Formalities and residence permits

What are the steps needed to prepare for your studies in France? Steps are required: enroll in an institution, obtain a residence permit and pass a medical examination. Start your steps at least one year before your arrival!

Formalities and residence permits
Coming to study in France : the administrative procedure.

There are three main things you must do : sign up at one of the education institutions, obtain or renew your resident’s card and have a medical check-up.

The different types of student visas are presented on the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

There is a guide for the public on, with a chapter on ‘Your rights and administrative obligations’ for people residing here in France.
The chapter on “foreigners in France” gives information on entry to the country and your stay here in France. The website suggests a list of answers to give to the usual administrative questions. It also gives you the opportunity of asking an administrative question or by phone 3939.

The Préfecture issues residents’ permits website
The department for students and foreign scientists will be open from March 1st to August 31 2010, from 9 am to 12h30 pm. 12 rue des Cuirassiers Lyon 3ème (métro Part Dieu) map

Document Translation For your administrative tasks, you'll need certified translations of your official documents. You can get by contacting: Inter Service Migrants (ISM)
32 cours Lafayette - 69003 Lyon Tel: 04 72 84 78 99 - Fax: 04 72 84 78 92
Monday through Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
ISM produces translations of documents including administrative and legal into over 60 languages. Rates: official documents (birth certificates, family books ...): 15 euros per document. Driver's license: 19 euros. Other documents (diplomas ...): 11,50 € / 100 words (minimum 23 euros to 200 words).

SOS NET is a legal aid website provided by the association Droit pour Tous. There is a chapter on foreigners’ rights.

page 1 Help
page 2 How to sign up
page 3 Residence permits
page 4 Medical test

How to sign up at an education establishment? Which documents do you need?

Before your arrival in France, find out all the details about how to sign up, to avoid bad surprises. All the information is on the website and also on the website of your chosen higher education institution.

Your institution should give you an appointment and a list of the documents you need to bring with you (diploma, subscription fees…). On the day of your appointment, you will be signing up at the institution. They will ask you for your student visa or the receipt specifying that you are on the waiting list for an appointment at the Préfecture.(see glossary)
Once you have registered, you get your student card, valid for one university year (September 2010 to September 2011). This proves your student status and includes important data like entry registration, social security membership and university library membership. You will need this card when you take your exams, pay for meals at university restaurants and also to entitle you to price-reductions in shops (see glossary “carte cumul”).

At the university, you can sign up from beginning of July to end of September.
Your registration in a French higher education institute is in your name and for one year at a time.

Signing up is done in two parts :
- administrative part : paying for your educational registration, your contribution to student life expenses and your social security subscription (192 euros if you don’t have a grant). You will then be given your student card. Plan how you will pay for this as soon as you arrive in France !
- educational part : choice of course, subjects and options.

For your information, university registration fees for 2009-2010 were 174 € for the degree course, 234 € for the masters course and 359 € for the post-graduate doctorate (the fees can be as high as 700 € for certain courses).

Each institution publishes a list of the documents you need to send in with your application form.
Here is a typical list :
• Proof of the level of studies you have reached : originals of your diplomas, certificates or reports showing your marks, translated into French and certified conform by an official French department.
Don’t forget to show originals of your diplomas, but only part with photocopies. Keep the originals yourself.
• Results of your French test, if required by your institution.
•Passport with a student visa, identity card for members of the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland.
• 2 birth certificates
• If you have done pre-registration, known as DAP in French, you should hand in your form, signed by the institution’s president.
• If you have a grant from the French government, you will need to send in the original and one copy of your grant statement.
• A certificate proving you are insured.for civilian liability
• 2 recent identity photos : a small stock of these will always be useful !
• Some stamped envelopes : remember to buy stamps and envelopes the right size 230*160 mm
• A means of payment : bank card or cash

To register for the first two years at university :
If you have a foreign secondary school diploma from a country outside the EEA registration procedure begins with filling in a DAP (demande d’admission préalable) for pre-registration.
This can be done at the French embassy in your country of residence or at a CEF.
If you have no CEF in your country of residence, please contact an institution of higher education to obtain a registration form (you can often download this, then send it in by post). This enables you to keep all the data in one electronic file and get quicker replies from institutions or about visa formalities.

An electronic file will enable you to send the same registration form in to all the institutions you would like to enter. An individual interview will then be set up with Campus France and this might include a French test.

Warning : you may be required to produce a language level diploma : see « fitting in and mastering the language ».

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page 2 How to sign up
page 3 Residence permits
page 4 Medical test

Step 2 : How to obtain a student resident’s visa and how to renew this.

Your visa must correspond to the studies you are actually here for and the length of time it will really take !

When you arrive in Lyon, there are obligatory administrative steps to take. These depend to a certain extent on which country you are from and what sort of visa the French authorities have issued you (embassies and consulates) EEA citizens (see glossary) have special status.

There are various types of visa :
Short stay visa (visa C) for tourism : allows you to stay in France for less than 3 months.
A tourist visa of any kind, can never be transformed into a student visa. Neither in France nor in any other country in the European Union. It can not be extended and it is not eligible for a residence permit

Short stay visa (visa C) « student -entry exams » allows you to go for an interview or take entrance exams to a public or private institution of higher education.
If you pass the exam, you must apply for a renewable one-year resident’s permit without returning to your home country.

Long stay visa (visa D) ‘temporary exemption from the resident’s permit’. This allows you to study at a public or private institution of higher education for a maximum of 6 months. It is not renewable and does not lead to a resident’s permit.

The long stay study visa (visa D L 313-7 II, which is a student resident’s card giving full rights, or the L 313-7 I version, which is a common law student resident’s card). This is given to foreigners who want to study at a public or private institution of higher education for longer than 6 months. Two months after your arrival in France you must apply for a temporary resident’s card from the Prefecture. This is valid for a year and is renewable.

You have a long stay visa CESED A R311-3 6 °.
While this visa is valid, you do not need a resident’s permit. This visa gives you the same rights as a resident’s card (you can have a part-time job 60%) You don’t need to go to the Préfecture.
You must validate your visa with the French Immigration Office.

If you are Algerian
Algerian students are entitled to a long stay 3 month visa.
On arrival in France, you must apply for a resident’s permit.
List of the documents to produce for a first resident’s permit

Foreign students
You are an EEA citizen (ie from 1 of the 27 European Union countries, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland) or from Switzerland : you don’t need a resident’s permit in order to study in France, just your identity card or a valid passport.
However, if you come from one of the new European Union member-countries (Bulgaria and Romania) and do not have a French Master 2-level diploma, you must apply for a resident’s permit if you want to work in France.

Group applications : the main institutions (download list) have signed an administrative partnership with the Préfecture du Rhône. When you go to register, find out whether you can use this facility
Thanks to this agreement, you can give your resident’s card application form directly to your institution. You must submit a file containing originals and photocopies to the office known as ‘service scolarité’. You will be given a receipt and you will also receive a provisional resident’s car by mail, valid 3 months. This will be sent to you in an envelope provided by yourself.
You will then be entitled to go and collect your final resident’s permit at the Préfecture once the provisional one has expired.

The student information space
In September and October, the Préfecture has a partnership with the city of Lyon and the CROUS to provide a delocalized office which will take your application form and give you a provisional permit.
September 6 to October 15, Monday to Friday from 10am to 17h
25 rue Jaboulay, Lyon 7th Free access

Release of your residence permit
If your application form is complete, a receipt/provisional permit is given to you. This is valid 3 months.
If you lose your resident’s card and have to ask for a duplicate, in case of loss or theft, you will be required to pay a 30 euro tax to OFII (see glossary).
Please note : your resident’s permit is not valid beyond the date at which your passport expires.

How to renew your resident’s card.
There are two addresses for this : your higher education institution or the Préfecture du Rhône
12 rue des Cuirassiers Lyon 3ème (métro Part Dieu)
List of documents you will need to give in to renew your student resident’s permit (19 03K)
For extra information, consult the following website

Please note : if you travel abroad, some states (outside the European Union) do not consider the provisional resident’s card as a visa. In that case, you should apply to the French consulate for a visa to return to France. Before your departure, get information on this from the consulate of the country you intend to visit.

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page 2 How to sign up
page 3 Residence permits
page 4 Medical test

Step 3 : the obligatory medical test.

A medical test is obligatory on arrival for all students who come from non EEA countries (glossary link) and who wish to stay in France for more than 3 months. You must have this test in order to obtain a resident’s permit for one year, renewable. If you chose to renew your resident’s card, you will not have to take another medical test, unless you left France in between times.

This medical test must be done in France. You cannot have it done in your own country. The test aims to detect illness, prevent health problems and give you information. The test involves a consultation, a lung X-ray, a check-up of your vaccinations and a talk with the doctor. No vaccinations are required for you to come into France, but three are highly recommended : Hepatitis B, Rubella (for young women) and Diphtheria-Tetanos-Polio.

The OFII (glossary link) will contact you for an appointment after you have given your application form to the Préfecture. The 70 euro tax stamp you gave in during your appointment at the Préfecture covers, among other things, the expense of this medical test. You don’t need to pay the doctor.

OFII Lyon :
7 rue Quivogne 69286 Lyon Cedex 02
du Lundi au Vendredi : de 8h30 à 12h00 et de 13h30 à 16h30
+33 4 72 77 15 40

page 1 Help
page 2 How to sign up
page 3 Residence permits
page 4 Medical test