Every foreign national that wishes to study in France for more than three months, and fulfills the requirements will be issued a France long-stay study 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 his / her studies in France needs to know, as well as who needs this kind of visa, the requirements, what one should do in case of visa denial etc.
Who Needs a France Long-Stay Study 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 long stay visa in order to be permitted to stay.
Every other national, no matter which part of France is planning to visit, will have to obtain a long-stay visa in order to be permitted to enter and remain in the country.
Where to Apply for a France Long-Stay Study Visa?
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 the intended travel date.
Long-Stay Study 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 short-stay study visa instead.
Below find explained every category of applicants that fall under France long-stay study visa, as well as some of their specifics.
Students over 18
This is a visa 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 a long stay visa for study purposes, 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 short-stay study visa.
The countries of the list of CEF-procedure may submit their application online on the Etudes en France portal. (Algeria, Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, the Republic of the Congo, South Korea, Ivory Coast, Egypt, United States, Gabon, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, Taiwan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Vietnam)
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 visa, the maximum validity of which is 11 months.
This is a visa only for foreign children, whose parents do not reside in France, meaning a child whose at least one of the parents resides in France, is not eligible for this type of visa.
One of the parents will have to apply for this type of visa in the name of their child, providing the required supporting documents about child’s enrollment at a French school, previous school reports and child’s knowledge of the French language. As well as proof where the child will be residing and documents proving that the parent has the financial needs to financially support their child.
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
The applicant shall also submit their medical certificate that must be no older than 3 months, translated into French by a sworn translator.
Student trainee (Intern)
This 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 counters organized in their country of residence
- an EU cooperation programme
- an intergovernmental scheme in the fields of education, youth or culture
The main requirement among others is that the applicant must submit a training agreement, which has been concluded between the applicant, the training establishment, and the host company in France. The agreement has to be validated by French authorities following a request from either the host company or the training establishment.
The applicant is also required to show proof that he / she 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 programme or an intergovernmental scheme.
France Long-Stay Study Visa Requirements
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 French long stay 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 specific document requirements, in addition to the common required documents are the following:
Student over 18
- 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
Student under 18
- 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, a 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 a proof of income
- Evidence of knowledge in French
- Vaccination certificate
- Invitation letter from the host family (Original for Attestation d’accueil)
- Proof of academic status / level if relevant
- Proof of activity in applicant’s home country (studies, employment, voluntary work)
- Proof of academic status / level if relevant
- Signed letter explaining 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)
France Long-Stay Study Visa Application Process
To complete the application process for a France study visa, complete the following steps:
Collect the required documents
Get a checklist of the required documents either from the website of the French embassy or consulate in your home country, or require one through email. Gather all of the documents, according to the given instructions.
Schedule an Interview
It is very important to schedule an interview. In some countries you can do that online, while in others you will have to go at the embassy and do it in person.
Attend the interview
This 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 visa
During your interview you will be given a date when you should go at the embassy and collect either you visa, or the reasons for refusal. 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.
France Long-Stay Study Visa Fee
The French long stay visa fees are as following:
- Visa pricing for countries with CEF procedure: 50 eur
- Visa pricing for other countries: 99 eur
However exempt from paying the fee are the following:
- Family member of a French National
- Family member of a EU / EEA or Swiss citizen
- Child adopted by a French citizen
Upon Your Arrival in France
Holders of 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
Working on a Long-Stay Study Visa in France
The 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 the 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 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 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.