French study visas for expat students

Published:  1 Oct at 6 PM
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France is one of the world’s most popular countries for international students.

As many as 271,339 foreign students are now studying at French universities as well as enjoying their lives in France’s unique culture. Many have arrived from just across the English Channel, spurred by the thought of getting an internationally-accepted degree without having to tie themselves to decades of debt via the UK’s student loan programme. French universities are world-famous for their modernity as well as for encouraging innovation, and the student community is truly international in its make-up.

At present, would-be students from the UK shouldn’t need visas, but it’s unclear what will change once Brexit is a reality rather than a nightmare waiting to happen. Students not from the European Economic Area, Switzerland or the EU will already need to apply for student visas. There’s a choice of four visa types, dependent on courses and other requirements. Most visas are applied for via Campus France, the national agency dealing with international and higher education applicants, but a few students are asked to apply through their chosen university’s website before getting a visa from a French consulate or embassy in their home country.

For those taking short language courses or other studies taking up to three months, the short-stay student visa is the solution. It’s non-renewable as well as free. Potential students needing to take an entrance examination prior to acceptance from their chosen education facility will initially need the special Entrance Examination visa. Once acceptance has been confirmed, new students can apply to their prefecture for their one-year renewable residence permit.

For those wishing to study in France for between three and six months, the answer is the Temporary Long-stay visa. For those on courses taking longer than six months, the Long Stay visa is required, and also acts as a residency permit lasting for the duration of degree courses. Students arriving from Switzerland, EEA countries or EU member states only need a valid passport to arrive and study for the length of any course, with further details provided by the chosen university or college.

British students at present studying in France won’t be affected by Brexit, but new visa requirements as well as increased fees will almost certainly apply for the 2018-2019 academic year. However, at the present time, no changes have been proposed and no action has been confirmed.
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