How to apply for a student visa in France – Interview, Requirements, Permit

Written by Michael Nz. on April 14, 2022

7 min read
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The need for a student visa for France depends on whether you are an EU citizen. You do not need a French student visa if you are a citizen of the EU or EEA, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. Instead, all you’ll need to legally study in France is a valid passport or another form of travel identification.

If you are a foreigner from anywhere in the world, you will need to obtain a student visa for France in order to study.

This article will serve as a complete guide if you are interested in studying in France and wondering how to obtain a student visa in France. Keep reading.

Types of Student Visa in France

There are various 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 sure that you will not stay long in the country, apply for the court séjour pour étude, also known as a short-stay student or Schengen visa. The Schengen student visa is free of charge and cannot be renewed.

Visa to take 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 into a visa to take the entrance exams.

If you pass your exam, you will apply for a one-year renewable residence permit. For more information, contact the admissions office of the French institution where you wish to study.

Visa for Temporary Long-Term Stay

The visa is a six-month temporary student visa that allows you to study in France. You do not need to apply for a separate residence permit with this student visa for France.

long term visa

The long-stay visa, also known as visa de long séjour pour études or long-stay VLT-TS, is required if you plan to study in France for more than six months.

This visa serves as a residence permit and is valid for the duration of your program (usually three years for a bachelor’s degree, two years for a master’s program, and four years for a doctorate).

Algerian citizens 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 does the student visa in France work?

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 of time to study.

This visa allows the holder to stay in France for a minimum of three months. If your course of study or training lasts longer than that, apply for a long-stay study visa at the embassy of the respective country.

Only citizens of third countries who have not signed a visa-free agreement with the member states of the Schengen Area require a Schengen student visa.

You must send your Schengen student visa application to the Embassy / Consulate / VAC of the main Schengen destination in your country.

France has many accredited institutions. To be part of them, you should consider:  Study in France: how to apply for a visa to study in France

Requirements or eligibility criteria for the student visa in France

The following documents are required to apply for a Schengen student visa:

  • Two visa application forms. Completed in its entirety, with correct and honest answers. Print it out and sign it at the end.
  • Two identical photos. According to the requirements of the Schengen visa photo, taken in the last three months.
  • A valid passport, issued within the last ten years, with a validity period of at least three months after the end of the intended trip
  • A copy of the biometric data of the passport.
  • Previous passports. With an elastic band, to keep them together. Don’t staple them!
  • Evidence of residence. Some type of document issued by the country you are applying from to show that you are a citizen or resident of that country.
  • A round-trip reservation or itinerary specifying the dates and flight numbers to enter and leave the Schengen area. Find out more about how to book a flight reservation for an EU visa application here.
  • Travel medical insurance. A document issued by your European health insurer confirming that you have insurance for the entire Schengen territory for the duration of your stay, with coverage of €30,000 for emergency medical situations.
  • Evidence of lodging. Proof of where you will stay during your visit to the Schengen area. One of the following could be the case:
  • Bedroom rental. Signed by you and a representative of a dorm in the country where you will be staying.
  • Rental agreement A contract with the owner of a property in this Schengen state that specifies the address and other details of the premises and the landlord.
  • A letter of invitation. 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.
  • Letter of acceptance from an EU university/college/school. A recent, official, signed letter stating your name/type of study/duration of studies/participation in a European programme, if applicable/number of hours per week.
  • Academic credentials must be shown. Diploma, academic record, certificate of equivalence request or resolution/issuance of equivalence
  • Evidence of financial means. Documents proving the ability to live and be subsidized while in the Schengen area. This could be one of the following options:
  • Scholarship. Original certificate of a minimum monthly scholarship of €631.
  • A bank statement showing your bank balance for the previous three months.
  • Sponsorship.
  • Proof of payment of the visa fee.

Minors must provide additional documentation.

  • Copy of the minor’s birth certificate
  • Copy of the parents’ signature on an identity document (one document for each parent).
  • Declaration signed by both parents that the minor can travel.
  • If applicable, a court order stating which of the parents has custody of the minor.
  • If applicable, declaration of conformity 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.
  • Income tax return

If you are self-employed:

  • Copy of your company license,
  • Bank statement for the last six months of the company
  • Personal Income Tax Return (ITR)

If you are a student:

  • proof of enrollment
  • Letter of No Objection from the University

How long is the France student visa valid?

You will be issued a short-stay visa, known as an “étudiant/étudiant-concours” visa, which allows you to stay for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.

Rates and cost of the student visa in France

The French visa application fee must be paid at the time of application. After completing the payment, you will receive a receipt showing that the payment was made, which must be included in the rest of the documents in the application file.

In France, a student visa costs 50 euros, 55.60 dollars or approximately 3,829 rupees.

How to apply for a student visa in France

Citizens 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 also have been required to use Campus France to apply to their preferred French institutions using the CEF procedure.

If your country of origin is one of them, you will be in charge of both your university application and your student visa application. You will apply for a student visa to France only after you have been accepted to a program at a French institution.

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 from the accredited program of a French institution. This must be on official letterhead and include your full name, 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 demonstrated with a bank statement, a letter from the guarantor or a funding notice for a loan, scholarship or grant.
  • Proof of a flight back home. This is usually a ticket or reservation with the date of departure, but it can also be a handwritten declaration of intent with the expected dates of departure.
  • Proof of medical insurance (minimum coverage €30,000, US$40,150)
  • Evidence of accommodation This can be shown as a confirmation of student accommodation, a board and accommodation certificate, or an ‘attestation d’accueil’ (if you live with friends or relatives).
  • Proof of French proficiency, if you are enrolled in a French course.

France Student Visa Processing Time

Although there is no set processing time for a French student visa, most students will receive a decision within two weeks of submitting their application.

A student visa can be obtained at a French consulate in your country or at Campus France (an institution promoting higher education in France, which has a local office in almost every country in the world). To obtain 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 Certificate of No Objection, you can apply for a student visa to France at VFS France. It will again require documentation, and after scheduling an appointment, you must submit your file. You will need to fill in your biometrics as well as a scanned photograph and fingerprints.

Once you have completed both the submission of the file and the biometric data, please allow 10-15 business days to obtain the visa. It is best to start the visa application process three weeks before your flight to France.

You can study in France without an IELTS certificate, but the requirement will vary by university. Because the exam is not state-mandated, institutions develop their own policies and regulations regarding the exam.

Work while you study in France

As an international student with a valid residence permit (VLS-TS), you can work 964 hours a year for a salary (this equates to about 60 percent of full-time employment).

This number of hours is reserved for working between September 1 and August 31. Between September and June, eligible working hours are (up to) 670, while July and August are (up to) 300.

Frequent questions

Is it easy to get a student visa in France?

Yes. A student visa can be obtained at a French consulate in your country or at Campus France (an institution that promotes higher education in France, which has a local office in almost every country in the world). To obtain a student visa in some countries, you must first register with Campus France.

How long does it take to process a student visa?

There is no set processing time for an Indian student visa, but most students will receive a response within two weeks of submitting their application.

How much bank balance is required for a student visa to France?

The current monthly requirement is €615 (US$820), which can be demonstrated with a bank statement, guarantor letter, or funding notice for a loan, scholarship, or grant.

Is it possible for me to stay in France after my student visa expires?

Yes. The VLS-TS student visa allows 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).

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