How to Apply for a Visa to Study in France
If you have just been given an admission to study at a French University, you might be wondering how you can apply for a visa to study. In this post, I will show the steps involved in applying for a student visa to study in France.
Please note that citizens Andorra, Vatican, Switzerland, San Marino, and Monaco do not need a visa to study in France.
Depending on the purpose of your travel to France, there are different types of visas that will apply to the occasion.
Whether you are planning to go on a visit, study or work and reside in France permanently, you will have to apply for a different France Schengen Visa, accordingly.
You can apply for the France Visa since 1997 when France, as a Member of the European Union, also became a member state of the Schengen Area.
Monaco – a European microstate/city-state located within France – is considered part of the Schengen Area although it did not officially sign the particular documents of the agreement. Besides, no border control is performed for the Schengen countries surrounding it!
On the other hand, Andorra as another microstate located between France and Spain performs border controls, therefore to enter it you should obtain a multi-entry Schengen visa since you should enter the Schengen Area while going or leaving Andorra.
WHAT YOU NEED TO AS A POTENTIAL STUDY IN ABROAD STUDENT IN FRANCE
Any student wishing to attend a college in France will need to provide proof that they have a Visa to enter the country. These Visas are not required for periods of less than 90 days by individuals from the following countries:
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
- Moldova (Visa waiver applies only to holders of biometric passports)
- El Salvador
- United States
- Vatican City
There are several other countries in which students who want to come to study in France for 90 days or less will not require a Visa. It is a good idea to take a look at the website of the French government to learn of these other countries if your country is not listed above.
If you do not reside in one of these countries you will need to apply for a short-term stay visa when staying for 90 days or less. You also need to apply for a long-stay visa if you are going to be there for a period of more than 90 days. In order to obtain a Visa to enter France and any other countries in Schengen Area, you must apply to the French consular authority.
There is a charge for the Visa application and you must also have a passport that is valid for a period of three months past your expiration date of the requested party. You must complete an application that you sign and must submit three photographs with the application.
If you are a student under the age of 18, your parent or guardian must sign the application. You will also need to inform the application that you are intending to attend college in France, as it is necessary to put the desired reason for the visa.
When completing your application for a France Visa it is essential that you complete the application in its entirety. You shouldn’t leave anything blank as this can greatly delay the application process.
You also need to make sure that you have all of the documents that are needed and submit them with the application. Without these documents, your application may not be able to be processed and again will delay the application.
It can take up to two months for a Visa application to be approved so you will want to submit all of the necessary information as quickly as possible before you plan to leave.
If your Visa is issued you will receive it within a short time. A denied Visa will result in your passport being returned without the valid sticker for a Visa.
If you are applying for a long-term stay visa you must do all of the above as well as hold a travel passport that is valid for the duration of your stay. Again, there is an application fee to process the application and this is not returned even if your Visa application is denied.
When and where to apply for the study visa
You can get a student visa either at a French consulate in your area or through Campus France (an institution promoting higher education in France, having a local office in almost all countries worldwide). Some countries require you to register first with Campus France in order to get a student visa.
Schedule an in-person interview/appointment through the official website of the French consulate in your area; check the online calendar that shows the available dates and hours. Try to schedule the date of the appointment at least 90 days before your departure to France.
Usually, it takes at least five to seven business days for a visa to be granted, or in exceptional cases, a little longer.
Language requirements for my study in France
When you apply for a university in France, you have to provide proof of:
- French language proficiency – if you apply for French-taught degrees (accepted tests are: DELF/DALF or TCF)
- English language proficiency – if you apply for English-taught degrees (accepted tests are: IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge)
If you have an acceptance letter from a French university, the French consulate won’t require additional language requirements for your study visa for France.
Required application documents for France study visa
- Visa application form
- Two passport type photos
- Valid passport and copies of your previous visas
- Official enrolment or acceptance letter from the university
- Proof of financial means (around 615 EUR per month) to cover all your expenses during your study period
- Airline ticket/reservation showing date of departure
- Medical insurance that might cost between 311 and 714 EUR/year.
- Documents stating the accommodation arrangement during your studies
- French language proficiency certificate (if you have enrolled in a French-taught course)
- Proof of payment of the visa fee (99 EUR).
- Proof of civil status (if applicable)
How to Apply for a Visa to Study in France
To start your visa application, you will first need to register with Campus France. Click here to access their homepage.
Register online and acquire an ‘attestation’ from Campus France.
Once you’ve registered online and have compiled all the required documents, you will need to schedule an interview. You can do this by contacting the nearest Campus France office and request for an academic interview.
This interview could be done through phone or e-mail. In the interview, you will be asked to explain in detail your reason for choosing France as your study destination. You will also be asked why you choose the institution where you got the admission. Make sure you go to the interview with all mandatory documents.
The next step now is for you to schedule an appointment with VFS-France. You will need to submit photocopies of your documents together with the original passport. The interview can be fixed online or by telephone.
The visa processing time varies from two weeks to a month and is dependent on the time of the year the application is made. It is advisable that students apply for their visa months in advance to avoid refusal.
Working in France with a student visa
Yes, it is allowed! International students who are studying in France can take up part-time work to support their study in France. This law permits the student to work for 964 hours in a year which amounts to nearly 60% of the full-time employment of the Year.
Residence permit in France
During your first year of studies, you only need the student visa as proof of your residency status. Within a month of your arrival in France, you will have to register at the local French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) and have a medical examination to validate your visa.
If you plan to stay for more than one year, starting from the second year of studies you will need to apply for a Carte de Séjour (CDS) or ‘titre de séjour’, an official residency card in France.
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