Depending on your nationality, your situation and the length of your stay, you may be able to obtain a visa to study or conduct research in France or to return here after you graduate.
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.
No visa obligation for European students
If you are a national of a European Economic Area country (European Union country (EU) and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland, you do not need a student visa to study or do an internship in France. You may freely enter French territory regardless of the length of your stay or your studies.
On the other hand, you must have a sickness and maternity insurance and sufficient financial resources to meet your needs and those of any of your family you may be supporting.
Citizens of the EU/EEA/Switzerland may work while studying in France without a residency permit to a maximum of 964 hours per year.
The short stay student visa
If you are not a national of a European Economic Area country (European Union country and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or of Switzerland, and depending on your nationality, you must obtain a student visa to study in France even if your stay is less than 3 months.
There are two types of short stay visa: the "short stay for studies" (court séjour pour études) visa and the "student in competition" (étudiant concours) visa, which should be requested if you are convoked by a French institute for an exam or interview.
Note that nationals from certain non-European countries are not required to have a visa if their stay does not exceed 90 days. Check the article "The student visa short stay"for more information on this subject.
The long stay student visa
If you are not a national of a European Economic Area country (European Union country and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or of Switzerland, you must request a student long stay visa to study, conduct research or do an internship in France for more than 3 months.
There are two types of long term visas:
1/ the Long Term Visa used as Residence Permit (VLS-TS)
This visa allows you to remain in France for one year without needing to request a residency permit. You will still have to have your visa approved on arrival. Depending on the nature of your stay, there are three types of long stay visas:
- the student VLS-TS for studies at the Bachelor's and Master's level;
- the Talent passport VLS-TS for a doctorate and beyond;
- the internship VLS-TS to do an internship in France as part of the programme you are enrolled in in your country of residence.
2/ the Temporary Long Term Visa (VLS-T)
With the VLS-T, you can stay in France for 1 year, and you don’t need to validate it at your arrival. It cannot be renewed, and it doesn’t grant the rights than the VLS-TS.
The Working Holiday visa
In the framework of a reciprocal agreement with several countries, France grants Working Holiday visas (vacances-travail). Reserved for young people aged 18 to 30, they let you spend one year in France to learn about the country without studying here. They let you work in France to round out your resources during the year.
Check the article "Working Holiday visa" to find out if you are eligible for this and for more information on the subject.
Provisional residency permit
If you are not a national of a European Economic Area country (European Union country and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or of Switzerland, the Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour (APS - Provisional Residency Permit) allows you to remain one year in France after you graduate. It is reserved for holders of a professional Bachelor's, a Master's-level degree and all graduates who are starting a company.
The travel visa or Schengen visa
If you are not a national of a European Economic Area country (European Union country and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or of Switzerland, you can request a travel visa at the end of your studies. Reserved for holders of a Master's-level degree from a French higher education institute, it allows you to regularly return to France if you reside in another country after your studies in France.
Student visa: Campus France answers your questions
Regardless of your situation or nationality, check the following articles to find the answers to your questions concerning student visas: