The basics
France: Visa Guides - Must read

Applying for a student visa in France

We tell you everything you need to know about getting a visa to study in France


Studying in France is an exciting prospect, but it can also require a lot of planning. Most international students from outside Europe require a student visa to study in France and getting sorted early will help get your study abroad off to a flying start. The visa process can also take several months, so it’s important to apply well in advance of your course start date. We’ve made a handy guide to help simplify the process...

If you're an EU student...
As a student from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein you do NOT need a visa to study in France, which makes things super easy! Check here if you are an EU student.

If you're not an EU student...
Depending on your length of stay and type of studies, you will need one of the following visa options. In all cases we advise visiting the French embassy in your home country for more information about the process and what is required.

Schengen student visa (short-stay visa)  
Court séjour pour etude
If you’re studying a course of less than three months, such as a French language course, or a short semester abroad, you should apply for the Schengen student visa. There are no costs required, but you won’t be able to extend it.


Temporary long-stay visa
Visa de long séjour temporaire pour études 
This type of visa will allow you to study in the country for up to six months.


Long-stay visa (for degree students)
Visa de long séjour pour études 
If you’re planning on getting your degree in France or undertaking any course that lasts for six months or more, you’ll need a long-stay visa. This option will cover your entire stay of your studies (three-four years).


Visa to sit entrance exams

Visa de court séjour étudiant concours

If the universities you are applying to in France require you to sit an entrance exam in order to gain admission, you can apply for this kind of visa. If you are successful in your entrance exam you’ll be able to apply for a one-year residence permit.

Documents you will need:

  • An acceptance letter onto an accredited programme of study at a French institution
  • Proof of funds. This includes covering living costs and can be proven with a bank statement, letter from a guarantor or document stating your funding, grant or scholarship details.
  • Proof of return ticket home. If you don’t have your ticket home yet you can also submit a handwritten statement of intent detailing planned departure dates.
  • Proof of medical insurance (minimum insurance €30,000)
  • Proof of accommodation. This could be any official confirmation from your landlord in France or a certificate detailing your student residence arrangement.
  • Proof of language proficiency. If you’re applying for a course with components in French, you’ll need to prove you have obtained a certain level of the language. You can contact the international office of your university for more information on this.

For more information on applying for a student visa in France you can check out Campus France’s dedicated page

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About Author

Katie Duncan is Editor of Hotcourses Abroad and is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and University of Exeter graduate. Having worked at an English language school in the UK, as an educational consultant in Spain and as a reporter in the international education sector, she is well placed to guide you through your study abroad journey. Katie grew up in Australia, which perhaps explains her unusual reptile collection, comprising of a bearded dragon (Bill) and tortoise (Matilda).