France Study Visas

A student posing in front of the camera and another one reading a book. It says "French Study Visas"

Young individuals all around the world seek the best education that suits their needs regarding their future profession. As a result, study visas were designed so young individuals can have access to all educational institutions globally. For those that wish to study in France, for a longer period than three months, special requirements must be fulfilled. This article will go through all the information applicants will need to be aware of regarding French study visas.

A student posing in front of the camera and another one reading a book. It says "French Study Visas"

French Student Visa Categories

Long-term student visas are divided into categories according to the age of the applicant and their study preference. The list of categories is as follows:

  • France Student visa for students over 18

This type of visa was designed for those that want to enroll at public or private French educational facilities. As applicants for this type of visa are over 18, their studies must be connected with previous Diplomas or with their current professional occupation. To be eligible for this type of long-stay visa, applicants must be accepted & enrolled at one of the higher education institutions in France. Following countries that are on the CEF-procedure list can submit their application online using the Etudes en France portal: Algeria, Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, South Korea, Ivory Coast, Egypt, US, Gabon, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Taiwan, Vietnam, Congo, Turkey, Singapore, Russia, Tunisia, Togo.

  • French study designed for those students who are under the age of 18 (known as mineur scolarise)

This type of visa was created for individuals under the age of 18 who wish to continue their studies (public or private) in French primary, secondary, or higher educational institutions. The maximum validity for this visa is 11 months and it’s only aimed at foreign children whose parents are not French residents.

  • France Au Pair Visa

France Au Pair visa is aimed at individuals between the ages of 17-30 and who wish to stay with a family in France to study French. France Au Pair visa grants work protection along with access to national health insurance. The major requirement for this visa is an au pair placement agreement (between the applicant and host family) that must be submitted to DIRECCTE by the host family member. The agreement should include information such as the service candidate will provide to the family, their working hours, details about board and lodging, rest days, service, and pocket money given by the host family.

  • France Student Trainee or Intern Visa

Student Trainee or intern visa was designed for students that want to undertake their professional work placement in France. Placement may be only undertaken if the applicant is a part of either: training counter organized in the country of residence, EU cooperation program or intergovernmental scheme in fields of youth, education or culture.

  • France visa for language assistants

Only a few individuals are eligible for this type of visa – as only single persons can apply for it (not families). The monthly paid allowance is only to cover expenses of one person. Therefore, if any family members wish to join the candidate, they are required to apply for a visitor long-stay visa.

Note – for candidates that wish to study on a program that lasts less than three months, an application for a France Study Schengen visa must be made instead.

France Study Visa Application Process

The application for a long-stay study visa must be submitted to the local French consulate or embassy.  It is recommended to proceed with the visa application at least 3 weeks prior to intended travel or a maximum of 3 months before it. The application steps are: filling out a visa application form, gathering required documents, gathering additional documents (if required), scheduling an interview appointment, paying visa fees, and attending the interview.

However, not all individuals are required to do the above steps, it all depends on the nationality of the applicant and the part of France they wish to visit.  Individuals who do not need a France Study visa are:

  • Holders of France residence permit
  • Holders of a residence permit of a Schengen state
  • Holders of a valid long-stay visa of one of the Schengen states
  • Holders of an EU family member’s residence or EU long-term residence permit
  • Holders of a passport of a “British National Overseas”, “British Overseas Territories Citizen”, “British Protected Person”, “British Subject”
  • Holders of a special residence card (such as a diplomatic or consular staff member card)

Standard French Study Visa Requirements

After establishing where the closest French embassy or consulate is, the next essential step is to gather a standard document file required for the visa application. These documents are required to be submitted at the French consulate or the embassy or in residence during the interview stage. Standard French study visa requirements are:

  • Filled out French Student Visa Application Form
  • Two visa photos in colour
  • Valid passport with two blank pages for stamping purposes
  • Copies of older visas (if applicable)
  • Evidence that health insurance policy for students was purchased
  • Proof of financial stability (so the applicant is able to cover their stay)
  • Evidence of accommodation (to confirm applicant’s living address)
  • Certificate of clean criminal record
  • Evidence of visa fee payment (receipt)

French Visa Photo – Quick Guide

One of the requirements mentioned above is a visa photo. In order for the photo to be accepted, it must follow a few specific rules set by the French government. These rules differ globally, therefore it is essential to familiarize yourself with the French Visa photo guidelines before taking a photo. The general format for French visa photo is:

  • size: 35 x 45 mm
  • background: white
  • colour: in colour
  • resolution: 600 dpi
  • recency: no older than 6 months

General information for the candidates: it is advised that each candidate should stand straight (at least 40 cm away from the camera), keep a neutral facial expression, wear casual daily clothes, remove all headgear and glasses and look smart.

What’s not acceptable in a French visa photo is: smiling, frowning, wearing headwear, wearing sunglasses, wearing a uniform, wearing white clothing, not looking into the camera, having eyes closed, having an object in the photo, not sitting straight, or not facing forward.

Additional Requirements According to the Visa Type

There are few additional requirements that applicants must submit (additionally) depending on the study visa type. 

  • For students over 18 (evidence of registration at French educational facility – this is usually issued by the institution, proof of academic status, cover letter detailing study project in France, any diplomas and certificates relevant to the study program)
  • For students under 18 (this must be completed by the parent of the minor and additional documents required are: school reports, evidence of enrolment at French school, French language certificate, a document confirming where the child will be living, a letter confirming financial stability of minors parents, birth certificate where both parents name are visible, an official translation of the birth certificate into French, passports of legal guardians, evidence of guardianship, travel authorization signed  by both legal guardians, report card from the previous school, receipt confirming payment for tuition fees, vaccination certificate)
  • France Au Pair (an invitation letter from host family, diplomas, evidence of academic status, medical certificate translated into French).
  • French Student Intern (training agreement, training establishment validated by French authorities, evidence of monthly maintenance allowance, evidence of activity – studies, employment, volunteering, evidence of academic status, signed letter confirming project in France, along with internship agreement – convention de stage).

Paying Visa Fee

The general visa fee for countries with CEF procedures is €50, whilst the visa fee for other states is €99. An exemption from payment applies to family members of French Nationals,  family members of EU/EEA or Swiss citizens, or children adopted by French citizens.

Attending Visa Interview

At this stage, the consular officer examines all supporting evidence and asks applicants a few questions about their trip which determines if a visa will be issued or not. This decision is based purely on the interview and documents provided. If a visa application gets accepted, the applicant will receive a collection date document which will have information about visa collection. A French visa sticker will be placed on the passport indicating the can of first entry and the date of exit.

Upon Arrival in France…

However, that doesn’t end there. Upon arrival in France, the applicant must complete few last things that are essential:

  • Register at the Immigration and Integration Office (OFII) – this must be done in the first 2 months of arrival or apply for a residence permit at the respective French prefecture after entering France
  • Apply at the OFII after entering to schedule a medical examination and pay the residence fees.
  • After the first year of staying in France applicant is required to apply for a renewal of residence permit (not later than 2 months before the visa period ends) – this rule only applies to some sub-categories of long-stay visa 

Is Working Possible with French Study Visa

Working with French Study Visa is possible. The French government passed a law that allows a foreign student to work 964 hours per year (this is 60% of standard working hours in France). Exempt from this are Algerian citizens who are limited to working no more than 50% of the normal working hours.