Domestic staff


Employment, Special information and issues relating to everyday life

Domestic staff

Domestic staff personally employed and paid by diplomats or consular officers are entitled to a special status giving them the right to enter the French territory and to stay in France for the duration of his/her employment in the household of his/her employer.

This possibility of recruitment by way of derogation through diplomatic channels is open in France only to Heads of diplomatic missions and First Counsellors and to Heads of consular missions.

A private servant must be over 18 years of age and not be a member of the employer’s family. A private servant may not under any circumstances also be in service in the household of another employer. Domestic staff, whether they are French nationals, dual nationals possessing the French and a foreign nationality or permanent residents are liable to general law.

  • Prior to arrival in France, the Mission to which the employer belongs should request Protocol Department to issue a long-stay national visa - "visa D, see card PROMAE" - for the future private servant.

Information required:

  • family name, given names, date and place of birth
  • type of passport, date of issue and expiry
  • applicant’s address
  • place of issue of the visa

The application must always include the following documentation:
These documents must be signed by the employer and a Mission official

  • 1 certificate (see annexed standard form)
  • 1 legible copy of the passport; a certified true copy may be required in some cases
  • 1 draft employment contract (see annexed standard form) complying with French labour law provisions and giving:
  • job description
  • pay and benefits in kind
  • hours worked weekly
  • weekly rest days and leave
  • commitment to take out an insurance policy
  • commitment to provide free access to the employee’s passport and special residence permit

Once Protocol Department has established that the application filed by the Mission fulfils all requirements and approved it, the decision to grant a long-stay visa is notified to the employee by the diplomatic mission or consular post that registered the application.

Certain conditions must be met when applying for a long-stay visa for the spouse of a private servant wanting to join him/her. The Mission is to send to Protocol Department the marriage certificate of the persons concerned and a document certifying that the private servant’s income is sufficient to provide for himself/herself and for his/her spouse and that the private servant is able to take out for his/her spouse an annual sickness insurance guaranteeing full cover of sickness risks and expenses, dental care, surgery and hospital expenses.

  • On arrival in France, the Embassy will fill in a Notification of Nomination and Commencement (NNPF) form (standard form attached) in the name of private servants and send it to Protocol Department. This is in addition to the formalities to be carried out by all mission staff members (see infra).

Specific items of information are required:

  • the original or certified true copy of a valid insurance policy taken out in France and showing the risks covered
  • copy of the original employment contract signed by the employer, the employee and an Embassy official.
  • Following reception of the full file, the private staff member will then be invited to collect personally from Protocol Department a PP/A or PP/C special residence permit as the case may be. This permit is valid for one year and can be extended for one year though never beyond the expiry date of the employer’s permit.

The application for renewal of the residence permit must include an original insurance certificate valid for one year or a certified true copy of this certificate.

  • During their stay in France, private servants are not entitled to contribute to the general (basic) Sécurité sociale scheme. Therefore, diplomats and consular officers who employ private servants must contribute for them to a social protection scheme valid for the duration of their employment contract. This private insurance is to provide full cover of health and dental care, surgery, hospital expenses and delivery care.

If any dispute arises between an employer and a private servant, French labour law shall prevail.

  • The stay in France of domestic staff is conditional on the duration of the employer’s stay. On termination of his/her functions, the employer is required to notify the discharge of employees. Employees will then have to return to their country of origin, in accordance with the contract they have signed.

Whether the discharge of domestic staff occurs at their request or is due to the employer’s departure, the latter is required to pay, without salary deduction, travel expenses for the return journey to the employee’s country of origin, and this whatever the manner in which the employment relation has come to an end.

A new special residence permit may, however, be issued to a domestic staff member if he/she is immediately recruited by the successor to his/her former employer or by another diplomatic agent or consular officer accredited to France. A new Notification of Nomination and Commencement (NNPF) form must in that case be sent to Protocol Department within the month following termination of the employee’s functions at the latest, together with a new insurance certificate and a new employment contract.

If the new NNPF form is not sent to Protocol Department by that deadline, the former employer will be liable to pay travel expenses for the employee’s return journey to his/her country of origin.

Updated : July 2012