Visa and residence card for your studies in France

Before your departure :

All entries and residence conditions for long period in France are controlled and are different from a tourist visa. In more than 30 countries, the conditions to obtain a "student" visa has been modified. This procedure is comoulsory when it is available.

Obtaining a student visas:

The process of applying for and receiving a student visa is now web-based in 30 countries. Students from those countries are required to use the online process.

Citizens of the European Unions and European market area don't need visa to be in France.

Is a visa always necessary ?

Nationals of the European Union member countries and the European Economic Space are free to enter and remain in France without restriction. They do not need to obtain a visa before entering France. Nationals of all other countries must have a visa to enter France.

Site of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Visa types:

There are different types of visa to meet the different needs of international students. France’s consular services are responsible for processing visa requests in accordance with current rules and regulations.There are short and long-term student visas.

For more information, check the list of France’s embassies and consulates abroad.

Mandatory online visa-application procedure:

Prospective students from the countries listed below must apply for their visa online as part of the process of applying for admission to an institution of higher education in France:


Combined extended stay/study visa and residency permit (VLS-TS):

This new visa is designed for foreign students (graduate scholars and scientists are not eligible) who intend to study in a public or private institution of higher education in France for more than six months. This visa also serves as a residency permit.
Effective since 2009 (june 1), holders of this type of visa are no longer required to visit the local prefecture of police to obtain a renewable residency permit.
On the other hand, holders of the VLS-TS visa must report to the OFII, the French office for immigration and naturalization, and fulfill several requirements.

  1. Upon their arrival in France, they must send to the OFII by registered mail, with acknowledgment of receipt –  Lettre Recommandée avec accusé de réception.
  2. The OFII certification form from the official who granted the visa.
  3. A copy their passport pages bearing their personal data and the official stamp     signifying their entry into France or another country of the Schengen Area.
  4. OFII will then schedule the student for a medical examination and possibly an orientation session as well.
  5. There is a fee of €60 charged in all cases.

Once you arrive in France:

The student should adhere to these formalities according to their nationality:


For European Union nationals:

  • The young researcher is unemployed: no demand has to be done.
  • The young researcher has a labor contract; since July 1, 2008 only Romanians and Bulgarians who don’t have a French master degree are to demand a residency visa for a temporary work. The validity of such a card will be the same as for a labor contract.

Items to be supplied by the Romanians and Bulgarians to the Bas-Rhin prefecture:

Presenting the originals and the copies of the following documents:

  1. The passport: pages with the name, picture of the applicant and the passport validity information.
  2. A certificate of attendance or a student card.
  3. A documentary evidence for accommodation lodging certificate with a copy of the identity card of the hosting person, an EDF bill, a GDF or a phone bill or the renting contract that dates less than 3 months old.

Other needed documents:

  1. 3 recent identity pictures (3,5 x 4,5 cm)
  2. Birth certificate
  3. Labor contract

For nationals of a country outside the European Union:

  • The young researcher has to get a student visa (CESEDA L313-7): to make a demand for a student residency card (at the Agora office from September till December or at the prefecture apart from this period). A medical examination done at ANAEM (Agence Nationale de l’Accueil des Étrangers et des Migrations) is compulsory.
  • The young researcher has to get a scientific visa (CESEDA L313-8) and to make a demand for a scientific residency card at the prefecture. A medical examination done at ANAEM is compulsory. Your employer will have to pay required fees.

Necessary Documents to apply for a scientific residency card:

Presenting the originals and the copies of the following documents:

  1. The passport: pages with the name and the picture of the applicant as well as the passport validity.
  2. The admission agreement with the signatures of the PhD School director and the vice president for research and PhD studies.
  3. A documentary evidence for accommodation or lodging certificate with the copy of the identity card of the hosting person, an EDF bill, a GDF bill, a phone bill or the renting contract that dates less than 3 months old.

Other needed items:

  1. 3 recent  identity pictures (3,5 x 4,5 cm)
  2. The copy of the visa D « CESEDA L313-8 » with the note “demand for residency card”.
  3. Birth certificate, marriage certificate if your husband or wife accompanies you.
  4. Labor contract.
  5. A take-over form of medical examinations of IOM (International Office for Migration) signed by the hosting institution (University, CNRS, INSERME)


French Foreign Ministry site :



At STRALANG Institute, learn French efficiently with our experienced and dynamic team in a cheerful and comfortable environment.


Stralang offers complete training and courses in Strasbourg. The city, located in the heart of Europe, is the ideal setting to learn a new language. Our experienced teachers use proven methods to teach French as a Foreign Language (FFL) regardless of your level and your age. Our Institute is located at the heart of the Strasbourg University campus with its 50,000 students of all nationalities. With Stralang, live the French experience and broaden your horizon: France will become your home and French your passion.