Whether you're taking a short art or history course, attending a French language school or studying for a degree in France, one of the first things you must do is check whether you need a Paris student visa. Preparing for a new life in Paris is exciting as you search for furnished student's apartments near your place of study and apply for your chosen course of study.
Part of this process is ensuring you have the correct visa and residency permit in place and at Paris Attitude, our multilingual advisors are always on hand to answer any queries you may have. In the meantime, we have put together some useful information about student visas in France.
Do I need a visa to study in France?
Whether you need a student visa to study in Paris depends on your nationality, your personal situation, and the course you wish to take. If you are already a resident in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland you do not need to obtain a Paris student visa as long as you have either a valid passport or ID document that lets you travel freely around Europe.
The university or school you are applying to will be able to tell you whether you meet this requirement. At the moment, students arriving in Paris from the United Kingdom do not require a visa but it's possible that post-Brexit this situation may change. If you are from anywhere else in the world (except Algeria) it is almost certain that you will need a French student visa and/or a French residency permit.
There are five main types of visas that cover all educational circumstances. The first is the 'Schengen short-stay student visa' and is the ideal choice if you plan to study a short course or program in Paris. It is free of charge and with it, you do not need a separate residency permit.
Please note, however, that it cannot be renewed and when your three months is up you will have to leave the country. At Paris Attitude, we have a selection of temporary furnished apartments, perfect for the duration of your course.
Also non-renewable is the 'temporary long-stay visa for students'. This visa allows you to study in Paris for periods of between three months and six months. Again, you do not need a residency permit but will have to leave France when your visa expires.
An 'Etudient Concours' is a one-off visa that allows you to come to Paris in order to sit the entrance exam at a university of your choice. If you pass the exam, you then apply for a one-year residence permit which allows you to live and study in Paris. This can be renewed for the length of your course.
The most common and the most flexible type of Paris student visa is the 'long-stay visa' or 'VLT-TS'. With this, you have a right of residence in France and the visa is valid for the duration of your course whether you are studying a three years bachelor's degree, a two year's masters degree or planning on spending four years in Paris while you study and research for your doctorate.
This type of visa can also be used if you wish to research or teach at university level. To qualify for this visa you will need proof of your academic background, show that you are proficient in the French language and that you have adequate financial resources to support you while you study (currently a minimum of 615€ per month).
How to apply for a Paris student's visa
The easiest way to obtain a Paris student visa is to register with CampusFrance. This is the French national agency that deals with both higher education and international students.
In fact, when coming from some countries you can only obtain a visa through this route. You may also be able to apply for a visa from the French embassy or consulate in your own country once you have applied for a university course in Paris.
Requirements for a visa generally include the following:
- an official enrolment or acceptance letter from your higher education institution that states the start and end dates of your course
- proof that you have sufficient funds to support you, e.g. a bank statement or guarantor's letter
- an airline ticket or some evidence of your plans to leave France when your course ends
- medical insurance with a minimum cover of 30,000 €
- evidence that you have accommodation, this could be the rental contract for your Paris Attitude apartment
When you arrive in France for the start of your course it is important that you contact the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) and send or show them the form issued by the French consulate in your home country.
You will be asked to obtain a tax stamp, which you purchase from any tabac or tobacconist and you may be required to undergo a medical examination.
Can I work in Paris while I am studying
Having a part-time job while you study in Paris not only helps boost your finances but gives you a wider experience of the local culture. You'll be pleased to hear that provided you have a student visa and/or a valid residency permit you are allowed to work for up to 964 hours a year. This is approximately 60 percent of full-time employment.
While the process of getting a Paris student visa can seem a little time-consuming and even daunting, it is actually quite straightforward once you start. Once you have your visa you can relax and enjoy your time in Paris knowing that you can stay for the duration of your course.
At Paris Attitude, our advisors will do everything they can to help make your move to our beautiful city as smooth as possible.