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French student visas and permits

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

Find out the kind of French student visa or permission you need to study in France, participate in a French language class, or attend a short course.

Depending on the country you are a citizen of, you may be required to get a French visa to enroll in a school in France. Depending on what you want to study in France and how long you intend to remain there, you will need to follow a different set of application processes. Students who are working toward a degree, enrolling in a short course, or planning to study French in France may all find that this advice is relevant to them.


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Students hailing from a country in the EU/EEA or Switzerland

If you are going to study in France from the European Union/European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, once you have confirmed your enrollment in a program at a French institution, all you need is a valid passport or travel ID card to enter the country. You may inquire at your college or institution for any further information.

During the academic year 2017-2018, British students studying in France are not anticipated to be impacted by Brexit in any way. Increased tuition rates and fees will probably apply for the academic year 2018-2019. These changes might take effect in July. There is also the possibility that additional criteria for obtaining visas may be implemented; however, this information is presently yet unclear.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss students

Nearly everyone else will be required to apply for either a visa to study in France or a visa and authorization to live in France.

Visa options for students studying in France

In France, there are many distinct categories of student visas, including the following:

Visa de court séjour pour etudes (Schengen short-stay student visa)

With this visa, you do not need to apply for a separate resident visa to travel to France and study for up to three months. This is appropriate for students who will be participating in a short-term program such as a language class. It does not cost anything to get, but it is not possible to have it renewed. Visitors from these nations may not require a visa for stays that are less than three months.

Etudient concours (visa for sitting entrance exams)

You are permitted to enter France to participate in an admissions examination at a higher education establishment if you have this visa. If you are successful, you will be allowed to submit an application for a residence permit valid for one year that may be renewed at the prefecture that oversees your area in France. You may see a map of the French prefectures on this page.

Visa de long séjour temporaire pour etudes (temporary long-stay visa)

With this visa, you are allowed to study in France for a period of three to six months without needing to get a residence permit. It is not a renewable resource.

Visa de long séjour etudes (long-stay visa)

If you want to continue your education for more than six months, you will be required to apply for a long-term student visa. This kind of study visa, which doubles as your residence permit, is now valid for the whole time that you are enrolled in an educational program in France: three years for a bachelor's degree, two years for a master's degree, and four years for a doctoral degree. VLT-TS is the abbreviation for "long-stay visas," which also serve as residence permits.

All overseas students, except Algerian students, are required to have the VLS-TS visa for longer stays in the country. You will be required to supply information on your academic history and your level of fluency in French. as well as sufficient money resources (about equivalent to 615 Euros each month).

After arriving in France, you are required to make contact with the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII), send them the official form that was issued by your consulate, and pay a fee of 58 euros in the form of a tax stamp. The tax stamp can be purchased at tabacs (tobacconists), tax offices, or online here. Because of an arrangement certain institutions have with the OFII, you must submit your application via the university rather than directly to the OFII (check with your school or university).

Visa for research scholars with extended stays

If you have a master's degree or above and wish to come to France to participate in research or teach at the university level, then the institution may bring you over on an extended stay research scholar visa VLS-TS. If you have a bachelor's degree or higher, however, you will not be eligible for this visa. You are going to require a hosting agreement from the institution that outlines the job that you will be doing as well as the time frame for it. This has to be stamped with the prefecture's official seal. After that, you are going to submit this documentation, together with your visa application, to the embassy in your home country.

You are required to report to the OFII upon your arrival in France, just as you would for a standard extended visa (as above). You are required to apply for a residence permit that lasts between one and four years and two months before the visa is set to expire. When a family member has this visa, they are immediately eligible for a residence permit that is stamped "vie privée et familiale." This includes the spouse and any minor children.

How to apply for a student visa to France

To apply for admission and get a student visa via the CEF system, you will first need to register with CampusFrance, which is the official organization for higher education and foreign students in France. This is a requirement imposed by several nations. You may find out if you are required to do this by checking CampusFrance. If this is not the case, you will need to register for a class on the university website and get your visa through the French embassy or consulate in the country where you currently reside. Consulates and embassies of France across the world that are eligible to grant visas are listed in detail here.

You are required to give the following information to the French consulate, regardless of whether you are participating in an exchange program, enrolling in a French educational institution as an independent student, or participating in a program organized by an institution in your home country:

● a formal letter of enrollment or acceptance that is printed on letterhead from the educational establishment, including all of your personal information as well as information about the educational establishment in France, together with the beginning and end dates of the academic program.

● evidence showing you have adequate finances (currently 615 euros per month), such as a bank statement, a letter from a guarantor, or notification that you have received a grant or support from an official source.

● a reservation or airline ticket that clearly shows the date of departure or a handwritten declaration from you that includes the date that you plan to leave.

● Documentation demonstrating that you are covered by medical insurance with a minimum benefit of 30,000 Euros.

● evidence that you can make accommodations. You are going to require an official letter from the institution verifying the particulars of your stay whether you are going to be living on campus or in student housing. If you are staying with relatives or friends, they will be required to get a certificate of the board and lodging (attestation d'accueil) from the town hall in their respective municipality.

Working while you’re a student

If you are an international student in France and you have a study visa, you are allowed to work for pay up to 964 hours per year (which is equivalent to about 60% of full-time employment for a year) while you are enrolled in your program; however, you must have a valid residency permit to do so.

As long as it doesn't get in the way of your study, you may also find a job at the university or other educational institutions, with contracts lasting up to a year and running between September 1 and August 31 (up to 670 hours September–June and up to 300 hours July–August).

After graduation

You are eligible to apply for a further one-year, non-renewable temporary residence permit if you hold at least a master's degree, a degree classified as level 1 by the CGE (Conference of Grandes ecoles) (equivalent to a 5-years studies course), or a professional license. This permit allows you to work in any job up to 60 percent of a normal working week to support yourself while you look for a full-time job.

If you find a job that pays at least 1.5 times the minimum wage, you may contact the préfecture in your area to convert your status from student to employee and begin working full-time. This will allow you to earn the minimum wage.

For certain students, employment opportunities may exist in a variety of industries (contact CampusFrance for an up-to-date list of occupations). Before you can start working for the company, you will need to have a contract in place. If you wish to establish your own business this year, you may also apply for a visa that allows you to work as a self-employed auto-entrepreneur, sometimes known as a freelancer. The job has to be connected to research, and there needs to be evidence that it may be profitable.

Students who have completed their studies have the option of applying for a post-study work visa that allows them to remain in France for an additional year after graduation. After you have found employment, you should apply for a work visa and include a letter from the potential company confirming the position in your application.

Recent graduates have a chance of being accepted into the Talent Passport visa program. This is a residency permit that is valid for four years and is available to specialist graduates, business founders, artists, and others like them. Check out Expatica's guide on French work permits if you want further information about the passport visa.

Indian nationals

It is now possible for Indian students to get visas lasting up to 5 years if they have graduated from a Master's or Ph.D. program from a French higher education institution. This change was made to encourage Indian graduates to remain in France after completing their studies.



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