When it comes to studying in France as an international student, obtaining a student visa or permit is a crucial step. Whether you are a citizen of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), or you come from a non-EU/EEA country, specific requirements must be met to legally study in France. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the different requirements and procedures related to student visas and permits in France, to help international students successfully navigate this complex process. Whether you are considering pursuing a Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, or internship, we will cover the key information you need to embark on this new educational adventure in the Hexagon.
Students from the EU and EEA
When it comes to studying in France as a student from the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), administrative procedures are simplified compared to non-EU/EEA students. Here are the key pieces of information to know:
- No need for a visa for studying in France: Students from the EU and EEA are not required to obtain a visa to study in France. You can directly travel to France with your valid passport.
- Medical insurance and sufficient financial resources: Although you don’t need a visa, you must prove that you have valid medical insurance and sufficient financial resources to support yourself during your studies in France. These requirements may vary from one higher education institution to another, so make sure to inquire with your university or school about the specific criteria.
- Possibility to work without a residence permit: As a European citizen, you have the right to work in France without needing a specific residence permit. You can work up to 964 hours per year, which is approximately 20 hours per week, while pursuing your studies. This provides you with an additional opportunity to finance your studies or gain professional experience.
Note that regulations and conditions may vary, so it is recommended to check with your university, school, or the French consulate for specific requirements and recent updates regarding EU and EEA students wishing to study in France. This administrative simplicity facilitates access to studies in France for EU and EEA students and opens up numerous opportunities for learning and development in a rich and diverse academic environment.
If you are a student from a non-European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, specific procedures are required to study in France. Here are the key pieces of information to know:
- Required long-stay visa: Non-EU/EEA students wishing to study in France for more than three months must obtain a long-stay visa. This visa will allow you to reside in France for the duration of your studies.
- Two main types of French student visas available: For non-EU/EEA students, there are two main types of French student visas:
- Long-stay visa serving as a residence permit (VLS-TS): This visa allows you to reside in France for the duration of your study program. It can be used as a residence permit during this period.
- Temporary long-stay visa (VLS-T): This visa is usually issued for study programs lasting less than one year.
Upon your arrival in France, your VLS-T visa will need to be validated by the relevant French authorities. This can be done at the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) or at the prefecture of your place of residence.
The VLS-T visa application varies depending on your level of study:
- Bachelor’s and Master’s: A VLS-T visa ranging from four months to one year can be granted.
- PhD: PhD students can apply for a Talent Passport visa that allows them to stay and study in France at the doctoral level. This visa is renewable if necessary.
- Internship: Students undertaking an internship in France for more than three months can apply for a specific VLS-TS visa for internships.
Note that procedures and requirements may evolve, so it is essential to consult the French embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date information regarding student visas and permits in France. By following these appropriate procedures, non-EU/EEA students can fulfill their study plans in France and benefit from the numerous academic opportunities offered by the country.
French Student Visa Procedure
For non-EU/EEA students, the procedure for applying for a French student visa varies depending on the type of studies planned. Here are the specific details for each case:
VLS-TS internship visa:
- This visa is intended for students who wish to undertake an internship in France for a duration exceeding three months.
- The visa application must be validated by the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII).
- The required documents for the VLS-TS internship visa application include a valid passport, proof of sufficient financial resources, proof of residence in France (e.g., accommodation certificate), and a signed tripartite internship agreement between the student, the company, and the higher education institution.
This visa is suitable for students pursuing Bachelor’s or Master’s studies in France.
- The VLS-T visa is generally valid for a period of four months to one year, depending on the duration of the study program.
- Visa validation is done upon arrival in France, where you will need to report to the relevant authorities, such as the OFII or the prefecture, to complete the validation formalities.
- With this visa, you have the opportunity to travel freely within Schengen countries, work as a student, and potentially receive a scholarship.
- The VLS-T visa application must be made through the online platform “Etudes en France”.
Students wishing to pursue doctoral studies in France can apply for a Talent Passport visa.
- This visa allows you to stay and study in France at the doctoral level.
- The visa is renewable if necessary for the duration of the doctoral program.
- The required documents for the Talent Passport visa application include a hosting agreement from the university or higher education institution, as well as an application for a multi-year residence permit.
- The Talent Passport visa application must be submitted to the competent French embassy or consulate in your home country.
Note that visa procedures may be subject to changes and updates. Therefore, it is essential to check the latest requirements with the French embassy or consulate in your home country. By carefully following the specific visa application procedures relevant to your situation, you will be able to realize your study plans in France under the best possible conditions.
For international students wishing to study in France, obtaining a student visa or permit is an essential step. Depending on your status as a citizen of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) or a non-EU/EEA country, the procedures and requirements differ.
EU/EEA students benefit from greater administrative ease, as they do not need a visa to study in France. However, you must comply with the requirements of medical insurance and sufficient financial resources, as well as be aware of the rights and limitations related to working as a European student.
On the other hand, for non-EU/EEA students, a long-stay visa is mandatory for studies lasting more than three months. Different types of student visas are available, such as VLS-TS for internships, VLS-T for Bachelor’s and Master’s programs, and the Talent Passport visa for doctoral studies. Each type of visa has its own application procedures and specific requirements, which may vary depending on the level of study.
It is crucial to consult the competent French embassy or consulate in your home country to obtain the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding eligibility criteria and the steps to obtain a student visa in France.
By carefully following the appropriate procedures, international students will be able to fulfill their dream of studying in France and fully benefit from the enriching educational experience that the country offers. Whether it is acquiring new knowledge, expanding cultural horizons, or developing professional skills, France provides a diverse and stimulating academic environment for students from around the world.