Any questions ?
Registration, contract, remuneration, trips, taxes, unemployment, accommodation, holidays, resignation… So many subjects that you may have questions about ?
Here you will find the official responses to the main questions that you may have, whether you are a V.I.E candidate, an international intern in a position or coming back from an assignment.
Frequently asked questions before registering on My International Internship
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 €749,33/month in 2022.
- 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. This geographical allowance is recalculated quarterly.
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.
Frequently asked questions while searching for a V.I.E or V.I.A assignment
1. Where to apply to a Business France V.I.E job ?
The must-see job board for V.I.E and V.I.A offers is the Mon Volontariat International website that you may know under its old name Civiweb or Civi ! It contains all V.I.A jobs and many V.I.E positions. It explains how V.I.E recruitment works, on the one hand, and V.I.A recruitment on the other.
Where to apply for a Business France V.I.E ?
There is more than one way to find a V.I.E !
- Go to Mon Volontariat International, the official V.I.E recruitment website! Maybe you are more familiar with Civiweb or Civi ? That's quite normal, the website has been redesigned and changed its name in the process! What has not changed ? The job board continues to offer you a long list of V.I.Es covering a very large number of sectors, companies and destinations. It is the essential V.I.E platform, known to recruiters and frequently updated.
- You are also advised to check out the sites of the companies that you are interested in! Some recruiters sometimes publish V.I.E offers directly on their sites. It would be a shame to miss out on the assignment of your dreams !
- Be proactive ! Don’t hesitate to approach a company that you like directly to suggest that they help you go on a V.I.E assignment! You don't really know how to go about it ? Check out convincing arguments to use.
- Finally, you can validate your work-placement year or internship abroad as a V.I.E participant! Find out more from your school.
Where to apply for a V.I.A ?
There is only one way to find a V.I.A ! You apply via the website Mon Volontariat International, formerly Civiweb.
All French International Internship Program offers are published there and regularly updated. In addition to this, administrations that are recruiting do not accept unsolicited applications.
2. How to convince a company to hire you as a Business France V.I.E ?
Did you know that you can spontaneously suggest that a company create a V.I.E assignment ? You really have nothing to lose! In addition to creating a tailor-made opportunity in a company that you like, it is also a way of proving your initiative and motivation. You don’t really know how to tackle the subject ? You are given the 5 key arguments to convince the company to take the plunge !
1. Safety : The French International Internship Program in a Company has been in existence for 20 years. And it has clearly proved its worth ! Today, there are more than 10,000 international volunteers on assignment worldwide. Reassuring for both the company and the candidate, the V.I.E is supported by Business France and guaranteed by the French Embassy.
2. Simplicity : In terms of procedures for the company, a V.I.E is a thousand times simpler than traditional expatriation. The company selects you, takes care of your residence permit in the country and supervises the assignment. But that is by and large all it has to do. Business France is responsible for all administrative, contractual, social and logistics management.
3. Controlled costs : A V.I.E is an advantageous scheme in terms of costs for the company. There are no social or employer contributions. There are also financial aids such as regional subsidies. Which makes it interesting.
4. Flexibility : The French International Internship Program is extremely flexible ! The company can adapt the system in line with its needs. There are many options to choose from :
- the assignment duration of 6 to 24 months,
- the destination(s), with the possibility of extending the assignment over several countries,
- accommodation and coaching arrangements,
- the possibility of undertaking a V.I.E on a shared time basis with another company
-… and even the possibility of starting training in France before departure !
5. Success : Many companies use V.I.Es and say they are extremely satisfied with the system ! The figure that always impresses : 70% of companies that have recruited a V.I.E for a commercial assignment have seen their turnover increase.
The last major argument for the company but also for you : in terms of recruitment, the International Internship experience is often a success for both parties. As a pre-recruitment system, the V.I.E is an opportunity for the company to find rare talent and skills. And this is where you come in !
3. How do I apply to an international volunteer program V.I.E or V.I.A ?
To undertake a V.I.E assignment, registering on the Mon Volontariat International website, formerly called Civiweb, is a prerequisite. You will be informed of the progress of the registration and how to apply for a V.I.E or V.I.A assignment.
Registration on the Mon Volontariat International site (ex Civiweb).
Registration on the Mon Volontariat International website is mandatory in the language in which you are proficient (French or English) to undertake a Business France V.I.E or V.I.A assignment.
There are two levels of registration :
- A simple registration, via your email address, your Google or LinkedIn account that lets you see the V.I.E and V.I.A job board offers.
- Advanced registration requiring you to complete your full profile, i.e. approximately 60 fields that appear in the recruiters' CV library.
Note: even if you are recruited without going through the site, you will still need to register to check your eligibility criteria and launch your assignment.
Find your way around the V.I.E and V.I.A offers
Don’t let yourself be too intimidated by the offer! You can apply for a job even if :
- You do not speak the language of the destination country fluently. Unless the offer explicitly states this, it is not necessarily required. And then, it's a good way to challenge yourself to learn the language once you're there.
- Will you only be available 1 or 2 months after the date announced for the start of the assignment ? The advertisement is still online, go ahead and try your luck !
Applying for a V.I.E or V.I.A
An assignment has caught your eye? We explain how to submit your application. There are two possible scenarios :
1. You are applying for an assignment offer published on the job board of My International Internship
To apply, you must have completed your advanced profile (see previous paragraph)
- If there is no other indication from the recruiter, always apply in the publication language of the V.I.E job offer.
- A word of advice: before starting your application, find out about the company, its sector of activity or its challenges in the country of the assignment. Also take a quick look at the recruiter's website and social networks to get an idea of the corporate culture.
- On your CV : highlight the key elements of your career likely to interest the company or the administration. And above all, avoid at all costs offering different recruiters the same standardised CV. This is the best way to convince none of them.
- In your covering letter: highlight your skills, your knowledge of the sector, your linguistic knowledge, your soft skills and your originality. But be careful to remain direct and relevant. Keep the goal in mind : show the recruiter that you are the right person !
You can’t find what you are looking for directly in the job board offers? Good news! By going to the “They are hiring” page of My International Internship, you can send an unsolicited application to a recruiter without leaving the site! You will simply have to check that the company accepts them.
2. You apply directly on a company’s website
A quick reminder: in the case in question, you are solely looking for a V.I.E. V.I.A applications are always made on the My International Internship website and never directly with the public body that is recruiting !
- Submit your application via the company's job board in the language of the advertisement or in the language specified by the recruiter.
- To draft the CV and the covering letter, see above.
- You have been selected by the company ? - well done ! - It is time to complete your full profile on the My International Internship website. A “small” formality required before embarking on a great adventure !
4. What is a shared-time V.I.E french international internship program ?
As its name indicates, the V.I.E on a shared time basis is a system that makes it possible to divide the time of an International Volunteer between different recruiters. You therefore work for several companies but it counts as a single assignment! These companies share the costs between themselves and agree on how your time is to be organised. Example : Three wine producers decide to share the time of an international volunteer occupying a sales position.
Rest assured ! In order to avoid being split between a multitude of employers, Business France recommends limiting the number of recruiters to 2 or 3. Your shared-time V.I.E assignment is also limited to a single country to avoid unnecessary travel. The only exception is if the shared-time V.I.E assignment is combined with le V.I.E régional.
You are lucky ! Up to three professional experiences for the price of one. You learn to manage several accounts at the same time: it is formative and also a big plus on your CV !
Last but not least : you only receive one allowance of course.
5. As an International volunteer program V.I.E, which conditions are negotiable ?
The International Internship Program is not covered by a standard contract between the company and the candidate. Framed by the State and Business France, both V.I.E and V.I.A status is therefore based on regulatory conditions. Find out what is negotiable and what is not !
V.I.E and V.I.A conditions that can be negotiated
The following items are negotiable with the host company or public structure :
- Partial or total payment of your accommodation.
- Access to certain company services. Example : gym, media library, etc.
- Language or other refresher courses.
- Equipment required for the proper performance of the assignment. Example: company PC or smartphone.
- A company vehicle to move around during working hours and only as part of your assignment.
A small point: While these benefits are nice to have, bear in mind that the host structure does not owe them to you. This is the nuance between what is definite and what is negotiable. If these are important points for you, put on your negotiator's costume: stay humble and calm, prepare your arguments to be convincing, and compromise when necessary !
V.I.E and V.I.A conditions that are not negotiated
All V.I. benefits (security, remuneration, taxation, etc.) exist thanks to the framework of the status. The counterpart is that certain conditions that are negotiable during a traditional recruitment are not negotiated as part of a V.I.E or V.I.A assignment.
The following are absolutely non-negotiable :
- Your V.I.E salary, which by the way is not actually one. In fact, you receive an allowance that is set by the French State. This varies according to your destination country and is adapted to the costs of local life and not according to your seniority, your skills or your qualities as a negotiator !
- Extra payments, commissions, bonuses, etc. all these monetary benefits that traditionally exist in salaried employment cannot be paid to you in the context of the V.I.E and the V.I.A The allowance is your only source of income! But rest assured, it is calculated so that you live very comfortably !
- You cannot benefit from a company vehicle, i.e. a vehicle available outside the time of your assignment. Why? Because it amounts to a benefit in kind.
- By undertaking a V.I.E or V.I.A, you adapt to the working hours of the company or public body that you join. As a result, French working hours no longer apply to you !
6. Can you do an international volunteer program V.I.E in several countries ?
Most of the time, an International Internship in a company takes place in a single country. This is why choosing a destination is often difficult ! But in two specific cases, the V.I.E assignment can take you to more than one country. This is how.
You undertake a regional V.I.E assignment
Sometimes the company that recruits you needs to cover a wider geographical area than a single country. For example, it may need you to do prospecting in several countries in the same region or to follow more than one market.
This is where the regional V.I.E procedure comes in, which allows the company and the international intern to cover up to 8 countries in the same geographical area for the same assignment - including the country of assignment.
Example : You are assigned to a regional V.I.E in Thailand to manage 4 markets in South-East Asia : Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and Indonesia. As part of your assignment, you may travel and operate in these 4 countries. You are lucky, you can kill 4 birds with one stone.
In the case of a regional V.I.E, you only reside in your country of assignment and you receive the allowance relating to this country.
In the example above, Thailand is your only country of residence and the destination on which your V.I.E allowance is based.
You change country of assignment during your V.I.E assignment
This is highly exceptional, but your recruiter may ask that you change countries during your International Internship. Rest assured, this decision can never be taken unilaterally. To set in motion a change of country, the company must first obtain your agreement and then make a transfer request to Business France.
Again, there is no question of turning everything upside down overnight ! At a minimum, the change of country takes place with one month’s notice - not counting the time needed to obtain any visas that may be required.
Of course, if the transfer is accepted, all your travel and business transport costs are covered by the company recruiting you. And don’t worry, you are entitled to send up to 150 kg of unaccompanied luggage (as freight).
What to remember: changing countries during an assignment is rare and never happens overnight or without your agreement. In addition to this, there is nothing for you to worry about regarding tickets and luggage costs, which are covered by the company.
Frequently asked questions before going on a V.I.E assignment
1. What happens between your V.I.E recruitment and the big departure ?
You have risen to the challenge of the applications and interviews and... Good news ! The company of your choice hires you as a V.I.E participant. The next big question is : when is the big departure ? Although the time between recruitment and the start of the assignment is on average two months, it may be double that in some cases. Let us fill you in !
Why don’t V.I.E participants leave immediately ?
Whether on a trip, a traditional expatriation or a V.I.E, travelling abroad requires some preparation and, above all, it takes time. Before flying off to your destination, you must complete 4 steps before you reach the boarding gate :
1 - The company has chosen you ! It confirms your application with Business France.
2 - The Business France manager takes over! He/she sends you and the company a message confirming that your V.I.E assignment has been validated by the recruiter. This is where the processing of your application begins ! In the same message, you receive the country memo that allows you to anticipate whether or not you need a residence permit. You must then consult directly with the company for any visa or work permit procedures.
3 - Once Business France has confirmed your file, your manager asks you for bank details (RIB) from a French bank and sends you your letter of appointment to sign electronically via your personal space.
4 - Once your letter of appointment has been signed, and your bank details, residence permit, and medical certificate have been sent via your personal space, and once you have attended the induction meeting organised by Business France, you can go on a V.I.E Departures are always on the 1st of the following month !
During these different stages, if you need an update for your file or questions about your procedures, you can contact your Business France manager via your personal V.I.E space or by telephone.
How long between your VIE recruitment and your departure ?
On average, it takes 2 months between the time when the company says “yes” and the time when you arrive in the host country. However, this period may be longer or shorter as the case may be.
Although filing your application and the verification procedures by Business France are generally relatively quick, obtaining a residence permit is more uncertain and varies greatly depending on the destination.
- For the countries of the European Economic Area, it is simple: no need for a visa. The period is therefore shorter and you can fly off more quickly. If all goes well, the departure can take place within 1 month.
- For countries outside the EEA, particularly those requiring a visa, you need to count 3, 4 or 6 months or longer, in rare cases.
Please note that leaving for your host country before finalising everything is really not a good idea. It could delay the start of your assignment or prevent you from obtaining the residence permit you need.
What to do while waiting to go on a V.I.E assignment?
When you're looking forward to going abroad, time can seem to drag. But this is the ideal time to start organising your departure, even if it's not 100% confirmed.
You can :
- Read the country memo and prepare all the documents you will need to obtain your residence permit.
- Contact the recruiter to launch the procedures related to your residence permit but also, possibly, to educate yourself before you leave.
- Find out about the country, its customs and its cultural codes.
- Inform yourself and start looking for accommodation in the destination country
- Look ahead to the organisation of the transportation of your luggage and any travel with your company.
- Make an appointment with a doctor approved by the Regional Health Agency for your initial medical examination. And of course, check that you are up-to-date in your vaccines depending on the country to which you are travelling.
- Upload your bank details (RIB) so that you can receive your allowances when the time comes. By the way, check that you have a bank account in France. If you are not French, anticipate as much as possible! The procedures can take time.
- Sign your letter of appointment with Business France electronically.
2. When do you sign the contract for your Business France V.I.E ?
V.I.E contract : definition and trial period
When you do a V.I.E or V.I.A, you don’t sign a contract. Surprising, right ? But don't panic, International Internship is legally well regulated.
In the same way that you receive an allowance and not a salary, you sign a letter of appointment with Business France and not an employment contract with the company that recruits you.
Good news ! No contract means no trial period. In the context of the V.I.E and the V.I.A, contract terminations remain exceptional and are supervised by Business France. But be careful, by signing the letter of appointment, as its name indicates, you undertake to respect a certain number of things.
V.I.E appointment letter : what, when, how ?
What does the V.I.E and V.I.A appointment letter contain ? It contains a wealth of information that mentions in particular:
- Your rights and obligations as an International Intern
- The nature and scope of your assignments in the company recruiting you
- Your package and the conditions for paying for your return air ticket; the transport of your luggage in cargo up to 150 kg per trip for the outbound and the return trip; your accommodation in the country; the establishment and financial responsibility for your residence permit; your health insurance and repatriation for international travel.
When do you sign the letter of appointment ? A few days before your departure on assignment, once your file has been processed and confirmed.
In concrete terms, how does it work? Business France sends you the letter of appointment in your personal space on the My International Internship website. Upon receipt, you must sign it electronically via your personal V.I.E space.
3. What health insurance is provided when you undertake a V.I.E or V.I.A ?
Because working abroad has its own challenges and the French International Internship Program has a special status, as a V.I.E or V.I.A participant, you benefit from private social cover put in place by Business France or the public recruitment agency. Instead, you benefit from private social cover put in place by Business France for a V.I.E and, in the context of a V.I.A, by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) or by the Ministry of the Economy, Industry and Employment (MEIE).
What is covered ?
Taken out with April International Care France, the insurance policy put in place by Business France for V.I.E and V.I.A participants covers :
- Healthcare costs
- Repatriation assistance
- Civil liability
- Special risks
In practical terms, this means that once you are working abroad, you and any dependants will benefit from :
- Traditional health and welfare insurance benefits : reimbursement of your healthcare, maternity, disability, occupational accidents and occupational diseases insurance costs.
- Cover in the event of hospitalisation or repatriation.
- Civil liability insurance.
Where do I find out about V.I.E or V.I.A health insurance ?
Before starting your assignment, you will receive a guide detailing all your social cover and that of your dependants. April International shows you how insurance works and answers your questions during the induction day organised by Business France.
4. Is it possible to extend V.I.E social security to your family ?
Do you plan on taking your spouse and/or children with you on your V.I.E adventure ? Good news ! Under certain conditions, your family may be covered by your V.I.E social cover.
The V.I.E insurance policy, which Business France takes out for you, may cover your family provided that they are declared as dependants to the insurance company before departure and provided that :
- You provide the necessary official documents - marriage, civil partnership, cohabitation, birth certificate.
- The person accompanying you is not gainfully employed in the host country.
- Your relative is not a national of the country in which you carry out your assignment.
Without these three conditions, the person cannot be a dependant.
As you can see, it is quite technical! For all these reasons, it is the insurance company responsible for your social protection that always confirms the cover of any people who accompany you !
5. Does international volunteer program V.I.E count towards your pension ?
When you undertake a V.I.E or V.I.A assignment, you do not contribute towards your pension. However, the duration of your International Internship assignment is recognised for your retirement. We explain why and how to validate these periods after you have returned.
Business France V.I.E and pension: how does it work ?
Remember, the V.I. has a very special status! As you do not receive any salary but rather an allowance, no pension contribution relating to your assignment.
But there is good news ! Not everything is lost. If you have spent at least 6 months on an assignment, the time spent on an international internship counts towards your pension. As with military service, the three-monthly periods spent on a V.I.E or a V.I.A therefore count toward calculating your pension. You know what they say, it is never too soon to prepare your retirement !
How do the three-monthly V.I.E periods count towards your pension ?
Note: confirmation of your three-monthly V.I.E periods will not do itself. To make the duration of your assignment count towards your pension, there are a few steps to take. But fear not, we will guide you through this procedure!
First of all, you will need to have the certificate of completion of your internship. This document, which is given to you at the end of your assignment by Business France - if you are a V.I.E participant - and by the MEAE, the DG of the Treasury or Business France, if you are a V.I.A participant, is used to prove your periods of activity.
By whom should these three-monthly periods of activity be confirmed and recognised ? To prove this period, you must send a copy of your certificate of completion of the Internship to your contact person, either the CNAV (Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Vieillesse) to which you contribute in respect of your activity, or that of your last place of residence. Remember to provide your social security number and to specify that this is a “career regularisation” request. In simple terms, this is a request to have your Internship taken into account.
In so far as concerns time, CNAV takes around 4 to 6 months to validate your periods of activity. At the end of these six months, to check that everything has been taken into account, you can ask for a career statement.
I am not French: does the V.I.E assignment count towards my pension ?
You have exactly the same rights as French interns !
The same rules and procedures apply to you: it is the first retirement insurance plan to which you are affiliated after your V.I., which serves as the basis for calculating and validating your periods of activity. And you must provide the CNAV with your certificate of completion of your assignment. (see previous paragraph).
6. Should you declare your V.I.E or V.I.A allowance to the tax office ?
The allowance paid to you every month in respect of your V.I.E or V.I.A assignment is exempt from tax in France. However, you must still complete a tax declaration in France, whether you are French or not. We help you understand how taxes work in the French International Internship Program !
Do you pay taxes on Business France V.I.E and V.I.A allowances ?
Because you receive an allowance not a salary, you do not pay income tax on it. This allowance is also excluded from the CSG (General Social Contribution) and CRDS (Contribution to the Repayment of Social Debt) tax base, which are generally deducted from income. In short, it is one of the great advantages of being an International Intern !
But be careful, you must still declare your taxes on these allowances in France. And this includes absolutely everyone ! Whether you are a V.I.E participant or a V.I.A participant, a French national or a national of a country in the European Economic Area, you cannot avoid it. But don’t panic, we will guide you through everything you need to do !
How to declare your Business France V.I.E and V.I.A taxes ?
Under certain conditions, you can ask to be attached to your parents’ tax household. This is possible if :
- You are under 21 on 1 January of the tax reference year, i.e. the year concerned by the declaration.
- Or if you are under 25 on 1 January of the tax reference year AND if you can prove that you are continuing your studies.
This is not the case ? Then you must complete your own declaration. Ah, the joys of growing up !
Where can I get a tax declaration form ?
There are two ways to obtain your form to declare your V.I. allowance to the tax office :
- You have already completed a tax declaration in the past: the tax authorities automatically send you a pre-completed declaration form showing your tax number. Good news : your declaration can be done online !
- You have never completed a tax declaration in France : in this case you must obtain the form from the Centre des Impôts (tax office) to which you belong or from the www.impots.gouv.fr website. This time, you must send your declaration by post. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the tax authorities to help you.
How do you complete your V.I.E tax declaration ?
You have obtained the form but are not sure how to complete it ? We explain how to do it depending on your circumstances!
Case 1. A - During the tax year in question, you have not received any income other than your International Internship allowances.
Example: You declare your 2020 income and your only income for this year is your V.I.E assignment allowance.
You then declare “0” income in respect of your V.I.E allowances and attach a hand-written sworn statement in which :
- You state that you have completed an assignment as a V.I.E or V.I.A participant.
- You indicate the duration of your International Internship assignment.
- You refer to Article L. 122-12 of the National Service Code by quoting the following paragraph : “Carrying out an International Internship in a Company, to the exclusion of all remunerated work, entitles me to a monthly allowance which is exonerated from income tax and payments to the social security fund and the social debt fund.”
In this case, you may, if necessary, request a certificate of non-taxation from your Tax Office.
Case 2. During the tax year in question, you received your allowance as an International Intern AND income, whether salaried or non-salaried, from French sources
Example: You declare your 2020 income. In 2020, you received your allowance for your 8-month V.I.E assignment and 3 months of salary from a French company for a fixed-term contract started on your return from the assignment.
In this case you declare :
- “0” income in respect of your V.I.E allowances and attach a sworn statement (see above)
- Salaries from French sources,
- Your other income from property or rights located in France (real estate income, copyright income, etc.)
Case 3. During the tax year in question, you have received your allowance as International Intern for part of the year AND have received income from foreign sources for the rest of the tax year.
Example : You declare your 2020 income. In 2020, you received your allowance for your 6-month V.I.E assignment in Germany and 6 months of salary from a German company that hired you after your V.I.E assignment.
In this case you declare :
- “0” income for your V.I.E allowance and attach a sworn statement (see case 1)
- For income from foreign sources received after your V.I.E assignment, please contact your Tax Office in France to find out about your new tax obligations, particularly in terms of declaration.
Important ! When your assignment is completed, you change status, whether you return to France or remain abroad. Contact your Tax Office for further details !
Finally, undertaking a V.I.E assignment does not give you access to the employment bonus because as an International Intern you are already exempt from taxes, contributions and social security charges. You mustn’t be too greedy.
7. Where, when and how to attend the medical examination for a V.I.E ?
To be able to go on an International Internship, you must be declared fit by a doctor and therefore undergo a medical examination before your departure.
When to make an appointment for this medical check-up ? You must complete your medical examination during the month preceding your departure on assignment. So, plan ahead a little and remember to make an appointment in your diary !
Where can I take this examination ? You must be examined in France or in your EEA country before departure. No need to go to a specialist, have yourself examined by a GP. The only condition ? This doctor must be referenced by the Agence Régionale de Santé or by the French Embassy abroad.
What is the purpose of this medical examination ? It is compulsory to allow you to take part in an International Internship, it allows the doctor to ensure that you are able to carry out your assignment in the country where you will be undertaking your V.I.E or V.I.A assignment. If this is the case, he/she will provide you with a medical certificate confirming this.
It is also an opportunity to ask the doctor everything you need to know about health prevention in order to go to the country of your assignment. In particular, remember to check with him/her that you have any vaccinations required. You will need to have completed all the vaccinations necessary to leave.
What to do with the medical certificate issued to you ? You must send it to Business France immediately via your candidate space on the My International Internship website.
Last word of advice : before leaving, you must also check on the health status of the country and note any official recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs .
8. Who is responsible for the ticket to undertake a Business France V.I.E ?
You are impatient to fly to the country that will welcome you for several months on a V.I.E assignment ? As a result, you look for information on how air tickets are managed. Here, we provide answers to the questions you have about the ticket that gives you access to your adventure !
The good news is that the price of your return air tickets is paid for by the company recruiting you. This therefore covers departure and end of mission journeys between your home and the country of assignment.
For the procedures for covering transport costs, the company has a choice between two options :
- It can manage the booking and transport costs directly with you : in this case, it is best to contact the recruiter to organise your departure. Some companies prefer to buy the tickets themselves, while others will let you book and then refund you on presentation of the proof of purchase.
- The company may delegate the order for the ticket to Business France under its contract with the manager. In that case check with Business France to organise your trip.
If you don’t know which option your recruiter has chosen, it’s easy! It is included in the letter of appointment you signed with Business France.
Be careful, don’t wait too long before leaving the country at the end of the assignment! The company undertakes to pay for your ticket provided that you return within 3 months from the end of your V.I.E assignment.
And of course, if you are lucky enough to be hired in the country where you did your V.I.E, the reimbursement of the return ticket is no longer due.
9. What are the conditions for your luggage transportation ?
We all like to think we are minimalists. But the day you have to put all of your life in a suitcase to travel to the other side of the world, you soon realise that your belongings won't fit into a knapsack. Instead, you need a moving truck.
This is just as well : as part of the French International Internship Program, the company that recruits you covers the cost of transporting your luggage up to 150 kg per return journey. Don't worry, you won't have to drag the 150 kg behind you on the day of your departure. Your luggage is in fact unaccompanied luggage transported by air freight.
Where you get involved, is that it’s up to you to request a quote for the transport of this luggage. Contact more than one carrier to obtain different quotes for the transport of this luggage by air freight, respecting of course the maximum weight of 150 kg.
For the reimbursement of these costs, there are two scenarios as decided by the company recruiting you :
- Either the company reimburses you directly : you first present the various quotes to them for validation. You will be reimbursed by the company subsequently upon presentation of the invoices.
- Or, as part of its contract, the company has delegated the luggage allowance to Business France. In this case, it is Business France that reimburses you for the costs of transporting luggage. The first half of the package is paid to you during the first month of your assignment, the other half before the end of your assignment.
You don't know which option has been chosen by your recruiter ? It is indicated in the letter of appointment that you sign with Business France before the start of your assignment.
Important : If you are hired in the country at the end of your assignment, the luggage allowance for the return trip is not paid to you.
10. Who finds and pays for the V.I.E’s and V.I.A’s accommodation ?
It is generally up to you to find and pay for your accommodation in the country where you are going on a V.I.E assignment. However, there are exceptions : in some cases the company is obliged to provide you with accommodation, in others it may offer to pay for part or all of the accommodation. We explain everything !
Case 1. You are responsible for finding your own accommodation and paying the rent : This is the most frequent case! Feel free to get information online - via social networks, expat blogs or the destination site - about the best way to do it. Each country has its own specific features regarding the rental market : procedures, prices, conditions of access, websites, regulations, etc. Advice from expatriates and local people will help you find your way. Are rents high in the country you are visiting ? If that is your situation, think about shared accommodation that allows you to split prices and often make friends as soon as you arrive !
Case 2. The company must provide you with accommodation : In some countries, the company must provide you with accommodation. In this case, the company also covers all the costs of your home. Consequently, your geographic allowance is reduced by 20%, regardless of the context or the specific features of the assignment.
Case 3. The company chooses to share the costs of your accommodation:
- By paying your rent partially or totally: your geographic allowance is then reduced by 20%.
- By providing you with accommodation: do not worry, this accommodation must comply with safety and health requirements.
- By participating in cash to pay for your accommodation. In this case, 2 limits must be respected :
- 1st limit : the participation must correspond to the price of the country's rental market.
- 2nd limit : the participation must be at least the amount of the 20% reduction of the geographical allowance and at most the amount of your monthly geographical allowance.
Why these rules ? Because any breach may call into question the tax exemption linked to your V.I.E status.
11. Who takes care of the visa to go on a Business France V.I.E ?
To go to work in certain countries, you may need a visa or a work permit. We explain how to know whether or not your destination requires a residence permit and who is responsible for the administrative procedures to obtain it.
How to know if your destination requires a visa ?
You do not need a residence permit to travel to a country in the European Economic Area.
For any other destination, you can obtain information:
- via My International Internship Program from the country page, if you have not yet applied for a V.I.E This page contains the eligibility criteria by destination.
- By referring to the country memo shown on the My International Internship website in the V.I.E job offer and, once recruited, in your personal space.
Who is responsible for the visa needed to go on a V.I.E assignment ?
If you need a visa or a work permit to be able to undertake a V.I.E assignment, contact your recruiter immediately. It is up to the company and you to initiate the residence permit procedures. Do not wait too long to start these procedures because, for some destinations, they can be long and somewhat complex.
How to proceed ? In the country memo, you will find all the documents you need to prepare your visa or work permit application file. The company will help you prepare this file by providing certain supporting documents.
Who pays for the visa and work permit fees ? It is the company that recruits you that will cover your visa costs in full. After all, these are professional expenses! There are two possible scenarios : either the company pays the visa fees directly or it reimburses you afterwards to your account in France.
Note: once you have obtained your residence permit, do not forget to send a copy to Business France ! This is done directly via your personal space on the My International Internship website.
12. What’s the purpose of the V.I.E induction day organised by Business France ?
The V.I.E induction day, which is mandatory in order to go on an assignment, is organised by Business France, the agency that manages the V.I.E on behalf of the State. The purpose of this day is to provide you with all the information you need before your departure.
A quick reminder: since the V.I.E program is placed under the authority of the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade, there are a number of rights and duties associated with V.I.E status. As a result, it represents an opportunity to remind yourself of them.
How is the induction day organised ? You will receive your invitation 2 or 3 days before your departure to the country of assignment. As the start of a V.I.E assignment is always the first of the month, this induction day generally takes place at the end of the month preceding your big departure. No need to travel! It is done remotely via a webinar.
What is the induction day about ? During the induction meeting, Business France :
- Makes you aware of your V.I.E rights and duties.
- Informs you about IT security risks and what not to do during your assignment.
- Explains the terms of your social security cover and the procedures to be followed in the event of illness, accident, maternity, repatriation, etc.
- Informs you about the major steps that await you as a V.I.E participant: before, during and after the assignment.
If you are not in good standing by the induction day, your departure is postponed to the following month.
Example : you do not attend the induction day, you do not have your residence permit, you do not have the mandatory medical certificate, etc. As you can see it is better to anticipate all the procedures as far as is possible! In the event of a postponement, you and the company will receive an amendment to the letter of appointment that changes the start month.
Frequently asked questions during a V.I.E assignment
1. What are your local working conditions as a Business France V.I.E ?
When you undertake an International Internship, you live at the pace of the host country ! As a V.I.E participant, you are therefore subject to the same conditions and times as the local company teams.
Thus you are not covered by French labour law rules. In practical terms, this may mean forgetting about the 35-hour working week for the duration of the assignment, weeks that go from Monday to Friday, French public holidays, days off, etc.
Example : As a V.I.E participant in the United Arab Emirates, you work on Sundays but not on Friday.
You adapt fully to the habits and customs of the company in order to be in sync with your local colleagues. This pace may sometimes be atypical (example : shift working). If this is the case, the company will inform you before the start of the assignment, and you will be granted time off in lieu.
2. How do you take holidays during your Business France V.I.E ?
Ah, holidays ! They allow you to explore the country where you are undertaking your V.I.E, or to return home to see your loved ones. As an international volunteer, you are entitled to holidays and public holidays. We tell you how it works.
How many holidays are you entitled to ?
All V.I.E and V.I.A participants are entitled to annual leave of a fixed duration corresponding to 2.5 working days per month of assignment. You accumulate this leave as your assignment progresses. Please note that you cannot take leave in advance - i.e. before you have acquired it - except in the event of the annual closure of your company.
Example : you start your assignment on November 1st, in December you are entitled to 2.5 days of leave. Does your company close at Christmas for a week ? You must take an additional 2.5 days in advance.
What about public holidays ? You are entitled to at least 4 public holidays per year. You negotiate these public holidays with the company. It may also decide to grant you, in addition to these 4 mandatory days, the same or some of the public holidays that it grants to local employees. If this is not the case, you will have to take these non-working days from your annual leave.
Finally, the V.I.E participant's status authorises you to take exceptional leave in the following cases :
- The birth or adoption of your child: 3 to 10 days maximum
- Your marriage or civil partnership: 4 to 10 days maximum
- The death of a relative: from 1 to 10 days maximum
You consult with the company to determine the exact number of days, between these minimums and maximums.
How to set up your V.I.E holiday ?
You must always request the written agreement of the host company. The management of all your holidays, annual, sickness, maternity - is managed directly by the company. And you maintain with it the statement made available to Business France locally and in France.
Note: if your holidays require you to leave the country of your V.I.E, you must without fail declare your trip, on your personal account and wait for authorisation from Business France.
You decide how to take your annual leave ! You can split them up over the course of your V.I.E, with the agreement of the company. If you wish to combine them, bear in mind that any leave acquired in the first year of assignment cannot be carried over to the following year. Finally, any leave not taken is not paid to you. So remember to take it !
3. Under which conditions can you travel during your V.I.E assignment ?
Whether exploring the region, returning home for holidays or going on a business trip, you will certainly need to travel during your V.I.E assignment. We explain how to manage your trips in accordance with your V.I.E status.
You must always declare any trips to the company and Business France
Whatever the nature of your trips outside the country (including France) - holidays, weekends, professional assignments - you must always:
- Obtain the agreement of the manager of the local structure that is hosting you.
- Submit a travel authorisation request to Business France via your personal space on the My International Internship website. Always specify the destination country and your travel dates.
Note: this is mandatory! Above all, this procedure is designed to ensure your safety. Indeed, the Director of the Business France Office or the local French Embassy may refuse travel if the health situation or political context presents a danger to you. It is also a way of checking that you are not travelling in “red” zones, destinations declared strictly prohibited to travellers by the Crisis Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Focus on business trip expenses and duration
As part of your assignment, the company hosting you on a V.I.E assignment may send you on a business trip inside or outside the country. Of course, the company advances to you, or reimburses you for, any travel costs upon presentation of invoices.
Outside Europe, the duration of any business trips that take you outside the country and outside France may not exceed 10 days per month, which may be cumulative over two months. Business France must give its agreement to authorise any overrun.
If you are on a V.I.E assignment in the EEA and Switzerland or if you are on a regional V.I.E assignment, you can travel throughout the zone without being limited in number of trips, provided that you do not go beyond 2 months per trip.
4. What happens when you return to France or home during a V.I.E assignment ?
Returning to France or home may happen to you on holidays to visit your family or for a business trip. During your V.I.E assignment, all your travel must be declared and authorised beforehand by the company hosting you and by Business France. This is for your safety and also because these trips have an impact on your authorised length of stay and your V.I.E allowance. We explain all this to you !
Trips to France and home have an impact in terms of V.I.E status. Why ?
- because you have the right to stay in France for a maximum of 182 days per year of assignment.
- because beyond 7 consecutive days in France or in your country of residence within the European Economic Area, your geographical allowance as International Volunteer is revised downwards. During your stay, it is calculated on the lowest amount of the european zone.
Example: over a 30-day month, you spend 20 days in the country of the assignment and 10 days in France. You will then receive 100% of the common allowance + 20 days of the country's geographical allowance + 10 days of the reduced rate geographical allowance. However, if you spend 6 days in France, you will receive 100% of your allowance.
For these reasons, you must declare your trips to France or to your country of residence via your personal space on Mon Volontariat International.
If your stay is interspersed with travel abroad, you must be able to provide Business France with proof of the nights you spend outside the country so that the reduced rate is not applied.
Tempted to fiddle to avoid having your allowances reduced ? You are strongly advised not to! We always find out in the end and so do the tax authorities. So you will have to pay back any amounts received in error, which were invoiced to the host company. If you hope to be hired after your assignment, fooling your employer is not the best strategy, so think about it !
5. Can you resign from a Business France V.I.E assignment ?
A V.I.E contract is never terminated unilaterally. In practical terms, this means that you cannot resign and that the company cannot dismiss you without mediation from Business France. The latter will only agree to terminate your assignment in specific circumstances. We explain everything.
Why you can't decide to quit your V.I.E on your own
As you know, the V.I.E contract is not actually a contract, from the legal point of view. Indeed, there is no contractual link between you and the company. You, and the company, have given a commitment to Business France. This is why you sign a letter of appointment with Business France and not the recruiter before you leave.
As a result, the termination of the V.I.E contract can never be decided unilaterally by you, by the company or even between you and the company. In short, nothing can be done without the agreement of Business France, which is the decision-maker and mediator in the termination of any V.I.E assignment. Finally, the cessation of your V.I.E assignment is only possible under certain conditions as detailed in the following paragraph.
When is it possible to terminate a V.I.E contract ?
Business France may terminate a V.I.E assignment:
- In an event of force majeure, i.e. if an unforeseeable, external and unavoidable event occurs, preventing you from completing the assignment. Example: war, hurricane, epidemic, etc.
- If the company does not comply with the agreement signed with Business France. Example: when the intern arrives in the country, he/she does not have a place of work or a manager.
- In the event of serious misconduct by the V.I.E intern. Example: unjustified absences, theft, abusive behaviour.
- If the company and the V.I.E participant so request by mutual agreement.
- If the company actively provides evidence and demonstrates that the termination of the assignment is in the interest of the department or activity Example : the company meets with difficulties and cannot keep the V.I.E participant in position or if the V.I.E participant is not capable of fulfilling his/her assignment. The company must then give one month’s notice following confirmation of the reason by Business France.
- If the International Intern must leave his/her V.I.E to engage in another professional activity subject to providing proof thereof. They must then give 3 months’ notice as soon as Business France confirms the reason for their departure.
How do I request the termination of a V.I.E ?
If you are in a situation where you are considering resigning, talk to your Business France manager as soon as possible. This is the prerequisite for Business France to be able to act as mediator and ensure that the best solution is found for you and for the company. Important, never abandon a position, as this may lead to penalties.
In practical terms, the steps to end an assignment are as follows :
1. The company or the V.I.E participant sends Business France, in writing, their reasons for ending the V.I.E assignment and attaches the supporting documents corresponding to the reason for the request.
2. Business France analyses the situation and takes the most balanced decision regarding the reason and the end date. As long as Business France has not decided, the V.I.E participant must remain in their position except in exceptional circumstances.
3. Business France informs the company and the intern of its decision, sharing the reason and the date of the end of the assignment.
Penalties for non-compliance with procedures or serious misconduct
If your assignment is interrupted for serious misconduct or if you request the end of your V.I.E assignment for a reason that is not included in the conditions provided for, you must reimburse the costs incurred by the company as part of your internship. These costs include :
- Travel expenses - return air tickets
- Luggage transport costs - based on the carrier's invoices.
- Training costs incurred by the company.
- If applicable, the amount of your advance and the allowances paid during the notice period if you do not adhere to it.
6. Can you work from home during your Business France V.I.E ?
Remote work is becoming more widespread in many sectors and companies. This is also the case for V.I.Es, under certain conditions and provided that the host company practices it.
If it is not possible to do your V.I.E assignment 100% by teleworking, the company may, if it so wishes, grant you up to 3 days per week of work from home. As you can see, it really depends on the employer and its constraints in terms of organisation and continuity of service.
The possibility of teleworking does not exempt the company from providing you with premises where you can work in person. Example: The company authorises you to work from home 3 days per week. It must also provide you with premises, those of the host company or structure, to receive you the remaining working time.
Finally, rest assured : working from home has no impact on your social security cover. The private civil liability insurance that you benefit from throughout the assignment also applies to remote work and your free time. And if you were to have an accident while teleworking during your working hours, it would also be considered a workplace accident.
Frequently asked questions when returning from a V.I.E assignment
1. Can the duration of the V.I.E assignment be extended ?
You like your V.I.E so much that you would like to extend the experience ! Does the company hosting you on an International Internship Program share your desire to make the assignment last beyond the crucial date of your return ? Determine if it is possible, and if so, how you do it !
If the company agrees, you can extend the initial duration of your assignment but without ever exceeding the limit of 24 months in total. Don't forget, the V.I.E allows you to spend 6 to 24 months on assignment with the same company. The 24-month limit is firm and cannot be exceeded. Example : If your V.I.E assignment lasts 24 months, you cannot extend your assignment. However, if your assignment is initially scheduled to run for 18 months, you can extend the adventure up to another 6 months.
You can extend your assignment in the same country or another destination, but always on behalf of the same company.
How to do it in practical terms ? The company submits the extension request via the customer Extranet, at least 1 month before the initially planned end of the assignment, and the young person gives their consent on their personal space on the My International Internship website. Please note that your residence permit must obviously be extended to cover this extension. So plan ahead ! Example : For Australia, allow at least 3 months ! If the request is accepted, you will receive an amendment to the V.I.E contract which modifies the duration of the assignment. You must then sign it electronically in your personal space.
2. What do you need to do before returning from a V.I.E ?
You will soon be returning home ! With the departure date fast approaching, it is sometimes difficult to know what to do and to identify the priorities. One month before the end of your V.I.E assignment, Business France will send you the return booklet to help you. There are two steps that absolutely must be done before you return : the end-of-internship medical examination and an end-of-assignment report. Without them, you will not be able to obtain your V.I.E certificate of completion.
Are you an International Intern in Administration ? The public body that recruits you sends you the instructions directly by email, approximately two months before the end of the assignment.
Everything you need to know about the end-of-V.I.E medical examination
At the same time as the return booklet, Business France sends you a medical certificate to be completed before your departure. Your end-of-assignment medical visit is not far away !
This medical examination must be carried out at the end of the V.I.E assignment, preferably on the last day of your assignment or possibly the week before. There are two possible scenarios :
- You have already returned to France and are completing your assignment there : you must undergo this check-up visit with a doctor approved by the Agence Régionale de Santé.
- You are still abroad : you make an appointment with a doctor referenced by the Embassy and included on the list that the V.I.E correspondent in your country of assignment can provide you with.
At the end of the visit, you leave with the completed medical certificate and must send the original to Business France by post to the following address :
Business France Département V.I.E
2, place Laurent d’Arvieux
CS 60708 13572
Marseille Cedex 02
We recommend that you keep a copy of this document. You can never be too careful !
Good news, you don’t have to pay for this visit! You are reimbursed by the insurer who covers you during your assignment on two conditions :
- You undergo the medical examination before the end of your assignment.
- You send April International the original of the doctor’s fees document within two months from the end of your V.I.E assignment.
What is the V.I.E end of assignment report ?
At the end of your V.I.E assignment, you must provide Business France with an end of assignment report. In your personal space on the My International Internship website, you will find an online form to complete.
Remember to complete it as soon as possible ! Not only does it enable you to review your experience and share it with Business France, but, like the medical certificate, it is mandatory in order for you to obtain your V.I.E certificate of completion.
Other procedures to be carried out before your return
Do not forget all the other procedures required for a smooth return :
- Take care of your plane ticket: contact the company or public body where you are doing your international internship.
- Manage the transport of your luggage: arrange this directly with the company or the administration.
- If you found your accommodation by yourself, terminate your rental contract at the right time, taking into account the notice period !
- For V.I.As, remember to submit your service passport to the administration concerned.
3. Can you remain in the country once the V.I.E assignment is over ?
An International Internship can be the start of a long adventure in a country ! Maybe you have been hired locally by a French or foreign company ? You may also want to stay there for personal reasons - tourism, spiritual retreat, love at first sight, etc. That’s life! We explain what happens when you stay in the country of your V.I.E assignment !
You are recruited locally by a French or foreign company
Congratulations! Your international career is well underway. With this good news, the time has come for us to go our separate ways. Indeed, you are leaving V.I.E status and the Business France fold to chart your path independently ! A final piece of advice for the road ?
If you are recruited locally :
- You are no longer covered by the V.I.E healthcare insurance, which ends on the last day of your assignment.
- You cannot benefit from the French social security system if your employment contract does not fall under French law.
As a result, you are recommended to immediately contact a private insurance organisation suitable for French people abroad that allows you to benefit from the same social security as in France or to contribute to your retirement. You can join on an individual basis or through your employer. Please note that this insurance does not exempt you from contributions linked to the compulsory scheme of the country in which you are based.
For information, if you are hired in the country, the ticket and luggage allowance linked to your V.I.E status are no longer due to you when you return.
You are not an employee but you want to extend the experience
Have you decided to remain in the country at the end of your V.I.E assignment for personal reasons, without being an employee ? We help you to get some order in the things you need to know and any loose ends to be settled.
Remember to contact the Health Insurance Company dealing with you before your departure to inform them of your change of status and let them know that you are staying abroad.
NB : You have three months from the last day of your assignment for your company to pay for your return ticket and the carriage of your belongings. After this period, you will have to look after yourself.
A few points to watch :
- Make sure that your residence permit, if required, authorises an extension.
- You no longer have the advantage of the accommodation offered by the company.
- You are no longer under the protection of Business France.
- You no longer benefit from the social protection and civil liability insurance of the V.I.E assignment. Remember to take out individual cover and insurance.
4. What to do after returning from international volunteer program V.I.E ?
Here you are, back home! Your friends are queuing up to see you, you have 4 family meals in your diary, you are happy to find the food that you missed so much while you were abroad ! The V.I.E already seems far away and yet... There are still a few things to be done before you turn the page.
Mandatory procedures when you return from a V.I.E
Above all, make sure that you validate your period of french international internship program by completing your medical check-up and the end-of-assignment questionnaire. In return, Business France will send you your V.I.E certificate of completion.
Also remember to update your situation in your country of residence! This may mean reactivating your rights with the :
- Social Security
- Health insurance
Finally, remember that even if the International Internship Program is tax exempt, it must be declared to the French tax authorities. This applies if you are French or a European Economic Area national !
Extending the V.I.E experience once you have returned
It is clear that the V.I.E is an unforgettable moment that it is sometimes difficult to explain to those who have not experienced it ! Returning home can be a little difficult and it is not uncommon to see ex Interns be nostalgic. What if we told you that you can extend the experience a little further ?
As a former Business France V.I.E, you have access to the “V.I.E Club” - a dynamic community of former V.I.E and V.I.A participants with whom you can share your experience, tell your memories and keep in touch. A good way to meet people who are on the same wavelength as you! You can also choose to sponsor new interns to help them find their feet. The V.I.E Club is a professional network but also your space. It is up to you to organise it and bring it to life !
Register immediately by logging in here.
Also remember to promote your V.I.E experience on your CV and LinkedIn profile !
And finally, if you join a French company, it is up to you to recruit a V.I.E participant to offer a young person the same wonderful experience that you have had. You will benefit at the same time from all the advantages of the program as a recruiter !
5. What is the purpose of the Business France V.I.E certificate of completion ?
The certificate of completion validates your assignment as an international volunteer program V.I.E. It's a bit like your V.I.E diploma ! It is essential for carrying out a range of procedures when you return from your assignment.
This certificate is given to you by Business France at the end of your assignment. How to obtain it ?
You must without fail have provided Business France with :
- Your end-of-assignment medical certificate completed by a doctor referenced by the French Embassy in the country.
- Your end-of-internship questionnaire.
Upon receipt, Business France will send you your certificate of completion via your personal space on the Mon Volontariat International website. This document will be accessible on your personal space without any time limit, as long as your email address remains the same.
Why is this document so important ?
- It is essential for reactivating your rights with the Social Security.
- It is necessary to assert your periods of V.I.E assignment with pension organisations.
As you will understand, it cannot be ignored !
6. Can you go on more than one international volunteer program V.I.E ?
We know : being a French International Intern is an addictive experience! You enjoyed your V.I.E status and working abroad so much that you want to do it again ? Unfortunately, this is not possible. You only do one V.I.E or V.I.A in your life ! This is also what makes this programme so unique. You will appreciate the fact that it is a single assignment with a single employer. So make sure your choice is the correct one!
There is an exception to this rule: you can apply for another assignment, if and only if your assignment was interrupted due to a case of force majeure. Example : Natural disaster.