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France

About France

France is known the world over for its cuisine, fashion, culture and language. It is the most visited tourist destination in the world.

A key player on the global stage and a country at the political heart of Europe, France paid a high price in both economic and human terms during the two world wars. The years which followed saw protracted conflicts culminating in independence for Algeria and most other French colonies in Africa as well as decolonisation in south-east Asia.

Whether you are an individual seeking undergraduate studies, postgraduate schooling or something else, an amazing education can easily be found in the country. No matter what region that you go to there are numerous universities and educational institutions offering world-class education for people far and wide. There is a reason that so many people choose to come to France to receive their education and when it is the best education that you require, it is well worth your time to look at the colleges and universities that are available throughout the country.

Facts and figures:

  • Surface area: 633,186 sq. km.
  • Population 66.6 million
  • Capital city: Paris
  • Official language: French
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • System of government: Republic
  • Founding member of the European Union
  • Permanent Member of the UN Security Council, NATO, OECD, OSCE, G8 and G20
  • Time zone: UTC/GMT + 1 hour in winter - UTC/GMT + 2 hours in summer
  • National

Cost of Living

The government requires that you be able to support yourself while you attend college, so it is important that you have the money that is needed. If you are an international student, the laws in France allow you to work part-time up to 20 hours per week while you study in France. While this money can certainly help, it may not be enough to cover all of the things that you will need.

There are so many extras that are required in college. You will need pens and paper, pencils and highlighters and of course, bags for your belongings. You need snacks to nibble on while you are at school, lunch to eat and breakfast and dinner, too. There are also costs of living which include rent, utilities, mobile phone and toiletries such as shampoo and conditioner, soap and hair/facial care products.

France Visa Application Required Documents

Just as for every other type of visa, there are some requirements that every applicant must fulfill in order to be able to obtain a French Visa. These requirements vary on the visa type and the nationality of the applicant. In general, the commonly required documents are as following:

  • Passport – which must not be older than 10 years, recognized by the French authorities, and be valid for at least three months beyond applicant’s planned stay in France.
  • Visa application form – which has to be duly completed and signed by the candidate (aged 18 and over), while for minors (below the age of 18) the form may be signed by the candidate’s parents or legal guardian (who should attach their ID copies to the form).
  • Photos – must have the following format: recent, identical, colored, uncolored background, 3.5 x 4.5 cm, head to chin, forward faced and unedited.
  • Travel Medical Insurance – every foreigner wishing to enter France, for no matter how long, must have travel medical insurance, which covers his or her entire period of stay in France.
  • Travel Itinerary – that is a detailed traveling plan of the applicant from their home country to France and vice versa.
  • Means of Subsistence – you will have to show proof that you have enough financial means to cover your entire period of stay in France.

These documents as well as the supporting visa documents have to be sent in original + photocopies of each, and at the end the embassy gives the candidate the originals while keeps only photocopies of such documents.

Visa Information sheets are usually available for the French visa candidates, to guide them about the list of documents required to get a specific visa. Such instructive papers are either available in the French embassy or consulate website, or/and in a printed form at their entrances.

Documents Required at French port of entry

Every single foreigner entering into France must keep with them some specific documents, since the officials at the port of entry will ask for them, and make the final decision whether the traveler shall be allowed to enter or not.

These documents are as following:

  • A reserved accommodation in French territory (hotel booking, letter of invitation to stay over at a friend or relative etc.)
  • A document showing the reason for traveling
  • A reserved transportation ticket to show that the traveler has the intention to return to their homeland (and not to settle- live permanently in the French or Schengen territory)
  • A document showing that traveler had the financial means to cover the living or study costs during their stay in France or the Schengen Area
  • A covered medical insurance for any possible sudden health problem or accident while abroad, as well as to return to the home country of not less than 30,000 Euros

French Visa Fee

No same rule applies to all French visa types and to all foreign applicants, just as the visa fees change from one type of visa to another. Thus, some categories of the visa candidates are excluded from paying such fee, some others are required to pay a reduced fee, and the majority of visa candidates are required to pay a regular visa fee.

Despite the regular visa fee, candidates have to pay also another fee for offering their biometric information (as a part of visa application process).

In addition, when private sub-contracted companies are in charge of receiving visa applications (instead of embassies or consulates) an additional administrative fee might be applied towards visa candidates.

Categories exempt from paying regular French visa fee

Every France visa applicant will have to pay a specific visa fee, in order for his or her application to be processed. The fee varies depending on the visa types and the age of the applicant.

Visa fees according to the visa types are as following:

    • Airport transit visa & Short-stay visas for entries and stays in France and Schengen countries (except if the visa sticker says differently) – 60 Euros
    • Airport transit visa & Short-stay visas for entries and stays in French overseas region or department (DOM-ROM): Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Réunion, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin or representing an African third country – 60 Euros
    • Airport transit visa & Short-stay visa for entries and stays in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte and French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) – 9 Euros
    • Long-stay visas for entries and stays in any French territory – 99 Euros
    • Long-stay visas given for legally adopted foreign children, for entries and stays in any French territory – 15 Euros

Categories benefiting from a reduced French visa fee:

    • Short-stay visas given for persons aged between 6 – 11, for entries in all other French territories, regardless of for TAAF – 35 Euros;
    • Short-stay visas for citizens of the following countries under a facilitation agreement with the European Union (EU): Georgia, Kosovo, Russia, and Ukraine, (holders of biometric passports only) for entries and stays in France and other Schengen countries – 35 Euros

France Visa Types

Based on the period of time that a visa allows the traveler to stay in France, there are two types of French visa, as following:

  • French Short-stay visas  – valid for 90 days
  • French Long-stay visas for stays between 3 months and one year

There are different regulations to enter and stay into a French territory, depending if the foreigner has a regular (R), diplomatic (D), service/official (S), or a special (SP) passport. Mainly, holders of regular passports cannot enter any French territory without getting the visa first.

French visas include visas given to enter and stay in France, DROM or CTOM (each territory might apply different visa requirements and regulations from each other). However, a French Schengen visa, does not entitle its holder with entrance into DROM or CTOM.

When e foreigner has a VLS – TS long-stay visa (marked “CESEDA R.311-3”) this means that the visa is equal to a residence permit. In this case, the holder is not required to apply for the residence permit for the period of visa validity. Such holders should, however, go to the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (the French Immigration and Integration Office (OFII)) to register for authentication (legitimization) of their visa – residence permit, in the first 3 months of entering the French territory When a foreigner is given a long-stay visa marked “Carte de séjour à solliciter” (Eng. Residence permit to be applied for), this means that they must apply for a residence permit at the respective French local authority “Préfecture” in 2 months of entering the French territory. They have to also get the residence permit in the first 3 months of entering.

Working on a French Visa

Naturally, French short-stay visas are not meant for getting a paid job. Foreigners wishing to get a long-term visa for getting a paid job in the French territory, they need to first find a sponsoring employer who will provide for them an approved (stamped) work contract by the DIRECCTE, as this document is required for visa application.

Foreigners wishing to get a long-term visa to get a paid job as an either artist or a sportsperson in championships, they must have a work permit taken by an employer/hosting institution stamped by the necessary French authority, as this document is required for visa application.

France Visa Application Process

The application process is in general the same for every France Visa. The applicant has to submit their application to a French embassy or consulate in their home country, or at a private service provider company responsible to receive visa applications and perform the administrative check of such on behalf of French embassies or consulates, if available in applicant’s home country.

When private companies are in charge of collecting French visa applications, they usually involve an additional fee towards candidates for visa (for the administrative service), aside from the regular visa application fee.

The visa application has to be submitted only during a visa interview. The interview should be appointed online only, times before the planned travel date. The candidate has to be present alone in person to submit the visa application required documents, except for minors who are permitted to attend the interview accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Visa processing time can be different, depending for which visa the candidate is applying.

  • PSL Research University
  • École Polytechnique
  • Sorbonne University 
  • University of Paris Sud 
  • École Normale Supérieure de Lyon 
  • Paris Diderot University 
  • Aix-Marseille University
  • École des Ponts ParisTech 
  • Université Grenoble Alpes
  • Université Grenoble Alpes
  • University of Bordeaux 
  • Université Côte d'Azur

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