Guide to Student Visas for PhD in France

Guide to Student Visas for PhD in France

Written by Taru Medha

Whether you need a visa or not to study your PhD in France depends on your nationality.

  • If you are an EU/EEA national, you do not need a visa to enter and study in France.
  • If you are a non-EU/EEA national, you need to apply for the VLS-TS long stay student visa and obtain a residence permit.

This guide covers everything you need to know about the kind of visa you need and the documents required to complete your application.

French student visas for non-EU/EEA national

If you are international student planning to study a PhD in France, you need to apply for the VLS-TS long stay student visa. You then need to validate this visa and obtain a residence permit in the first three months of your arrival.

The VLS-TS long stay visa allows you to stay and study in France for up to a year. As a PhD student, you’ll need to apply for a multi-annual residence permit (carte de séjour pluriannuelle) to cover your four years of study.

You can apply for this visa one of two ways.

  • Via Campus France’s EEF Procedure – If your country has a Campus France office, you can apply for a visa directly on their website. You need to pay a processing fee of €50 with your application.
  • Via a French consulate – If your country does not have a Campus France office, you can get in touch with the French consulate or embassy and apply through a process known as the Demande d’Admission Préalable (DAP) with a visa fee of €99.

Whichever way you choose to apply, you will need certain documents to complete your application.

  • Your passport.
  • Proof of university enrolment (at a recognised higher education institution). This should normally include the length of your course (including start and end dates) which will be used to determine the length of your visa.
  • Evidence of sufficient financial resources to support yourself in France. The French government recommends that students have access to at least €615 per month (the amount paid to French students by government maintenance grants).
  • Proof of valid health insurance.

Validating your student visa

Once a visa has been issued, you are free to enter the country. Once you arrive in France, you need to validate your visa and obtain a residence permit within the first three months.

You can now validate your visa digitally on the official website.

You need the following to validate your visa:

  • A working email address
  • Information from your visa
  • Date of arrival
  • Home address
  • A bank card to pay the €50 fee

If you do not have a bank card , you can pay by cash at designated terminals and obtain an electronic stamp.

Health insurance

If you’re a European national with a valid EHIC card, you can use this to access healthcare in France in the same way as local French nationals.

Other international students are required to register with the French social security system.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll be able to claim reimbursement for healthcare costs at the same rates as French citizens.

You may want to take additional health insurance or mutuelle to cover any major emergencies during your stay. You may also be required to show proof of health insurance as part of your visa application.

Now that you have your visa, all that’s left to do is pack your bags and get ready to experience life as a PhD student in France. You can read our guide on living in France for more information on what student life looks like in the country.

Think you’re ready to find the perfect project for you?

Search our database of PhD programmes in France.



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Last Updated: 13 November 2023