To come to France as a student, you must:
- have been offered a place to study at a public or private education or training institution or at an organisation providing initial or further vocational training;
- show you have both the necessary qualifications to study in your country of origin and sufficient proficiency in French for the course in which you wish to enrol;
- prove sufficient financial resources (at least 615 euros per months);
- obtain a “student” long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS).
Where and how to apply
You can either register directly with the higher education institution or, in some cases, submit a preliminary application beforehand (Demande d’admission préalable).
You can register directly with the higher education institution as an undergraduate student if you:
If you have or will have a Baccalauréat qualification taken in a school abroad or are applying for a preparatory course for entry to a "grande école" (specialised graduate school), you must apply on the Parcours Sup website.
Preliminary Application for Admission
If you are not allowed to register directly, you will need to file a preliminary application (demande d’admission préalable) with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in your country of origin for admission to an institution of higher education. Holders of secondary school qualifications issued abroad who wish to enrol for the first time as university undergraduates must first apply for admission.
People of some nationalities must apply online via the CEF procedure.
Acceptance of your application will depend on:
Visa and student residence permit
You must submit your application for a long-stay student visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS) to the French Embassy or Consulate in your country of origin.
Within the first 3 months of your arrival in France, you must validate your VLS-TS online on the official dedicated website.
Two months before the end of your visa, you will then have to go to the prefecture to either renew your VLS-TS to obtain a "student" temporary residence permit (if you still meet the initial requirements). You can also apply for a multiyear "student" residence permit.
The prefect will inform you of the decision in writing as soon as possible and no later than 60 days from the date of the application being made. If there is no decision, the application is approved.
For certain countries, the Consulate may require you to provide proof of specific vaccinations.
The applicable fee for a “student” long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit is 60 EUR. The fee for the temporary “student” residence permit or the multiyear “student” residence permit is 79 EUR.
|Duration of validity of permits|
The student residence permit is valid for the duration of the studies, for a maximum of 4 years.
Students who wish to continue studying in France may renew their residence permit. Students at Master’s or Doctorate’s level who already obtained a first "student" residence permit for a period of one year may be granted a multi-annual residence permit, depending on the length of the studies.
The short-term "étudiant-concours" (student selection) visa is valid for a maximum of 90 days and allows you to sit an entrance examination or specific entry test prior to your definitive registration in a higher education institution. If you are successful, you can obtain a student residence permit without returning to your country of origin.
If you hold a student visa which is valid for over three months, you are exempt from having to apply for a temporary residence permit during the first year of your stay in France.
You must validate your VLS-TS on the official dedicated website within the first 3 months of your arrival in France.
The “student – mobility programme” residence permit with the mention “student” is delivered to third-country national students as a first-time residence permit if:
This residence permit is valid for the duration of the mobility programme or agreement, for a minimum of two years.
The applicable fee is 269 EUR.
You can appeal a decision to refuse a visa to the Commission for Appeals Against French Entry Visa Refusals within two months of the date of notification of the decision.
If the Commission rejects the appeal, or if, despite the favorable opinion of the Commission, ministers confirm the visa refusal, you may, within two months, submit a request for annulment before the Administrative Court of Nantes, which is responsible in the first instance for litigation on visa refusal.
A hierarchical appeal may also be submitted to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Employment during studies
If you hold a long-stay student visa entitling you to reside in France, you may work as an employee without a work permit, provided this does not exceed 964 hours (i.e. 60 % of full time work) of work per year. Algerian students, under a bilateral agreement, must apply for a temporary work permit and are allowed to work 50% of full time work.
Possession of this visa allows you to work anywhere on the French mainland provided your employed had informed the Préfecture of your recruitment and working conditions at least 48 hours before your contract starts.
Non-compliance with the annual maximum hour limit may lead your residence permit being withdrawn.
Employment after studies
If you have a French qualification equivalent to a Master's degree, you will be allowed to remain on French territory for twelve months in order to seek employment or create a business relating to your training/studies. You must apply for a twelve-month temporary residence permit with the Préfecture at your place of residence no later than four months before the expiry of your residence permit.
During this twelve-month period, you can work on the same terms that apply to employment during studies (i.e. 964 hours / 60 % of full time work).
Change of status
If, at the end of the twelve-month period of temporary residence permit or during the validity of the residence permit, you have found a suitable job or are about to be employed or to create a company, you may apply for the appropriate residence permit in relation with your professional project.
If you have found a job or are ready to create our business immediately after the end of your studies, you can apply immediately for the appropriate residence permit in relation with your professional project and file the application with the Préfecture at your place of residence no later than four months before the expiry of your residence permit.
The conditions for the change of status will depend on the type of project (salaried employee, investor, creation of a company, etc.), the link with the studies performed and the level of remuneration proposed. If your remuneration exceeds 1.5 times the average monthly gross wage (i.e.2,281.83 euros gross per month) and is in relation with the studies, your employer will not have to prove the lack of available candidate on the French labour market.
|"Long-term EU resident" residence permit|
Students may not apply for an EU long-term residence permit.
|Residence permits for family members|
You can be joined by your family under the conditions set in the family reunification procedures.
To apply for family reunification, you must:
However, as a student, it may be difficult for you to meet all the conditions.
If you have a permit/visa for studies in an EU country and are covered by an EU or multilateral programme or an agreement between universities, you may carry out part of your studies and work (in addition to your studies) in France if you fulfil certain requirements. You may reside and study in France for up to 360 days.
If you are not covered by a programme or agreement, you can apply for a new residence permit/visa in France.
To come to France as a student while having a permit/visa for studies issued by an EU country and being covered by an EU or multilateral programme, or an agreement between universities, the hosting French school / university must notify your mobility project to the Ministry of the Interior.
The residence permit "student – mobility programme" you were issued upon your enrolment in an EU or multilateral programme in the first Member State will enable you to pursue your studies in France for a maximum of 12 months.
The hosting education institution or vocational training establishment in France is responsible for notifying your mobility project to the Ministry of the Interior competent for immigration issues.
This notification may be submitted either when you apply for a residence permit/visa in the first Member State (if you are already planning to carry out part of your studies in the hosting institution in France), or after your admission in the first Member State, once your project to come to France is drawn up.
The hosting institution has to fill in a form notifying the mobility of a student allowed to stay in another EU Member State in France (see here). This form gathers your personal information, information about the hosting institution, and the estimated dates of your period of mobility in France. The hosting institution submits it electronically to the following address : email@example.com
Upon the reception of your application, the Ministry has a period of 30 days to issue a refusal. After this period, if there is no decision, you are granted the right to stay in France with the residence permit/visa issued by the first Member State.
To notify your mobility project, you need to provide the hosting institution in France with:
|Allowed number of working hours/days|
You cannot benefit from the residence permit for “job-searching/entrepreneurship”, whose requirements include the issuing of a diploma in France.
If you wish to come to France to start your business or to apply for a job, you will have to apply for the relevant residence permit, using the regular procedure.
- Ministry of the Interior
- Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Labour
- Pôle Emploi
- The "Préfectures"
- Ministry of Solidarities and Health
- Regional Health Agency
- Diplomatic missions abroad
- French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII)
- Conseil d'État
- Campus France
- Official website of the French Administration