How to apply for French student visa?

Are you planning to stay in France to study there? Then, you’ll come to the right place! With 302 900 international students in 2022, France is an attractive destination for many foreign students coming from all over the world. Moreover, France is reputed for its excellent higher education institutions, as well as its rich culture and intellectual pursuits. 


However, many international students fear the bureaucratic side of French administration and can be easily discouraged by the multiple requirements. But this mustn’t be the case for you. This article will show you how to apply for French student visa easily. Also, you must know that some student visas act as automatic residence permits for international students. Thus, your dream to study in France will come true!


What type of visa do you need to study in France?


Depending on your situation, you will need different types of visas to study in France. You must choose the one that suits you according to your stay and your purpose. Also, please note that international students from countries of the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland do not need visas to study in France. Indeed, they are already part of the Schengen area.


Schengen Student Visa


Are you a student whose studies last less than three months? Are you sure that you won’t stay longer in the country? Then, the Schengen Student visa is perfect for you! This visa is free of charge, but students cannot renew it. 


Visa for sitting entrance exams


Do you need to travel to France to sit for university entrance exams? Then, you will need to apply for a visa de court séjour étudiants concours or a visa for sitting entrance exams at the campus of the universities. However, if you pass your entrance exam, you can get another visa and are eligible to apply for a renewable one year-one residence permit. If you need more information, don’t hesitate to contact the Admissions Department at the campus of the French schools or universities you wish to study at.


Temporary long-term visa


If you want to stay in France and study there for a period up to six months, then you need to apply for a temporary long-term visa (visa de long séjour temporaire pour études). When you apply for this visa, you won’t need to apply separately for a residence permit.


Long-stay visa


If you are a student who wishes to study in France for a period longer than six months, then you will need to apply for an extended-stay VLT-TS in France (visa de long séjour pour études). This visa is an equivalent residence permit and lasts for the entire duration of your studies in France:


  • three years for a Bachelor’s program
  • two years for a Master’s degree program
  • four years for a PhD (passeport talent-chercheur)


If you are a student who is an Algerian national, you won’t need a long-stay visa, but you are subject to other special requirements. If you need more information, feel free to contact the French embassy or consulate of your country of residence here your visa will be issued. You may also find this information on the website of France Visas.


When to apply for student visa in France?


You must apply for a French student visa at most three months and at least three weeks prior to the intended travel date. According to your visa, your application for a residence permit does not necessarily that you are entitled to work in France.


Where to apply for student visa in France?


You can apply for a student visa in France in the French embassy or consulate of your country of residence. 


However, if you live in a country subject to “Etudes en France” procedure (Studies in France), you will first apply for French schools and/or universities. Then, you submit your application on the platform online. Afterwards, your visa application will be automatically sent to the French consular authorities of your home country.


The countries subject to the Etudes en France procedure are: Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.


If you need more information about the Etudes en France procedure online, don’t hesitate to visit:


  • the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or
  • the website of Campus France.


What are the required documents to apply for the French student visa?


Students who are nationals of EU/EEA/Switzerland


If you are an international student from EU/EEA/Switzerland, you don’t need a student visa for France. There are no specific requirements for these students; all you need is a valid passport.


Students from other foreign countries


Do you plan to submit an application for a student visa in France? Then, you will need to submit several documents with your visa application. These documents include:


  • A valid passport
  • A passport photograph
  • Proof of an official acceptance letter to an accredited program at a French school or university: this document must be on officially headed paper, with your full details, and the details of your appointment and program of study. This document must also include the start and end dates of study as well
  • Proof a a valid EEF admission certificate (Accord préalable d’inscription)
  • Proof of a valid EEF number
  • Proof of temporary accommodation in France: it can be a student housing confirmation, a certificate of board and lodging, or a certificate of accommodation (certificate d’hébergement)
  • Proof of sufficient funds for your time in France: you will need the equivalent of €615 per month for the duration of your stay in France. It can be shown through a bank statement, a guarantor’s letter or a notice of funding from loan, scholarship or grant
  • Proof of medical insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000
  • Proof of return ticket home in the form of the actual ticket of reservation showing the date of departure, or a handwritten statement of intent including intended departure dates
  • Proof that you have filled in a completed visa application form
  • A fee of €58 to handle administration costs

Once you submit your application for a student visa in France, you will receive a receipt of confirmation with further instructions to follow if need be. For instance, these further instructions can include a medical examination. Sometimes, your school or university in France will oversee this part of the process.


Often, there is an agreement between the OFII (the French Office for Immigration and Integration) and the school or university to intend to study at in France. This means that you can submit all your required documents to the institution directly instead of the French authorities. Don’t hesitate to contact the Admissions Department of your school or university in France if you need more information.


From now on, you know how to apply for French student visa without hassles. If you are a student who needs more information about this topic, feel free to contact us. 


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