Internship Legislation for Students in France

Unleashing Your Potential Abroad: A Comprehensive Guide to Seizing Opportunities

Are you a student or recent graduate seeking professional experience in France? Navigating the latest internship regulations and finding the best opportunities can be overwhelming. Let Piktalent be your guide to unlock the potential of internships with up-to-date information and tailored opportunities.

Whether you’re a French national or a foreigner, it is essential to understand and comply with internship regulations in accordance with French labor laws. However, specific regulations may vary based on your nationality, whether you are an EU citizen or a non-EU citizen. Stay informed to ensure a smooth internship experience.

EU citizens

In France, internships are primarily governed by the French Education Code (Code de l’éducation) and the French Labor Code (Code du travail). These codes detail the rights and responsibilities of interns, their employers, and their educational institutions. The Education Code, particularly Articles L. 124-1 to L. 124-20, establishes the framework for internships as part of a course of study.

Rights of Interns:

  • Remuneration: As mandated by the French Labor Code (Article D. 124-6), internships that extend beyond two months within the same academic year must offer remuneration. As of 2023, the minimum intern remuneration stands at approximately 3.90 euros per hour, which is 15% of the maximum hourly rate of the Social Security ceiling.

  • Working Hours: Interns are restricted to the legal limit set for employees, which is 35 hours per week.

  • Leave and Holidays: Interns are entitled to a day of leave for every month of the internship, in addition to holidays on public holidays.

  • Internship Duration: Article L124-6 of the French Labour Code stipulates that an internship cannot exceed six months within the same organization, whether it’s continuous or split across the year.

Responsibilities of Employers and Educational Institutions:

  • Convention de Stage: This tripartite agreement, involving the educational institution, the employer, and the intern, is essential. It outlines the objectives, tasks, duration, and remuneration of the internship.

  • Supervision: Both the educational institution and the employer are required to appoint a mentor or tutor to monitor the intern’s progress and experience.

  • Max Intern Quota: The French Labor Code (Article L. 124-7) sets a limit on the number of interns a company can host simultaneously, based on its employee count, to prevent internship misuse.

For EU citizens, the freedom of movement principle is applicable, allowing them to undertake internships in France without a work permit. However, they must follow the same rules and regulations as French nationals, including having a “Convention de stage.” Additionally, for health coverage, EU citizens should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in their home country before starting their internship. This ensures coverage for any necessary healthcare during their stay in France.



2023 Updates on Internships in France:

  • Host Organization: Internships can be conducted in private (companies, associations) or public sector organizations. Foreign students, irrespective of nationality, can also participate in internships but must maintain a regular status in France.

  • Permitted and Prohibited Conditions: Internships aim to help students acquire professional skills related to their training. They cannot be used to replace employees or handle tasks corresponding to a permanent position.

  • Number of Authorized Trainees: Companies with less than 20 employees can host a maximum of 3 interns simultaneously. For organizations with at least 20 employees, the number of interns during a calendar week cannot exceed 15% of the staff.

  • Traineeship Agreement: This agreement, signed by all involved parties, specifies the competencies to be developed, the duration of the training, and other essential details.

  • Maximum Duration: The duration of the internship is capped at 6 months per host organization and per academic year. This period is calculated based on the actual presence of the intern in the organization.

  • Waiting Period: Employers must adhere to a waiting period between two internships, which is 1/3 of the duration of the previous internship.

  • Remuneration: If the hourly remuneration is less than €4.05, the intern is exempt from social security contributions.

  • Tutoring: A tutor must be assigned to guide the intern throughout the internship, ensuring that educational objectives are met.

  • Sanctions: Non-compliance with internship rules can result in an administrative fine of up to €2,000 per intern. This can increase to €4,000 for repeated infringements within a year.

Essential Steps for EU Interns: Navigating Your Arrival in France

  1. Convention de Stage: Before starting the internship, ensure that you have a “Convention de stage.” This is a tripartite agreement between the intern, the educational institution, and the employer. It outlines the objectives, tasks, duration, and remuneration of the internship. This document is essential for all internships in France, regardless of the intern’s nationality.

  2. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): Before leaving your home country, apply for the EHIC. This card ensures that you are covered for any necessary healthcare you might need during your stay in France. It’s a reciprocal agreement between EU countries, so you’ll receive healthcare under the same conditions and at the same cost as French nationals.

  3. Accommodation: Secure a place to stay. Whether it’s a rented apartment, student housing, or other forms of accommodation, having a fixed address is crucial. This will be necessary for any administrative tasks or if you decide to open a bank account in France.

  4. Bank Account: While not mandatory, it might be beneficial to open a French bank account, especially if your internship is paid. This will make transactions easier and could be necessary for receiving your remuneration.

  5. Stay Informed: While EU citizens have the right to live and work in France without additional permits, it’s always a good idea to stay informed about any changes in regulations or requirements. Check with local authorities or your employer to ensure you have all the necessary documentation and are compliant with all local regulations.

  6. Integration: Familiarize yourself with the local culture, language, and customs. This will not only enhance your internship experience but also help you integrate better into the French work environment.

Non-EU citizens

For non-EU citizens aspiring to intern in the picturesque landscapes of France, understanding the evolving visa requirements is paramount. France, with its rich cultural tapestry, world-class universities, and a bustling job market, beckons many. However, to truly seize these opportunities, one must be well-versed with the legal intricacies.

Visa Essentials: Non-EU citizens eyeing an internship in France need a specific visa. The “Student Internship” visa remains the popular choice. This visa mandates prior approval from the French Ministry of Labour (DIRECCTE). The visa application typically involves an internship agreement, proof of adequate funds, a return ticket, and other pertinent documents.

Common Types of Visas for Internships:

  1. Student Internship Visa: Tailored for students looking to gain practical experience related to their field of study. This visa requires an internship agreement between the student, educational institution, and the host company.
  2. Temporary Work Visa: Suitable for those seeking short-term internships or work assignments. The host company in France usually sponsors this visa.
  3. Long-Stay Student Visa (Visa de long séjour pour études): For those pursuing extended educational programs in France, this visa also allows students to undertake internships as part of their curriculum.
  4. Professional Training Visa: Designed for individuals seeking professional training or further specialization in their field, often sponsored by the host organization in France.

Work Permit (Autorisation de Travail): Beyond the visa, a work permit is essential. The onus usually falls on the host company to secure this from DIRECCTE before the internship commences. This process generally spans around two months.

Social Security Insights: Holders of the “Student Internship” visa are also beneficiaries of the French social security system. The host organization’s responsibility is to register the intern with URSSAF, the agency overseeing social security contributions.

New Insights for 2023:

  • Visa Exemptions: Some non-EU citizens might enjoy visa exemptions based on their nationality. These exemptions are typically for short-term visits, and eligibility hinges on factors like citizenship, visit purpose, and stay duration.

  • Application Process: The digital age has simplified visa applications, with many processes now online. This digital shift ensures clarity and convenience, but accuracy remains paramount.

  • Additional Considerations: Health insurance is non-negotiable for non-EU citizens in France. Moreover, for those seeking work or study opportunities, proficiency in the French language can be a significant asset.

France brims with internship prospects across diverse sectors. However, for non-EU citizens, the journey involves navigating a multifaceted legal maze. While this guide offers a foundational understanding, consulting a legal expert or the pertinent embassy or consulate remains a prudent step for personalized and current advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

No, citizens of the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland do not need a visa or work permit to intern in France.

Yes, if the internship lasts more than two months, French law requires that the intern is paid a minimum compensation. As of 2023, this is set at €3.90 per hour.

Yes, all interns must have a “Convention de Stage”, which is an agreement between the intern, the educational institution, and the host organization.

Yes, if the internship lasts more than two months, French law requires that the intern is paid a minimum compensation. As of 2023, this is set at €3.90 per hour.

The total duration, including any extensions, cannot exceed the six-month limit within a year.

Yes, non-EU students can do internships in France, but they will need to obtain a specific visa, typically the “Student Internship” visa. They will also require a work permit.

Yes, internships that last for more than two months must offer minimum compensation to the intern. As of 2023, this is set at €3.90 per hour.

The Convention de Stage is a tripartite agreement between the intern, the institution of higher education, and the host organization in France. It defines the goals, activities, duration, and compensation of the internship, among other details.

According to French Labour Code, an internship must not exceed six months within the same organization, whether it’s continuous or split across the year.

The host company is usually responsible for obtaining the work permit from the French Ministry of Labour (DIRECCTE) before the start of the internship.

Yes, non-EU citizens holding a “Student Internship” visa are also covered by the French social security system. The host organization must register the intern with URSSAF, the French agency responsible for collecting social security contributions.

The process usually involves providing an internship agreement, proof of sufficient funds, proof of return ticket, among other documents. The specific requirements can vary, so it’s best to check with the French embassy or consulate in your home country.

The process typically takes around two months. Therefore, it’s important to start this process well in advance of the intended start date of the internship.

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