First, register at the the Pôle Emploi, the French national agency for employment (website in French). With this agency, you can make an appointment in which an advisor will examine your situation and help you search for work.
You will receive an unemployment allowance (allocations chômage) based on the following conditions:
- You have not become unemployed through your own decision and you are actively seeking work
- You are registered with the Pôle Emploi
- You are below the minimum retirement age
- You are physically capable of working
- You have been working for more than 4 months
The allowance is paid for a minimum period of roughly 4 months and a maximum period of 24 months (or 36 months for employees older than 50). The amount of the allowance is based on your previous salary
If you leave France after losing your job and do not register as a job-seeker, you will not receive benefits. This is not always the case if leaving for another EU/EEA country; when working there for that country's minimum period you may be entitled to benefits that take into account the time worked previously in France. Before leaving France, get a completed U1 (which lists the periods used to calculate unemployment benefits).
Coming from another EU/EEA
If you come from another EU/EEA-country to search for a job in France, you might be able to receive umemployment benefits. This depends on your personal situation:
You've worked in a EU/EEA country but become unemployed in France:
Get a U1 form before coming to France. This is not obligatory but it’s a good idea to have one in case you lose your job in another country. The form lists the periods of employment that need to be considered for calculating unemployment benefit if you become unemployed in France. If you want periods of employment in another EU/EEA country to be taken into account, you have to work at least one day in France. The calculation of benefit will be based on your last French salary if you worked for at least four weeks - otherwise a reference salary is used.
You've received unemployment benefit in a EU/EEA country:
A general rule is that the last EU/EEA country of employment pays the unemployment benefit. So, if you are already unemployed and move to France, you will receive benefits from the country you come from. If you have been registered as a job-seeker in an EU/EEA country for at least four weeks and wish to move to France, ask for a U2 form from the organisation paying your benefit and cancel your registration with the national employment services (to find a job) in that country. Then you must register in France as a job-seeker within seven days of this cancellation. You should then receive unemployment benefit in France (for three months), but your application may take some time - so ensure you have cash to cover living expenses.
At the end of the three months (or before), you can return to the country where you previously received unemployment benefits and ask to receive them again. If you wish to stay longer, you can apply for an extension in the country where you became unemployed, for a total period up to six months. If you do not wish to return within these six months, you may lose benefits in your EU/EEA country of origin.
You have resigned from your job in a EU/EEA country to follow your spouse (or partner) who has found work in France:
This resignation should be considered as a legitimate cause of unemployment. Therefore you may be entitled to receive unemployment benefit, provided that your previous contributions are sufficient. Ask for form U1 before leaving your EU/EEA country of origin.
Important: Information about unemployment benefits changes frequently in France and other EU/EAA countries. Make sure you ask for information about your personal circumstances from the relevant agencies/organizations (such as ASSEDIC in France) before making decisions based on the rights to unemployment benefits.