Applying For a French Student Visa: Your Step-By-Step Guide

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Bryan Smith - July, 07 2022

6 min read

About the author

Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad

What types of French student visas are there?

‘Schengen’ Short-stay Student Visa

The Schengen short-stay student visa is designed for studies that are shorter than three months, and is mainly used for short-term study programmes or language courses.

Temporary Long-stay Visa

The temporary long-stay visa is intended for students enrolling in courses that will require between 3-6 months to complete.

Long-stay Visa for Students (VLS-TS étudiant)

The long stay visa is instead meant for students who will require more than one year to complete their studies. Students who are enrolling in programmes such as a two year master’s degree or MBA course would be required to apply for a long-stay visa, and then apply for a multi-annual resident permit (carte de séjour pluriannuelle) in order to extend their stay beyond their first year.

French student visa requirements

What documents do I need?

  • A passport photograph
  • A valid passport
  • An acceptance letter to your university of study
  • An EEF Admission Certificate (Accord préalable d’Inscription)
  • An EEF number (ZA21-XXXXX-PXX)
  • Proof of temporary accommodation in France
  • Proof of sufficient funds for your time in France (the equivalent of €615 per month for the duration of your stay in France)
  • Proof of residency in France such as a lease, electricity bill, title of property, etc. For a minimum of three months or a hotel reservation
  • Proof of medical insurance with coverage valid in France
  • A completed visa application form
  • A receipt for your paid visa application fee

What financial requirements are there?

To successfully apply for a French student visa, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to sustain your expenses and cost of living.

Do I need to supply a bank statement?

At the time of writing, the current amount required to demonstrate these financial requirements is €615 per month, which can be shown with a bank statement, alternatively through a guarantor’s letter, a notice of funding from a loan, from a scholarship or grant.

If you plan to present your funds by providing a copy of your bank statement, you’ll need to supply a copy of a three-month bank statement for your first year of study.

If your funding happens to come from multiple sponsors, each sponsor needs to provide an A4 sponsorship letter, along with bank statements, previous year’s income tax return (ITR), 3 months’ salary slip and proof of identity.

If you are receiving a scholarship or grant, you’ll need to produce a statement indicating the amount and duration of the grant on the letterhead of the granting organization. If you are relying on a guarantor, your guarantor must produce a signed statement of financial responsibility, a photocopy of the national identity card of the guarantor in question, and proof of the guarantor’s own financial resources (such as the guarantor’s three most recent payslips and most recent tax return).

What student visa fees does France charge?

To apply for a Long Stay National Visa for Students to enroll in a Masters degree, you’ll need to settle a €99 application fee. You may also be required to settle a Visa processing charge of €50, which, depending on your location, may be payable by either cash or bank transfer.

What are the process steps to apply for a student visa?

When you’re ready to apply for a student visa to study in France, you’ll need to follow one of two application streams.

If you live in a country that is subject to the “Studies in France”, or “Études en France” procedure,you will need to first apply to enroll in a higher education institution, where upon completing your application your visa application will be automatically sent to the French consular authorities of your home country.

What countries are subject to the “Etudes En France” procedure?

Countries subject to this agreement include:

Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

How do I begin my application under “Etudes En France”?

If your country is subject to the Etudes En France study procedure, you will need to:

  • Register on the “Etudes En France” platform and supply an identity document such as your passport and a valid email address
  • Complete and submit your application
  • Pay an application fee
  • Validate your application and complete an interview
  • Receive an answer from your chosen study institution

How do I make an appointment?

Following registering, submitting your application, and settling your application fee, you will then need to schedule an interview with your local French consular services. To do so, you can review and select the closest consular service to you.

Before doing so, remember to check on the average appointment wait time at your local consulate and ensure that you’re able to submit your application and conclude your interview between three months to two weeks prior to your departure date.

How do I validate my visa?

When arriving in France, you’ll need to validate your long-stay visa as a valid residence permit within your first three months in the country. This can be completed online.

To do so, you’ll need:

  • A valid email address,
  • Information on your visa,
  • Your date of arrival in France,
  • Your home address in France,
  • A bank card to pay the fee online for issuing the residence permit.

Useful information

What are common interview questions?

Some common French student visa interview questions can include:

  • Introduce yourself; speak about your education, qualification, hobbies, or future plans
  • Why is France your study abroad destination?
  • Why have you chosen to study at a French university?
  • Why have you selected your course of choice?
  • Speak about your goals
  • Elaborate on your supplied financial information and source of funding

What is the rejection rate for a French student visa?

The average rejection rate for a French student visa for Indian students applying from Banglore, Kolkata, Pondicherry, Mumbai observed a rejection rate of 8.16%, while applicants applying from Delhi observed a rejection rate of 15.9% in 2021.

Common reasons a visa application is rejected are as follows:

  • Insufficient funding
  • Inadequate or fraudulent documents
  • Insufficient academic merit or achievement
  • Knowledge of the selected course or university
  • Risk of threat to public security
  • Poor interview skills

Can I work on a Long-stay Student Visa?

Holders of a long-stay student visa will be able to work up to 964 hours per year (20 hours per week) to supplement their finances.

Following the completion of a Masters degree, you may also apply for a one-time non-renewable temporary residence authorization (APS), which will be valid for 24 months.

After you get your French Student Visa

Congratulations! You’re one step closer to your dream degree!

While you’re thinking about your finances, now’s a good time to double-check your budget.
If you still need an international student loan, check out what Prodigy Finance can offer - or begin budgeting for your second year on campus to make sure everything is in order before leaving to begin your study journey abroad.

Once you get on campus, make sure you get to the international office, as they’ll help you stay on top of visa changes and regulations.

Want to know how to fund your masters abroad?

Prodigy Finance provides loans to international students pursuing their masters at top schools across the globe.

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