The country has announced plans to simplify visa procedures, reform tuition fees and strengthen English classes at its universities to woo foreign students over the next 10 years. While this effort is temporarily halted as the country curbs international travel, students are still welcome to plan their studies abroad here. Part of this is to brush up on your knowledge of the student visa process.
Am I entitled to a student visa in France?
You can apply for a French student visa on condition:
- You are at least 18 years old
- You have chosen your training or studies
- You have been accepted into a higher education institution
- You have proof of accommodation in France.
The French higher education agency Campus France declares: “If you are a national of a country of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or from Switzerland, you do not need a student visa to study or pursue an internship in France. Generally, nationals of other countries will need a student visa to study in France. Find out if you need a student visa here.
What type of student visa do I need?
The type of visa you will need depends on how long you plan to study in the country. There are four types of student visas. The first two are short-stay student visas (less than three months):
This visa is ideal if you are taking a short course (for example a language course) that lasts less than three months. Click here to check if you are exempt from a short stay visa.
This visa is intended for non-European students who have to come to France to take an exam or an admission interview in a higher education institution in the country. You can submit your request by contacting the French consular authorities in your country of residence.
Campus France notes that the short-stay “student in competition” visa will only be granted if the results of the competition or the admission interview are known within three months.
The other two types of visa are long-stay student visas (more than three months):
- Long-term temporary visa (VLS-T)
With the VLS-T, you can stay in France for a year to complete your higher education program. You do not need to validate this visa on arrival. It cannot be renewed and does not grant the same rights as VLS-TS.
This visa allows you to travel freely in the countries of the Schengen area. You will also benefit from French social security (after registration in a higher education establishment) during your stay and will benefit from a partial reimbursement of all your health expenses with this visa.
Note that the VLS-T does not allow you to work during your studies, nor to benefit from VISALE, the free rental deposit service for students; or receive a housing subsidy with CAF; and you will not be able to extend your stay beyond the validity of the residence permits issued.
How can I apply for my student visa?
According to Campus France, students residing in the listed countries will have to follow an online “Study in France” procedure. If your country is not on the list, you must be accepted at a French university of your choice before proceeding with your visa application at the French consulate in your country of residence.
You may want to contact them to verify all necessary documents, originals and copies, before making an appointment with your consulate. Have these on hand for your visa application:
- Visa application form
- Two passport size photos
- Valid passport and copies of your previous visas
- Letter of official acceptance into an accredited program in a French institution
- Proof that you have sufficient funds to live in France (around 615 euros per month)
- Proof of return home ticket (e.g. actual ticket or reservation showing date of departure)
- Proof of medical insurance (costs between 311 and 714 euros per year)
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of fluency in English or French (if required)
Where can I apply for my student visa?
You can start the process:
- via Campus France, which requires you to register in advance
- at a French consulate in your country – all you need to do is make an appointment at least 90 days before your departure for France.
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