With many universities and colleges ranking among the best in the world, France has a long history of providing high-quality education to local as well as international students. World-renowned for its rich history, architecture, art and cuisine, the country allows students to immerse themselves in the country’s culture, which can be a life-changing experience. Another good thing about studying in France is that the cost of studying is low as compared to some of the other famous study destinations such as the UK and the USA. Also, the French government provides financial aid to overseas students. Students have a diverse range of study programs to choose from such as engineering, business, science, humanities, and arts. French is one of the world’s major languages, and studying in France will give you the opportunity to learn or improve your French language skills, which is useful for both personal and professional growth. France has a strong economy, and many global companies have their headquarters or offices in France.
There are different types of student visas for France:
- Visa de court séjour pour etudes (‘Schengen’ short-stay student visa): You can come to France and study for up to three months on this visa, without the need for a separate residence visa. This is suitable for those enrolling on a language course or short-term programs.
- Visa de long séjour temporaire pour etudes (temporary long-stay visa): This visa allows you to study in France for between three and six months without the need for a residence permit. It is non-renewable.
- Visa de long séjour etudes (long-stay visa): If you want to study for longer than six months, then you need to apply for this visa. This type of study visa lasts for the duration of your course in France i.e. three years for a bachelor’s, two years for a master’s, and four years for a PhD. Long-stay visas act as residence permits and are called VLT-TS.
Submission of Visa application and collection of passports can be done only by the applicant himself or through a travel agency authorized by the Embassy of France, Abuja. French Student Visa has two distinct stages of application. One at the Campus France and the other at the embassy. The set of documents can vary for both of them. You would be required to submit originals at Campus France and Photo-copies at the embassy/ consulate/ Visa Application Centres.
One may apply for a French Student Visa for:
- Student Exchange Programmes
- Full-Time graduate/master’s/dual courses
- Erasmus-Mundus programmes
- French language learning programmes
Short-term internship programmes required by the undergraduate/master’s level programme one is pursuing
Cost of French Visa
The Visa Fee for Long Stay National Visa for Study purposes is €99 for students applying for bachelor/ masters courses. For dual course applicants as well as exchange students, the fee is the same. This amount needs to be paid at the nearest BNP Paribas Branch. You can locate the branch from this web tool. We recommend you speak with the nearest branch before you go there to make the payment.
Apart from this charge, you would also be required to pay the Visa Processing charge of €50 as well as the VFS Service Fees and handling charges. Please note the visa fee for applicants applying to the France Visa Application Centre in Abuja is payable by a Bank Draft.
Note: It is always advisable to check with the embassy/ consulate before you submit your application about the Visa Fee as exchange rates are subject to change.
Students applying for a France visa can now send their supporting documents’ digital copies while filling up the online visa application form. This is optional and the same will permit a quick process by the external service provider (ESP).
You should provide two sets of application photocopies containing the following documents:
- Long stay application form for the duration of more than 90 days
- Two passport size photographs
- A copy of the Passport
- A printout of your Campus France NOC
- Letter of registration from the academic Institution
- Cover letter explaining the study project and a CV/Resume
- Proof of funds – tuition fees a minimum of 615 Euros/month, for the complete academic term
- Proof of medical insurance with coverage valid in France
- Copy of your round-trip airline ticket (if you are studying for six months or less) or a one-way ticket if you are studying in France for more than six months)
- OFII form (Office Francais de Immigration et de Integration)
- Proof of residency in France such as a lease, electricity bill, title of property, etc. for a minimum of three months or a hotel reservation
- Copy of the CV
- Copies of the degree and academic diplomas, certificates
When you go for your interview, you would be required to carry all your documents in the original plus a copy of all the documents.
How to apply
There are several steps to applying for a visa. First, you need to appear for an interview with Campus France, then you need to submit your documents to VFS
- Log on to campusfrance.org. At the “Register Online” box click on Create Your Account.
- Fill in the Academic records, Language skills, and CV SOP sections. Upload documents, photographs, and academic records. Ensure that all fields in the Validation tab indicate “Complete”.
- Send your file number to the assigned Campus France office to get your file reviewed, and to request an appointment.
- You will have to appear in person for the academic interview with the Campus France advisor. You must also carry all the mandatory documents plus one set of photocopies along with the Campus France fee payment receipt.
- You will receive an Interview completion certificate at the end of the interview.
- After the academic interview, schedule an appointment with VFS-France, to submit your documents, photocopies, receipts, and passport.
Note: The Embassy of France, Abuja has implemented a change in arrangements for the collection of the processed passport from visa application centres. With effect from 8th December 2014, the third parties don’t collect the documents on behalf of an applicant, except in the following cases:
- Immediate family members (Parent, Child or sibling)
- One member of a group collecting for the entire group
- A person collecting on behalf of Govt. officials if authorized on the Govt. letterhead or department
- A representative of a company – Authorization letter on the letterhead of the company and the official ID card of the representative.
Spouses and children may be permitted to reside in France while you study, but this is conditional. These conditions include having enough appropriate financing and living space. Cases are decided on an individual basis at the France embassy, and special consideration may be given to your case if you are able to explain your situation to the consulate effectively.
If you were accepted by a French University for a Bachelor’s degree (which is called a “Licence”), your spouse would not be given a visa to accompany you or be permitted to work in France unless s/he is a European citizen. The case might be different for Research or doctorate students. They may be allowed to take along their spouse or kids, but that depends on various terms and rules.
French law allows students to do 964 hours of part-time work in a given year. International students are also eligible for student jobs at universities. Students are hired to provide assistance to incoming students, help disabled students, tutoring, IT support and assistance, work in the career centre, etc.
Student employees are supposed to follow a work schedule that will not interfere with their studies. The terms and conditions of employment are adapted to the requirements of each student’s program so as to ensure academic success while offering work experience.
Students who have earned at least a master’s degree or the equivalent may apply for a one-time non-renewable temporary residency authorization called APS (authorization Provisoire de séjour). It is valid for 24 months. Students who obtain a job related to their academic program may enter full-time employment by filing a request for a change of status (from student to employee) in their application.
France is considered one of the most sought-after destinations for pursuing higher education by international students. Also, those looking to gain knowledge and enhance their skills through quality education prefer this international education hub. However, living costs and study in France can be a costly affair, therefore, various fellowships are available to help students in completing their education. We have listed out top scholarships available to study in France.