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How to prepare for your stay in France

Asking for a visa

The visa allows you to enter the French territory. The carte/titre de séjour allows you to stay on the French territory for over a 3 month period. It is recommended to ask for a multi-year carte de séjour. That way the administrative steps will be made easier allowing you to stay in France for the full duration of your studies. As a general rule, a visa is required, unless you are exempt, and should be applied for in your country of residence before your departure. You must therefore make an appointment with the French Consulate in your country to obtain a visa. Warning: your passport must be valid for a sufficient period. Please note: once you have entered France, you cannot make any modifications to your visa.

There are 3 types of visa:

1. The short-stay visa ("Schengen visa") The "Schengen visa" allows visitors to move freely within the countries in the Schengen area. This allows an uninterrupted stay or several successive stays of up to 90 days (three months) in a six-month period. The "Schengen visa" is usually issued for tourist trips, business trips and family visits. It can also be used for short courses, internships and paid activities, providing a temporary work permit has been obtained (athletes in a championship, artists on tour, employees on assignments, etc.).

2. The transit visa This visa allows visitors to stay in the Schengen area for up to 5 days.

3. The Visa de Long Séjour (long-stay visa) Issued for stays lasting more than three months, this long-stay visa is mainly issued for education, work and family reunification purposes.

Upon your arrival in France, you must register with the Office Français d’Immigration et d’Intégration (French Office of Immigration and Integration) or at the relevant prefecture to obtain a residence permit.

Which citizens do not require a visa? Citizens of a European Union member state, the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland are not required to have a Visa de Court Séjour (short-stay visa). European regulation specifies the list of all other countries whose citizens do not require a Visa de Court Séjour to enter the Schengen area. Regarding the Visa de Long Séjour, only citizens of a EU member state, the EEA (European Economic Area), Switzerland, Monaco and Andorra do not require visas to enter and stay in France.

What documents do I need to present on entering France?

In order to enter France, all foreign citizens must be able to present:

• A travel document (passport) recognised by France, which must be valid for more than 3 months (the expiry date of the Visa de Court Séjour);

• Unless they are exempt, a valid visa indicating the reason for and duration of the intended stay;

• Documents regarding means of support during the stay and repatriation guarantees;

• Documents depending on the purpose of the stay, i.e. whether it is a tourist trip (conditions of the stay), a business trip (details on the establishments the traveller will be visiting), a family or private visit (proof of accommodation or exemptions when the stay is a humanitarian trip or part of a cultural exchange, or regards an urgent medical issue or the funeral of a loved one), or the traveller is in transit (details of the stay and accommodation during transit, ticket and visa for the country of destination). The following are not required to present documents:

• Foreign citizens in possession of a French Titre de Séjour (residence permit); • Citizens of an EU member state, the EEA (European Economic Area), Switzerland, Andorra and Monaco; • Foreign citizens with the following note on their visas: "French family", "EU family", "Travel visa" or "Residence permit to be requested upon arrival in France”;

• Members of diplomatic missions and consular posts taking up their duties in France; members of parliamentary assemblies; foreign Civil Service officials and agents bearing a mission letter from their government; officials of an intergovernmental organization of which France is a member, bearing a mission order from said organization; crew members of ships and aircraft travelling on-duty.

Source: here


The Visa

· Every non E.U person must obtain a long-stay visa D CESEDA R-311-3 alinéa 6 or visa CESEDA L-313-7 alinéa 2 to enter France and stay longer than 3 months

· To obtain your visa, you must make an appointment with the French Consulate in your home country

· To obtain a long-stay visa (D), you must have been admitted into a French higher Education institution.

· A Tourist visa cannot be changed into a Student visa. As a rule, once you have entered France, you cannot make any modifications to your visa.



To obtain a carte de séjour you are required to have a valid passport. You will be charged €77.

The carte de séjour is an official document allowing you to be a legal alien in the Schenghen countries if you ate NOT an E.U. student. It is then possible for you to travel from one country to another if you have a visa or a carte de séjour from one of these European countries.

Every NON E.U. student must have a carte de séjour for the duration of their program in CentraleSupélec.

Renewal of carte de séjour must be imperatively made 2 months prior to the expiration date of first one. You will be charged another € 49 for this.

Where can you obtain your carte de séjour ?

Before asking for a carte de séjour, you first need to have a place to live in France. Your address in France is associated to a Prefecture (administrative center) where you can obtain the carte de séjour.


Required documents:


EU students Carte de séjour is not mandatory

EU students must come from: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lettonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, The United Kingdom, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.


NON EU students: 

You can stay in France with a valid passport and a D visa Long Séjour CESEDA L 313-7

2 months before the expiration date you need to ask for a carte de séjour. The carte de séjour has to be renewed every year (except for multi-year titre de séjour).

Among the documents to provide are:

• Cerfa form (see Students Affairs)

• Valid passport

• 1 birth certificate (Extrait d’acte de naissance) translated into French by official translators (list of official translators and interpreters on

• 3 recent pictures (35 x 45 mm): bare-headed, white background. Scanned pictures are not authorized. Pictures can be done at professional photographer’s store

• Proof of domicile in France • OFII form (medical examination form)

• Proof of financial resources (corresponding to a minimum € 615 per month)


The carte de séjour can be obtained between 4 to 12 weeks. In the interim, you will receive a Récépissé which is valid for 3 months.


For more informations:

Ministère des Affaires Etrangères

Campus France





For students from outside the European Union and from E.U most recently added countries: It is not possible to travel the Schenghen countries if you have not already received a carte de séjour. The Récépissé delivered by the Préfectures (before you are officially granted your carte de séjour) will not work. Students from outside Europe will not be able to travel European countries. The only way to travel European countries when you are not European is to request a Tourist Visa for every European country you plan to visit, from your home country, before arriving at CentraleSupélec.