A Guide to French Working Holiday Visa (WHV)
Note: This guide is catered for Australians and New Zealanders, if you’re not from either of these countries check out your local French embassy’s website.
Who’s this Visa for?
This Visa is perfect if you’re wanting to spend an extended period in France. New Zealander’s and Australian’s are able to spend 3 months in France without a Visa if visiting for tourism. However perhaps you would like to stay longer than 3 months? Perhaps you want to immerse yourself in the French culture and language? Or Perhaps you want to opportunity to work in France to help supplement your travels? Then the French WHV might be perfect choice for you!
So… Am I Eligible?
You are eligible for this visa if:
1. You are between 18 and 30 years old.
Yep sorry older folk, but you have to be between 18 and 30 years old to apply for this visa.
2. You hold a passport of NZ, AUS.
3. You have not previously participated in this programme.
This is pretty self explanatory.. If you’ve already been lucky enough to spend a year in France on a WHV you can’t apply a second time around.
4. You want the opportunity to holiday in France and to work to help finance the trip.
Now this is important, the WHV isn’t intended for any other purpose such as: joining your partner/fiancé in France, studying, working as an Au Pair, finding long-term employment. Your main purpose should be holiday-making and this visa will allow you to sustain yourself financially during your stay.
5. You have a travel itinerary or proof of funds to purchase flights.
Now you can book flights, obviously you can’t book a return flight over 1 year in advance so you’ll have to change it at a later date. Some travel centre companies (e.g. STA) allow you to book your flights just by paying a deposit of $99. You’ll then receive a travel itinerary which you could use to get your visa. I didn’t go the proof of funds route so I can’t comment.
6. You can show that you hold a subscription policy covering all risks related to sickness, maternity, disability and hospitalisation for the duration of the visa (12 months).
Your standard Health insurance should do, I used Southern cross NZ since it was the cheapest. But you should be fine with most travel insurance companies.
7. You provide evidence that you have financial means available to start your holiday.
At the time of writing for Australians and New Zealanders, €2500 is the magical number required. Check the exchange rate close to your embassy visit to make sure you have enough in your bank!
8. You pay the fees for a long stay visa.
Yes, unfortunately the visa costs money. It costs €99 at the time of writing this post, so double check before you’re about to head to the Embassy and make sure you have the $NZ or $AUD equivalent in cash.
Congratulations if you meet you these conditions you’re eligible!
Alright lets go over the required documents that you will be required to bring to the embassy.
List of Documents required to apply.
First off click on this link – List of required documents. This PDF file is from the French embassy of New Zealand.
1. Completed and signed long stay visa application form.
I planned to stay at a friend’s for the first couple of weeks during my stay in France so in number 24. I put the name of my friend. The guy at the embassy said the number and email wasn’t needed. For 25. I put my friends address.
2. French / English Agreement Form.
Complete the French/English agreement form by filling in your name, date and signature.
3. One recent passport photograph.
Cut it out and use a glue stick to glue it to the corresponding box in top right corner of the Long stay application form.
Should be a no brainer but make sure it’s valid three months after your return date.
5. Personal Bank Statement.
Go to your local bank and get them to print of a bank statement for proof of funds (€2500) they should also stamp it.
6. A letter in either French or English which describes why you wish to apply for this visa.
I would suggest writing it in English, unless you can write and converse in French. This doesn’t have to be a 3000 word essay, I wrote 3 short paragraphs. If you’re thinking about applying for this visa then I’m sure you can already think of some good reasons. It could be anything from wanting to learn the French language, to experiencing French culture, or visiting particular sites etc. I printed mine out and was asked by the visa officer to write my name and and sign my signature at the bottom of the page.
7. Proof of subscription to insurance for one year.
Working Holiday Visas are always valid for one year, regardless of the length of stay in France, that means if you plan on staying for only 8 months, you will still need to have travel insurance for the entire duration of your visa.
8. Copy of your travel itinerary or booked flights (this must include your date of arrival in France).
A printed copy of your travel itinerary e.g. your flights, or e-ticket is suffice.
9. A pre-paid and trackable return envelope with the applicant’s address.
This is so the embassy can return your passport. So make sure it’s pre-paid and trackable and you have written your address details on it, they will check.
10. Pay the Visa fees.
The visa fees have to be paid in cash, at the time of my application it was €99.
Book your appointment
You need to book your appointment through the French embassy website; Book your appointment. Each booking is for one passport at a time, so if you and your partner are both looking at applying you will need to take two different time slots.
Attend your appointment
Make your way to the French Embassy in Wellington, and provide whoever you’re dealing with the all necessary the documents. They will check that you have all the documents, and may ask you the odd question here and there but it’s nothing like an interrogation. They will take a photograph of you and take your fingerprints. The whole process took me roughly ten minutes to complete.
Well done! Now wait..
Well done! You should receive your passport back within the next couple of days, hopefully with your visa inside. You will also be provided with a paper with some useful information on it.