You want to be somewhere else ?
Your Instagram feed is full of ideas for trips ? You are fed up of being a spectator ?
No need to wait till you’re a 40 years old expat to work abroad! International Internships are a way for young people from France and the European Economic Area (EEA), 18 to 28 years old, to launch their international career.
Being an International Volunteer, means you have access to exciting assignments and genuine opportunities. 92% of Interns are recruited at the end of their assignment.
So, what are you waiting for ?
International Internship in figures
News of the French International Internship Program
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why go on a via or vie french international internship program ?
Each year, the V.I.E and the V.I.A allow more than 10,000 young people to work abroad. However, this is far from being the only advantage of the French International Internship Program. A total professional and human experience, it has many advantages but also some disadvantages. You can get help deciding whether doing a V.I. is right for you !
The 10 advantages of a V.I.E and a V.I.A
Former volunteers are the best placed to talk about the French International Internship Program ! They list the top 10 advantages for V.I.E and V.I.A participants.
If you dream about going abroad, going on a V.I.E or V.I.A allows you to have your first professional experience abroad. Have you ever backpacked around the world ? Returning from an internship or PVT abroad ? The French International Internship Program (V.I.E) is a way for those who love travelling to access highly educational assignments lasting 6 to 24 months in 135 countries.
The V.I. is a major asset on a CV ! It is a springboard to employment and a career accelerator internationally. For a recruiter, it is the guarantee that they are dealing with an independent, responsible and resourceful candidate. For you, it is often the opportunity to be recruited by the company that hosts your assignment.
Going to work abroad, away from your family and friends, can be a little stressful. What is great about a V.I.E and a V.I.A is that you benefit from a highly secure environment ! You are supported by Business France, under the protection of the French Embassy and supervised by the host company. Another big advantage ? You will be joining the International Intern community ! Want to meet other V.I. interns ? Need advice on finding accommodation ? Think social media : many Facebook groups exist to connect V.I.E and V.I.A participants !
International activities are not just reserved for Bac + 8 students ! The V.I. is open to all profiles. With or without a degree, bilingual or a beginner in foreign languages, seasoned globetrotter or novice, you can become an International Intern. Do not hesitate to point out what is unusual about your career. What matters is your motivation, your open-mindedness and your ability to adapt !
For those who want to respect the timing of their studies at all costs, some schools accept that the V.I.E participant and the V.I.A participant count as an end-of-study internship abroad. Two birds with one stone ! Find out more from your school.
An International Internship is not volunteer work. On a V.I.E or V.I.A assignment, you will be paid. In addition, this allowance is exempt from income tax in France. In short, you can forget about financial problems, 23 flatmates and beans on toast at the end of the month.
With the French International Internship Program, you are entitled to training in the same way as a fixed-term or permanent contract. What is the point ? In concrete terms, your training account can help you to finance your driving licence, take language courses or take a skills assessment.
Because you are never too young to start thinking about the end of your career :) Good news ! Each period of three months completed in the course of your mission counts towards your retirement.
The International Internship is a formative adventure that you will remember all your life. Goodbye to the daily routine! Hello the love of travelling, discoveries that change you completely, friendships that we don't forget... But also, the clash of cultures that will provide you with an endless supply of anecdotes.
Going on an International Internship means growing and empowering yourself through new experiences. You leave the nest, free to reinvent yourself far from formal settings and pressures from your entourage. You come back changed and often closer to the reality of who you are.
The 5 disadvantages of the V.I.E and the V.I.A
Of course, there is always the other side of the coin. The International Internship Program also has a number of disadvantages, mainly linked to the context of the scheme.
The V.I.E and the V.I.A have limits on age and nationality. After the age of 29, you can no longer become an International Intern and the scheme is only open to young people from the European Economic Area.
Some destinations are more difficult to access than others. Some of the 135 countries open to the International Internship Programme impose conditions or restrictions in respect of nationality, qualifications or tax residence.
Choosing to do a V.I.E or V.I.A means committing yourself 100% ! It is impossible to do it as the same time as a paid job. As a result, this may mean suspending your job or putting a company project on hold.
During the International Internship, you do not make any unemployment or pension contributions. On your return from a V.I.E or V.I.A assignment, you will resume any rights acquired before leaving, but you will not have any new ones.
Finally - and this is surely the saddest thing - you can only go on a V.I.E or V.I.A assignment once. All the more reason to choose your destination carefully and make the most of this unique experience !
2. What are the conditions for doing a V.I.A or V.I.E french international internship program ?
The V.I.E and V.I.A are civic services put in place by the French State to encourage young people and companies to undertake work abroad. As a result, V.I.E status is subject to specific conditions concerning age, nationality or tax residence. To go on a V.I.E assignment, you must make sure that you meet these conditions relating to the National Service Code, the rules of the host country and your commitment to Business France.
Do I meet the 5 conditions in respect of V.I.E and V.I.A status ?
To embark on the adventure of an International Internship, you must meet 5 conditions :
1. Age : Green light if you are at least 18 and have not yet turned 29. You are close to the fateful age limit ? Start from the premise that you must be 28 when you start your assignment, bearing in mind that all V.I.E and V.I.A assignments always start on the 1st of the month. Example : You turn 29 on 23 March, it's OK if your assignment starts on 1 March, but NOT if it starts on 1 April.
2. Nationality : It is not because the system is made in France that the V.I. is only open to the French ! The good news is that all young people who are nationals of a country in the European Economic Area can do it! Reminder: The EEA includes France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.
3. National service : To go on a V.I you must be - if you are a french citizen or have a dual nationality including French - in good standing as regards your country’s national service. Basically, for French people under the age of 25, this means being able to provide your Defence ID number, which attests that you have been registered and that you took part in the Defence and Citizenship Day. If you are over 25 years old, you do not need to provide this number !
If you are not French, please ignore this requirement.
4. Criminal record: To become an International Intern, you must have a clean criminal record.
5. Finally, if you have already completed a V.I.E or V.I.A, you cannot go on a second assignment. We have to think about the newcomers !
Does my profile match the conditions of the host country ?
Host countries are never the same! It is true of landscapes, gastronomy and culture but also of rules of hospitality. As is the case for expatriation or studies abroad, each country where a V.I.E or V.I.A is possible has its own conditions for hosting you or not. Example: visa, tax residence, level of education, etc.
So, to check that everything is OK, consult the table of conditions for going on a V.I.E of the country or countries of your choice. Designed to make your life simple, each table compiles the prerequisites of the destination in question. Follow the instructions :
- If you only have ☼, good! You can apply in the country and your application will be examined to check that it fulfils the conditions.
- If you have one or more X, going to this specific country is not possible! But you know what they say : when one door closes, another one opens. Keep looking !
Do you have any doubts about your situation ? Is the page of the country you are interested in not yet available ? Contact Business France
Am I ready to honour my commitment to Business France ?
By going on an International Internship, your status is secure and reassuring ! You are supported by the French Embassy, by your host company and by Business France. In return, you undertake to comply with the conditions set out in the letter of appointment that you sign with Business France.
Before the grand departure, you must in particular :
- Be up-to-date in your vaccinations and undergo a medical check-up. You must be declared medically fit to carry out the assignment.
- Commit to devoting yourself fully and full time to the assignment.
3. Can you study or work at the same time as doing a Business France V.I.E or V.I.A ?
A V.I.E and a V.I.A are full-time occupations ! By becoming an International Intern, you agree to devote yourself fully to the activities and tasks entrusted to you. As a general rule, a V.I.E or a V.I.A Is therefore not compatible with studies, full-time gainful occupation or a part-time job.
No gainful occupation is possible at the same time as a V.I.E or a V.I.A
When you sign up for an International Internship Program, you say yes to an incredible experience that is both educational and very engaging. A V.I.E or a V.I.A is a full-time paid professional activity ! It is therefore impossible to be gainfully employed or undertake very demanding studies at the same time.
In concrete terms, this means :
- No permanent contract, fixed-term contract, work-study, part-time job or any other gainful occupation at the same time as your V.I.E or V.I.A
- No self-entrepreneurship unless your activity falls within the exceptions provided for (see below). Therefore, if you have a micro-enterprise, you will have to consider putting it on standby for the duration of your assignment. Also be careful not to fall foul of competition law. There should be no conflict of interest between your company and the one for which you plan to undertake a V.I.E assignment !
- You must not, under any circumstances, be part of the workforce of a company of which you are a partner, shareholder or corporate officer.
- No studies that may interfere with your working hours or conflict with your V.I.E activities. Example : This might not be the time to embark on an M.A. in Philosophy or a PhD in Physics. However, an evening class in your free time is fine.
In addition to the impossibility of juggling a full-time V.I. with another demanding activity, the risk if you continue in gainful occupation is that the French tax authorities question your V.I.E status and that your allowances become taxable.
Work and V.I.E: authorised exceptions
As you can see, the French International Internship Program is a full-time activity and requires your full attention! However, there are exceptions to the general rule that we describe below.
The following gainful occupations are permitted :
- End-of-study internship, if your school allows you to complete it in the context of a V.I.E.
- The production of scientific, literary or artistic works. You won't, however, be prevented from writing your memoirs or selling paintings in your free time.
- Teaching (other than sports) provided that the company or administration where you carry out your V.I.E or V.I.A agrees.
- Sports teaching under 2 conditions : the first is to have a diploma or an official certificate. The second is to obtain the go-ahead from the company hiring you. Example: if you want to practice as a ski instructor, you must hold a State certificate as a sports instructor and have the agreement of your host company.
However, please be aware that for any teaching activities validated by the company, you will not be covered by the V.I.E's and the V.I.A’s insurance. As a result, this activity is entirely your responsibility and you are fully responsible for any tax consequences relating to this additional income.
Voluntary activities are of course permitted, provided that :
- They are not remunerated in any form whatsoever.
- They do not encroach on your working time.
- They do not interfere with the activity or values of the structure that is hosting you.
4. How much do you earn as a Business France V.I.E or V.I.A ?
Being an International Intern is not voluntary work. As a V.I.E or V.I.A participant, you are always paid in exchange for your work, regardless of the type of assignment, the country you go to or the structure that hosts you.
Did you say salary ?
Actually, we do not refer to salary when it comes to the remuneration of International Interns. The accepted term is: Fixed Maintenance Allowances (I.F.E. for private individuals).
We use the term allowances because:
- No contributions - social security, unemployment insurance, CSG - are deducted.
- The amount you receive is not subject to income tax in France.
Now that we have dealt with the question of semantics, let’s get to the heart of the matter !
How much does a V.I.E / V.I.A earn ?
There is no standard answer to this question, for the reason that the International Intern's allowance consists of a fixed component and a variable component that depends on the country of destination. To be more precise, the fixed maintenance allowance includes :
- A common allowance, identical for all International Interns. Revised every year, this amount is set at €723.99/month in 2020.
- A geographical allowance that depends on the country or even the locality in which you carry out your assignment. It is set based on the local standard of living to cover the subsistence, equipment and accommodation needs of the intern in the host country. Recalculated quarterly, it currently varies from €600 to €4,300 (rates from October 2020).
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister delegated to the Budget set, via quarterly decree, the amounts of these allowances in two rates: one reserved for V.I.E participants, the other for V.I.A participants.
To download the geographical allowance scales by country and city, go here :
In which cases is a reduced allowance received ?
As a general rule, you receive your entire monthly allowance. However, in some cases, you do not receive 100% of your geographic allowance. Let’s clear this up !
You will receive 100% of your monthly allowance if :
- You are employed in your country of assignment.
- You take leave outside France and the overseas departments and territories.
- You spend less than 7 days in France or the overseas departments and territories.
Your fixed allowances are reduced, i.e. revised downwards if :
- You remain in France or the overseas departments and territories for more than 7 consecutive days during your assignment, whether for holidays or for the purposes of the assignment. You then receive 100% of the common allowance but the geographical allowance is matched to the lowest amount in the euro zone.
- The company or organisation hosting you pays part or all of the cost of your accommodation. In this case, your geographical allowance is decreased by 20% but the common allowance remains the same.
- Your V.I.E or V.I.A assignment takes place in a country in the European Economic Area where you have your main residence (during the 6 months preceding the start of your assignment). You receive the whole of the common allowance but only 15% of the geographical allowance.
- You are on sick, maternity or adoption leave. Your joint allowance is paid to you in full but you receive 50% of the geographical allowance.
Can you have other income at the same time as the V.I.E ?
You cannot receive any remuneration other than your fixed allowance.
In concrete terms, this means :
- No commission, extra payment or bonus as part of your assignment.
- No remunerative activities outside your assignment except for special cases.
What are the procedures for paying the fixed allowance ?
Business France and not the company pays you your fixed allowances.
At the end of each month, you will receive your allowance by bank transfer to your bank account in France. This is why it is absolutely necessary that you have opened a French bank account before your departure.
In which cases is this payment suspended ?
- If you forget to provide your contact details to Business France within 15 days of your arrival in the country of your assignment.
- If your mission is interrupted.
5. Is a Business France V.I.E accessible to disabled persons ?
It is entirely possible to go on an International Internship if you have a disability !
V.I.E and disability : Travel abroad in a secure environment
Whether you are disabled or not, travelling abroad is always intimidating.
The major advantage of V.I.E and V.I.A is the secure and reassuring environment it offers young people. You are supported by Business France and under the protection of the French Embassy throughout your assignment.
The other decisive point to ensure your pave of mind when you are travelling is that as a V.I.E participant or V.I.A participant, you are insured and benefit from appropriate healthcare coverage.
The V.I.E or V.I.A assignment that is right for you
Above all an assignment that appeals to you and which corresponds to your desires and skills.
If you are able to carry out this assignment, you can apply for the V.I.E or V.I.A offer. The company cannot refuse your assignment on the basis of your disability, unless the doctor considers that your state of health is not compatible with the assignment. The host structure abroad must also ensure that working conditions comply with principles of accessibility, in particular according to local legislation. Note : the host company is not, however, required to make specific arrangements to make the assignment accessible. These arrangements must already be in place.
Is your chosen assignment incompatible with your abilities? Keep looking! You will find the assignment that suits you !
Are you hesitant about embarking on an adventure? Among the 135 countries open to International Interns, some destinations have fewer constraints than others. Going on an assignment in Europe might be a good idea: closer to home geographically, accessible without a special visa and just as exotic !
6. With Brexit, can you still do a Business France V.I.E in the UK ?
The United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, more commonly known as Brexit, has consequences for travel and working arrangements in the UK. The V.I.E and the V.I.A are not exempt ! While we already have information on certain points, other aspects remain unknown, pending the Brexit agreements. Here we share everything currently available to us.
Can you still go on a V.I.E or V.I.A if you are British ?
In this respect, things are clear : from 1 December 2020, British candidates will no longer be able to apply for a V.I.E or V.I.A. As the French International Internship Program is reserved for candidates from the European Economic Area, Brexit is a game changer for the British.
Can you still undertake a V.I.E or V.I.A in the UK ?
Until 1 December 2020, you can still take part in the International Internship Program in the UK subject to fulfilling the conditions for taking part in a V.I.E in the United Kingdom.
Thereafter, this will depend on the Brexit deal. What is recommended today is that you are already in the UK and have made a pre-settled status request to the UK authorities before 31 December 2020. This status allows you to work in the UK for 5 years.
7. Can you go on an International Volunteer Program V.I.E during Covid crisis ?
The Covid-19 health crisis has consequences for travel and trips in many countries around the world. It remains possible to undertake a V.I.E and V.I.A assignment during this period, but each situation is examined on a case-by-case basis depending on the destination and your situation. You can find out more here.
You can always undertake an International Internship during the health crisis, but it depends greatly on the destination country and your situation. In fact, some countries are closed to prevent the spread of the virus and cannot host V.I.E or V.I.A assignments.
However, applicants already on site, with appropriate residence permits or the nationality of the country of assignment, may sometimes carry out their International Internship on site despite these restrictions. This is particularly true in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Morocco.
In certain situations, it is also possible to circumvent this difficulty by spending more time throughout the entire duration of your V.I.E or V.I.A in France. An international intern can spend up to 182 days in France per year to be trained by the company before the big departure. Bear in mind, nevertheless, that from 7 consecutive days in France, your allowance is no longer indexed to your country of assignment but to the lowest amount in the eurozone.
As you can see, all this really needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Feel free to contact us to find out more.