An essential aspect of your studies in France is acquiring a valid visa that will allow you to stay in the country for more than just a few months. Note that if you are European, you do not need a visa to study in France. A few administrative processes will still apply to you, but as long as you have a valid proof of European citizenship, you can stay as long as you want in France. For non-EU citizens, there are a few steps to take into consideration. Although these procedures tend to be processed relatively quickly, the pandemic has increased the length of specific administrative processes, so make sure to do these months in advance if you can. Reach out to anyone you know who studied in France or to the French Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Step 1: Applying before arrival
Applying for a visa these days happens entirely online. Three types of visas exist, and you will choose which to use based on your studies' length. Most students apply for a long-stay visa. For a training course not exceeding three months, you will be issued a short-stay visa, for a training course exceeding three months or six months, you will be given a temporary long-stay visa (which will require no further formalities on your arrival in France), and for training or a course exceeding six 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). The difference between the two long-stay options will depend on your country of origin, your duration of stay, your finances etc. Visa pricing for countries or territories with the 'Étude En France' procedure costs 50 Euros. You can read more about what the EEF procedure if needed. The pricing for other countries is 99 Euros. These prices just remain an indication; Some procedures may require additional costs.
Step 2: Confirmation after arrival
After Arrival in France, one of the first procedures you will have to complete is 'validate' your visa. You will do this extra procedure on the website of Foreign Affairs. This procedure is different from the visa application because it accounts for an additional 'demand of stay.' The first steps are relatively simple. Before anything, you have to make an account on the website mentioned earlier. After having created the account, you are required to follow these six specific steps.
- Add all your personal information.
- State the reason for your stay.
- State the resources that will sustain your stay in France. (In other words, this asks how much money you will have (or make) during your stay. You need at least 615 Euros per month to be accepted.)
- Provide justifications. (These include a passport copy, proof of acceptance from a university, proof of resources etc.)
- Choose the type of visa you apply for
- Add a picture that meets specific standards and submit proofs of any diplomas and grades that you may have.
This will be followed by a recap that you will have to confirm, and then a confirmation email will be sent to the email address you provided. Make sure to carefully read through the recap to ensure that all your information is accurate.
Finances: What you need to know!
In terms of finances, you can search all the scholarships that France offers on this website. There are no less than 334 scholarships in total, including 122 scholarships for Canadian students and an additional one for students from Quebec. There are different categories of grants. There are scholarships pertaining to specific institutions (for example, Elite scholarship at Centrale Nantes or Émile Boutmy scholarship at Sciences Po). There are Governmental scholarships such as from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Agency for French Education Abroad. Finally, there are scholarships from organizations/associations (Erasmus or Foundation I-SITE ULNE in Lille). All these grants depend on various factors such as household revenue, nationality, level of study, the field of study etc.
What deadlines should you keep in mind?
When applying to French universities, there are three ways to do it. Via Parcoursup, DAP - Demande d'Admission Préalable (Preliminary Admission Request) and CampusArt. For the academic year 2022/2023, these are the important dates you need to remember. For Parcoursup, registrations open on January 20th, 2022. Complete your list of academic houses before March 29th, 2022 and complete your file before April 7th, 2022. For DAP, registrations open on October 1st, 2021 and close on December 15th, 2021. You should receive the result of your application around March, April or May, depending on where and how you applied. Universities will tell you if there are exemptions that apply to you in the procedure. For CampusArt, registrations are from November 1st, 2021, to February 28th, 2022.
CVEC: The student Tax for every student.
Once you are settled in France, keep in mind that you will have to pay the Contribution de Vie Étudiante et de Campus (CVEC), also called the Student Life contribution. You can pay for this tax online. The tax costs 92 Euros (132 CAD and 104 USD) and has to be paid by every student in France, regardless of nationality. However, there are exemptions for students if you have a scholarship or in other uncommon cases. If this process confuses you, reach out to any student who has done it before and could help you do it faster. Once you do it once, you remember how it works, and it goes quickly.
Make sure to read our article on the best French cities to study. Depending on where you choose to go, look for one of our guides about French regions to learn more before your flight.