Coming to France for a college internship

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You are a college student with citizenship in another European Economic Area member State or Switzerland and coming to France for a work placement. College students doing an internship in France are required to pay French social security contributions unless they come under an international agreement that states otherwise.

When you register for entitlements through any of France's social welfare agencies, you will be required to submit a birth certificate that includes your parents' information along with a passport or national ID.

French internship laws

Applicable legal instruments:

  • French Law No. 2014-788 of July 10, 2014, which promotes internship development while tightening applicable rules and improving interns' status.
  • French Decree No. 2014-1420 of November 27, 2014, which regulates on-the-job training periods and internships

Under French law, host companies are required to financially compensate all internships lasting 2 months or more. Depending on how much the intern is paid, certain types of contributions may be withheld from their compensation.

Contribution-free amount, capped at 15% of the hourly social security ceiling.

Internship compensation includes a contribution-free amount, which is capped at 15% of France's hourly social security ceiling*. This means that neither the intern nor the host company will pay contributions on compensation up to and including that amount.

However, a flat-rate industrial accident/ occupational illness contribution is paid by the student's school or local educational authority (“rectorat d'académie”) if they are enrolled in a French school.

*This comes to 546 € for January 2021 [140 hours (20 days X 7 hours a day) X 3.90 (15% of France's hourly social security ceiling)].

Health insurance coverage

You will remain a member of the social security scheme in which you have ongoing membership as a student or beneficiary in your State of residence.

You are entitled to coverage for any health care that becomes medically necessary over the actual duration of your internship in France. You will need to get a European Health Insurance Card before you come to France through the foreign health insurance fund to which you belong and show it to your medical provider in France when you receive care.

However, if you are prescribed medical leave from work, you will not be entitled to cash benefits through the French health insurance system.

Industrial accident and occupational illness coverage

You will be entitled to benefits in kind through the French general scheme's industrial accident-occupational illness insurance program as well as to a permanent-disability pension, even if the contribution for this risk could not be collected from the school where you are enrolled.

Old-age insurance coverage

You will not be able to accrue retirement pension entitlements.

Contributions due on compensation exceeding 15% of France's hourly social security ceiling.

Employee's and employer's social security and CSG-CRDS contributions will be calculated on the difference between the intern's compensation and 15% of France's hourly social security ceiling.

Health insurance coverage

You will become a member of the general scheme for coverage of your health care expenses. You may qualify for cash benefits from the French general scheme's health insurance program if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Industrial accident and occupational illness coverage

You will be entitled to benefits-in-kind as well as to cash benefits from France's health, maternity, disability, death, and industrial accident-occupational illness insurance programs, but not to the lump-sum industrial accident/ occupational illness payment.

Old-age insurance coverage

You will accrue retirement pension entitlements under ordinary French law as it applies to France's general scheme.

Exemption from French contributions

However, under France's international agreements, you will be exempt from paying French social security contributions if you have been issued an A1 form (Certificate of applicable social security legislation) which certifies that you have health-maternity as well as industrial accident and occupational illness coverage under your home country's social security system.

If this is the case, no social security contributions will be payable by your host company in France.

This form is issued by your local health insurance fund in your home country.

Applicable legal instruments