Whether or not you require a student visa for France depends if you are from the EU national or not. EU nationals (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland..) do not require a French visa while other countries such as India do.
There are several types of Students visas in France all depending on the duration of your stay in the country.
- Schengen student visa (short-stay)
This short stay visa lasts for less than three months, this short-timed visa is free of charge and cannot be renewed, so if you are sure you are not staying in the country for more than 90 days, this visa is just for you.
- visa de court séjour étudiant concours (Visa to sit entrance exams)
As the name suggests this is the visa needed to sit for exams held in France. If you sit your exam and pass you are then eligible to apply for a renewable one year residency visa
- visa de long séjour temporaire pour études (Temporary long-stay visa)
This visa allows you to stay and study in France for a period of upto six months and with this you do not need to apply for a separate residency visa permit.
- visa de long séjour pour études (Long-stay visa)
This long stay visa or VLT-TS is what you need when you want to study in France for a period of more than six months. This visa also acts as a residency permit and lasts as long as your course
- How to apply for a French visa
The number one agency students use for applying for a visa is Campus France, the country’s national agency for higher education and international students.
To apply for the visa, you will need to be in contact with the French consulate at your home country and provide them with the following:
- An official acceptance letter to your accredited program in France (including details of your start and end date)
- Proof of sufficient funds to leave the country, this can be shown in the form of a bank statement, notice of funding from a loan, scholarship or grant.
- Proof of a return home ticket, this is often in the form of an actual ticket, reservation or proof of so in writing with the date on it.
- Proof of medical insurance (minimum cover is €30,000, US$40,150 or approx.~ 30 lakhs)
- Proof of accommodation, which can be shown in the form of a student housing conformation.
- Proof of proficiency in French (you are often required to take a French proficiency test of level A1)
- On arrival to France
When you come to France with an extended stay VLS-TS, you will need to send the official form presented to you to the French office of immigration and interrogation, which can be registered by mail or person. Often your institution of study will help you with this part of the process. In some cases, an agreement exists between the OFII and the school in question, meaning documents can be submitted to the school instead of the French authorities.