If you’re working on a master’s degree in France and would like the opportunity to stay in France and work upon obtaining your diploma, you can be eligible to apply for an “Authorisation Provisoire de Séjour” to enable you to search for a job once your program ends.

The Authorisation Provisoire de Séjour, or APS, is a special type of student carte de séjour that enables you to look for work for several months following the completion of a degree program equivalent to a master’s degree or higher. When you apply for an APS, you can remain in France on your student status for up to one year while applying to be hired in a CDI work contract.

During your job search, your student status enables you to work part-time (up to 964 hours per year) in any job, regardless of whether it’s related to your degree.

Who is eligible for APS?

Any student who completes at least a Master’s degree in an accredited institution of higher education in France is eligible to apply for APS. Students with engineering, accounting or medical degrees, and those with a doctorate or technology degree are also eligible.

Students from certain countries are not eligible for a the one-year APS because their countries have special work exchange programs with France. You can find a complete list of non-eligible students and the special agreements that apply to them here.

How do I apply for APS?

APS takes a long time to process, so you have to file your application at least 4 months before your student carte de séjour expires.

In regions like Paris, where there are many applications, you should apply 6 months in advance.

Once you have the required documents, you will have to go to the préfecture de police or the sous-préfecture for your residence to file the application.

What documents do I have to provide?

To be eligible for an Authorisation Provisoire de Séjour, you should provide the following documents:

  • 3 passport photos
  • Your valid carte de séjour, expiring at least 4-6 months in the future
  • A diploma or an “attestation de réussite”

If you’re applying for APS 6 months in advance, you may not yet have received your diploma from the school. In that case, you’ll have to provide an “attestation de réussite” on university letterhead stating that you’re passing your classes and on track to receive your diploma at the end of the school year.

Once you have received your diploma, you can bring it back to the préfecture to be added to your file.

Can my request for APS be refused?

As long as the graduating student provides all the proper documents within the correct time frame, the APS request normally cannot be refused by the préfecture.

The préfecture can only refuse the request if the unemployment statistics for the student’s field meet specific thresholds. The refusal must come when the student presents the work contract in a field plagued by high unemployment, and not before.

What kind of job do I have to find under APS?

Once you’re under APS, you can start looking for any full time job in relation with your diploma. The job you take has to meet the following conditions:

  • Be a CDD or CDI
  • Be paid at least 1.5 times the SMIC, or at least €2.168 per month (in 2014)
  • Have something to do with your degree
  • Be paid comparably to other French salaried workers in the same company

Once you have a job that meets those conditions, you can bring your work contract to the préfecture within 15 days to request a change of status to a one-year salaried worker carte de séjour.

If you’re under APS, the company that hires you does NOT have to prove that no qualified employees can be hired from within the French market, which is normally required for companies sponsoring foreign employees.

How much does APS cost?

A change of status from student to authorisation provisoire de séjour is free and valid for one year.

Once you have been hired to work for a company, however, you must change your status from APS to salaried worker with 15 days.

In this case, your employer will pay a tax to OFII. The tax is equal to 55% of one month of gross salary, up to a maximum 2.5 times the SMIC. This means that your employer will pay up to €1.987 (55% of €3.613, currently 2.5 times the SMIC of €1.445,38). This tax is only due once, and is payable on contracts of more than 1 year.

You will have to pay a fee of €241 in timbres fiscaux on your first carte de séjour – salarié, and €87 each year to renew.

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