A - Conditions of eligibility
- I'm 29 years old and I'd like to go abroad as
a VIE; is it still possible for me ?
No. The Act of 14 March 2000 relating to civil 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 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 ?
No. The VIE 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 VIE.
- Health - To go abroad as a VIE I must be "physically fit".
What does this mean exactly ?
Prior to their assignment, VIE must pass a medical fitness evaluation with a general
practitioner who is approved by the DASS (the French Health and Social Welfare Department).
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
- I would like to know if a VIE 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.
B - Registration
- CIVI registration is valid for 9 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 9 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 VIE, 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
- Which is best for registering ? Paper application, online
registration or both ?
Online registration is instantaneous and saves you from having to send letters by
post. If you have Internet access, it is preferable to register directly online
(www.civiweb.com). By doing so, you can immediately view the VIE application procedures,
access all the assignment offers and send your application immediately if a position
that corresponds to your profile interests you.
- Methodology - Where can I find a description of the VIE
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 and Spanish.
C - Structures eligible for the VIE
- Is it possible to propose a VIE 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 VIE,
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 VIE, 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 VIE 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 VIE within this structure
No. To be implemented, the VIE 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 VIE 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 VIE.
- 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 VIE 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 VIE; 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 VIE ?
No. It is a company which is subject to French law that must send a VIE 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 VIE framework ?
No. As its name states, the French International Internship Programme only concerns
assignments abroad. Public and private structures cannot recruit VIE for assignments
in France, regardless of the type of assignment.
- Can an association send a VIE abroad ?
Yes. Associations, foundations or other non-profit-making organizations are eligible
for the VIE 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 VIE abroad for the same
D - Holidays
- Is it possible to have exceptional leave for important family
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 VIE, the death of a spouse or a child,
the death of a family member (father, mother, grandparents, parents-in-law, brother
- I am currently on a long-term contract. May I take a sabbatical
to carry out an 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 VIE'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
E - 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 VIE status.
- What must the company pay towards the VIE ?
- 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) + link
- Are the travel costs for dependents paid by the host structure
or by dependents themselves ?
- The VIE administrative and social welfare costs: between €100 and €250
based on the company's turnover
- International roundtrip travel and luggage transport costs (150 kg)
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 VIE compared with a corporate
expatriate contract ?
The VIE 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: http://www.ubifrance.fr/vie/calcul.asp.
- Who pays the remuneration for a French International Internship
For VIE, 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
VIE 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 VIE or the Ministry concerned if you are doing a VIA (French
International Administrative Intern Programme). VIE 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.
F - Duration
- Is it possible to do two Civil Internships during your lifetime
No. Article 3 of the Act of 14 March 2000 specifies that the International Internship
Programme cannot be divided up and must be carried out within a single structure.
In practical terms, this excludes the possibility of two Civil Internships, regardless
of their type: "Volontariat Civil à l'Aide Technique" (Civil Technical
Assistance Internship), "Volontariat Civil International" (International Civil Internship),
"Volontariat Civil de Cohésion Sociale" (Civil Social Cohesion Internship).
A transfer to another country on behalf of the same structure (and as a continuation
of the first assignment) is possible, within the limit of the 24-month maximum.
- Is it possible to carry out a French International Internship
Programme part-time ?
No, the VIE 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 VIE assignment
is 16.7 months. The MAE (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.
G - 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
organization, 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 VIE terminate the assignment ?
Yes. However, the VIE 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 VIE's expense, except
in extremely exceptional cases where it is left to the discretion of the recipient
organization (Business France / DG Trésor (the Directorate General for Treasury and Economic
Policy) / MAE (Ministry for Foreign Affairs). The intern, who terminates his/her
assignment by personal decision, cannot request a new Civil Internship.
H - Remuneration
- Accommodation - Is the VIE obliged to find their own accommodation
in the host country? Does the company help pay the rent ?
It's up to the International Intern to find accommodation.
- How are the allowances paid to VIE calculated ?
The company or the host structure is not obliged to accommodate you, with the exception
of the following countries, and only for assignments in companies (Cameroon, Korea,
United Arab Emirates, Equatorial Guinea, Hong Kong, Ireland, Central African Republic
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!
You may find useful information if you log onto the "VIE community" website. VIE
who are currently under assignment may have accommodation to propose, via this forum,
at the end of their assignment.
The allowance is the same for every VIE assigned to a same country.
- How does the VIE receive allowance payment ?
The remuneration is made up of:
- A basic allowance (€660) 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.
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 VIE receive a reduced-rate
- upon request to leave
- Is the VIE issued with a payslip ?
- 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 VIE for all or part of the rent: this assignment-related factor
is subject to a 20% abatement
- when the VIE is assigned to the state/country which is their main place of residence.
No, because, strictly-speaking, VIE do not receive salary, but allowances (non-taxable
and not subject to social conditions). A monthly allowance statement is transmitted
to the VIE by the recipient organization (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 organization.
- What is the total amount of allowances per month ?
Between €1,200 and €2,800 net per month, depending on the country and
irrespective of the level of studies. If accommodation is provided by the host organization,
the remuneration is subject to abatement (20% of the variable allowance).
- Is it possible for a VIE 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 VIE
Nevertheless, the VIE may negotiate certain benefits in kind with the company prior
to going abroad (accommodation support, company car if travelling frequently, etc.).
I - Renewal
- I am a VIE 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 VIE 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 VIE 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.
J - Visas
- Status - What is the status of an International Intern
VIE are subject to public law (non-contractual civil servant). In France, VIE are
under the responsibility of the competent Ministry. Abroad, VIE 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 VIE - A company has requested I go abroad as a
VIE 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 VIE, 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 (5 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 VIE (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. VIE 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 VIE duration.
- I'm a VIE 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) VIE assignments in the United States, except
in the case of dual nationals who do not require a visa.
- Are visa procedures simplified for VIA (French International
Administrative Interns) since the positions fall under the French authorities ?
Yes. For assignments outside the European Union and also in Germany, VIA 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 VIA in Europe or in countries which do not require service passports.
K - Social welfare protection
- Insurance- Are my car and home covered by the International
Internship insurance policy ?
No. You should:
- Insurance- If a close member of my family who has remained
in my home country dies, does my policy cover the roundtrip plane ticket ?
- 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.
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 VIE 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 VIE
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 VIE 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 ?
VIE are authorized to consult a doctor or hospital of their choice.
- Can I decide to be repatriated if I fall ill or have an
Embassy departments may help in this case, considering their knowledge of local
VIE 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
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
VIE on behalf of the Trade Commission) and from AXA Assistance.
- Retirement- Will my French International Internship period
be taken into account for calculating my pension ?
Yes. The length of your assignment, subject to it being for at least six (6) months,
counts towards your retirement, for seniority in the civil service and for validating
professional achievements (Articles L. 122-1 to L. 122-21 of the National Service
Yes. The length of assignment fulfilled as a Civil Intern is assimilated with a
period of insurance for pension entitlement.
L - Selected applicant
- Business France- Once the company has submitted its request for
assignment, what time-frame can be expected before the VIE actually leaves for the
host country; knowing that the company concerned has never used VIE before?
Unless there are visa problems, it takes about two (2) months to organize and set
the assignment up. To benefit from the VIE 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 VIE.
Who is our contact for setting up the assignment ?
Business France, who is responsible for the VIE 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.ubifrance.com