France’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

France’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians
Paris, France. Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash.

If you’re an Australian aged between 18 and 35 years old, you could be eligible for a French working holiday visa! This allows you to live in France for up to a year, and undertake secondary employment to help fund your holiday. Studying that is “incidental to the holiday” (such as taking some language courses) is also permitted.

This page contains information about the French working holiday (young traveller) visa for Australian citizens. It was last updated on 29 June 2022.

Travel to France is possible at this time, but some COVID-19 entry requirements may be in place. See the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs website for information about travel & entry requirements for France.

Key facts about France

  • Population: Approx. 67 million
  • Official language: French (“français” in French)
  • Capital city: Paris
  • Largest cities: Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice
  • Currency: Euro
galeries lafayette building
Paris, France. Photo by Margerretta on Pexels.com.

France Working Holiday Visa requirements

France offers Working Holiday visas to citizens of Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Taiwan & Uruguay. See the France Visas website for more information.

This information is only applicable to Australian citizens. Please note that while the maximum age to apply for this visa is 35 for Australians, Argentinians & Canadians, the maximum age for other nationalities is 30.

To apply for a France working holiday visa as an Australian citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Aged between 18-35 years old (inclusive) at the time of application
  • Have a return plane ticket from your country of residence to France (or an affidavit promising you will leave France before your visa expires)
  • Have enough funds to support yourself during the initial period of your stay (as a rough guide, you should have at least AUD5,000 in savings)

You cannot apply for this visa if you:

  • Are accompanied by dependent children
  • Have already held a French working holiday visa

The official France Visas website contains limited information about this visa. But this PDF document from the French embassy in Australia contains some more information about the French working holiday visa agreement with Australia that may also be useful, including the prerequisites and rights that come with the visa.

The Consulate General of Sydney does have a visa section, but there is no hotline and they specifically state that they do not provide information about visa procedures, required documents, visa appointments or processing times.

Documents needed to apply for this visa

When applying for a Working Holiday Visa for France as an Australian citizen, the France Visas website says will need to provide the following documents:

  • Long stay visa application form
  • A valid passport with at least two blank pages and that will be valid for at least 3 months after the end of your intended stay in France (you need to scan all passport pages which are not blank)
  • Two recent passport-sized photographs (ICAO standard)
  • Proof of a return flight booking to/from France, or an affidavit confirming that you will leave France before your visa expires
  • Adequate travel/health insurance covering (at a minimum) medical, hospital and repatriation costs for the entire stay in France
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during the initial period of stay in France (e.g. a bank statement showing the past 3 months)
  • Proof of initial accommodation (e.g. a hostel booking/offer of free accommodation for when you arrive in France)

Please note that this information is subject to change. When you start your visa application, a full list of up-to-date document requirements will be provided to you. If you have recently applied for this visa and the required documents were different to those on this list, please let us know in the comments below!

The French working holiday visa is classified as a long-stay visa, which has a fee of €99 (approx. AUD150). There may also be fees payable to VFS Global (approx. €40-75, or AUD60-115).

How to apply for a French Working Holiday Visa in Australia

You can no longer apply for this visa directly to the French consulate in Sydney. If you’re an Australian resident, you’ll need to visit a VFS Global office.

You can apply for a Working Holiday Visa between 3 months and 15 days before your intended arrival date in France.

Since January 2021, French visa applications in Australia must be submitted to VFS Global. You’ll need to visit a VFS Global office to provide the required documentation and provide biometrics, but the French consulate is still responsible for processing visas.

You’ll need to start your visa application on the France-Visas website. Once you’ve submitted the application form, you can make an appointment to attend a VFS Global visa application centre to provide biometrics (fingerprints & photo taken) and pay the applicable fees. VFS Global offices are available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

If you’re having trouble finding an appointment on the VFS Global website, keep checking regularly as new appointments are released. You could also try clearing your cache or using an incognito window in Google Chrome to access the appointments page.

Once your visa is processed, you can return to the VFS Global office to collect your passport. Or if you provided a prepaid envelope/paid an additional fee, it will be mailed to you.

Visit the VFS Global website for more information.

We recommend that you begin your visa application and make an appointment well in advance. According to the French consulate, the average visa processing time is 15 days (but it could take longer in some cases).

Applying outside of Australia

According to the France-Visas website:

Australian, Canadian and Colombian nationals may file their visa application with the visa centre of their choice. Nationals of other countries or territories, in contrast, must file their application with the visa centre empowered in their country or territory of nationality.

If you would prefer not to apply for a French working holiday visa in Australia, you can apply from another country where you are legally staying. However, you cannot apply while already in France.

It would generally be easier for most Australians to apply from within Australia as French embassies/visa centres in other countries may not be familiar with this type of visa. But if you can’t or don’t want to apply in Australia, check the Visa Wizard on the France-Visas website for a list of visa application centres in the country where you want to apply. (In your search, select the “place of submission of application” as the country where you want to apply from, your visa type as “long-stay (>90 days)”, your plans as “other” and main purpose of stay as “working holiday”.)

You can check for a current list of fees, documents required and places where you can apply for a French visa using the French government’s Visa Wizard.

Arriving in France

After arriving in France, you will need to validate your long-stay visa within 3 months (ideally, you should do this immediately). This can now be done online. See the France Visas website for more information.

To connect with other Australians living in France, you may wish to join the Aussies In France Facebook group.


While best efforts are made to keep this information updated, we do not guarantee its accuracy. If you spot an error, would like to suggest new information to be added or simply have a question, please let us know in the comments and we’ll endeavour to respond or update the article as quickly as possible!

Before asking a question, please read through the previous comments to check if your query has already been answered.

77 thoughts on “France’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

  1. Hi there, thank you for all the info. Is it possible to apply for a visa and plan to travel 6 months after? Does your vosa start once you are in France or once you are accepted for the visa?

    1. You can apply for a French working holiday visa up to 3 months before your intended date of arrival in France. The visa is valid for a year from when you arrive in France.

  2. Hello thank you for the information. Is France currently accepting applications with COVID happening and everything ?

  3. my daughter is from australia and is currently in germany for 2-3 months and has an opportunity to go to France to do a student program with horses. Can she get a longer stay visa once she arrives in France as the program is for 6 months

  4. Hello, I turned 35 last year – is the French visa for those 35 and under or could I still apply up until I turn 36?

    Cheers

  5. Thanks for the info, for a working holiday visa do I need a letter provided by the ‘town hall’ (I’ve read that in a couple of places) saying I will be hosted by someone or is a signed statement by my host saying they will accomodate me sufficient?

    1. The visa requirements are subject to change, but at this stage, the France-Visas website does not actually list proof of accommodation as a current requirement for the working holiday visa. See https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en_US/web/france-visas/ai-je-besoin-d-un-visa

      That said, while I have no personal experience with this, I believe a simple signed letter from your host should be sufficient in the event you were asked for proof of accommodation.

  6. So like most other long stay visas, your future employer doesn’t need to apply for a residence/work permit for you if you have the working holiday visa?

    1. No, because the working holiday visa is not contingent on you having a job in France. In fact, there is no actual requirement to work in France.

      Have a look at the France-Visas website, which says: “This is a long-stay visa containing the statement: “vacances travail” (working holiday). Its duration is one year and may not be extended, unless otherwise stipulated. It will entitle you to undertake paid employment on a secondary basis, without prior approval from the French Administration.”

      Keep in mind that the main purpose of this visa is to have a holiday in France, with the possibility to undertake temporary work to help fund your stay. It’s not intended for people who are moving to France specifically to take up a new job.

  7. Hi Matt! Two questions. The Working Holiday visa is considered a long stay visa. It is not considered a short term work visa, correct? Also, you answer this in your 25 Feb 2022 message but I just want to be very clear: is there any obligation on the part of the employer to file any documentation with the local authorities in order to employ someone with a working holiday visa? If not, is the expectation that the employer and employee will just create a contract of sorts and then execute it?

    1. Hi Adi.

      Yes, this is a long-stay visa.

      Regarding your other question, you should probably contact the relevant French authorities if you want a definitive answer on the obligations of employers & employees. But the France-Visas website, which I linked to in the response above, is clear that you don’t need approval from the French government to take up casual/short term work while you are in France on a working holiday visa.

      See https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en/web/france-visas/young-traveller

  8. Thank you so much for this information. Do you know if a working holiday visa can be transferred to another type of visa (such as a talent passport) after I arrive in France, so I can extend the amount of time in France from 1 year to up to 4 years? Or do I strictly have to leave after 1 year? Thanks!

    1. I don’t believe there is a possibility to extend or “transfer” this visa to another visa type. However, I don’t see any reason you couldn’t apply for another type of visa (if you are eligible) when your working holiday visa expires.

  9. Hey there.. just wondering if it’s allowed to have multriple entries to france during that year? can you travel outside france for a while during that period?

  10. Hello, I was wondering what the rules are for travelling to other European countries are while you have this Visa. Are you still limited to 90 days in other Schengen area countries?
    Thanks!

  11. Hi Matt,

    I am researching a few different scenarios to travel to Paris either this year, or in 2024.

    One of the scenarios I am researching is to maintain my current job with my Australian employer, but work remotely for 6-12months. Do you know if I could base myself in Paris with a working holiday visa, but still work for my Australian employer?

    Another scenario I am researching is to work ideally full time, but possibly part time, for a French employer for a year. As you mentioned above “the main purpose of this visa is to have a holiday in France, with the possibility to undertake temporary work to help fund your stay” do you know if I could work full time for a French company on a working holiday visa? Or is the work restricted to part time and casual jobs?

    Thank you

    1. Please note that this is not legal advice, however I don’t see any obvious issues with you working remotely in France on a working holiday visa. The visa entitles you to work in France, although this is not a requirement. However, you should probably speak to an accountant about any possible tax implications.

      If you would like to work for a French employer with your working holiday visa, this is possible but it is really not intended that you would work full-time for the same employer for the entire year. If you wanted to do this, a work visa may be more appropriate. Part-time/casual work is generally fine, though.

    2. Hi Jennifer,

      I have the 1 year working holiday visa and am currently in my 2nd week in Paris and trying to navigate exactly this. My Australian employer is happy for me to work from my laptop but there are international tax obligations (a company like papyayaglobal can act as the middleman). If you work for a small company who are prepared to “pretend you are in Australia” then you could do that, but otherwise to work from France for a foreign company you will need to have the required documentation. And by that I mean the Attenstation de Droits. I am currently in the process of getting an RIB (bank account) and working from getting the Securite Sociale, Carte Vitale and Attestation de driots but there is a chance I have to wait 3 months to receive the Attestation de driots… Currently working through it but French bureacracy is known to be particularly hellish (probably because they have such a big public sector). Anyway, I am happy to share information as I find it if you like? My email is [email protected]

  12. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for all this helpful advice! I plan to apply for a french working holiday visa but enter the Schengen Zone via Spain. Will this cause me problems at the border?

    TIA
    Sadie

    1. This should be alright, but it will probably be helpful when you apply for the French visa to also show a flight booking entering France, e.g. another flight booking or a connecting flight from Madrid to Paris. When you arrive in Spain, you can show your French visa along with proof of onward travel to France at the border.

  13. Hi,
    I have been granted a working holiday visa for France. The dates are written on the visa 07/02/22 -07/02/23 what I can’t seem to figure out is am able to enter France at any point during those dates or do I need to arrive within a certain time from of the visa starting. Hypothetically could I enter France a week before the visa expires…

    1. I don’t see any specific reason you would have to arrive exactly on the date the validity period starts, but there wouldn’t be any real benefit in arriving later as you would get less time to stay in France. But I don’t know for sure – best to check with the relevant French authorities if in doubt. The main thing is that you need to validate your visa within 3 months of arriving.

    1. The only way to apply for this visa is through VFS Global, so I hope this isn’t the case. Very frustrating if so. I think you’ll just have to keep trying to find an available appointment with VFS…

      1. Thanks mate, finally managed to make one. They just seem to be so booked up, have to wait for one to open up.
        Following up on this. One of the required items is a “ Medical certificate stating that the visa applicant’s health permits him or her to exercise a professional activity (if the bilateral agreement provides for this).”

        Does everyone need to get a medical certificate?

        1. Hi Todd,

          Do you have an idea of the appointment wait times at the moment? How soon were you able to get an appointment?

        2. Todd, you might want to check with VFS Global (if you can reach them), but I don’t think this is a requirement for Australians getting this type of visa.

          For what it’s worth, this document from the French embassy in Australia says “no health examination required” for this type of visa for Australians – https://au.ambafrance.org/IMG/pdf/WHM_VVT-3.pdf

        3. Hi Rani,
          I think I was very lucky I managed to book an appointment time. My partner is still waiting to book. It looks like we might have to fly to Sydney to get an appointment for her

  14. Hi Matt,

    So, just to clarify.. you are able to undertake salary work it may be full-time but part-time/casual work is expected. Are you also able to freelance casually or work in casual jobs where you must invoice the employer? Or MUST you be employed under a salary contract if you’re wanting to work?

    Thanks for the info!

    Rani

    1. Hi James, when I went to VFS global I didn’t have one so they printed me one to sign in front of them

  15. Hi Matt,
    Can you study (do a course in France) also while on a French working holiday visa?

  16. Thanks Matt, your advice is invaluable.
    Do you know which criminal record check we need? There seems to be an option with or without fingerprints and both are used for visas but the french requirements are unclear.

    Rani, I have been in the same situation as you re no available visa appointments. This morning the VFS helpdesk replied to my email and advised me to a) keep checking the website as it’s the only way to book and b) use Google Chrome with freshly cleared caches (apparently this is essential) to make the appointment. I was able to book online today for Brisbane using my phone. Best of luck!

    1. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think the bilateral agreement between France and Australia requires you to get a criminal record check for the working holiday visa. Did VFS Global or the French embassy specifically tell you that this is required?

      Good tip on getting a VFS appointment, by the way.

      1. Hi team, at my VFS appointment they said it isn’t mandatory for this type of visa so don’t bother

  17. Hi Matt, I’m hoping to join my partner (not married) who is being transferred to Paris for work and will be getting a long term work visa through that. I’m also trying to find a job before I go (with little luck as most employers want me to be here before they’d hire me). Do you know if it is possible for me to 1. get a working holiday visa, go to France, perhaps do a short term language course and try to get a long term job? Then 2. Once I get a long term job switch visas while remaining in France. Or would I need to wait for the working holiday visa to expire, come back to Australia and apply for the long term work visa from Australia?

    Many thanks

    1. This should be fine. The working holiday visa is not specifically intended for you to join your partner, but you can reside in France and do some language classes with this. Once you’ve found a longer term job, you could apply for a work visa etc. and switch over to that. You would need to check the requirements for the work visa application but I don’t believe you would need to return to Australia to do that.

  18. Hey Matt!
    Thanks for the info. Super helpful. I’m an Aussie citizen currently a resident of a different country. Is it possible to apply for a French WHV from outside of Australia?

    1. According to this document, you can apply from any country where you are legally a resident – https://au.ambafrance.org/IMG/pdf/WHM_VVT-3.pdf

      It would probably be easiest for most Australians to apply from within Australia as French embassies in other countries may not be familiar with this type of visa. But it should be technically possible. You just cannot apply from within France.

  19. Hi Matt, I don’t think you validate this type of visa online. There is no option for Vacance Travail

  20. Hi there, so to clarify with the 90/180 rule, say I want to do lots of travel in the Schengen area between the months of June – September (less than 180 days), the most amount of days I can be out of France is 90 days ? I was hoping to do a very long backpacking trip around Europe possibly longer than 90 days but this would not be allowed ? And how does this work if I want to go to countries that are not in the Schengen area such as Croatia ?

    Last of all once my visa ends, can I leave France but do some more travel around the Schengen area before I go back to Australia ?

    Thanks !

    1. The French working holiday visa gives you the right to live and work in France. It doesn’t give you the right to reside in other European countries, so you would still be limited to staying up to 90 out of every 180 days as a tourist in other Schengen Area countries outside of France, even while holding this visa. However, you are free to visit other European countries that are outside of the Schengen Area (such as Croatia or the UK) and your time spent there would not count towards your 90 days in the Schengen Area.

      Once your French visa expires, you are expected to leave France immediately. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe you could exit and then re-enter the Schengen Area in this case as a tourist. The time you spent in Schengen countries other than France during the previous 180 days would still be counted towards your 90 allowed days, so keep this in mind when calculating how long you can stay.

      If there is any doubt, please check with the French embassy or get proper advice on this. I’m not an expert on this topic and could have missed something.

      By the way, this article might also be of interest: https://www.workholiday.com.au/europe-working-holiday-visa/

  21. Hello! Thanks so much for this article and the helpful comments.

    I’m wondering: Once you’re approved for a working holiday visa, are you free to enter France from any destination? Or does Australia have to be your original port of departure on the way to France in order to ‘activate’ your WH visa? In my case I plan on spending a month in the U.S, before flying over to France.

  22. Hi guys, thanks for all the helpful info, where the french govt website has almost none!

    I have a question regarding this dot point under the conditions for ‘long-stay visa: vacances travail’
    -Australian, Canadian and Colombian nationals may file their visa application with the visa centre of their choice. Nationals of other countries or territories, in contrast, must file their application with the visa centre empowered in their country or territory of nationality.

    Does this mean that as an Australian I can apply for the French working visa in another country?

    1. Based on that wording, it does sound like that should be possible 😉

      The only thing is that if you apply in another country, the French embassy/consulate may not be familiar with the procedure for working holiday visa applications by Australians. I’m therefore not sure I would recommend it, but please let us know if you try applying in another country and are successful! 🙂

  23. Hello. Thank you for all this advice. Can I please clarify something. I have obtained a French working holiday visa which starts in July. I’m flying to Rome in May and then travelling in Italy. I’ll cross from Italy to France in July but as they don’t check passports at the border I will not get my passport stamped. Do I just do the online visa validation and that will be all – ie I don’t need an official border stamp?

    1. You should probably double-check this, but as far as I’m aware, you’ll get your passport stamped in Italy and then would just need to validate your French visa online as soon as you arrive in France.

      If you’re worried about this, you could always take a cheap flight (or even train!) to London and then travel back from London to France – you’d then get your passport stamped when you actually arrive in France.

  24. Hey !

    My working-holiday VISA starts on May 31st, can I go to France before that date ?

    Thanks !

    1. I don’t know the answer to this exactly, sorry.

      You wouldn’t be able to enter France *on your working holiday visa* before the start date. But I believe you could probably enter the Schengen Area as a tourist before this date, assuming you haven’t already spent more than 90 out of the last 180 days in the Schengen Area.

      Personally I would just wait until 31 May though if there is any doubt, to avoid potential complications. That’s in less than a week from now.

  25. HI There,
    Very excited for my travels to france, I have appointment with Embassy on 14th of June (As quickly as I could get one) does anyone have any instances of wait time taking longer than 3 weeks. As I have a flight booked on the 11th of July

    1. Hi Leo- no idea how long the visa process takes but I’m in a similar situation. I have my appointment booked for 28 June with a plan to head out by mid July. Please keep me posted on how you go. Also – if you can’t make that 14 June appointment, let me know as I’m trying to get an appointment asap.

  26. Hello. Thank you very much for the information provided. Could you get your WH visa approved, visit another Schengen country (like Italy) and then fly to France straightaway? For example:
    1) I would like apply from Australia for my WH visa now with start date 17th October
    2) I would travel to Italy from July to October (as a tourist) and then fly to France so I can get there by 17th October

    Would it be possible?

    1. I believe this should be OK, as long as you don’t spend more than 90 days in Italy before travelling to France and your visa validity period has started when you enter France.

      You might want to double-check this though, I could be wrong.

  27. Thank you very much for the information. Do you know how to issue an “affidavit to leave France”. Is this a simple document or needs to be legalised for someone? I am afraid I couldn’t find much information on the internet. Any help will be really appreciated

    1. Someone has already asked this. My response was: “The France-Visas website doesn’t note any specific guidance or requirements about this. Any basic template should do just fine.”

  28. Hi There,
    I note that the Police check and Medical certificate are not actually required for the French WHV.

    What about the ‘Note Verbale’ that is mentioned by the required documents?

    Does this mean I need an invitation letter by the French embassy?

    Is this required for a working holiday visa Australia –> France?

    Also do you know if there are limitations on how many employers you can have in the 12 month period there?

    1. The France-Visas website states “If you have an official travel document, a note verbale is required.”

      I believe “official travel document” refers to things like official passports. If you just have an ordinary Australian passport (as most people do), you wouldn’t need this.

      There is no specific limit to the number of employers you can have in France during your 12-month stay. The French government just says that “Work and also study or training should be incidental to the holiday.” (See https://au.ambafrance.org/IMG/pdf/WHM_VVT-3.pdf)

  29. Hello,

    I was wondering what travel/health insurance you recommend for this visa as I know the VFS do not accept all types of insurance – do I need to be covered for COVID?

    Thanks

    1. The France-Visas website just says “one-year travel insurance covering medical, hospital and repatriation expenses”. So you would need to make sure your insurance policy covers your entire period of stay in France and that it covers each of these things. But I don’t think there’s any specific requirement for COVID-19 cover. (Many insurance policies now cover this anyway.)

      I have personally found Insureandgo’s backpacker insurance useful in the past as they allow you to return to Australia one or two times during the middle of the insurance period – this could be useful if you plan to travel back to Australia at all during your year in France, as most other insurers will end your coverage as soon as you set foot back in Australia. But most travel insurance policies should provide the necessary coverage for medical, hospital and repatriation expenses – just make sure you read the PDS carefully and check that the policy document specifically states it will cover these three things.

      Some other countries do require a minimum amount of cover for each of these categories (e.g. €30,000 or AUD50,000) but I don’t think France specifies this.

      I do plan to write an article about travel insurance in the coming months with more details, keep an eye out for it 🙂

  30. Hi there,

    We are Australian citizens in the UK and looking to apply for the French working holiday visa. Do you know if this is possible outside of Australia and which VFS office we can go to in Scotland? I assume Edinburgh but we can’t find any information on applying outside of Australia.

    Thanks so much 🙂

    1. According to this document, you can apply from any country where you are legally a resident – https://au.ambafrance.org/IMG/pdf/WHM_VVT-3.pdf

      It would generally be easier for most Australians to apply from within Australia as French embassies/visa centres in other countries may not be familiar with this type of visa. But it should be possible to apply in the UK – the only rule is that you cannot apply from within France.

      According to the France-Visas website, there is a TLScontact office in Edinburgh which handles French visa applications – https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en/web/gb

      1. Thanks Matt! One more q please – we are staying with friends on arrival but they don’t have access to their legal home owner documents. Does a letter from them suffice or does it need to be a legally binding document/proof of house purchase?

        Thanks!

        1. I don’t know the answer to this, sorry, but I would suspect a simple hotel/hostel booking or letter from your friends should be OK.

          Perhaps Sonia (see the comment below) might know for sure?

  31. Hello,
    I recieved my WHV for France today:
    Wanted to confirm for those above what documents I gave:
    – application form
    – passport, ID photo taken recently
    – 5000 AUD sufficient funds balance in a statement generated 2 weeks prior to appointment
    – insurance with cover for medical, hospital and reparations
    – cover letter outlining my intention to go to france signed
    – affidavit witnessed by practioner
    – confirmed initial accomodation
    – confirmed one way flight ticket

    Now I have another question – I have an employer interested in hiring me over the period of the visa.
    However we are unsure if I can work for 1 employer for the 12 month duration and no where in the bilateral agreement is it mentioned. When I ask the Sydney Consulate, I’m sent to the VFS, When I ask them, they send me back to the Sydney Consulate. The Australian Embassy Paris is also not answering calls.

    Anyone have any advice or experience?

    1. Thanks Sonia for the info about which documents you needed to provide, I’m sure others will find this helpful.

      Were you required to show proof of initial accommodation, or did you just include this anyway? The France-Visas website doesn’t mention this. If so, can you share what was required for this?

      Regarding your question, this document suggests that there is no specific limit to the duration you can work for a single employer in France while your visa remains valid: https://au.ambafrance.org/IMG/pdf/WHM_VVT-3.pdf. The main condition is that the work should be “incidental to the holiday”.

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