Every foreign national that wishes to study in France for more than three months, and fulfills the requirements will be issued a France Student Visa, which allows them to stay and study in France, and in many cases to work for a specific amount of hours per week.
In this article, we will go through some of the most important things a student wishing to continue their studies in France needs to know.
What are the French Student Visa Categories?
Foreign nationals who wish to enter France under study purposes with the intention to remain there more than three months, up to a year, are separated under a few categories according to their age and studies. On the other hand, those who intend to stay no more than three months should apply for a France Study Schengen visa instead.
Below find explained every category of applicants that fall under France long-stay study visa, as well as some of their specifics.
France Student visa for Students over 18
This is a type of French Student visa is for students that wish to enroll at a public or private educational institution in France. Their studies must be related to the Diplomas previously obtained or with the current professional occupation of the applicant.
In order to be eligible for this French long stay study visa, you must have been accepted by a higher education institution in France. If you are just taking entrance exams or going through interviews, then you will have to apply for a French short-stay study visa.
The countries of the list of CEF-procedure may submit their application online on the Etudes en France portal:
|Colombia||Comoros||the Republic of the Congo|
|South Korea||Ivory Coast||Egypt|
|Peru||Senegal||Democratic Republic of Congo|
France Study visa for Students under 18 (mineur scolarisé)
Students under 18 who wish to continue their studies in France in a public or private primary, secondary or higher education establishment, will need to apply for this kind of French student visa, the maximum validity of which is 11 months.
This is a visa only for foreign children, whose parents do not reside in France.
France Au Pair Visa
Foreigners aged 17-30 who wish to temporarily stay with a family in France in order to be able to study French for more than three months, can obtain a long-stay study visa, which grants them with work protection in France and access to the National Health Insurance.
The main requirement from the applicant and the host family is an au pair placement agreement, which must be submitted to the DIRECCTE by the host family. The agreement must indicate:
- The services that the applicant will be required to provide to the family.
- Applicant’s working hours (five hours maximum per day).
- Details about applicant’s board and lodging.
- Applicant’s weekly rest days (one rest day per week including one compulsory Sunday a month).
- The jointly agreed amount of pocket money the applicant will receive from the host family.
France Student Trainee or Intern Visa
The French Student Trainee visa is for students who want to do a professional work placement in France. The main condition for this category is that the applicant must be part of one of the following:
- A training counter organized in their country of residence.
- An EU cooperation program.
- An intergovernmental scheme in the fields of education, youth or culture.
France visa for language assistants
Only single persons can apply for this type of visa and not families, due to the cost of living in France and the monthly paid allowance, which does not fully cover the financial needs of a family abroad. Remember if any family members wish to join you, they will have to apply for a visitor long-stay visa.
France Student Visa Application
The application for a France long-stay study visa will be submitted at the French consulate or embassy in your country of residence. You are strongly advised to apply for this visa at most 3 months and at least 3 weeks prior to the intended travel date.
To complete the application process for a France study visa, complete the following steps:
Check if you need to apply for a France Student visa
Whether you need a France long-stay Study visa or not, it all depends on your nationality and the part of France you wish to visit. There are some categories of internationals who wish to enter France under work purposes and remain for more than three months that do not need to obtain a French Student visa in order to be permitted to stay.
Every other person will have to obtain a French long-stay student visa in order to be permitted to enter and remain in the country.
Collect the French Student visa documents
If you are applying for long-stay study visa then you should keep in mind that the most important part of the whole application process is collecting the standard French visa required documents, which later you will have to submit at the French embassy or consulate in your home country during an interview with a consular officer.
The required documents for the France student visa are:
- Completed French Student Visa Application Form. Fill-in the form completely and provide correct information about yourself.
- Two recent photographs in line with the guidelines. You should submit two photos alongside with the other documents.
- Valid passport. Before you apply, check your passport for its validity and date of issuance. It must have been issued within the last 10 years and valid for a minimum of 3 months after the end of your planned stay in France. The passport must have at least two blank pages in order to be able to put the visa sticker on it.
- Copies of older visas. If you have ever held any visa to any country in the world, submit copies of those visas.
- Proof of purchased health insurance policy for students.
- Proof of financial means. The French authorities want to know how you will be financing yourself while in France.
- Proof of accommodation. Another very important document that you need to submit is proof where you will be staying in France.
- Certificate of criminal record – showing that candidate has no open crime case involvement
- Proof of paid visa fee.
Documents for Students over 18
If you are over 18 years of age, to apply for a French student visa you should submit the following documents, in addition to the standard required documents for French visas:
- Proof of registration or pre-registration at a French educational institution related to your academic field. This is a document issued by the institution you will be attending, that contains your name, type of studies, length of studies, etc.
- Proof of your academic status/level.
- Cover letter explaining study project in France.
- Diplomas, Certificates.
Documents for students under 18
One of the parents will have to apply for this type of French long stay study visa in the name of their child, providing the required supporting documents, such as:
- Proof of the child’s enrollment at a French school.
- Previous school reports.
- Child’s knowledge of the French language.
- Proof where the child will be residing.
- Documents proving that the parent has the financial needs to financially support their child.
- Birth certificate of the minor stating the names of both parents.
- official translation of the birth certificate in French.
- Passports of both biological parents.
- Proof of Guardianship – if the minor will be traveling with a third person to France, proof of guardianship must be shown, signed by both parents.
- Travel authorization form signed by both parents.
- Registration or pre-registration at a French education institution.
- Report cards from the last school year.
- Receipt of payment of the tuition fees, or a letter of commitment to pay the fees on time attached to the proof of income.
- Vaccination certificate.
France Au Pair Visa Requirements
- Invitation letter from the host family (Original for Attestation d’accueil)
- Proof of academic status/level if relevant
- Medical certificate that must be no older than 3 months, translated into French by a sworn translator.
French Student Intern Visa Requirements
The main French Student Intern visa requirement among others is that the applicant must submit the following documents:
- A training agreement, which has been concluded between the applicant.
- The training establishment. The agreement has to be validated by French authorities following a request from either the host company or the training establishment.
- Proof that they will receive monthly an amount of money that is equivalent to the basic monthly maintenance allowance that the French government pays to scholarship holders. Exempt from this requirement are only the interns taking part in an EY cooperation program or an intergovernmental scheme.
- Proof of activity in the applicant’s home country (studies, employment, voluntary work).
- Proof of academic status/level if relevant.
- A signed letter explaining the project in France.
- Internship agreement “convention de stage” duly completed by the approved host and stamped by the French Department of Trade and Employment (DIRECTTE).
Schedule a France Student Visa Interview
It is very important to schedule a French student visa interview. In some countries, you can do that online, while in others you will have to go to the embassy and do it in person.
Pay the French student visa fee
The French student visa fees are as following:
- Visa pricing for countries with CEF procedure: €50
- Visa pricing for other countries: €99
However exempt from paying the fee are the following:
- A family member of a French National
- A family member of an EU / EEA or Swiss citizen
- A child adopted by a French citizen
Attend the interview
Attending the France student visa interview is a very important part of the application process. The consular officer you will meet will decide whether you should be issued a visa or not based on the interview and the documents you submit. Try not to be nervous and arrange your documents in advance.
Collect your France Student Visa
During your interview, you will be given a date when you should go at the embassy and collect your visa. If you get the visa they will put a French Visa Sticker on your passport which indicates the date you can first enter France, the last date you should leave, and the period of stay among others.
Upon Your Arrival in France
Holders of French long-stay study visas have to:
- Register at the Immigration and Integration Office (OFII) in the first 2 months of arrival into the French territory,
- Or apply for a residence permit at the respective French prefecture, immediately after entering the French territory – if the visa is marked “carte de séjour à solliciter” (residence permit to be applied for)
- Apply at the OFII immediately after entering the French territory to make a medical examination and pay the residence fees. After the first year of stay you have to apply to at the French prefecture to renew your residence permit (not later than 2 months before the visa period ends) – this rule is for some sub-categories of long-stay visa that in the first year of stay are recognized as residence permits: Long-stay study visas, Long-stay work visas (not all of them), Spouses of French nationals long-stay visa and Visitor long-stay visa
Can I Work in France as a Student?
French law permits foreign students to work 964 hours per year, which is 60% of the normal working hours in France. Exempt from this authorization are Algerian nationals who are limited to working no more than 50% of the normal working hours in France. During this period you will be paid with at least the minimum French wage (which is 1,480.27, while you will be paid 60% of it if you work with a minimum wage).
What Can I do in Case of Visa Refusal?
If your French student visa application gets rejected, you can submit a request for a re-evaluation of the visa application to the French embassy or consulate in your home country from where you have applied. Such a request should be done if you have strong reasons to believe that the visa refusal was unjust.
The appeal against the decision should be submitted 2 months since the day of the refusal, in French, and the supporting documents attached to the case file. The results of the appeal could be an indirect refusal (no answer in 2 months), or a direct refusal by the commission.