Student long-stay visa, or student VLS-TS, allows you to study in France for a period of four months to one year. When it expires, you must request a residency permit to be able to remain in France.
There is an official website for visa application to France : https://france-visas.gouv.fr/
You will find all information you need to prepare your stay in France.
What does the student long-stay visa authorise?
The Visa Long Séjour valant Titre de Séjour mention étudiant (student long-stay visa constituting a residency permit), abbreviated as the student VLS-TS, allows you to stay in France for four months to one year for studies in higher education. It gives you the right to travel freely in the countries in the Schengen area. With this visa, you may work 964 hours per year, or 20 hours per week, to earn some money.
How to obtain a student long-stay visa?
If you are a citizen of one of the 41 countries affected by the "Studying in France" procedure, you must request a student long-stay visa via Internet. Use the same platform that you do for pre-enrolling on line in French higher education.
If this is not the case, contact the French consular authorities in your country of residence.
How to validate a student long-stay visa?
In the three months following your arrival in France, you must have your student long-stay visa validated by the OFII, the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (French Office of Immigration and Integration):
- by regular mail, send the OFII attestation form to the OFII office nearest your home. You should receive it from the French consular authorities in your country of residence before your departure. Otherwise, you can download it on the OFII site;
- attach a copy of the pages of your passport showing the information concerning your identity and the date of your entry into France or in another country in the Schengen area (police stamp) to the form.
On receipt of these documents, the OFII registers your file and sends you an attestation of receipt by regular mail to the address stated on the form. You will then receive a summons to the OFII in order to validate your student long-stay visa.
While at the OFII, you must present:
- your passport and your visa;
- proof of residence in France (rent receipt, lease, utility bill, attestation of residence, etc.);
- a passport photo;
- paper or dematerialised fiscal stamps for the amount of 60 Euros in 2017;
- depending on the case, a certificate stating that you have already had the medical checkup with a doctor authorised by the OFII in your country of residence.
At the end of this appointment, the OFII will give you a sticker to put in your passport. This OFII sticker certifies that your student long-stay visa has been validated. If you have not completed the OFII formalities in the allotted time frame, you will have to submit a new visa request to the French consular authorities in your country of residence.
What is a multi-entry student long-stay visa?
Holders of a multi-entry student long-stay visa may leave the Schengen area when they wish, to visit their country of origin, for example.
During the first three months following your arrival in France, you are authorised to travel outside of France with your visa without having to present the OFII sticker. After three months, the OFII sticker, or else the OFII attestation of receipt, is mandatory if you wish to leave the country.
How to obtain a student residency permit?
When your student long-stay visa expires, you can renew your right to stay to continue your studies in France under certain conditions and also request a multi-year residency permit. You must pay for it and its length of validity corresponds to the number of years remaining in the programme of studies that you are enrolled in.
For example, if you have finished the first year of a Bachelor's in France, you can obtain a multi-year residency permit that is valid for two years, up to the end of the third year of a Bachelor's programme. If you are studying in a Grande Ecole, your renewed residency permit will be valid up until you obtain your degree.
Conditions for obtaining a student residency permit
To obtain a student multi-year residency permit when your student long-stay visa expires, you must respect certain conditions:
- be enrolled in a French public or private institute of higher education;
- show that you have monthly revenue of at least 615 Euros;
- demonstrate the real and serious nature of your studies from the start of your study programme in France (attendance, exam results, degrees obtained, explanations in the event of change of programme).
Remember that repeating a year does not necessarily call into question the serious nature of the studies.