The Complete Guide To Studying In France (2017)

There are 2 reasons to study in France – to get a degree or to learn French (or both at the same time!). There are several benefits to being an international student in France:

*    If accepted, your studies are subsided by the State (for public education, not private business, engineering and management schools),

*    You can learn and live in the most-visited country in the world (80 million visitors a year)

*    You can learn French, the world’s fifth most-widely spoken language, and the language of love (and the third most-used business language)

According to Campus France, 80% of those who study in France said they were satisfied with the quality of their education and the value of their French degree. Furthermore, 9 out of 10 international students hold a positive view of their time in France and recommend France as a study destination.

However, administrative and logistical information is difficult to understand. Without a really good knowledge of the French language, it can be hard to understand what the proper steps are. If you want a complete guide to studying in France, then you’ll LOVE this guide. This guide is for university students that would like to carry on studying at a higher-education facility in France, or for adult students that would simply like to learn French in a short stay to learn the language and culture.

I have personally spent 6 months researching all the practical information you’ll need to making the most of our your French study stay. It has useful links (many of them in French) to help you with further information on your learning in France.

 You’re from a country that is part of the CEF agreement :

AlgeriaArgentinaBeninBrazilBurkina FasoCameroon
ChileChinaColombiaComorosCongoCote d’Ivoire
MauritiusMexicoPeruSenegalRussiaSouth Korea

The CEF agreement is a special procedure that was put into place by Campus France in order to help residents in 36 countries known for sending large amounts of students to France for further education. It is obligatory for all residents in these countries to go through this process if you want to study at one of these 250 institutions (in French) after having achieved your high-school certificate and you are from one of the countries in the list above. If your institution is not in the list, then you will have to contact the institution you want to study at directly for your application. You will also have to get your visa yourself.

This process will enable you to streamline your choice of course, the administrative application with the school and the visa application to get into France. It starts off online (and can often mean a processing fee of around 85 euros) and then your local Campus France office will contact you to validate your application and help you get accepted. Please note that sometimes the institution you want to study at might also ask you for extra information. Furthermore, this process does NOT exempt you from a visa, but will give you the information you need to get the right one.

The application process is done online and through Campus France.

III. You’re not a resident of either of the above.

If you’re not from a country listed in A or B, then you’ll have to do everything yourself, including of course getting the visa.


There are 2 types of visa, depending on the length of stay and why you’re going:

I. Short-stay or “Schengen” visa

This type of visa will allow you to live on French soil for a period no longer than 90 days (3 months). When you are coming for studying, there are 2 sub-types of this visa:

A short-stay study visa: this is internships or language study courses in France.

An entrance examination visa: once on French soil, you may be asked to take an entrance exam, in which case this would qualify you for a long-term student green card (and you wouldn’t have to go home to get it).

For more information on short-stay visas (in French).Here is a short-stay visa application form (in English).

II. Long-Stay Study Visa (VSL-TS):

A long-stay visa that is to be used for studying in France for a period of over 90 days (3 months). It must be accompanied by a long-term student green card that you can get via an application form to be sent to the Immigration Office that clearly stipulates where you will be living. You’ll also need to send a copy of your passport and pay a fee of €55 (that can be paid using special stamps(in French), and then wait for your convocation. When that comes, you’ll have to go, taking a medical certificate of good health, proof of domiciliation (e.g. a utility bill) and a photo.

 Choosing your course

Please note that even though around 1000 degrees in France are taught in English, an official and proficient level of French is very often necessary. You can learn French at distance before you arrive, or come to France beforehand to gain the necessary certificate.

Here we will look at the different types of course you can apply for:



If you are a resident in the European Union and you want to go straight from high school (or equivalent) into higher education in France, then you must go through the same process as any “ordinary” student in France – through the centralized website: (in French). The procedure is called “A.P.B.- Admission Post-Bac”. You have to sign up and then go formulate your wishes for where you want to go and what you want to study. There is then a paper-based phase for the admissions, and if accepted, the administration inscription at the university itself. For more information (in French): French)


If you already study at a university in Europe and you want to study for a year in France then taking part in the ERASMUS scheme is perfectly possible. You’ll need to speak to the international department of your current place of study. The ERASMUS year is usually the second or third year of your current course. Please note that many universities in France are over-subscribed which means that lodging will be hard to come by, and you should look for lodging and mobile phone access before you arrive (see below for more details).


If you’ve got a high-school certificate (or equivalent), then this is your country’s version of the baccalaureat (or “bac”) for short. The French sometimes abbreviate further years of study with the abbreviation “bac+number”, e.g. a 3-year course would be “Bac+3”. You even see this as a minimum requirement for some diplomas or job postings. If you’ve just finished high school and want to go straight into studies in France in the first year of university (or business school etc.) then this is called “DAP – Demande d’Admission Préalable”, which means you need to ask for admission. You must apply between the middle of November and the middle of January the year BEFORE you wish to come.

If you reside in a country with a CEF-agreement through Campus France, then you must get the DEP here: (in French)


If you’ve like to transfer from your current university education, or do further studies, then this is not a DAP request. You have to also go through the Campus France inscription, it’s just a different load of paperwork.

To start, click here: French)


If you live in a country that does NOT belong to the European Union or a CEF agreed country, then anything you apply for must be DIRECTLY with your preferred place of study. You will still need to a DAP (if appropriate). Make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Be warned, your biggest problem will be the language barrier – you must have proficient French even when you are doing the admission procedure (don’t wait until a couple of months before).


You can go to France to learn French for two main reasons:

*    Learn the language and culture for your own tourist or business reasons

*    Prepare and pass an exam to help gain entry into a French higher education institution

The French State take the learning of French very seriously. They have set-up an agency called the CIEP (in French) (Centre International des Etudes Pédagogiques) in Sevres to look after all the conditions AROUND French learning for foreigners (quality, exams, etc.) rather than the teaching itself.

You can trust the CIEP to find the right information of finding a good school to learn French and also a place to take a French exam.

To find a great course you can trust, I would recommend using the following 2 directories: (in English) (in English)

Before your stay, if you want to learn French online for free, I have created a guide of the top 100 sites, blogs and resource pages to help you, you can find it here.

Furthermore, if you want to trust a paid online software (provides better quality and a greater learning path), then I would recommend Rocket French, which is one of the cheapest but has by far the best reviews due to a new, clever learning technique called Chunking.

Why Study in france

The quality of French higher education is widely recognized throughout the world. French institutions figure prominently in the rankings of the Financial Times and Times Higher, and in the European Report on Science and Technologies published by the European Commission.
Each year, France makes massive investments in education and research. In fact, education is the largest category of government spending, accounting for more than 20% of the budget
France is the world’s 3 leading host country for higher education with more than 300000 international students.

Quality Education
Developed Country
Sixth largest economy
World’s 3rd leading host country for higher education
Reasonable Fees
Part time Job opportunities
Internship opportunities with top companies of the world
Work permit opportunities after internship
Accommodation help by 40% to 50% by French government
Low transportation expenses
Free French Language courses provided by French Government Organization
European Union Visa.

France visa guidelines

Visa procedure can be listed as follows:-

A candidate is required to show required money by the school to embassy. This money has to be minimum 3 months old on candidate bank account.

The above balance will include all liquid assets such as cash, fixed deposit, MIs, other savings, LIC policy surrender value.

If candidate is going for student loan then the amount of loan sanction will also be the part of the above balance.

Third party sponsor are allowed for France. 3 years IT returns of whosoever is the sponsorer have to be included in visa file.

In case of sponsor a candidate is required to prepare affidavit of support.

Candidate is required to take an insurance of 3 months.(Equivalent to USD 50000, plan is known as STUDENT STUDY ELITE PLAN)

Part time jobs in france

Working in France during your studies:

Students are entitled to work part time upto 20 hours a week off campus. According to French legislation there is a minimum gross salary between 8 to 9 euros per hour.


In France all programs are followed by very well paid internship of 6 to 12 months in multinational companies.

France living expense

To live in France, it costs a foreign student between 700 and 1,000 Euro a month. This is needed to cover daily expenses, Rent, phone bills, utility bills, food, transport, insurance etc