are visiting France and the region you are planning to stay in.

For the summer, you are advised to wear breathable cotton clothes – t-shirts, summer dresses, skirts, shorts, trousers, etc. Choose clothes that don't need ironing and neutral colors that you can easily mix and match. Think of walking shoes, sunglasses and sun hats.

For winter, think jumpers and tops. Get out the cable knit jumpers, cardigans and fleece tops and your boots! Don't neglect hats, gloves, scarves, winter coats and hand warmers that will definitely help you stay warm!

5. Learning some basic French

The official language of France is, of course, French! Therefore, you are advised to take some courses before starting your WHV in France. Several online learning platforms such as Italki, Preply or Verbling will help you find coaches who will help you at affordable rates.

Think also about the applications that could allow you to learn French in a fun way:

  • Duolingo
  • Babbel
  • Busuu
  • Mondly
  • HelloTalk
  • Mindsnacks
  • AnkiApp
  • Memrise
  • LinguaLift

Don't forget that it is also possible to get yourself a French teacher once you will be in France! This will allow you to get to know the culture better on the spot while also making new friends.

Useful link:

Consulate General of France in Sydney

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.