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How to apply for a Student Visa for France

By Jean
Reading Time: 4 minutes
student visa for france

Navigating the path to studying abroad can be both exhilarating and daunting. For international students aiming to immerse themselves in the rich culture and esteemed education system of France, obtaining a student visa is the first step towards turning those dreams into reality. This article delves into the essential aspects of applying for a student visa for France, ensuring you’re well-prepared for this exciting journey.

Understanding the Student Visa for France

Granted by French immigration, a student visa allows non-EU international students to live and study within its borders.

Purpose and Length

The primary purpose of the student visa is to facilitate your academic or professional training in France, ranging from a few months to several years.

  • For a training course not exceeding 3 months, you will be issued a short-stay visa. We talked about it in our dedicated article here: https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/schengen-uniform-visa-for-france/
  • For a training course exceeding 3 months or 6 months, you will be issued a temporary long-stay visa, which will require no further formalities on your arrival in France.
  • For training or a course exceeding 6 months, you will be issued a long-stay visa, equivalent to a residence permit, which will be subject to further formalities on your arrival in France.

Benefits and Limits

Holding a long-stay student visa for France opens up myriad opportunities, from accessing world-class education and learning French in a native setting to experiencing the country’s vibrant culture firsthand.

The VLS-TS (Visa Long Séjour Valant Titre de Séjour) and VLS-T (Visa Long Séjour Temporaire) are 2 types of French visas intended for students but with different characteristics and purposes. Some benefits and limits come with the type of visa you’ll be granted:

VLS-TS (Long Stay Visa acting as a Residence Permit for Students)
  • Duration: Allows you to stay in France for a period ranging from 4 months to 1 year to pursue higher education studies. Can be extended/reniewed.
  • Benefits: Grants the right to travel freely in the Schengen Area, work up to 964 hours per year (about 20 hours per week), use VISALE (a free security deposit service for students), receive a rental subsidy from CAF (family allowance fund), and extend the stay beyond the visa’s validity.
  • Validation Required: Must be validated upon arrival in France.

VLS-T (Temporary Long Stay Visa)
  • Duration: Intended to study in France for 4 to 12 months and cannot be renewed;
  • Benefits: Allows you to stay in France for the designated period to pursue higher education, travel freely within the Schengen Area, and benefit from social security after enrolling in a higher education institution, which includes partial reimbursement of healthcare costs;
  • Limits: Students cannot engage in work during their study period, access VISALE, receive housing subsidies from the CAF, or extend their stay in France beyond the validity of their visa.
  • No Validation Required: Unlike the VLS-TS, the VLS-T does not require validation at the prefecture upon arrival.

Criteria/Conditions

Eligibility for a long-stay student visa for France hinges on several criteria, such as:

  • You must be over 18 years of age;
  • You must have already chosen your training course or studies and be accepted by a recognized higher education establishment in France;
  • Prove sufficient finances (approximately 615€ per month). Check out our blog article on the financial requirements to study in France for more info: https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/financial-requirements-for-studying-in-france/

student visa for france

Application Process

The application process is straightforward but demands attention to detail:

  • Enrollment Letter: Find the right program for you, apply, and receive approval from your chosen school. Upon payment of the tuition fee, you will secure an acceptance letter from your school, which is needed for your visa application.
  • Pre-Consular Approval: Students residing in countries affected by the Études en France (EEF) procedure must submit a specific request online before applying for their student visa. To do this, create an account on the EEF platform, complete the online application form, attach the required documents, and pay the application fee. Then, book an appointment with your local embassy or consulate and attend the interview with Campus France. Wait for approval before applying for your visa.
  • Visa Application: As soon as you receive approval from Campus France, create an account on France-Visas, fill out the online visa application form, and attach the required documents. Schedule your visa appointment at your local French embassy, consulate, or visa application center. Ensure you attend your appointment with all the required documents, and do not forget your passport. For more information on the documents needed for your visa application, read our article: https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/student-visa-supporting-documents/

Typically, for a student visa, we give students an overview of the process and break it down into focused tasks, one at a time:

Step 1: School Application
We assist you in finding the right school and program. We share the school application form with you and collect a copy of your passport. We review your forms and documents, correcting any errors. Once everything is confirmed as 100% OK, we forward your application to the school.

Step 2: Tuition Payment
The school issues an invoice for your tuition, which we send to you along with all necessary payment information. Upon payment, you secure an acceptance letter from your school, which is essential for your visa application.

Step 3: Accommodation, Flight, Insurance
We assist with accommodation and flight bookings, as well as securing your health and travel insurance, if not already done. You will receive your accommodation certificate and an insurance certificate, needed for the visa application, along with the previously received acceptance letter.

Step 4: Campus France
Students subject to the Études en France (EEF) procedure must submit a specific request online and attend an interview with Campus France before applying for their student visa. We guide you through this process to ensure you submit all required information and documents correctly.

Step 5: Visa Application
Upon receiving approval from Campus France, you can apply for your student visa. We guide you through this process to ensure no crucial document is forgotten and no questions on the application forms are misunderstood.

Delays

Processing times for a student visa for France can vary, typically ranging from a few weeks to two months. It’s advisable to apply well in advance of your intended start date to accommodate any delays.

Why Apply for This Visa?

Studying in France is not just about earning a degree; it’s an adventure that broadens your horizons, enhances your language skills, and opens doors to international opportunities. The French education system is renowned for its excellence across a wide range of disciplines, offering students a unique blend of academic rigor and creative freedom. Furthermore, living in France allows you to explore the rich tapestry of French culture, history, and gastronomy, making it an unparalleled educational experience.

Go! Go! France can help you apply for a language school with a Long-Term Student Visa for 4 months up to 1 yearContact us to get your live and study in France journey started.

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