How to obtain a student visa for France in 2020?

Student visa for education

If you choose to study in another country, one of the main issues is obtaining a student visa, which allows you to stay in the country of your choice for the duration of your studies. In this article we will discuss the procedure for obtaining a French student visa, its types and mandatory requirements.

The main requirements that a student must meet in order to be able to apply for a student visa to France:

  • Student must be over 18 years old;
  • Student must choose an educational programme and institution;
  • Student must be enrolled in a higher education institution. (Entry rules vary depending on your nationality). [1]

Short-term visa

Short-term student visas to France can be obtained for study programmes with a maximum stay of 90 days per six months.  It is important to know that this visa cannot be extended in France or converted to a long-term student visa under any circumstances.

If the study programme for which you plan to study in France provides for a short stay in France during the year, for example, 3-4 days per month (as in MBA Executive programmes or distance learning), you may qualify for a “visa court séjour circulation”.

The Schengen short-stay visa (visa Schengen court séjour) lets you enter and remain in a country in the Schengen area for a maximum period of 90 days. It may apply to an uninterrupted stay of 90 days or several stays with a cumulative length of 90 days. As with tourism and business, taking a short training programme, doing an internship, working after obtaining a temporary work permit are valid reasons for being granted a Schengen short-stay visa.

The Schengen single entrance short-stay visa (visa Schengen court séjour à une seule entrée) is only valid for one trip. If it allows two or more entrances, it is a travel visa which is valid for six months to five years. It authorises one or more successive stays that must not exceed 90 days total, over a maximum period of 180 days.

No formalities are required, either on arrival or on departure. After the 90 days, you must leave the Schengen area. The Schengen short-stay visa is renewable, but you will have to wait for six months to submit a new request.

Visa to France, Student visa, Study in France
Visa to France, Student visa

Long-stay student visa

Long-term student visa is issued for study programs providing permanent residence in France for over 90 days.

Important note: Before applying for a long-term student visa, you you need to register on the website of Campus France (https://www.campusfrance.org/fr) and complete the necessary procedures “Etudes en France”.

Students 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: [2]

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Bahamas
  • Croatia
  • Honduras
  • New Zealand
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Singapore
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Norway
  • Denmark
  • Japan
  • Lithuania
  • Mexico
  • Moldova (Visa waiver applies only to holders of biometric passports)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Poland
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • El Salvador
  • United States
  • Venezuela
  • Vatican City
  • Slovenia

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 about the 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 of 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 French 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, therefore you are advised to submit all 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.

Obtain student visa, France, study in France
Student visa, France

Long stay visa as a residence permit for students (VLS-TS “ÉTUDIANT”, VISA LONG SÉJOUR VALANT TITRE DE SÉJOUR)

The VLS-TS student visa allows you to pursue studies in France for a period of four months to one year. It must be validated upon your arrival in France. If you would like to continue your studies after it expires, you may apply for a multi-annual residence permit (carte de séjour pluriannuelle).

What does a VLS-TS student visa qualify for?

This long-term student visa, valid as a residence permit for students (visa long séjour valant titre de séjour “étudiant”, abbreviated VLS-TS “étudiant”). It allows you to stay in France from four months to one year for the purpose of higher education.

VLS-TS student visa entitles the holder to:

  • travel freely in all countries that are located in the Schengen area;
  • work 964 hours a year (20 hours a week to meet your financial needs);
  • use the VISALE, the free security deposit service for students,
  • get a rental subsidy from CAF provided by the family benefit Fund (caisse d’allocations familiales),
  • extend their stay in the country beyond the validity of the issued residence permit.

How to obtain a VLS-TS student (VLS-TS “étudiant”) visa?

If you live in one of the 43 countries subject to the “Études en France” (“Studies in France”) procedure and you need a visa to come study in France,  you must first apply to enrol in a higher education institution through the platform “Études en France”.Your visa application will be automatically sent to the French consular authorities of your home country through the platform.

If you do not live in one of these countries and you need a visa to come to study in France, please contact the French consular authorities in your home country.

What is the MULTIPLE-ENTRY VLS-TS student visa (VLS-TS “étudiant” à entrées multiples)?

Holders of a multiple-entry VLS-TS student visa (VLS-TS “étudiant” à entrées multiples) are entitled to travel outside France and in the entire world whenever they wish. Please be aware, however, that you must have validated your visa to travel outside France  beyond the three months following your arrival in France.

During the first three months after your arrival in France, you are authorised to travel freely outside France and in the entire world with your visa, even if you have not validated it.

After these three months, however, if you have not validated your student visa and you travel outside France, you will be required to apply for a new visa to return to France.

How to validate your student VLS-TS visa?

As soon as you arrive in France, you must validate your visa. The process is entirely digital: you can do everything remotely, at home, on your computer. You must validate your student visa within 3 months of arriving in France at the very latest.

What do you need to validate your VLS-TS visa?

You will need the following information:

  • a valid email address,
  • information on your visa,
  • your date of arrival in France,
  • your home address in France,
  • a bank card to pay online the fee for issuing the residence permit. If you do not have a bank card, you can buy an electronic stamp (timbre électronique) at a kiosk, at a dedicated terminal, and pay in cash.

Online validation procedure

  • Log in on the website of the Directorate-general for foreigners in France;
  • Enter the information on your visa: visa number, date of beginning and end of validity, date of issue, reason for stay;
  • Enter the additional information: family status, telephone number, email address;
  • Indicate your date of arrival in France and your address in France;
  • Pay the stay tax of 60 euros

After the procedure is complete, you will receive two emails. A first email with your login details. You will need it to access your account. It will contain the confirmation of the validation of your VLS-TS visa. A second email confirming the information you entered online. You can download the email of confirmation of the validation of your VLS-TS visa.

How to stay in France to continue your studies before your student VLS-TS visa expires?

If you would like to stay in France to continue your studies but your VLS-TS visa will expire soon, you may apply to renew it by applying at the prefecture: you will need to apply for a multi-annual residence permit (carte de séjour pluriannuelle). Everything is done in France two months before your VLS-TS visa expires.

The multi-annual residence permit that is issued to you under certain conditions will have a period of validity that corresponds to the number of years remaining in the study programme in which you are enrolled.

For instance, if you have finished the first year of your undergraduate degree (license) in France, you could receive a multi-annual residence permit valid for two years, i.e. until the end of the third year of the undergraduate degree. If you are studying at a Grande École, your renewed residence permit will be valid until you obtain your diploma.

Obtain student VLS-TS visa, visa to France, study in France
student VLS-TS visa, France

Other types of visas

In addition to student visas, there are other types of visas in France that are also intended for education or work experience as interns. Examples of such visas are the long-stay internship visa and the “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa, which we will discuss in more details.


The long-stay internship visa, or internship VLS-TS, allows you to do an internship in France for more than four months. When it expires, you can request a temporary internship residency permit.

What does the LONG-STAY INTERNSHIP VISA authorise?

The “Visa long séjour valant titre de séjour mention stagiaire” (long-stay internship visa constituting a residency permit), abbreviated as the internship VLS-TS, allows you to stay in France for more than three months as an intern. Your internship must be part of professional training and take place in a company or public hospital.

The long-stay internship visa authorises you to enter France. You will nonetheless have to have it validated by  the “Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration” (OFII -French Office of Immigration and Integration) as soon as you arrive. If your internship lasts lfor ess than three months, you must apply for a short-stay visa and the procedure is different.


Contact the French consular authorities in your country of residence to request an internship VLS-TS. To complete your application file, you must provide the following documents:

  • a current passport;
  • a three-party internship agreement stamped by the Prefect and signed by you, the training institute or your employer and your training organisation, company or the health institution in France. The Prefect’s stamp is obtained from the Direction régionale des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi (Direccte – the Regional Department of Competition, Consumption, Work and Employment);
  • proof of financial resources;
  • proof of a home or residency in France.

If you are a citizen of one of the 41 countries subject to the “Studying in France” procedure, you may make your request for a long-stay internship visa directly online, via the “Studying in France” procedure. Contact Campus France for more information on this subject.

How to obtain a temporary internship residency permit?

When your VLS-TS expires, you can obtain a temporary residency permit if your internship is extended or renewed.

If the company, training organisation or hospital that is receiving you decides to renew your internship, the Prefect must validate an annex to your initial internship agreement. If the Prefect does not respond within 15 days, the request for validation of the annex has been duly accepted.

Once your internship agreement has been approved, you must request a temporary internship residency permit from the Prefecture. This request must be made at least two months before the date of expiry of your visa.

The “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa

The “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa allows you to pursue a doctorate, conduct research or teach in France. It may be renewed in the form of a multi-year residency permit.

What does the “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa permit?

The Visa Long Séjour Valant Titre de Séjour mention “passeport talent-chercheur” (VLS-TS long-stay visa constituting a residency permit marked “researcher-talent passport”) allows holders of a Master’s-level degree to stay in France to conduct research or teach at a university level in the framework of a hosting agreement.

Who qualifies for the “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa?

The “researcher-talent passport” VLS-TS is reserved for doctoral students, researchers and professors-researchers.

Spouses and minor children of the holder of a “researcher-talent passport” VLS qualify for the simplified “accompanying family” procedure and come to France without completing a family reunification procedure.

What is a hosting agreement?

A hosting agreement is an administrative document which specifies the nature and length of the work assigned to the researcher or doctoral student. It also states the resources, lodging conditions and the medical coverage provided to the beneficiary.

The hosting agreement must be sent by the host institute to the beneficiary. The researcher or doctoral student must then have it stamped by the Consulate in his or her country of residence at the time of the visa request. This procedure applies if the researcher or doctoral student is employed to conduct research or give classes, regardless of the nature of the work contract: doctoral contract, Convention Industrielle de Formation par la Recherche (CIFRE – Industrial Agreement for Training through Research) or other.

Nationals of a European Union country, the European Economic Area, Switzerland and Romania do not need to obtain a hosting agreement. The same applies for Algerian doctoral students, whose situation is governed by the Franco-Algerian agreements of December 27th, 1968.

If you come to France to study for a doctorate in a French university without financing or on a scholarship, but without a doctoral contract or work contract, your host institute may refuse to give you a hosting agreement. You will then have to request a “student” long-stay visa.

Researcher-talent passport visa, Student visa, France
Researcher-talent passport, visa to France

How to confirm your “Talent passport” long-stay visa?

For stays of less than 12 months, you have a VLS-TS” research talent passport ” that is valid for one year. You must complete online validation of your visa within three months of your arrival in France.

In order to stay in the country for 12 months or more, you initially have a visa “passport of research talent”, which is valid for three months. Within two months of your arrival in France, you must apply to the local Prefecture for a multi-year residence permit “passport of the researcher’s talent”. It is valid for a period of time identical to the term of the hosting agreement, but no more than 4 years.

Do you have the right to travel with a “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa?

The situation varies according to the length of your visa and the validation procedure associated with it.

With a multi-entry “researcher-talent passport” VLS-TS valid for one year, you can travel freely within the Schengen area during the first three months following your entry in France. After three months, you must have your visa validated online.

With a “researcher-talent passport” visa, you can freely enter and leave the Schengen area during the first three months following your entry in France. Beyond that, you will have to have your residency permit to travel outside France.

Do you have the right to work with a “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa?

If you have a “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa or residency permit, you can freely work in France without the prior consent of the Direction régionale des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi (Direccte – the Regional Department of Competition, Consumption, Work and Employment).

The spouse of a doctoral student or researcher who holds a “family talent passport” long-stay visa, may also work in France.

How to renew your “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa?

When your “researcher-talent passport” long-stay visa expires, you can request a multi-year “researcher-talent passport” residency permit to extend your stay in France. Submit your application at the Prefecture. If you obtain your residency permit, it will only be valid for a period of time identical to that of the hosting agreement, to a maximum of 4 years. This formality is renewable and costs 269 Euros.

Family members may also request renewal of their “family talent passport” long-stay visa to obtain a multi-year residency permit under the same conditions.

Obtaining assistance with the procedures

Throughout France, Euraxess centres provide free advice and administrative assistance for researchers who have moved.

COVID 19: Considering the present COVID 19 situation in France at the time when this article was written (August 2020).
Ensure that the above information does not interfere with the requirements imposed by the French Government at the time you consider leaving your country to move to France to study.

If you consider you should learn the language or improve your linguistic skills before coming to France, the best way to study in France is to do it with native.


[1] https://www.campusfrance.org/en/the-different-types-of-visas


[2] https://www.studying-in-france.org/visa-and-entry-requirements/

Why come to study in France in 2020?

France famous place to study

Nowadays, France is one of the most popular countries among students in the world who want to come and study in France. Every year thousands of students from all over the world come here in search of a good education and a good life. In this article, we would like to talk about the main advantages to study in France and its features. You can learn more about the process of getting an education and how to study in France.

Academic culture

When people think about studying in another country, more and more people pay attention to France, as it is the home to some universities, which are included in the rankings of the best universities in the world. The French pay great attention to higher education and make large investments in research, so French universities have an excellent reputation in the international academic environment.

The QS World University Rankings 2020 includes more than 30 French higher education institutions. The QS World University Rankings 2020 includes more than 30 French higher education institutions. Among them there are such universities as Université PSL, École Polytechnique and Sorbonne University. These universities are at the 52nd, 61st and 83rd positions respectively. French business schools are also known all over the world for their quality teaching and high competitiveness. In addition, French educational institutions are distinguished by the best education in the field of Human Sciences and Arts.

It can be argued that France is one of the few countries that welcomes foreign students from all over the world for a long time. This tradition began many years ago, or rather in 1257 – the year of the foundation of Sorbonne University. The “Sorbonne” has become one of the main educational institutions where students from all over Europe have flocked. Nowadays, the nationalities of the international students in France are not limited by European countries. Every year, more and more students from all over the world come to France in order to receive a quality and highly-valued education.

Study abroad, study in France, Sorbonne
Study in France, Sorbonne

A perfect higher education system

Foreigners often decide to study in France because the French system of higher education is very developed. It is represented by a network of 3,500 public and private institutions found throughout the country. These 3,500 institutions include several types of educational institutions: [1]

  • Publicly-funded universities

State-funded universities serve as the main academic research centers in France, offering students degrees in all disciplines. At the moment, most French universities are public. The list of these universities includes such educational institutions as Université de Strasbourg, Université de Bordeaux, Université du Havre, etc. According to data for April 2020, there are 59 universities and one National Polytechnic Institute in France. There are also a large number of state educational and research institutions.[2]

  • Grandes Écoles

“Grande école” is a higher education establishment that is separate from, but the main framework of the French public university system. “Grandes Écoles” recruit their students by competitive examinations and provide high-level education. Some “grandes écoles” are elite education institutes with highly competitive admission requirements.

  • Schools of architecture

The examples of such educational institutions are École des Beaux-Arts, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville, École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Versailles, etc.

  • Specialized schools

There are more than 3,000 specialized schools in France that offer education in various specializations: tourism and hotel management, culinary arts, social work, design, fashion, etc.

All French universities give freedom of choice to their students and try to adapt the learning process for them. For instance, if you study in France, you will have the opportunity to attend the institution on a full and part-time basis, making the optimal schedule for yourself from the list of courses available to you. In other words, students make up their own curricula supplementing compulsory courses with elective courses. The list of courses varies depending on the profile and specificity of the university you have chosen. Theoretical training (in most cases) is organized on a lecture principle. Exams are given in writing. Students’ knowledge is assessed on a 20-point scale.

However, finding the appropriate university is generally not a big deal for potential students, because it does not matter which region of France  you are to go to., You can always find a world-class education. Moreover, some universities in France offer students to take some courses at home, using distance learning.

Career building assistance

Almost all educational institutions in France that provide higher education offer support and assistance to their students in building a professional career through internships, business cases, seminars, conferences and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Likewise, universities ensure that students get industry-specific opportunities and get to participate in various career-building workshops that include writing cover letters, networking, and preparing for interviews.

Most universities in France require students to take up internships. Internships in France tend to be full-time positions that last anywhere between one month to six months. The university will help students in all the required paperwork. The students are subject to the following rules:

  • The internship must be contractual (signed by the establishment and the structure hosting the student).
  • If the internship lasts more than two months, the student must be paid 577,50 Euros per month (1st January 2018).

Funding and guarantee of University educational programs

The French government pays great attention to education and actively finances the development of higher education in the country. The government pays a very large share of the actual cost of each student’s education. This amount varies from 10,000 to 15,000 euros per student per year.

In France, there are also various scholarships available and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs offers extensive grants for international students.

Young people wishing to attend a French educational establishment to graduate will find there are a great number of financial opportunities awaiting them to make attending university much easier. Both loans and grants are available to students who are expecting some money to finance their educational project. In addition, the French government compensate for some of the costs of attending university in the country, making it a wise financial choice to attend a college in France. Tuition costs in the country are far lower than in other areas. Combined with the remarkable institutions and learning capabilities in the country, studying in France has a multitude of advantages and benefits that are sure to be appreciated.

A large selection of educational programs taught in English

International students often face language barriers when choosing a university or educational programme in France. But, there is a solution – you do not need to know French to study in France. If you look at the French education system in more detail, you can find a suitable program in English at almost any institution in the country. France is also the 1st non-English speaking host country for students in international mobility. At present, there are more than 1,500 educational programmes in English in France, which are attended not only by international students, but also by native French.

France is one of the world’s top economic powers

In the ranking of European countries by the volume of GDP France took 3rd place in 2019. Moreover, France ranks second among European countries by market volume. This data shows that France is a country with a high standard of living, which is necessary to ensure a decent level of education.

A foreign student in France is not different from a local student. For example, they receive the same transport and meal benefits in university canteens as locals, as well as preferential medical care. The state may also partially subsidize the cost of living for the student.

Paradoxically, studying in France is cheaper than in other popular student countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States. If you are from an EU country, you will not have to pay more than local students to study in France.

Other advantages that make it plausible to attend college and study in France include the cost of living in the country. Survival in France is much more affordable than in many other countries. An example of a more expensive country is again the United States. Costs are exponentially lower for almost everything, whether it’s housing, food, or even entertainment.

An attractive destination for students

According to UNESCO data for 2016, France ranks 4th in the world for the hospitality of international students, after US, the UK and Australia. In 2016 France welcomed 325,000 foreign students. Following the decision of the French president, France intends to improve its cooperation agreements and attract more international students and researchers, and host them in better conditions as well. To this regard, the confirmation of the extension of mobility scholarships is excellent news. In accordance to the decisions taken by the French President, the government aims to improve the international cooperation agreement in education, attract more and more foreign students and specialists, and improve the conditions for them.

France, a place for International students
France, International students

Top cities for study in France

France has some of the best cities that have been recognized as some of the best in the world for university studies and for student accommodation. France offers a combination of the best universities with quality education and a high standard of living. Below are some examples of the best cities to study in France and they are also the most popular cities in France for French and international students: Lille, Nantes, Paris, Toulouse, Grenoble, to name just quite a few.

A hospitable and pleasant environment and easy adaptation

France is the country where you will always be welcomed with open arms. You can be sure that the process of adaptation to a new environment and new society will not cause you serious problems and will not allow you feel out of place. France is famous for its diversity and the possibility of choosing a place to live and learn that is right for you. Of course, there is always the fear of something new and unknown, especially when you come from a completely different country with a different culture and lifestyle. But you should not be afraid of changes, because France is a multinational country that has already become home for many people from all over the world. You can easily mingle and feel at home.

Accommodation, Study in France and stay in a decent flat
Accommodation, France, Study in France

Accommodation for students in France

Many educational institutions in France have their own residences and provide students with free or very budget accommodation. If there is no residence, students can find and rent accommodation on their own, although most institutions are willing to assist applicants from other countries. Also, we can use the services of hotels, rent apartments, or rent a housing with your classmates. Living with a roommate is a very common type of accommodation for foreign students in France. First of all, this is a great chance to save some money on rent, as well as a great opportunity to find people who will help you adapt to a new country faster.

The average cost of housing for students in France varies from 250 to 700 euros per month. Of course, these are not exact prices and you can easily find a suitable accommodation for you at a lower cost. However, the main factors that affect the cost of housing are the type of accommodation that you have chosen and the region in which you want to live.

If a student rents a room or apartment on his or her own, the government may cover part of the rent. This fact is another important advantage of obtaining higher education in France. For instanсe, if you are a low-income student and have a valid resident permit, there is a possibility that you will be able to get a benefit that can reach large amounts of money. You can use the services of several programs that deal with these issues. The most popular programs are the APS program and the APL program offered by CAF or the French state assistance fund for families. The amount of financial assistance is always calculated individually and depends on many different factors.

Generally, the average monthly student budget in France is around 1,000 euro in Paris and 800 euro outside of the city.

An opportunity to learn an international language

French is the one of the most widespread languages in the world, more than 75 million people use it as their mother tongue and there are more than 270 million French speakers all over the world. Also, French is the second most studied language after English and it is the official language of international organizations such as the United Nations, UNESCO, etc.

If you study in France, you have the unique chance to learn this language and be completely immersed in the French-speaking society. You have the perfect opportunity to practice your French skills with native speakers every day. This is one of the best and fastest ways to learn any foreign language. Even if you have chosen an educational programme at university in English, you can always attend French courses at your university. Knowledge of French will open up a whole range of new opportunities for you.

A rich culture

Living in France means absorbing the unique culture of that country every day. As a student at a French university, you can spend a Saturday afternoon in one of the many art galleries and in the evening go to a live music concert. In addition, here you will get to know real French cuisine.

Study in France and visit museums. Le Louvre
Study in France, Louvre Museum.

The capital of France is on the list of the best cities to study. Paris is an educational and cultural centre for students from all over the world. It easily combines beautiful architecture, centuries-old history, numerous historical monuments and a vibrant nightlife that is an integral part of student life. France is the epitome of culture, history and all the arts.

A variety of entertainment and recreational activities

If you are a French student you have many privileges that you can use when choosing your leisure time. For example, student status entitles you to substantial discounts when visiting the many attractions of France, whether you are in Paris or a provincial city.

 What is more, it is important that you can find the appropriate entertainment for you at any time of year. In winter it can be such activities as skiing or snowboarding in the Alps, and in summer you can go to the coast and enjoy the weekend at the beach.

Étretat beach. Education in France
Étretat beach in Normandy, Education in France

Accumulated experience

After studying at a French University, you will most likely be practically bilingual. This skill will be very useful in a country like the United Kingdom, where so few people speak any second European language properly. In addition, if you want to get a job with international prospects and travel, in this case, experience of living in at least two countries for a long time is always a bonus to any resume. In addition, compared to other European countries, it is relatively easy for foreign students to start their career in France after graduation. But unfortunately, French is also one of the biggest hurdles if you plan to stay after completing your bachelor’s or master’s degree in France. To find a job, you will almost inevitably have to be fluent, or at least almost fluent, in French.

Two years after graduation work permit

Students who have already obtained a master’s degree after studying in France are entitled to apply for a one-time non-renewable temporary residence permit called APS (Authorization Provisoire de séjour). This permit is valid for 12 months. Under the new scheme called “second residence permit”, this period can be doubled to 24 months. Students who have received work related to their academic program can apply for day jobs by completing an application for change of status (from student to employee) in their application.

Specialist support

The process of admission to a French university may seem complex, as the requirements differ for nationals of different countries. In general, you must first pass the exam at the French Embassy in your country, only then you are eligible to apply. Sometimes the university also requires additional documents to continue the application process. As a rule, there is also a requirement to take a standardized exam. Once you have received your letter of acceptance and application, you can apply for a visa. If you find the application process too complicated for you, you can always use study abroad counsellors to help you. They are usually inexpensive. They can help you apply for a visa, collect all the necessary documents for admission, help with finding housing and moving. They also provide services after you move to France, which will greatly help make your life much easier in the new country.

The possible difficulties of studying in France

Most student reviews and comments show that an opportunity to study in France is generally an enriching experience. However, there can always be some problems there are, which should be taken into account by incoming students.

As mentioned earlier, France is not an English-speaking country and most of the French population speaks only French. The problem is not that people are illiterate or cannot speak English in France, that is not the case. It’s just that English is not so common in the country. In non-English-speaking countries like France, not everyone can or will communicate in English. Waiters, shopkeepers or employers do not prefer English as the language of communication. But, do not be afraid of it, because if you want, you can always find a common language with people and communicate with them.

Learning French can be a problem if you want to work part-time, combining work with or after school. Accordingly, the question is how to find a job that requires only English in the French country? Of course, you will spend a lot of time looking for the appropriate option for you, but nothing is impossible. If you are a little optimistic, then this problem can be turned into an advantage and solved in another way. Even with a low level of French you can get a job and get a great opportunity to learn and practice a new language.

Prospects for the future

Obviously, making the decision to study in another country is a serious issue. But if you choose to study in France, eventually, you will have a lot of new opportunities, such as exploring this country and all other things that we have already discussed before. But still, the main advantage remains the education that you get. It will allow you to become not only a graduate, but also a professional in your field, which will be highly appreciated as an international labour market.

COVID 19: Considering the present COVID 19 situation in France at the time when this article was written (August 2020).
Ensure that the above information does not interfere with the requirements imposed by the French Government at the time you consider leaving your country to move to France to study.

If you consider you should learn the language or improve your linguistic skills before coming to France, the best way to study in France is to do it with a native.


Requirements for a person wanting to study in France in 2020

Study in France, Eiffel Tower, Studying abroad

Every year France welcomes more than 300,000 international students from around the world. France’s popularity as a country of study for international students is due to the fact that French universities have lower tuition fees than other European countries. If you also dream of studying at French colleges and universities, you will be interested to learn more about the application process at French universities and the university requirements for international students. The admission procedure for all French universities is strictly established by the Ministry of Education, which avoids errors in paperwork and minimizes the risk of rejection.

Study in France, Eiffel Tower, Studying abroad
Study in France, Eiffel Tower

Choose the right subject for your degree in France

France is one of the four countries that initiated the Bologna Process to bring together higher education systems in Europe. French university diplomas are recognized around the world.

There are a large number of subjects that you can choose to study in France in French or English. Below are examples of just some of the most popular options to consider:

  • Masters of management and organization in France
  • Masters of fashion and luxury goods in France
  • Masters of political science in France
  • MBA degree in France
  • Masters of biotechnology in France

Choose the right universities

International students can study in France for a fee or free of charge. But it is important to calculate your financial possibilities correctly: even with free education, the student will pay for accommodation, and to obtain a visa will require proof of financial solvency – at least 615 € per month for the entire period of residence in France.

Choosing the right university in France is not so easy. When choosing a university, students are usually guided by university rankings. But rating tables are not the best option for making a final decision. It is necessary to underline that English-language ratings of the universities which is accepted as a guide to choose a university in England or the USA, have many opponents in the European environment, therefore to make the choice on the basis of ratings QS and THE can be far not the best option. In France, there are no such ratings, so the newcomer faces a big problem of choice. It is important to pay attention not so much to the general position of the university, as to the quality of education in the field of interest.
In addition, when choosing a university it is important to adequately assess your chances of admission. Therefore, when choosing a university, it is necessary to consult with a specialist in foreign education.

If you are aiming for a fundamental education, you will find universities in France (where most students study). At the same time, you can get many professions in demand in the labour market in commerce, engineering, architecture or tourism at higher or specialised schools.

The peculiarities of French education include the existence of two ways to obtain a diploma: “short” (les filières courtes) and “long” (les filières longues). It should be remembered that international students can be admitted to French universities at any of the levels of study, depending on the certificates of education already obtained or courses taken.

In general, we can say that the search is not a university, but a department, as each French university is famous for its strong trends. For example, future physicians should choose the University of Pierre and Marie Curie, future engineers – the Polytechnic School in Paris, ambitious historians and philosophers should aspire to the Higher Normal School or the University of Paris 1, and economists – at HEC Paris. There are quite a few good universities in France, but only a specialist can tell the specific advantages.

The choice of training programme is made on the CampusFrance website, connected to the national universities base. Through this base, students are admitted to all public universities except for higher education (including École Normale). Candidates can choose up to three programmes at public universities. This should be done in the order of priority, i.e. if the applicant receives a positive answer from the first chosen university, his/her file is not sent to the others.

Les filières courtes – Short university courses

Short-term study in France takes 2 to 3 years, and is usually represented by higher education programs with industrial sector, administration, etc. After obtaining a diploma it is possible to start working or continuing education, for example, to obtain a Professional Bachelor Degree (Licence 3 professionnelle).

Among the university programmes, the Diploma in Technology (undergraduate diploma, Diplôme universitaire de technologie, DUT) is also worth mentioning, for a period of two years, at university institutes of technology (Institutes universitaires de technologie, IUT) which are part of universities. The prerequisite for admission is a secondary school diploma, a prepared dossier and an interview.

Campus-France has several other similar programmes: the undergraduate Higher National Diploma (Brevet de technicien superieur, BTS), which can be obtained in 2 years from the Higher Technical Training Sections (Section de techniciens supérieurs, STS) existing on the basis of lycées and the Diploma of University Science and Technology Education (Diplôme d’études universitaires scientifiques et techniques, DEUST), which entitles you to practise after 2 years of university studies.

Les filières longues – Long university courses

As for longer, and for us more familiar education, in the universities of France, it is divided into General and specialized. General education is designed for 3-4 years, specialized for 4-5 or more years. After completing their studies, universities issue both national (Licence, Mastère, Doctorat, etc.) diplomas approved by the Ministry of education, and internal University diplomas (Diplômes universitaires, DU).

Education in higher schools is possible after a two-year preparatory Department or the 2nd year of the University and lasts for 3 years. Admission is based on the results of competitive tests.

Higher education in France is conducted in French. In recent years, the country is becoming more and more educational programs in English. Thus, foreign students are practically not limited in choosing a program to study in France.

Prepare for submission of application

At some universities, you can apply directly on their website.
Check admission requirements carefully: most undergraduate and graduate courses require standardized tests such as GRE, GMAT or LSAT.
Apply to at least three different universities to improve your chances of admission.
Students who are not EU students will have to take the mandatory preliminary entrance exam (“demande d’admission préalable” – DAP). You can apply for a DAP at the Cultural and Cooperation Service of the French Embassy in your home country.

Once you have identified the program that you wish to pursue, you can begin the application process. You obtain an application from the website of your chosen institution, and you can apply to a maximum of three institutions. On the application you will need to fill out your personal details and provide transcripts of prior diplomas and the results. This is to check whether your results comply with the course’s admission standards, which ensure that students have the academic capability to succeed in their chosen program. Sometimes standardized tests such as the GRE, GMAT or LSAT are required for admission – these are internationally used tests which ensure that applicants are prepared for the challenges of advanced study. Some courses will also require a test of language proficiency if you are a non-native speaker of the language that you are undertaking your degree in – the ‘demande d’admission préalable’ or DAP (preliminary admission request) is the most common for French. You can apply to take this at the French embassy in your home country. Applicants to the Grandes Écoles are chosen based on the  results obtained at the end of a two-year preparatory course called ‘Classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles’.

The important thing to know about the French application process is that there is no overarching body that deals with admissions. Each individual institution has their own set of criteria for applying, so you will need to make sure that you do the relevant research on the college website and submit your application here directly. Below  is a list of all the things that you may need to think about when applying to a university:

  • A Campus France authorization
  • A copy of your passport
  • A passport sized photo of yourself
  • Copies of past exam transcripts and graduation diplomas
  • A copy of your European health card (for EU students)
  • Many colleges charge a fee to submit an application
  • A civil liability certificate
  • A cover letter
  • French and/or English proof of language proficiency
  • Proof that you have the financial resources to fund your stay in France

Exceptions to the DAP

Children of diplomats residing in France and currently living in France themselves.
Candidates who come from a partner university with a cooperation agreement (special procedures apply).
Students receiving a scholarship from the French Government or a French organization.
Candidates receiving a French, international, European, French-German, Franco-Italian or Franco-Spanish bachelor’s degree.

Where to apply for the French university programme

The application procedure actually varies depending on the country from which you come.

Students from EU and EEA countries can simply apply directly to the university under the same conditions as French students.
Students from countries outside the EU and EEA must apply through an online application system formerly known as the CEF and now called the “Study in France Procedure”. You can also apply for your visa online through this system and keep track of your application.
If you already reside in Europe but do not have European citizenship, you will need to apply through a French embassy or consulate in the European country where you reside.

To be accepted to a French university you need to have graduated from High School.

Some specialized schools, such as Grandes écoles, have their own application and selection system known as “concours”. A concours often includes written and oral tests that assess your motivation and your knowledge. In some cases, a special selection process is organized for international students.

Check for the particular program you are interested in via the university website or by contacting the admissions team (you will find contact information on the schools’ website under the “Inscriptions” or “Admissions” section) or the international office at the college or university that you are applying for.

Confirmation of your choice of universities to study in France

You make a list of 3 universities when you enter after school or 15 universities when you enter a master’s degree.

You must pay the Campus France registration fee, which is approximately 100 Euros and then you sign up for an interview. Before the Campus France interview, you need to prepare all the necessary documents with an official translation into French.

At the interview you will need: a foreign passport or an international identity card with sufficient validity period (original version) and a set of the following documents:

For persons in the last year of high school or lyceum:

  • excerpts from the educational part of the school (for grades 9, 10 and the first half of 11) and their translation with notary certification
  • French diplomas or test results in French and/or English (if any).

For persons who have already received secondary education:

  • a secondary school diploma and its translation with notary certification
  • a credit book (excerpt from the university) and/or higher education diplomas (depending on where you are currently studying) and their translations into French with notarization
  • French diplomas or test results in French and/or English (if any)
  • a photocopy of the work record and/or proof of internship or work experience (if any) and their translation into French with notary certification.
Study in France, International student, Higher education
Higher education, Study in France

Interview at Campus France

You must make an appointment for an interview in your personal office on Campus France. The deadline for the interview (for those who apply for bachelor’s degree programs) is January. For those applying to master’s programs, the application deadline is the end of March and the interview takes place until the end of May. The interview is in your own language. Questions to prepare for the interview: why do you want to study in France? Why did you choose this speciality and these universities? What do you want to work in after your studies in France?

Receiving an invitation

The response from the universities selected in the Campus France system is sent to the student’s email address in the following order: by April 15 from the first selected University, by may 15 from the second, and by June 8 from the third. You will need the received invitation when applying for a student visa.
As for universities that are not connected to the system, the response from them comes depending on the deadline for submitting applications. Usually, the response period does not exceed 3 months from the date of submission of documents. This invitation is required for a long-term visa to France

Scholarship information

Every international student at a French university receives financial support from the French state. However, there are additional scholarships and grants for international students, which can help cover both the daily costs of staying in France and additional educational programs.

Basic types and examples of scholarships:

  • Scholarships and social grants are aimed at students who plan to study in French at the institution of higher education and to obtain a diploma there. The amount of the scholarships is €760-800 per month and is paid during the academic year.
  • Scholarships for research activities, for example, to write a thesis in France with joint research supervision in France. They amount to €760 per month and are payable for a maximum of six months per year during the academic year.
  • Academic scholarships for a semester (€760 per month)
  • Scholarships for language internships (duration 1 month)
  • Scholarships of French university colleges
  • Copernicus scholarships for young French-speaking economists, lawyers and engineers from Central and Eastern Europe (€760 per month).
  • Scholarships under the “Henri Poincaré” programme between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Tatarstan and the French Embassy in Russia (800 euros per month)
  • Scholarships for French and foreign companies
  • EU and, above all, Erasmus Mundus Scholarships, involving participation in joint Master’s programmes

Applying directly to year 2 or 3

If you already have studied at university level you might want to apply to the second or third year on “License L2, L3” (second or third year of a Bachelor degree). To get more information you should contact the international office at the university where you want to study in France.

Knowledge of the French language

If you will study in French you will need to enclose a certificate of your knowledge in French when you apply. Very often the results from DELF or DALF.language tests are required.  The exact requirements varies between different universities and programs, so make sure to check with the university in advance.

Start preparing for admission at least a year in advance

The sooner a student decides on a University and begins to prepare, the more chances he has for admission. Experts recommend starting training at least a year before the admission process.

Prepare for exams

Even if the University you are planning to enroll in does not hold entrance exams, you can’t do without testing your language skills. In most cases, prior training in specialized courses in language schools is required to pass the tests. You can prepare for testing both at your home country and abroad.

French language

Most international students study in France in the local language. In order to prove your language skills, an applicant may take two types of tests: the DELF/DALF test or the TCF-DAP/-TP test. The Admissions Office considers only these two types of certificates, therefore all applicants must sit for the exams except for graduates of partner institutions (e.g. French University College). Registration for the exams is required at least 3 months before the expected date of application. As a rule, a B2 level is sufficient for admission to the first year of university, while the subsequent years of study (including master’s and postgraduate studies) will require at least C1 level according to European Union language levels..

English language

Students who are fluent in English can study in France in the sciences, management and economics departments. IELTS or TOEFL certification is required to demonstrate English proficiency. Generally, the B2-C1 level is sufficient to study in France, which corresponds to IELTS 6.0-7.0 or TOEFL 78-95. These certificates must be obtained not earlier than 2 years before applying.

Exams, study in France, international students
Exams, study in France

Resolve the housing issue

Not all French universities provide housing for students. But they work with agencies and help students decide on accommodation. This issue should not be put off until later – to get a visa, you need to confirm that you have housing for at least the first 3 months of studying.

Apply for a visa

You can apply for a student visa to France immediately after receiving a certificate of registration or pre-registration at the University. First, you need to go through the procedure of Campus France, the French state information centre for higher education in France. The Campus France application form is required for applying for a visa.

Go to the University a week before classes start

The academic year at French universities begins in September/October. The specific date of the first school day depends on the University. Students usually arrive on campus a week before classes start.

Cost of education

The French Government provides significant financial support to higher education institutions. The annual subsidy to universities for each student, both French and foreign, is about 10,000 euros. As a result, international students have a unique opportunity to study at very reasonable prices. In fact, they only pay the registration fee.

In addition to the registration fee, it is necessary to add a compulsory contribution to the Social Security Fund of about 192 euros per year.

In higher engineering schools the tuition fee varies considerably and can range from 500 to 20,000 euros per year or more. In public engineering schools, the Diplôme d’ingénieur (graduate engineering degree) costs €596 per year.

In other higher education institutions, in particular business schools, the tuition fees are significantly higher, ranging from 8,000 euros per year and above.

You can start preparing for education in France from childhood

The most effective way to prepare for studying in France is to become familiar with France, tis culture and the French language at an early age. Participation in French secondary school programs with French peers on-the-job during the fall, spring, and summer holidays will contribute to natural integration into the French education system. Twinnings between cities are also a great opportunity to become familiar with the culture and the language of the country where you would like to study.

You can also study in international secondary boarding schools in France according to the French secondary school program approved by the French Ministry of education and get a French certificate of maturity. At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the psychological readiness of the child to live away from parents for a long time during this type of training.

COVID 19: Considering the present COVID 19 situation in France at the time when this article was written (August 2020).
Ensure that the above information does not interfere with the requirements imposed by the French Government at the time you consider leaving your country to move to France to study.

If you consider you should learn the language or improve your linguistic skills before coming to study in France, the best way to study in France is to do it with a native.

You can also read the following post to know what a French native instructor may bring you to get ready before coming to France and study.


Back To Top