The different types of student visas in France
There are several types of student visas for France. Which one you have to apply for depends on your nationality and the length of your study stay in France.
Short stay: Schengen Visa
If you plan to study for less than three months and you are certain you will not stay long in the country, you need this visa. The short-stay student visa is free and cannot be renewed.
Short-term student visa competition
If you plan to take one or more university entrance exams in France, you need a “short-stay student visa”. This student visa is renewable provided that you pass your exam.
Temporary long-stay visa
If you plan to stay in France to study for up to six months, you need this type of visa. In addition, with this study visa, you do not need to apply for a separate residence permit.
Long-stay student visa in France
For a study stay of more than 6 months, you have to apply for a long-stay student visa. This visa is also known as the VLT-TS long-stay visa and serves as a residence permit in France for the duration of your study program.
What documents are required to obtain a student visa?
There are several documents and requirements that students have to produce in order to obtain a long-stay visa for their university studies in France. These include
- – A registration fee of 100 euros or the equivalent in the currency of their country of origin.
- – Two correctly completed and signed forms with all the information concerning the application for a long-stay visa.
- – An official document of admission to a French university.
- – A valid medical certificate attesting that the applicant does not suffer from any illness.
- – A certificate of good conduct mentioning the criminal record of the applicant. He/she also has to also prove the absence of any legal provisions in force against him/her.
- – Two passport photos on a white background, with the applicant size 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm, with the applicant’s face clearly visible.
- – A photocopy of the first four pages of a valid passport.
- – A valid passport.
- – A letter of recommendation from the cultural activities of the French embassy in the country of origin.
This letter has to affirm that the student has passed one of the required language tests.
Other required documents
- – A letter of recommendation from the French Cooperation and Cultural Action Service attesting that the student has passed the initial registration stage.
- – The student’s CV. This must include a letter of recommendation from the student’s high school. This letter must attest to the student’s good conduct and behavior.
- – An original copy of the high school diploma translated into French.
- – An official statement of the student’s financial resources. This may be a bank statement or proof of regular income. It may also be a scholarship certificate accompanied by a statement from the authority that awarded the scholarship. This document must prove that the scholarship covers all of the student’s expenses while studying in France.
- – A proof of accommodation indicating the student’s address in France, such as a reservation in a hotel or any other form of accommodation that the student has benefited from. However, if the student owns an apartment, a document attesting to this is required. Similarly, a lease agreement is required if the applicant rents an apartment. If none of these documents are available, the student has to submit an honorary commitment document. This obliges the student to rent an apartment.
- – A document proving that the student has health insurance.
- – A copy of the student’s birth certificate.
Processing time of a student visa for France
The processing time for a short-term Schengen student visa in France is approximately 15 days. For other types of visas, the processing time is between 14 and 21 days. But for a French VLS-TS visa, you have to send your application at least 3 months before the beginning of the academic year.
The processing time may also vary depending on the number of entries and applications at the embassy or consulate, as well as the need for the embassy to produce additional documents.
How much does a student visa in France cost?
The visa processing fee in France costs between 15 and 100 euros, depending on your nationality and the type of visa you are applying for. Non-EU applicants applying for a long-stay student visa have to pay a fee of 99 euros. In addition to the visa fee, you should also expect to pay an insurance fee for your entire stay in France.
Can I work on a student visa in France?
All foreign students in France are legally allowed to work during their studies but under certain conditions. First of all, only part-time jobs are allowed, with only 964 hours of paid work per year. This is about 60% of a full-time job.
In addition, students have to have a valid residence permit, for which the VLS-TS can be used. Also, when applying for a job, be sure to let your employer know that you are an international student so that they will only hire you for part-time positions.