Visa and Residence Permit

Student Visa

Depending on their nationality, students should obtain entry clearance to France before leaving home. Students coming from the European Union usually only need to show a valid passport or identity card. Students from the rest of the world need to apply to their nearest French Embassy or Consulate for a Visa.

Be careful:

  • A Touristic Visa can’t be changed into a Student Visa.
  • French Visa can’t be modified once arrived.
  • Non-European students staying more than 3 months must obtain a Resident permit for students, different from the Visa & the deadline to obtain it is 2 months

Documents to get a Visa:

  • Passport
  • Proof of registration at home institution
  • Proof of financial resources (minimum 615€/month or 6150€/for 10 months)
  • Return tickets (for stay <6 months)
  • Copy of social insurance
  • Copy of diplomas.

Resident Permit for students (CARTE DE SEJOUR) 

The residence permit is compulsory both for all non-European students who reside in France longer than 3 months.

You absolutely have to request a residence permit if:

  • you are from a country outside of the European Union and have a long-stay Student Visa (more than 3 months)
  • you are from Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Slovenia and want to work while you are studying in France

You do not need to ask for a residence permit if:

  • you are from the European Union or the European Economic Area
  • you are from Monaco, Andorra, Saint-Martin or Vatican and you have a Temporary long-stay (3 to 6 months) Visa for studies or a Short stay (under 3 months) Visa for studies.
  • you are from Algeria ( in that case you need to ask for a “Certificate for residence for Algerian citizens”

This document is compulsory to obtain the “CAF / housing benefit”.

The maximum validity for a student is one year for the first request. It can never exceed the validity of the passport.

Documents to get a Resident Permit:

  • Passport, valid for at least one year (if required), and Visa, valid until the end of the studies
  • Justification of residence: certificate of residence or electricity or gas bill and rent receipt, or proof of lodgings provided by your landlord.
  • Enrolment certificate supplied by the Esban.
  • Proof of financial resources.
  • Four recent and similar identity photos (3,5cm x 4,5cm) on a light background and with nothing obscuring your face.
  • Proof of health insurance.


For all residence permit requests (both first-time and renewals), please check that your passport’s expiration date falls after your entire stay in France (particularly for renewals over several years). Also, please be sure that the spelling of your family name and surname is identical on all your official documents such as passport, Visa and birth certificate.

The residence permit is delivered by the French consulate in the country of residence. It is to be then completed by the official stamp of the OFIL following a medical visit in France.

The residence permit can be obtained from the local Prefecture (Administrative centre), upon presentation of the provisional certificate of registration at the Esban.
Once in possession of your residence permit, you will be issued with a student card.