Before your departure :
The conditions of entry and stay in France for a long stay are regulated and differ from that of a tourist stay. In some 30 countries the procedure for applying for and issuing the «student» visa has been amended. Where available, this specific procedure shall be mandatory.
Nationals of the European Union and the European Economic Area may enter and reside in France at their convenience: they do not need a visa prior to arrival. Nationals of other nationalities, on the other hand, must be in possession of a visa for entry into France.
The different visa categories cover all applications from international students. The consular services are responsible for processing visa applications in accordance with current regulations. There are visas for short and long-term stay students. For more information, you can consult the directory of France’s embassies and consulates abroad.
Mandatory online visa application procedure:
As in the case of enrolment in higher education institutions, the procedure for issuing «student» visas is compulsory online for nationals of the following countries:
Long-stay student visa – Residency permit (VLS TS)
This new visa is granted to foreign students (researchers and graduated scholars are not affected) who wish to continue their schooling in a public or private French higher education establishment for a period of more than six months.
This is a residence permit: since 1 June 2009, holders of this type of visa no longer have to apply for a renewable residence permit in the prefecture.
However, holders of this type of visa must submit a series of formalities to the OFII (French Immigration and Integration Office). In particular, from the moment of arrival in France, it is necessary to send the OFII by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt (LRAR):
- The application form for an OFII certificate issued and endorsed by the authority which issued the visa;
- A copy of the passport pages containing the information, identity of the holder and the stamp certifying entry into France or the Schengen area.
OFII will then send a summons for a medical examination, possibly followed by a reception visit. In any case, a fee of EUR 60 must be paid.
Once you arrive in France
Students must complete these formalities according to their nationality:
For European Union nationals:
- Young, non-wage researchers: nothing to be done.
- For young researchers with an employment contract: from 1 July 2008, only Romanians and Bulgarians who do not have a French master’s degree must apply for a residence card as a temporary worker. The validity period of this card will be that of the employment contract. The others will not have to make any formalities.
For nationals of a country outside the European Union:
Students entering France on a long-stay visa as a residence permit must validate their VLS online.
- For young researchers who have obtained a «student» visa (CESEDA L313-7): apply for a student residence card (at the AGORA from September to December, in the prefecture outside this period). A medical examination at OFII is mandatory.
- For young researchers who have obtained a «scientific» visa (CESEDA L313-8): apply for a scientific residence card in the Prefecture. A medical examination at the OFII is mandatory. Your employer will have to pay a fee.