International students of all nationalities enjoy the right of multiple entries into France. Once granted, their visa is automatically renewed for the duration of their studies in France.
A special visa exists for prospective students. The so-called étudiant-concours visa is granted for stays of no more than 90 days for the purpose of taking an entrance examination or visiting institutions of higher education. Prospective students who pass their examination receive a full student visa without returning to their country of origin. The prospective student visa also may be granted to students whose admission to a higher education institution is contingent upon their completion of a short course of remedial or refresher work.
To obtain a visa, visit the French consulate in your place of residence or the visa office of the French embassy.
Two points to remember
Under no circumstances may a tourist visa be converted into a student visa.
International students of all nationalities intending to stay in France for more than 3 months must obtain a student identification card.
What documentation do I need to get a visa?
The passport must be valid for the entire period of validity of the visa.
Proof of enrollment
The following documents will be accepted as proof:
An offer of preliminary admission
A statement of preregistration in a public or private institution of higher education. The document must specify the level of study and the student's subject. If the institution is private, the statement must indicate the number of course hours and state that registration fees have been been paid in full.
- Proof of financial resources
Each French embassy sets the level of financial resources to be demonstrated by prospective students from that country. The amount is on the order of 3,000 francs for each month to be spent in France.
Proof of insurance coverage
Proof of insurance must be provided by students over 28 who are nationals of a country that does not have a reciprocity agreement with France or who are enrolled in an institution that is not recognized by the French government to participate in the student health insurance plan.
Minors (individuals under 18 years of age) must furnish proof of consent by the person or persons having parental authority.
In some cases, the consulate may require proof of vaccination (e.g., against yellow fever, cholera…) before a visa will be issued.