Whether you need a student visa for France is determined by whether you are an EU citizen. You do not need a French student visa if you are an EU national or a national of the EEA, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. Instead, all you’ll need to study legally in France is a valid passport or another form of travel ID.
If you are a foreign national from anywhere in the world, you must get a student visa for France to study.
This article would serve as a full guide for you if you are interested in studying in France and wondering how to get a student visa in France. Keep reading.
Types Of Student Visa In France
There are several types of French student visas, and the one you need will depend on how long you intend to study in France.
Short stay student visa in France
Short-stay Schengen student visa If your studies will last less than three months and you are certain you will not be staying in the country any longer, apply for the court séjour pour étude, also known as the short-stay or Schengen student visa. The Schengen student visa is free to get and cannot be renewed.
Visa for taking entrance exams
If you need to travel to France to take one or more university entrance exams, you can apply for a visa de court séjour étudiant concours, which translates to a visa for taking entrance exams.
You will apply for a one-year renewable residence permit if you pass your exam. For more information, contact the admissions office of the French institution where you want to study.
Visa for Temporary Long-Term Stay
The visa de long séjour temporaire pour études is a six-month temporary student visa that allows you to study in France. You do not need to apply for a residence permit separately with this student visa for France.
The long-stay visa, also known as the visa de long séjour pour études or the extended-stay VLT-TS, is required if you plan to study in France for over six months.
This visa serves as a residence permit and is valid for the duration of your program (typically three years for a bachelor’s degree, two years for a master’s program, and four years for a Ph.D.).
Algerian nationals do not need the VLS-TS but are subject to different rules. For more information, contact your institution or the French consulate/embassy in your home country.
How Students’ Visa Work in France
A Student Visa in France is an entry permit to France granted to third-country nationals who wish to enter and stay in any of the member states for short periods to study.
This visa allows the holder to stay in France for at least three months. If your study or training course lasts longer than that, apply for a Long-Stay Study Visa at the respective country’s embassy.
Only third-country nationals who have not signed a visa-free agreement with Schengen Area member states require a Student Schengen Visa.
You must submit your Student Schengen Visa Application to the Embassy / Consulate / VAC of your primary Schengen destination in your country.
France has a lot of reputable institutions. To be a part of them, you need to consider: Study In France: How to Apply for a Visa to Study in France
Requirements Or Eligibility Criteria for Student Visa in France
The following documents are required to apply for a Student Schengen Visa:
- Two visa application forms. Completed in its entirety, with correct and honest answers. Print it and sign it at the end.
- Two identical photographs. According to the Schengen visa photo requirements, taken within the last three months.
- A current passport, issued within the last ten years, with a validity period of at least three months following the end of the planned journey
- A copy of the biometric data on the passport.
- Prior passports. With a rubber band to hold them together. Do not staple them!
- Evidence of residency. Some document issued by the country from which you are applying to prove that you are a citizen or resident of that country.
- A round-trip reservation or itinerary specifying the dates and flight numbers for entering and leaving the Schengen area. Learn more about how to book a flight reservation for an EU visa application here.
- Medical insurance for travel. A document issued by your Europe health insurer confirms you have insurance for the entire Schengen territory for your stay, with coverage of €30,000 for emergency medical situations.
- Evidence of lodging. Evidence of where you will be staying during your visit to the Schengen area. One of the following could be the case:
- Dormitory lease. Signed by you and a representative of a dormitory in the country where you will be staying.
- Contract for Rent A contract with a property owner in this Schengen state that specifies the address and other facility and landlord details.
- An Invitation Letter. A letter written by a resident of the country you are applying to enter, confirming their willingness to host you in their home for the duration of your stay.
- Acceptance letter from an EU University/College/School. A recent, official, and signed letter stating your name/study type/length of studies/participation in a European program, if applicable/number of hours per week.
- Academic credentials must be shown. Diploma, academic records, attestation of equivalence application or decision/dispatch of equivalence
- Evidence of financial means. Documents proving one’s ability to live and subsidise oneself while in the Schengen zone. This could be one of the following options:
- Scholarship. Original attestation of a minimum monthly scholarship of 631€.
- A bank account statement Displaying your bank balance for the previous three months.
- Proof of visa fee payment.
Minors must provide additional documentation.
- Copy of the minor’s birth certificate
- Copy of the parent’s signature on an identity document (one document for each parent).
- Signed declaration from both parents stating that the minor may travel.
- If applicable, a court order states which parent is responsible for the minor.
- If applicable, a consenting declaration from the minor’s school.
Proof of employment
- If hired: proof of employment contract
- Get permission from your employer to take a leave of absence.
- Personal Income Tax Return
If you’re self-employed:
- Copy of your company’s license,
- Most recent six-month bank statement for the company
- Personal Income Tax Return (ITR)
If you’re a student:
- Enrollment proof
- Letter of No Objection from the University
How Long Is The France Student Visa Valid?
You will be granted a short-stay visa, known as a “étudiant/étudiant-concours” visa, which allows you to stay for a maximum of 90 days in 180 days.
Fees And Cost Of Student Visa In France
The French visa application fee must be paid when the application is submitted. After completing the payment, you will receive a receipt showing that the payment was made, which must be included in the application dossier’s other documents.
A student visa costs 50 euros, 55.60 dollars, or approximately 3829 rupees in France.
How To Apply For Student Visa In France
Nationals of a variety of countries will apply for a French student visa through Campus France, the country’s official national agency for higher education and international students.
Those students would have also been required to use Campus France to apply to their preferred French institutions using the CEF procedure.
If your home country is one of them, you will be in charge of both your university and student visa applications. You will apply for a student visa to France only after being accepted into a French institution program.
To apply for your visa, contact the French consulate in your home country and provide them with the following information when requested:
- An official acceptance letter to a French institution’s accredited program. This should be on official letterhead and include your full name, the details of your program of study, and the start and end dates of your studies.
- Evidence of sufficient funds to live in the country. The current monthly requirement is €615 (US$820), which can be showed with a bank statement, guarantor’s letter, or notice of funding from a loan, scholarship, or grant.
- Proof of a return flight home. This is usually as a ticket or reservation with the date of departure, but it can also be a handwritten statement of intent with the intended departure dates.
- Medical insurance proof (minimum coverage €30,000, US$40,150)
- Evidence of accommodation Can be shown as a student housing confirmation, a certificate of board and lodging, or a ‘attestation d’accueil’ (if living with friends or relatives).
- Proof of French proficiency if you are enrolled in a French-language course.
As an international student seeking to study in France, consider: Best Universities in France for International Students 2023
Student Visa Processing Time In France
Although there is no set processing time for a student visa to France, most students will receive a decision within two weeks of submitting their application.
A student visa can be gotten from a French consulate in your country or from Campus France (an institution promoting higher education in France, having a local office in almost all countries worldwide). In order to get a student visa in some countries, you must first register with Campus France.
Can I Get A Student Visa In France Without IELTS?
The question now is whether IELTS is required for a student visa to France. If you have an acceptance letter from a French university that does not require IELTS, you can apply for a student visa in France.
Once you have your No Objection Certificate, you can apply for a student visa to France at VFS France. You will again require documentation, and after scheduling an appointment, you must submit your file. You will need to have your biometrics completed, as well as a scanned photograph and fingerprints.
After you have completed both the file submission and the biometrics, wait 10-15 working days for the visa. Beginning the visa application process three weeks before your flight to France is best.
You can study in France without an IELTS certificate, but the requirement will vary depending on the university. Because the state does not mandate the exam, institutions develop their own policies and regulations regarding the exam.
Working While Studying In France
As an international student with a valid residence permit (the VLS-TS), you are eligible to work for pay for 964 hours per year (this equates to about 60 percent full-time employment).
This number of hours is set aside for work between September 1 and August 31. Between September and June, eligible work hours are (up to) 670, while July and August are (up to) 300.
Working and studying don’t always work out as you imagine. Before you consider it, read: Work And Study In France, Things You Must Know
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. A student visa can be got from a French consulate in your country or Campus France (an institution promoting higher education in France, having a local office in almost all countries worldwide). To get a student visa in some countries, you must first register with Campus France.
There is no set processing time for an Indian student visa, but most students will hear back within two weeks of submitting their application.
The current monthly requirement is €615 (US$820), demonstrated with a bank statement, guarantor’s letter, or notice of funding from a loan, scholarship, or grant.
Yes. The VLS-TS student visa enables you to study in France for four months to one year. When you arrive in France, you must validate it. If you want to continue studying after your visa expires, you can apply for a multi-year residence permit (carte de séjour pluriannuelle).
The long-stay visa valid as a residence permit for students, allows you to stay in France for up to a year to pursue higher education studies. You only require a long-term student visa as proof of residency during your first year of studies.
To validate your visa, you must register with the local French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) and undergo a medical examination within a month of your arrival in France.
If you intend to stay for more than a year, you must apply for a Carte de Séjour (CDS) or ‘titre de séjour’, an official residence permit, beginning in your second year of studies. A student visa in France is easy to get. All you need is to get all the documents ready and updated.