Work permits and regulations

In France, performing arts work – musicians, actors, dancers, etc. – is in principle only possible through an employment contract (“presumption of employee status“).
Only European residents can depart from this principle if they are recognised as service providers established in another State in the European Economic Area where they habitually provide similar services, and come to work in France as independent workers, on a temporary basis (Article L7121-3 to 5 of the Labour Code).

If you plan to work as an employee

Work permit

Since 28 October 2016, performing artists and technicians coming to France to work as employees for 3 months or less are no longer required to obtain a temporary work permit. This exemption does not apply to foreign nationals already residing in France.

The law of 7 March 2016 on the rights of foreign nationals in France includes an “exemption from the requirement to obtain a work permit for foreign nationals coming to France to practise a salaried professional activity for less than 3 months in defined sectors”.

These sectors are specified in the decree of 28 October 2016 : 

  • Cultural and artistic performances and events
  • Colloquia, seminars and trade fairs
  • Film, audiovisual, performing arts and record production, distribution and touring


Particular situation for minors

Employers of any foreign artist under the age of 16 must provide an authorisation from the competent Direction départementale de la cohésion sociale (DDCS – children’s performing arts commission), applied for by the performance venue or venues.

The Labour Code prohibits night work by children (from 8 pm to 6 am for children under 16 and from 10 pm to 6 am for children under 18), the organiser must apply to the labour inspectorate (“inspection du travail ») beforehand for an exceptional exemption for night-time performances (Articles L3163-1 and 3163-2 of the Labour Code).


If you are an independent artist or self-employed

You should check if the stay authorisation you have (visa, residence permit) allows you to work as a freelance.

When you start your activity as an author artist (painter, sculptor, photographer, songwriter …), you will need to follow certain procedures. To check them out, you can visit the website “la Sécurité sociale des artistes-auteurs“, edited by Agessa and Maison des artistes.