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Requirements for a long-stay student visa (VLS-TS)

Step 1 : Check if you're from a "Etudes en France" country

There’s two ways to apply for a long-stay student visa for France: 

  • The regular process
  • The Etudes en France process.

The main differences between the two is that: 

  1. The visa fee is cheaper for the Etudes en France process
  2. For the Etudes en France process, you also have to register on Campus France

Step 2: Make sure that you have all of the documents required

Before starting your application, you should make sure that you have all the documents you’ll need for the application process:

  • Proof that you’re enrolled in a French university or a French course
  • Two recently taken photos (taken less than 3 months ago)
  • A travel document issued less than 10 years ago and valid for 3 months longer than the expiry date of the visa requested.
  • Proof that you have a minimum monthly income of €615 (certificate of scholarship, bank deposit statement, etc.)
  • Certificate of completion of the Campus France EEF-Pastel procedure (the EEF application number should be on the document) (optional, only if you’re from a country that has to follow the “Etudes en France” process.
  • Proof of accommodation for the first 3 months (hotel reservation, letter explaining your accommodation arrangements, etc.)
Wondering how you can find accommodation if you’re not even if you’re not in France yet? With Movido, book trusted accommodation, pay safely online, and get an accommodation confirmation you can use for your visa application!

Step 3: Complete your visa application online

Once you have all of your documents, go ahead and complete your application on the France Visas website. You can save your application at each step, and when you complete it, print the application form and the receipt.

Depending on your nationality, you’ll also need to pay 50€ or 99€ for the cost of the application. Sadly, even if your visa is refused, this amount is non refundable.

Step 4: Book an appointment with your nearest application centre

Once your application is complete, you’ll then need to book an appointment with your nearest visa application centre.

⚠ Now, one thing you should know is that visa application centre are often NOT the same as the embassy/consulate. Indeed, the French government works with external providers to process visa applications.

You’ll find the list of the visa application centers for your country on the “Whom to contact section”. Watch the video below to see how: 

Step 5: Wait for your application to be processed

Afterwards, all you have to do is… Wait! Depending on where you filed your application, there’s different ways to track it. Read this to see which method is applicable to you.

Step 6: Validate your visa after your arrival in France

Ok, I know that the last thing you’ll want to do after you arrive is more paperwork, but there is one last step in your visa application: the validation of your VLS-TS visa!

This is a mandatory step that you have to complete to stay legally in France and you only have 3 months to do it after your arrival, but rest assured, it can be done online on this site.

You’ll need :

  • An email address
  • Your visa
  • Your date of arrival in France
  • Your address of residence in France
  • A credit card to a pay a 60€ fee

The VLS-TS long-stay student visa is only valid for up to a year, but you can apply for a residence permit 2 months before its expiration date. The renewal of your residence permit will be valid until you obtain your diploma.

Requirements for a short-stay student visa (Schengen visa) ​

If you’re only going to study in France for 3 months or less, you might need a Schengen short-stay visa. This visa allows entry and stay in the countries of the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days and costs 80€.

Here are the required documents to apply for this visa, you’ll need:

  • Proof that you’re enrolled in a French university or a French course
  •  A completed Visa application form
  • Two recently taken photos must be attached (taken less than 3 months ago)
  • A valid passport
  • A round trip reservation
  • A hotel booking or a letter from your host in France
  • A travel insurance policy trip reservation
  • A bank account statement that shows that you have enough money to support yourself during your trip

Once you have all of your documents, go ahead and complete your application on the France Visas website.

The single-entry Schengen short-stay visa is valid for a single trip only. If it allows two or more entries, it is a circulation visa which is valid for between six months and five years. It authorises one or more successive stays not exceeding 90 days spread over a maximum period of 180 days.

No formalities are required on arrival or departure. At the end of the 90 days, you must leave the Schengen area. The visa is renewable, but you will have to wait six months to re-apply.

General questions

How much does a student visa cost for France?

The student visa application fees are 50€ if you’re from a country that has to follow the “Etudes en France” process, and 90€ if you’re not.

How long does it take to get a student visa to France?

It usually takes 1 to 2 months. For safety, I would advise you to start the process as soon as you’re accepted in a French uni.

How much bank balance is required for a French student visa?

You need a bank balance of €615 per month.

What can you do with a French student visa?

With the long-stay visa, you can:

  • Study in France for one year (if you want to stay longer, you have to renew the visa)
  • Renew your visa to stay for more than a year
  • Travel in the Schengen Area without a visa
  • Benefit from the French social security system
  • Work for up to 20 hours a week
  • Receive housing benefits

That’s it! I hope this guide helps 🙂 If you have any questions about getting a visa, ask in the comments! 

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