How to Get France Student Visa?

France Student Visa- Once you apply to your desired university and program in France, you will have to start with your France student visa application process. There are different types of French student visas and you could choose from one of these according to the duration of your stay in France.

Types of France Student Visa:

There are four main types of France Student Visa:

  1. Schengen (short-stay) student Visa: This student visa is best suited to those students who have applied for short duration courses lasting for only 3 months. The Schengen or short-stay student visa cannot be renewed and is issued free of charge.
  2. Visa for attempting entrance exams: You could apply for this Visa if you wish to sit for a university entrance exam in France. Once you attempt the exam and pass it, you will be allowed to apply for a renewable one-year residence permit. Contact the admissions department of your university for more details.
  3. Temporary long-stay Visa: This is a temporary visa that allows you to stay in France for up to six months. If you possess this student visa, you will not have to acquire a separate residence permit.
  4. Long-stay Visa: The long-stay visa or the extended-stay VLT-TS is useful for students who wish to pursue a full-time bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. This Visa also doubles up as a residence permit and allows you to stay for the entire duration of your course.

How to Apply for France Student Visa?

Indian students and students of other nationalities have to apply for the France student visa through Campus France, the national agency for international students and higher education. These students would also have to use Campus France in order to apply to their desired French universities through the CEF procedure.

Working in France with a Student Visa:

Students with a valid residence permit (VLT-TS holders included) are allowed to work for 964 hours on an annual basis which is approximately equal to 60% of any full-time employment. The above-mentioned number is applicable for work from 1 September to 31 August of the coming year. The student can work for about 670 hours from September to June and 300 hours from July to August.

Who needs a French Student Visa?

Students from EU, EEA, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein will not require a French student visa. A valid passport and other travel documents will suffice for these students. However, students from other parts of the world would require a student visa to enter France.

Applying for a France Student Visa:

The following steps are involved in the French student visa application process:

  1. Fix a face-to-face interview/appointment through the official website of the French Embassy or Consulate in your locality. Remember to check the online calendar for available slots. Interviews are usually conducted in the morning.
  2. Try to fix the appointment at least 90 days before you depart for France.
  3. During the summers, it might be difficult to get an appointment as the slots get filled quickly. Hence, you might have to wait for at least four weeks till you get an appointment.
  4. Kindly read up on the guidelines and regulations observed in the Consulate. Also, be sure to dress up formally for the interview.
  5. It is always advisable to carry all your documents as you may be asked for additional documents that are not listed on the website.

When to Apply?

During your first year of the program, you will require only your Student Visa as proof of your residence. After arriving in France, you are expected to register with the local French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) and go for a medical check-up in order to get your visa validated. You will need to complete this procedure within one month of your arrival in the country.

Students who wish to stay in France for more than a year will have to apply for a Carte de Séjour (CDS) – an official residence permit. This will have to be done in the second year of their program.

Required documents for Student Visa

Here is a checklist of the documents required for the Visa application process:

  • Completely filled and duly signed visa application form
  • Two recent passports sized photographs
  • A valid passport and photocopies of your previous visas
  • Offer/acceptance letter from a French university
  • Proof of adequate financial resources (around €615 or US$653 per month) to cover all your expenses during your stay in France
  • Airline ticket/reservation mentioning the exact date of departure
  • Medical insurance certificate with a minimum cover of €30,000 or US$31,841
  • Rental agreement as proof of accommodation during your stay in France
  • French language proficiency certificate (for courses taught in French)
  • Visa fee payment receipt (Visa fees are €55 or US$58).
  • Proof of civilian status, if applicable 

Visa Language Requirements

International students who have enrolled for a French-taught course will have to prove their proficiency in French by showing an internationally recognized certificate – DELF/DALF. Alternatively, they could be asked to pass a French language test – TCF or TCF-DAP.

Always check with the university with regards to additional language requirements that you may have to meet.