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F.A.Q

Conditions of eligibility

I'm 29 years old and I'd like to go abroad as a V.I. intern; is it still possible for me ?
No. The Act of 14 March 2000 relating to international internships reserves French international internship assignments exclusively to young people between the age of 18 and 28. The day following your 29th birthday, you are no longer eligible. No special dispensation is given.
Is the 28 year age limit related to registering on CIVI or to actually leaving for an assignment ?
It is related to your CIVI registration, which must be completed, at the latest, the day before your 28th birthday. No special dispensation is given. Nevertheless, you may actually leave for your assignment anytime during your 28th year and, at the latest, on the date of your 29th birthday. 
Nationality - I am not from a European Union country but I live in France. May I register for a French International Internship Programme?
No. The V.I.E. is reserved exclusively to French nationals and to nationals from the European Economic Area (the EU + Iceland, Monaco, Norway and Lichtenstein), regardless of their country of residence. If you are not a national of one of these countries, you cannot take up an assignment abroad as a V.I.E. intern.
Health - To go abroad as a V.I.E. intern must be "physically fit". What does this mean exactly ?
Prior to their assignment, V.I.E. interns must pass a medical fitness evaluation with a general practitioner who is approved by the A.R.S. (regional health agency). During this visit, the practitioner checks that mandatory vaccinations are up-to-date. The list of approved practitioners will be transmitted to you by your recipient organisation.
I would like to know if a V.I.E. is compatible with an end-of-studies training course ?
Yes. Your school or university can accept to validate a French International Internship Programme period as part of an end-of-studies training course abroad. They simply need to give you their agreement. In all circumstances, this is only possible if the pedagogical regulations of your school and the requirements of your host structure are adhered to. For your information, these assignments (regardless of the type of structure) frequently last more than 12 months.

Registration

CIVI registration is valid for 7 months. May I renew it at the end of this period ?
Yes. Renewal is automatically proposed to applicants at the end of the 7th month of registration. This proposal is sent by email to the email address that was entered upon registration. Registration renewal for an extra 7 months becomes valid when you click on the "Renewal" link displayed in the "Applicant area". If the applicant does not reply, the system will permanently delete the applicant's datafile at the end of the so-called 6th renewal month. You may, however, always re-register as long as you are under the age of 28.
Do you have to pay to register ?
No. Registration is free and can be completed online very easily. However, even if it does not oblige you to actually sign up for a V.I.E., the registration form must be filled in, in detail. The programme lets you benefit from public law coverage that is guaranteed by the authorities. Enter your diplomas, the related establishments, your professional experiences and language levels so that potential recruiters can select you. Don't forget to mention your permanent address (this is generally your parents' address). An incomplete or phoney registration will be deleted immediately. 
Methodology - Where can I find a description of the V.I.E. and its advantages for companies in English and in Spanish ?
You can download a pdf presentation from the CIVI website. It is available in French, English, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese.

Structures eligible for the V.I.E.

Is it possible to propose a V.I.E. to a company, even if they've never heard of it before ?
Yes. If, as part of your personal actions, you inform the company about the V.I.E., and it weighs up the advantages. It can submit an assignment application to Business France, even if it has never published offers on the CIVI website. If the company wishes to send you on an assignment as a V.I.E. intern, it must satisfy two conditions:
- be governed by French law or have a legal entity in France,
- have an international project.
These are the only obligations for the application to be assessed for approval by the competent French authorities. When you present the V.I.E. programme to the company, you must integrate the brief intended for companies.
I am currently on a course in an Italian company managed by a French national. Would it be possible to carry out a V.I.E. within this structure ?
No. To be implemented, the V.I.E. formula presupposes that a French company assigns an Intern abroad to a structure with which it has legal connections. As such, 4 parties must be included in a V.I.E. procedure: Business France, a French company, a host company and the Intern. A local company, even if it is run by a French national, cannot "assign itself" a V.I.E. intern.
Is the company obliged to have a permanent structure in the host country ?
Ideally, the company must have a local host structure (subsidiary, reception office, distributor, agent). Nevertheless, as part of the special measures intended for SMEs, the company is not obliged to have a physical establishment but it must, at least, benefit from logistical support (umbrella facility from a French Group via the "Partenariat France" Association (French Partnership Association), hosted by a Trade Commission) and/or be sponsored by a French Foreign Trade Advisor. Business France may, if required, support the SME in its proceedings. 
Can the French subsidiary of a foreign group send me on a V.I.E. assignment ?
Yes, companies governed by French law are eligible regardless of the nationality of their registered capital. It is the company which is established in France which must submit its application to Business France and it is on behalf of this company that you will go abroad as a V.I.E. intern ; as a general rule to a country which is different from that of the mother company.
Can a French national who has established his company in Spain call upon a V.I.E. intern?
No. It is a company which is subject to French law that must send a V.I.E. intern abroad (and, as such, contract with Business France), to a structure with which it is legally bound (mother company and subsidiary relationships, representative office, established commercial relations, partnership agreement, etc.).
Can consumer, tenant or environmentalist groups propose assignment offers in France within the V.I.E. framework ?
No. As its name states, the French International Internship Programme only concerns assignments abroad. Public and private structures cannot recruit V.I.E. interns for assignments in France, regardless of the type of assignment.
Can an association send a V.I.E. intern abroad ?
Yes. Associations, foundations or other non-profit-making organisations are eligible for the V.I.E. insofar as their action is predominately "economic" (associations developing export, chambers of commerce and industry, professional federations). Local or regional authorities (regional or general councils) may also send V.I.E. interns abroad for the same reasons.

Holidays

Is it possible to have exceptional leave for important family events ?
Yes. Exceptional leave, for a maximum of 10 days per event, may be agreed for the birth of a child, for the marriage of the V.I. intern, the death of a spouse or a child, the death of a family member (father, mother, grandparents, parents-in-law, brother and sister).
I am currently on a long-term contract. May I take a sabbatical to carry out an French International Internship ?
Yes, if your seniority in the company allows you to benefit from a sabbatical. As for all applicants, you must look for a structure that is ready and willing to send you abroad for the duration of your sabbatical (minimum 6 months).
Can I take holidays in advance ?
Only by special dispensation. For this specific question, your host manager and/or structure will be able to give you a clear answer insofar as the rules which are applicable in the assignment country may vary in relation to the type of activity, the regulations in effect in the host structure, practices, etc.
What are the V.I. intern's rights concerning holidays ?
Annual holidays are fixed at 2.5 working days per month of work actually carried out. To calculate the number of days' holiday that you are entitled to, you must multiply 2.5 by the duration (in months) of your assignment. Example: If your assignment lasts for 10 months, your holiday total will be 25 days. Taking holidays is however subject to agreement from your on-site manager and may be subject to arrangement, on a case by case basis, so that the activity of your structure and the regulations governing local staff holidays are taken into account. Occasionally, the host structure imposes that part of the holidays are taken at the end of the internship.

Cost

At the end of my assignment, I'd like to stay in the country, on a personal basis, for a few more weeks. Is my return ticket paid for ?
Yes. You still benefit from your return flight (or you will be reimbursed if you pay for your return trip) up to three months following the end of your assignment. Remark: during this period you are no longer covered by the social welfare protection related to V.I.E. status.
What must the company pay towards the V.I.E. intern ?
- the all-inclusive monthly expenses allowance paid to the intern: This allowance is variable depending on the country, is exempt from employee contribution and is non-taxable (subject to special provisions imposed by the host country). See Current Allowances.
 
- The V.I.E. administrative and social welfare costs: between €100 and €250 based on the company's turnover
 
- International roundtrip travel and luggage transport costs (150 kg) 
Are the travel costs for dependents paid by the host structure or by dependents themselves ?
They are to be paid by dependents themselves (spouse or children). The obligation to pay travel costs only applies to the International Intern.
What are the advantages of the V.I.E. programme compared with a corporate expatriate contract ?
The V.I.E. programme is an alternative to expatriation. Its cost is three to four times less than an expatriate contract. You can estimate the cost through the online quote set up by Business France via the following link.
Who pays the remuneration for a French International Internship Programme ?
For V.I.E.s, the company pays the cost in full. The administrative management is delegated to Business France who pays the allowances and contracts a group insurance policy for V.I.E. interns social welfare protection. All these costs are invoiced to the company by Business France.
Who pays for my relocation ?
The company, if you are a V.I.E. intern or the Ministry concerned if you are doing a V.I.A. (French International Internship Programme in an Administration). V.I.E. interns benefit from an international round-trip and all-inclusive luggage transport, totalling up to 150 kg of personal belongings, between their home and their assignment country, which is fully paid for by the recruiter.

Duration

Is it possible to do two International Internships during your lifetime ?
No. Article 3 of the Act of 14 March 2000 specifies that the French International Internship Programme cannot be divided up and must be carried out within a single structure. 
Is it possible to carry out a French International Internship Programme part-time ?
No, the V.I.E. is a full-time activity which does not allow you to schedule your work-time as you wish. You are subject to the regulations in effect in the host structure and country (for example, working on Sundays in certain Muslim countries).
What are the minimum and maximum durations for my assignment ?
6 months minimum, 24 months maximum with the opportunity to renew your assignment once for within the limit of the 24 months allowed. Otherwise, any length of time is possible (8, 9, 15 months, etc.). Today, the average length of a V.I.E. assignment is 16.7 months. The MAEDI (Ministry for Foreign Affairs) assigns interns for a minimum of 12 months. As regards the DG Trésor (the Directorate General for Treasury and Economic Policy), it generally proposes 16-month assignments.

Interruption

Can I refuse an assignment where the destination or the duration does not correspond to my expectations ?
Yes. As long as you have not signed your letter of appointment with the assignment organisation, you are free to accept or to refuse any proposals made to you. Moreover, the destinations you choose when registering are for reference only; you are not obliged to carry out your assignment in the countries you mentioned.
Can the V.I.E. intern terminate the assignment ?
Yes. However, the V.I.E. intern must justify that they have been promised a job in France or abroad. Any termination request is subject to a 3-month notice period. The return trip cost (travel and luggage transportation) is at the V.I.E. intern's expense, except in extremely exceptional cases where it is left to the discretion of the recipient organisation (Business France / DG Trésor (the Directorate General for Treasury and Economic Policy) / MAEDI (Ministry for Foreign Affairs). The intern, who terminates his/her assignment by personal decision, cannot request a new Civil Internship.

Remuneration

Accommodation - Is the V.I.E. intern obliged to find his/her own accommodation in the host country? Does the company help pay the rent ?
It's up to the International Intern to find accommodation.
 
The company or the host structure is not obliged to accommodate you, with the exception of about 20 countries*, and only for assignments in companies (*such as Cameroon, Korea, United Arab Emirates, Equatorial Guinea, Hong Kong, Nigeria and Chad). It can, however, provide you with financial support or accommodation. In this case, the part of the allowance relating to the host country (variable part) is subject to a 20% abatement.
A piece of advice: if the company proposes to accommodate you, accept!
How are the allowances paid to V.I.E. interns calculated ?
The allowance is the same for every V.I.E. intern assigned to a same country.
 
The remuneration is made up of:
- A basic allowance (€715) regardless of the host country or the level of qualification.
- An additional allowance related to the assignment country.
 
This additional allowance may increase or decrease, depending on exchange rate fluctuations and on prices calculated by the French authorities, which are published every quarter in the form of an Order in the Journal Officiel (Official Journal of the French Republic). Check the allowance scale on the CIVI website.
How does the V.I.E. intern receive allowance payment ?
By transfer to a bank account in France held by the intern. This remuneration is in euros except for exceptional cases. The intern is informed by letter every month of the bank transfer.
Under what circumstances does the V.I.E. intern receive a reduced-rate allowance ?
- upon request to leave
 
- upon sick leave, maternity leave or adoption leave outside the assignment country 
 
- when the accommodation is provided by the company or when the latter pays an accommodation allowance to the V.I.E. intern for all or part of the rent: this assignment-related factor is subject to a 20% abatement
 
- when the V.I.E. intern is assigned to the state/country which is their main place of residence.
Is the V.I.E. intern issued with a payslip ?
No, because, strictly-speaking, V.I.E. interns do not receive salary, but allowances (non-taxable and not subject to social conditions). A monthly allowance statement is transmitted to the V.I.E. interns by the recipient organisation (Business France).
Can I pursue a salaried activity during my French International Internship Programme ?
No, internship is a full-time activity. The intern cannot pursue a salaried or remunerated job in addition to the assignment regardless of the nature of this activity. Only teaching activities or the production of scientific, literary or artistic work is compatible with civil internships; subject to prior agreement from the host organisation.
What is the total amount of allowances per month ?
Between €1,440 and €4,820 net per month, depending on the country and irrespective of the level of studies. If accommodation is provided by the host organisation, the remuneration is subject to abatement (20% of the variable allowance).
Is it possible for a V.I.E. intern to receive higher allowances than those specified in the scale ?
No, because allowances are defined by the French authorities and cannot be negotiated, increased or decreased by the applicant or by the structure which requested a V.I.E. Nevertheless, the V.I.E. intern may negotiate certain benefits in kind with the company prior to going abroad (accommodation support, company car if travelling frequently, etc.).

Renewal

I am a V.I.E. intern for a year in Hong Kong for the Chinese subsidiary of a leading French Group. At the end of my assignment, can I continue my V.I.E. in a subsidiary of the group located in another country ?
It is only possible to pursue the assignment in another subsidiary if the company which signed the original contract with Business France (also known as the recipient company) requests a country transfer to a new host structure (subject to the visa being in order). It is the company that signed the original contract that will sign the endorsement; not the subsidiary.
Both my company and myself wish to extend my assignment. How do we do this ?
The company which signed the contract with Business France must transmit a renewal request to its Business France correspondent at least one (1) month before the V.I.E. assignment end date as well as an extension duration that corresponds to the subsidiary's needs. Renewal is permitted once only within the 24-month assignment maximum.

Visas

Status - What is the status of an International Intern ?
V.I.E interns are subject to public law (non-contractual civil servant). In France, V.I.E interns are under the responsibility of the competent Ministry. Abroad, V.I.E interns are under the responsibility of the departments of the Embassy of France of their assignment country. The intern has the same obligations as any French civil servant abroad.
Regional V.I.E - A company has requested I go abroad as a V.I.E intern to Chile, but would like me to extend my commercial action to all countries of the Southern Cone. Is this permitted ?
Yes. When the company requests a V.I.E intern, it specifies to Business France that it would like the intern to carry out canvassing or monitoring actions in several countries within a same geographical area. You may, therefore, carry out assignments in the area in question (8 countries maximum) without any limit on the duration but subject to observing immigration authority regulations for the countries concerned.
I have just completed a 5-month training course in New York (USA) as part of my studies, with a J1 visa (trainee). I would now like to continue with a V.I.E (company) in the same city. Is this possible when I have already benefited from a J1 visa ?
Yes, for a period of 13 months maximum without interruption. V.I.E interns posted to the United States benefit from a J1 visa (trainee option) issued for 18 months. Past stays on this same visa (trainee option) will be subtracted from the V.I.E duration.
I'm a V.I.E intern in the USA. My assignment finishes in 1 month. Its total duration will have been 16 months. Can I extend my assignment in the same company ?
You may only extend your assignment for two (2) months as the J1 visa is issued for a maximum period of 18 months. It is therefore impossible to carry out 19 and 24-month (max. theoretical duration) V.I.E assignments in the United States, except in the case of dual nationals who do not require a visa.
Are visa procedures simplified for V.I.A (French International Internship Programme in an Administration) since the positions fall under the French authorities ?
Yes. For assignments outside the European Union and also in Germany, V.I.A interns are issued with a service passport which exempts them from requiring any visa. As regards European countries, a valid passport suffices.
 
N.B. service passports can only be issued to applicants of French nationality. European applicants, as such, may only apply for a V.I.A in Europe or in countries which do not require service passports.

Social Welfare Protection

Insurance - Are my car and home covered by the International Internship insurance policy ?
No. You should:
 - contact your insurer for information before leaving to know the insurance conditions for your vehicle abroad. Also check that your driving licence is valid internationally.
 - contract a local insurance policy for your home.
Insurance - If a close member of my family who has remained in my home country dies, does my policy cover the roundtrip plane ticket ?
No. The insurance policy does not cover your roundtrip plane ticket if a close member of your family dies. The trip will be at your own expense. Exceptional leave may be granted for the death of a relative (father, mother, grandparents, parents-in-law, brother and sister). This leave cannot exceed 10 days.
Does my V.I.E. social welfare protection end at the end of my assignment ?
Yes. Your social welfare protection ends on the last day of the month of the end of your assignment (or on the date the assignment was interrupted in the event of early termination). Your rights are not extended.
My wife is coming abroad with me. What level of protection does she have the right to in relation to my status ?
Dependents are entitled to medical and surgical expense coverage, with certain conditions. If the spouse is a national of the host country, then repatriation assistance and civil liability are also covered.
What is the precise period that I am insured for as a V.I.E. intern ?
Coverage takes effect on the 1st day of the month of assignment and ends on the last day of the month of assignment (officialized by an Internship Completion Certificate). Coverage is 24 hours a day, both in France and abroad, including during holiday / leave periods. In the event of early termination, coverage ends on the date that the supervisory Ministry terminates controls.
Who are my dependents ?
The International Intern's dependents, acknowledged by French social legislation, are the spouse, the common-law partner, the PACSED civil union partner, dependent children (of the insured party or those of the spouse or common-law partner).
Who pays for my vaccinations ?
If vaccinations are required for the assignment country, then they will be settled through the V.I.E. insurance policy, subject to presentation of medical prescriptions (idem for dependents).
If I fall ill abroad and need to visit a doctor, what procedures should I follow ?
V.I.E. interns are authorized to consult a doctor or hospital of their choice.
Embassy departments may help in this case, considering their knowledge of local medical practitioners. 
 
V.I.E. interns must settle (except if a third party payment agreement exists) the consulting fees, the healthcare and medication and will be reimbursed for these expenses by direct transfer to their bank account in France by the insurance group to which they are affiliated. They must contact the insurance company directly to obtain healthcare reimbursements.
Can I decide to be repatriated if I fall ill or have an accident ?
No. You cannot decide yourself to be repatriated. To be covered by the insurer, the insurer requires agreement from the Embassy (or from the person in charge of V.I.E. on behalf of the Trade Commission) and from Mondial Assistance.
Retirement - Will my French International Internship period be taken into account for calculating my pension ?
Yes. The length of assignment fulfilled as a International Intern is assimilated with a period of insurance for pension entitlement.

Selected Applicant

Business France - Once the company has submitted its request for assignment, what time-frame can be expected before the V.I.E. actually leaves for the host country; knowing that the company concerned has never used V.I.E. before?
Unless there are visa problems, it takes about two (2) months to organize and set the assignment up. To benefit from the V.I.E. procedure, companies must obtain approval, which is valid for five years, from Business France. The approval is processed concurrently to the assignment.
Business France - I convinced a company to take me on as a V.I.E. intern. Who is our contact for setting up the assignment ?
Business France, who is responsible for the V.I.E. procedure, is the sole contact for the company. The company must therefore submit an assignment application to this entity. 
The company may contact the local Business France branch by postal mail, by telephone or by email, by visiting the following website for details www.businessfrance.fr
 

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