Apply for a visa and residence permit

Before you leave: apply for a visa

To study in France (fr.), you must comply with all French entry and residence requirements. Check with the French consular services (fr.) to find out which type of student visa you need.

Of the various types of visa, two will allow you to study in France. The visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour VLS-TS (fr.) (long-stay visa that serves as a residence permit) and the visa marked "dispense temporaire de carte de séjour" (temporary dispensation from requiring a residence permit).

Please note: if you are staying in France for over a year, you must get a VLS-TS CESEDA R311-3 6 student visa (fr.).

The visa application process can take a long time, so you need to get started about three months before your scheduled arrival date (with a few exceptions). You either have to contact the French consulate or, for countries concerned by the CEF procedure, apply on the Campus France (fr.) website.

Citizens of European Union countries do not need a visa to study in France.

When you arrive: get your visa validated as a residence permit by OFII

If you have a visa for a period of over three months marked "student" and "CESEDA R311-3 6°", you are exempt from having to apply for a temporary residence permit for the first year of your stay in France. However, you do need to contact the local immigration office, OFII (Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration), within a few days of your arrival to validate your student visa so it serves as a residence permit (VLS-TS).

The OFII form (fr.) has to be processed within the first three months of your arrival in France and the whole process takes one to two months to complete.

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