Foreign students

Foreign students planning to study in a French school must complete the administrative procedures for their stay in the country. See the website to know the administrative procedures to follow for your stay in France.

Foreign students from outside the EEA

Foreign students residing in countries that are not members of the EEA (European Economic Area) planning to study at the INSTN must complete the administrative procedures for their stay in France.

 These procedures are in two stages:

  • Firstly, you have to fulfil all the conditions to come to France as a student. This includes an “attestation d’accueil” (official document providing proof of board and lodging) which results in the issuing of a visa.
  • Once in France, this visa allows you to stay for up to 12-months subject to you sending specific information on the conditions of your stay in France to the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII), 3-months after your arrival.

Documents required to enter France

 Foreign nationals from outside the EEA must obtain a passport and a visa:

  • Passport: this is issued in the country of origin and must be cover at least the duration of your planned stay in France;
  • “Extended stay” student visa.

Remember: in France, current legislation forbids changing a “tourist” visa into a “student” visa.

Obtaining an extended stay “student” visa with residency permit (VLS-TS) before leaving your country of residence

The extended stay “student” visas are issued to foreign students who want to continue their studies in a public or private higher education institution. This visa is valid for 12 months and allows students to request a residency permit upon arrival in France.

In the 3-months following their arrival in France, students must send information on their personal status and their place of residence in France to the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII) and also undergo a statutory medical examination (cost €55).

Important: securing this visa is linked, in particular, to having sufficient funds to live in France. The minimum amount of funds is set by each French embassy.

Visa applications must be submitted to the French consular services in the country of residence at least 3-months before the planned departure date (cost €58). In some countries, processing student visa applications is only done online: see the CampusFrance website.

Once arrived in France, the visa enables students to obtain a temporary residency permit, which is compulsory for all foreign nationals wanting to live in France once the visa has expired (12-months).

Documents required for a visa application

Documentary proof of studies: this supporting document can be the positive response to a prior admission request, or a pre-registration certificate to the INSTN. The document must specify the level of studies and the chosen programme.

Proof of financial resources:

  • Funds guaranteed by the individual living in France: signed declaration of liability, photocopy of the guarantor’s identity card, proof of their financial resources (e.g. last 3 payslips and latest tax assessment notification).
  • Funding from abroad: proof of opening a bank account into which the funds must be transited, together with a commitment to pay the respondent translated into French and featuring a legal signature, certificate of payment of funds from the authorities in the country of origin (state grant or beneficiary of a European Union programme).

Documentary proof of address: this document is not systematically requested. Please refer to the Embassy or Consulate.

Obtaining your residency permit in France

The extended stay visa is valid for 12-months and a residency permit is only required for students wanting to continue their studies in France beyond this period. For this, they must complete the necessary procedures at a Prefecture nearest to their place of residence in France at least 2-months before their visa expires.

This residency permit is only valid for one year and must be renewed on presentation of a registration certificate at the university.

Documents required to apply for a residency permit:

  • proof of identity
  • proof of address
  • proof of financial resources
  • proof of studies being followed (original + photocopy)
  • + mandatory medical visit

Organisations and services to help you

Saclay site

  • The SAEE, Service d’accueil des étudiants étrangers (Reception Service for Foreign Students) at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris
    The SAEE advises and informs you about what you need to do to secure accommodation, residency permits, work permits, housing benefit, social security cover and French language courses, etc. It will then signpost you to the various relevant public services.
    For more information, visit the SAEE website - Maison Internationale - 17, boulevard Jourdan - Paris 75014 - Tel. +33 1 70 08 76 30 – Tram line T3 or RER B (Cité Universitaire).
  • Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII)
  • Police Prefectures: you can also directly contact the police prefectures nearest to your residence. List of police prefectures in the Ile-de-France region.

Remember: when you arrive in France, make an appointment quickly as waiting times to obtain residency permits can sometimes be long in the suburban Paris.

Cadarache site

Branch offices of the Crous d’Aix-Marseille have been opened to receive foreign students:

  • Service d’accueil des étudiants étrangers (ACEE, Foreign Student Reception Service - Student Life Division)
    Cité Les Gazelles - Avenue Jules Ferry - 13621 Aix en Provence Cedex 01 - Tel. +33 4 42 93 48 24

  • Maison Aixoise de l’Etudiant
    3, rue de Cuques - 13100 Aix en Provence - Tel. +33 4 42 38 79 52

Useful websites

French websites can provide you with all the information you need on procedures and conditions of study, etc.