france student visa

France Student Visa - Definitive Guide

France is one of the most popular destinations for international students. Providing the best quality education, French education comes at low cost as well. Being the fashion capital of the world, France is known for its fashion and business schools. With the France student visa, you can enter the country and experience its top-class educational system. 



What is France Student Visa?

france student visa

The French Student visa is a permit that lets you enter France and engage in academic activities for a certain period. They can be classified as two types - 

  • France Schengen student visa - This category comes under the C short term category and is issued for studies that do not last more than 90 days. 
  • France National student visa - This type is under the D long term category, and is issued if you have to study in the country for a duration of more than 90 days. 

Both of these can be issued as single-entry, double-entry, or even multiple-entries. Also, if you have to study for longer than 1 year, you must apply for the resident permit upon arrival in France.

How to Apply for Student Visa for France from India?

To apply for the French student permit, the application has to be made online. However, the submission is done offline at one of the French appointed VACs (Visa Application Centre). The embassies or consulates do not accept applications directly. Before starting the application, it is necessary to check if you meet the eligibility conditions for the student category. You may then proceed to make the application as follows- 

  1. Obtain all the necessary documents you will need for the student application. 
  2. Create an account at the French visa application portal known as French-Visas. 
  3. Fill in the online application form with all the required details. You must mention your purpose as ‘study’ and the required type as ‘short term’ or ‘long term’ according to your requirement.
  4. You will then receive an email of the completed application form. Take a print out of this. 
  5. Proceed to book your visa appointment for the document and biometric submission at a VAC. You can do this by calling the VAC, or online by visiting their website. Note that you must choose a VAC as per your jurisdiction (state of residence for past 6 months).
  6. With the appointment confirmation receipt, completed application form, and the documents, attend the appointment in person. You will have to submit the documents and a biometric at the centre, along with the fees.  

Ensure that you submit genuine documents. Any misinformation or fake documentation can cause a visa rejection. 

Keep in mind that if you have submitted your biometrics in the SIS (Schengen Information System) in the past 5 years, you do not have to submit them again. In this case, you do not have to be at the appointment in person. You may send the application through someone else. In certain special cases, you may be required to attend an interview.

Eligibility of France Student Visa

To be able to apply for any of the student permits, you must meet the following eligibility conditions - 

  • You must be present in India if you are applying from within. If you are an Indian resident in another country, you may be able to apply for the visa in that country itself. 
  • You must possess an Indian passport valid for at least 3 months from the validity. 
  • Your primary motive behind the visit must be to take part in academic activities such as study, research, internship, training. 
  • You must have a registration letter from the educational institution in France enrolling you.
  • You must possess sufficient funds as per the requirements to cover your stay in France.
  • You can apply for the long term permit only if France is your study destination.

Documents Required for France Student Visa

As per the France student visa requirements, the following documents must be submitted at the VAC for completing your application - 

  • A valid passport -
    1. It must contain at least 2 blank pages.
    2. It should not be older than 10 years.
    3. It should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel.
    4. Old passports, if any, are to be attached.
  • 2 passport size photographs
  • Confirmed flight tickets 
  • Proof of accommodation - hotel bookings, an invitation letter from the host, etc 
  • Travel medical insurance covering 30000 Euros  
  • Educational documents (long term)
  • Financial documents to show sufficient funds such as -
    1. Bank statements
    2. Bank guarantees
    3. Scholarship documents
  • Certificate of Registration or Pre-registration at a French institute stating the duration of the course
  • Internship agreement, if applicable

Photo Specification for France Student Visa

The photo specification for France student visa are as follows -

france student visa photo specifications

  • Dimensions:  35mm X 45mm
  • Colour: Coloured 
  • Head must occupy the central position
  • Must be recently captured within the last 3 months
  • Background: Solid, plain white or grey
  • 80% face coverage
  • Neutral expression
  • Glasses: Non-thick framed and prescription are permitted
  • Headgears are allowed only for religious reasons
  • Facial hair is permitted

France Student Visa Processing Time

The processing time for the France Schengen Student visa is around 15 working days. And for the National French student visa, it can take longer up to 30 days. However, these processing times can vary upon the validity, the number of entries, the volume of applications at the embassy/consulate, as well as your previous travel history. As a result, you must apply well in advance.

France Student Visa Fees

The total fee for the process depends on several factors such as the type of the French student permit, express delivery charges, biometric charges, and so on. Since the fees can vary upon the foreign exchange rates as well, it is strongly advised to check the exact fees right before applying.

Entry Stay Duration Validity Fees
Multiple entry Normal 90 days 3 months 6551.0
Multiple entry Normal 90 days 3 months 6551.0

After Submission

Once you have submitted the application at a VAC, it is then sent to the respective French diplomatic mission for processing based on the jurisdiction. According to the jurisdiction, they are sent to the Embassy of France in New Delhi or one of the Consulates of France in Bangalore, Kolkata, Puducherry, or Mumbai. 

If the French Schengen student visa has been approved, you can collect your passport from the VAC, or have it delivered to you for an additional charge.

How to Check Visa Status?

After you have submitted the application, you can track the status of your application in a few ways. You can opt for SMS notification services by the VAC. Alternately, you can click here and enter your application number and name to know the status. You may also contact your travel agency to have them track it for you.

When you have this visa

Upon successfully receiving the permit, you must keep in mind the following key points to ensure that you have a pleasant entry and stay - 

  • Make a note of the visa expiry date, validity, as well as the number of entries. You must not stay in France beyond this period.
  • You should travel to France within 6 months of your visa issuance, or as per mentioned on the sticker.
  • Always carry a copy of your passport/residence permit while you are travelling within the country.
  • While you are on a short term student category, you are not permitted to take part in paid work on the payroll of a French establishment. However, on long term student permits, you may be allowed to work part-time.  
  • You cannot extend the short term permit unless in extreme unforeseeable circumstances. The national visa may be extended upon good reasons. 
  • You must obey the French laws and respect the culture.
  • Your national visa also acts like a Schengen visa. As a result, you can visit other Schengen countries with this. However, with the national permit, you can stay in the other Schengen country for a maximum stay duration of 90 days in a 180-day period. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do after a France student visa rejection?

A rejected permit can cause problems. However, this exactly depends on the embassy decision, the reason for the rejection, as well as your new application. If you have been refused, you will receive a letter stating the reason for the rejection. If your reason for the rejection is minor technical errors such as insufficient funds, and so on, you can apply for it again as long as you have met the conditions. However, major rejection reasons such as a criminal conviction, fake documents, etc may make you ineligible to apply again.

Can you stay back after studying in France?

This depends on the exact type. For the national French student visa, you will have a stay back period allowed. After this, you will have to return back to your country. However, the short term student permit does not allow you to stay back any longer after expiry.

What is the format for a covering letter for the France Schengen student visa?

The format for the covering letter is not set in stone. However, you must ensure that the letter is addressed to the Embassy of France. It should also contain all the details of the visit such as the course you are pursuing, the educational institution, the duration of the study, the internship organization, and so on.

Can I enter other Schengen countries after obtaining a France student visa?

Yes, you can visit other Schengen countries with a French student permit. France, being a part of the first Schengen agreement, has a visa-free travel agreement with other Schengen countries. However, keep in mind that if you are in a D national category, you must not stay for more than 90 days in a 180-period in the country.


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