Any foreigner who wishes to study in France must, first of all, apply for a long-stay visa for student, equivalent to a residence permit marked “student”. This category of visa is valid for a period of up to one year.
After one year on a long-stay visa for student, he/she can apply for a temporary residence permit marked “student”. If he continues his studies, the student can apply for a multi-year student residence permit. The foreign student is subject to a financial means test.
However, the number of visas granted to foreign students has dropped recently.
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation have issued an instruction on July 4, 2019, relating to requests for long-stay visas for studies in line with the EU Directive 2016/801.
The purpose of this instruction sent specifically to the heads of diplomatic and consular posts is to harmonize and simplify the list of documents necessary for a visa application. In particular, it aims at encouraging the dematerialization of the procedures to be carried out for foreign students.
Consequently, the possibility of obtaining a long-stay visa for studies should be, thanks to this instruction, facilitated and more likely to succeed.
Regarding the conditions to be fulfilled in order to be issued a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit “student”, a foreign student applying for a long-stay visa must provide proof that he has been admitted to an establishment of higher education to follow a course of study.
Foreign students must also demonstrate that they will have sufficient resources to cover their study costs. Finally, the latter must communicate to the consular authority an address in France, even a provisional one.
If the visa is granted to foreign students, they must validate their long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit within three months of their arrival in France, and pay a tax which is added to the visa fees.
In case of refusal to issue the visa, the foreign student can appeal to the French consulate, so that it can reverse its decision to refuse the visa. If the appeal to the French consulate is unsuccessful, the foreign student has two months to bring the case to a spécial committee: the Appeal Committee Against Decisions To Refuse A Visa to enter France (CRRV).
Then if the decision of the committee is still unsatisfactory, further legal proceeding steps must be considered.