VISAS: France’s attractive policy
The different categories of visa are:
- short-stay visa for students
This visa permits its holder to study in France for a period not exceeding three months. Students desirous of pursuing a language or any other short-term course can apply for this visa, which exempts its holder from having a residence permit and is not renewable.
- the “competitive examinations” student visa
This visa permits its holder to appear for an interview or a competitive entrance examination for a public or private higher education institution. If successful, the student may apply at the prefecture for a residence permit renewable by one year, without returning to their country of origin.
- the temporary long-stay visa for studies
This visa permits its holder to pursue a course of three to six months in a public or private higher education institution. It exempts its holder from having a residence permit during their studies in France. It is not renewable and the holder may not remain on French territory beyond six months.
- long-stay study visas
This visa is granted to foreign students desirous of pursuing their studies in a public or private higher education institution for a period exceeding six months. Since the 2014 academic year, all students, regardless of the level of their programme, can avail of easier procedures (accommodation and financing of education).
Students travelling to France for stays lasting less than a year are granted a “temporary long-stay visa”, which completely exempts them from all the Prefecture-related formalities. This type of visa is often issued for university exchanges. Further, all students travelling to France for studies lasting more than a year receive a “long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit”, which spares them having to apply for a residence permit for the first year of their stay in France.
Graduate students establishing a company can extend their residence permit by a year. Students who have graduated at the Master2 level are also granted an extra year to enable them to find skilled jobs in keeping with their university programme and facilitate the formalities for a change of status.