Getting a Student Residence Permit

studentThe “student” residence permit

The student residence permit is a spécial visa that allows you to pursue studies in France for a period of four months to one year. It must be validated upon your arrival in France. It is issued to a foreigner who can justify continuing his studies in France and who has sufficient income.

The student must have the means of subsistence corresponding at least to the amount of the basic monthly allowance paid to French Government scholarship holders. Several means of proof are accepted, such as bank certificates or certificates of support by people with sufficient resources.

The renewal of this title is conditioned by the reality and the seriousness of the studies.

Too many repetitions or too repeated changes of orientation may be enough to prevent the renewal of the residence permit.

The circular of October 7, 2008, specifies that attendance at tutorials and exams must be controlled. Failure to register or present for exams may constitute a reason for refusing to renew a residence permit unless medical or family reasons prove it.

If the student has suffered three successive failures and has not been able to validate a single year at the end of three years of studies, the real and serious nature of the studies will not be established unless there are medical or family reasons. this failure. In all cases, a failure at the end of the first academic year which would be followed by a reorientation will make it possible to obtain the renewal of the residence permit.

Changes in orientation are still possible if they are consistent (complementarity of teaching, strategic choice for example) or if they lead to a diploma allowing to exercise a profession called “under stress”.

The decree of May 30, 2013, updates the provisions relating to the application for admission prior to a first registration in the first year of the license for students who are not nationals of the European Union (and similar) to take into account the implementation of the LMD scheme. of higher education.

The decree now automatically exempts from the prior admission procedure beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, such as refugees and stateless persons, as well as the children of foreign diplomats in France.

It also removes the obligation for universities to check the residence permits of applicants residing in France before providing them with a form to submit their admission application. This decree entered into force on November 1, 2013.

Since June 1, 2009, foreigners holding a visa issued as a student (except Algerians) are exempt from applying for a residence permit.

This visa must be validated within 3 months of arrival in France. The decree of February 13, 2019, modified the modalities for validating the long-stay visa serving as a residence permit. This process is now carried out exclusively online.


Cases of automatic issuance
This card is issued as of right:

  • A foreigner to whom a visa for a stay of more than three months has been granted within the framework of an agreement signed between the State and a higher education establishment and who is registered in this establishment;
  • Abroad having passed the entrance examination tests for a higher education establishment having signed an agreement with the State;
  • Foreign scholarship of the French Government;
  • Abroad, holder of the French baccalaureate prepared in an establishment coming under the Agency for French Education Abroad or holder of an equivalent diploma and having followed, for at least three years, schooling in a French establishment of abroad;
  • Abroad, a national of a country that has signed a reciprocity agreement with France relating to the admission to the residence of students.

Centers for studies in France are gradually being set up at French embassies abroad.

For more information:


The possibility of working

Foreign students admitted to stay in France can work within the limit of 60% of the annual working time (964 hours, or 20 hours per week). This period begins to run from the issuance of the first residence permit. Algerian students are required to apply for a work permit and they can only work within the limit of half an annual time for the branch or profession concerned.

Regarding changes in the status of common law, the employment situation is no longer opposable to the foreign student who presents a CDD or CDI if the following conditions are met:

  • The workstation must be related to his training
  • The remuneration must be at least equal to one and a half times the amount of the minimum monthly remuneration (art R. 5221-21 of the labor code amended by decree n ° 2016-1456 of October 28, 2016
  • He must have obtained a diploma at least equivalent to the master’s degree, a level I diploma certified by the Conférence des grandes écoles or a professional license diploma.

The circular of May 31, 2012, specifies the situations (criteria that are neither limiting nor cumulative) that may favor the switch to a residence permit allowing the exercise of professional activity:

  • “The company wishing to recruit has an establishment or interests in the country of origin, the geographical or cultural area of ​​the foreign national;
  • The student’s training has been supported, excluding the apprenticeship tax scale, by the company which wishes to recruit him at the end of his studies;
  • The level of studies followed and the results obtained in this context attest to the reality of a path of excellence, particularly in the current context of building profiles capable of facing the international job and skills market;
  • The student’s path is part of mobility framed by an agreement between a university establishment in the country of origin and a French university establishment, partly funded by France;
  • The student has completed all or part of his secondary studies in France, in a French establishment abroad or in a foreign establishment under agreement with France, before pursuing a university course in France.

In addition, the circular recalls that requests for change of status are made ”  within two months preceding the expiration of the residence permit, including until the last day preceding the expiration of this permit “. It urges the prefectures to consider that the effective search for the employer has been carried out if the job offer published with the employment center, for example, has not been satisfied after three weeks of publication and it recommends that the file be processed. less than 2 months.


The “student-mobility program” residence permit

This temporary residence permit was created by the asylum and immigration law of September 10, 2018.

It is intended for students participating in a European Union program, a multilateral program providing for mobility measures in one or more Member States of the European Union or an agreement between at least two higher education establishments. in at least two Member States of the European Union.

Students must also fulfill the conditions set for the “student” residence permit.

It is for a period less than or equal to one year and renewable.

Students who have been admitted to stay in another European Union state and who are enrolled in a mobility program may stay in France for a maximum period of 12 months, after notification to the competent administrative authorities, provided that it has sufficient resources.

This residence permit also gives the right to exercise a salaried activity up to a limit of 60% of the annual working time.