Preparing for one’s settlement in French territory to study

The law firm HEAUME AVOCAT assists all foreigners, regardless of their nationality and place of residence, in order to help them realize their project of settling in French territory for higher education.

Indeed, to avoid delays and difficulties in studying in France, students should anticipate their project and, most importantly, obtain prior enrollment or pre-enrollment in a French higher education institution.

This element is crucial but not sufficient to enable them to obtain a visa and a residence permit allowing them to stay, in principle, for a duration of one year in the territory.

HEAUME has established a remote consultation service to assist foreigners wishing to prepare their visa applications from abroad.

Renewing one’s student residence permit to continue studies in France


The law firm HEAUME AVOCAT assists its clients who are regularly present in French territory and need to renew their residence permit in order to continue their studies in France.

Nowadays, the procedures are generally simplified and digitized (notably through the CAMPUS France platform), making it easier for students to renew their residence permits.

Nevertheless, in certain situations, it is advisable to seek assistance, especially when the administration questions the student’s attendance and diligence, potentially leading to a refusal to renew their residence permit.

Change of status for professional activity in France.


The law firm HEAUME AVOCAT assists students at the end of their academic journey who wish to remain in France for work.

The conclusion of studies in France for a foreign student intending to stay can be challenging in terms of residency rights.

Indeed, in such a situation, it is necessary to anticipate a change in status, as the renewal of a student residence permit will be excluded by definition.

The student will be advised accordingly, to apply for a permit allowing them to seek employment or to obtain a residence permit (employee, talent passport, etc.) that will authorize them to engage in professional activities in the future.


How does student immigration work in France?

The regime applicable to the stay of foreign students has a specific nature due to its temporary duration and its lack of impact on the job market.
Foreign students wishing to study in France are required to have a residence permit authorizing them to do so.
France has signed bilateral agreements related to foreign residency and migration flows to facilitate mobility and work access for foreign students. These agreements notably concern Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Gabon, Senegal, Benin, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Central Africa, Mauritania, Togo, Russia, Montenegro, and Serbia.
Every foreign student must provide evidence of sufficient means of subsistence, a minimum amount of 615€ per month. This proof can be established by any means.
The employment of foreign students in France is strictly regulated. However, procedures for changing status facilitate access for recent graduates to the French job market.


What is a long-stay visa ?

• In principle, any foreigner aspiring to stay in France for a period longer than 90 days must have a long-stay visa, which can last between 3 and 12 months. Thus, granting any residence permit allowing access to educational institutions is contingent upon obtaining a long-stay visa.
• However, depending on the regularity of the foreign student’s entry into French territory, there are some exemptions from the long-stay visa, especially due to
necessities related to the course of study. Some long-stay visas, equivalent to a residence permit, grant their holder the right to stay for the duration of the visa’s
validity. These visas exempt the holder from the residence card. The visas in question are the long-stay “student” and “student-mobility program” visas.

Various Residence Permits

a) Temporary Residence Card “Student”
• Foreign students with a long-stay visa are exempt from the temporary residence card. This visa is valid for the first year of studies. Foreign students without a long- stay visa, or those pursuing studies after their first year, must apply for a temporary “student” residence card.
• The conditions for issuing this card are registration in an educational institution, sufficient means of subsistence, and registration with a social coverage scheme.
• This card is valid for one year, renewable for the entire duration of the studies.

b) Cases for Granting the Residence Card as a Right
• The temporary student residence card can be issued as a right to foreign students in certain cases, especially for scholarship students, those holding the French
baccalaureate, or foreign students from countries with which France has signed bilateral conventions or reciprocity agreements.

c) General Multi-Year Residence Card “Student”
• Following the first year of stay with the temporary student residence card, the foreign student can apply for a general multi-year residence card.
• The multi-year residence card has a validity period equal to the remaining study duration.

d) Titles Related to Mobility Programs

• A 2019 law introduced a new category of residence permits allowing foreign students access to studies through mobility programs.
• i) Temporary Residence Card “Student-Mobility Program”

• Foreign students under certain European mobility programs can request a
temporary “student-mobility program” residence card. Its regime is the same as that of the temporary student residence cards.
• ii) General Multi-Year Residence Card “Student-Mobility Program”

• If the program in which the foreign student is enrolled lasts longer than 2 years, the student can request a general multi-year residence card. It is issued for the entire duration of the program, so this period cannot be less than 2 years.

How to Obtain a Student Residency Authorization in France?
• Register in a French Educational Institution
• Firstly, the foreign student must provide evidence of registration or pre-registration at a French educational institution. They must meet certain conditions, especially concerning qualifications that grant the right to study and a sufficient level of French.
The foreign student must submit a preliminary admission application before registering at educational institutions. This file includes the cerfa form for preliminary admission to registration and all requested supporting documents. The complete file must be submitted to the cultural services of the embassy or directly to the university.
France has set up, in certain countries, support organizations for studies in France.
This service aims to facilitate foreign students’ access to French educational institutions. The file submission procedure is, therefore, digital. Some foreign
students are exempted from preliminary admission.
• Pay the University Registration Fees
• Once admitted, the foreign student must pay the registration fees. The decree and order of April 19, 2019, which were controversial as they increased the registration fees for certain foreign students, apply to non-European foreign students.
III. Apply for a Long-Stay Visa
The foreign student must submit their visa application to the French consular authorities in their country of residence.

This file should include a certificate of registration/pre-registration in a French educational institution as well as proof of sufficient resources.
• Apply for the Residence Card
• In principle, the foreign student must submit their application for a residency permit to the territorially competent authority.
• The application for the residence card should be made within 2 months before the expiration of the long-stay visa.
• However, a decentralized procedure has been generalized, allowing students to apply directly to educational institutions to submit their files.
• Certain specific proofs related to the student residency card are added to the documents normally requested for temporary residence cards.

What is the regime applicable in the case of practicing a professional activity?

Regarding the Student’s Paid Activity
• The aforementioned residence permits give foreign students the right to work.
Therefore, they are exempt from applying for a work permit. However, practicing a professional activity should be secondary to studies.
• The regulations set a limit on the number of hours a foreign student can work; they cannot work more than 964 hours annually. Due to the health context related to Covid-19, a special regime was adopted allowing foreign students to work up to 1285 hours a year.
• Rules Related to “Holiday-Work” Programs

• Certain international conventions provide student exchange regimes via holiday- work programs. Agreements are signed with several countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, and Canada.
• Foreign students under a holiday-work program can apply for a temporary residence card to gain paid work experience in France. The validity duration of these
cards is generally one year.

Ongoing Procedures for Modifications

• Renewal of the Temporary Student Residency Authorization
• To maintain legal status, the foreign student must apply for the renewal of their temporary student residency authorization. This process should be started well in advance of the expiration date, and certain conditions, like academic progress and sufficient resources, must be met.

The foreign student who seeks the renewal of the temporary student residence card, the multi-year student residence card, the student-mobility program residence card, and the multi-year student-mobility program residence card must demonstrate that the conditions for issuing the card are still met. Authorities also verify the genuine and serious nature of the studies.

• Change of Status
• In case of a change for reasons related to private and family life

• The change of status related to a marriage with a foreign national or a French citizen is possible thanks to the residence permits related to private and family life.
Depending on their situation, the foreign student who is married can request a change of status for a residence permit identical to their spouse’s or for a temporary “private and family life” residence card.
• In case of a change due to professional activity
• Certain agreements concerning migratory flows govern access to the labor market for foreign students in France. These agreements provide for the possibility of using temporary residence permits, allowing the foreign graduate student to take up employment related to the training they have undergone.

a) Regarding the temporary worker, temporary worker, entrepreneur/professional residence cards

• In the last two months before the expiration of the foreign student’s residence permit, they can request a worker, temporary worker, or entrepreneur/professional residence card.
• For most students, employment conditions will be unfavorable. However, foreign students who graduated at certain levels can receive these cards without these employment conditions being unfavorable.
b) Regarding the multi-year talent passport residence card

• The conditions for issuing the talent passport residence card are adapted to the situation of the foreign student who wishes to practice a professional activity in
France. The student must hold a degree awarded by a French higher education institution as well as an employment contract, and must prove a salary at least equal to twice the minimum wage (SMIC).

c) Temporary residence permit “job search or business creation”

The student or researcher wishing to find employment or establish a business in France can apply for a temporary residence permit to enable this. This card is valid for a non- renewable period of 12 months. However, they must remain in the country for at least 9 months during this period.

These events can impact a foreigner’s right to stay in the country. Therefore, in many situations, it is beneficial for them to be guided and supported to ensure the renewal process of their residence permit goes smoothly.