s
f.a.q.
In the sections below you will find the answers to the questions most frequently asked about the VIE programme

Topics

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 ?- Is the 28 year age limit related to registering on CIVI or to actually leaving for an assignment ?- Nationality - I am not from a European Union country but I live in France. May I register for a French International Internship ?- Health - To go abroad as a VIE I must be "physically fit". What does this mean exactly ?- I would like to know if a VIE is compatible with an end-of-studies training course ?

B - Registration

- CIVI registration is valid for 9 months. May I renew it at the end of this period ?- Do you have to pay to register ?- Which is best for registering ? Paper application, online registration or both ?- Methodology - Where can I find a description of the VIE and its advantages for companies in English and in 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 ?- 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 ?- Is the company obliged to have a permanent structure in the host country ?- Can the French subsidiary of a foreign group send me on a VIE assignment ?- Can a French national who has established his company in Spain call upon a VIE ?- Can consumer, tenant or environmentalist groups propose assignment offers in France within the VIE framework ?- Can an association send a VIE abroad ?

D - Holidays

- Is it possible to have exceptional leave for important family events ?- I am currently on a long-term contract. May I take a sabbatical to carry out an International Internship ?- Can I take holidays in advance ?- What are the VIE's rights concerning holidays ?

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 ?- What must the company pay towards the VIE ?- Are the travel costs for dependents paid by the host structure or by dependents themselves ?- What are the advantages of the VIE compared with a corporate expatriate contract ?- Who pays the remuneration for a French International Internship Programme ?- Who pays for my relocation ?

F - Duration

- Is it possible to do two Civil Internships during your lifetime ?- Is it possible to carry out a French International Internship Programme part-time ?- What are the minimum and maximum durations for my assignment ?

G - Interruption

- Can I refuse an assignment where the destination or the duration does not correspond to my expectations ?- Can the VIE terminate the assignment ?

H - Remuneration

- Accommodation - Is the VIE obliged to find their own accommodation in the host country? Does the company help pay the rent ?- How are the allowances paid to VIE calculated ?- How does the VIE receive allowance payment ?- Under what circumstances does the VIE receive a reduced-rate allowance ?- Is the VIE issued with a payslip ?- Can I pursue a salaried activity during my French International Internship Programme ?- What is the total amount of allowances per month ?- Is it possible for a VIE to receive higher allowances than those specified in the scale ?

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 ?- Both my company and myself wish to extend my assignment. How do we do this ?

J - Visas

- Status - What is the status of an International Intern ?- 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 ?- 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 ?- 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 ?- Are visa procedures simplified for VIA (French International Administrative Interns) since the positions fall under the French authorities ?

K - Social welfare protection

- Insurance- Are my car and home covered by the International Internship insurance policy ?- Insurance- If a close member of my family who has remained in my home country dies, does my policy cover the roundtrip plane ticket ?- Does my VIE social welfare protection end at the end of my assignment ?- My wife is coming abroad with me. What level of protection does she have the right to in relation to my status ?- What is the precise period that I am insured for as a VIE ?- Who are my dependents ?- Who pays for my vaccinations ?- If I fall ill abroad and need to visit a doctor, what procedures should I follow ?- Can I decide to be repatriated if I fall ill or have an accident ?- Retirement- Will my French International Internship period be taken into account for calculating my pension ?

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?- BUSINESS FRANCE- I convinced a company to take me on as a VIE. Who is our contact for setting up the assignment ?

Answers

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 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 ?

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 organization.

- 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 immediately.

- 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 reasons.

D - 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 VIE, 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 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 internship.

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
- 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)

- 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 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 Programme ?

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.
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.

- How are the allowances paid to VIE calculated ?

The allowance is the same for every VIE assigned to a same country.
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.

- How does the VIE 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 VIE 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 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.

- Is the VIE issued with a payslip ?

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:

- 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 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.
Embassy departments may help in this case, considering their knowledge of local medical practitioners.
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 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 VIE on behalf of the Trade Commission) and from AXA Assistance.

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 Code).

- Retirement- Will my French International Internship period be taken into account for calculating my pension ?

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

Recruiting now
syndication