In certain European countries such as France it can often be difficult for non-EU citizens to find teaching jobs. Employers generally prefer to hire EU passport holders who require no official clearance, rather than go through the long and complicated process of applying for a work permit. One option open to non-EU teachers is to apply for a student visa that also allows you to legally work a certain number of hours per week. Although your legal working hours are limited, it is common practice for teachers to supplement their income by taking on private students in their free time. This combination should allow you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while living and working in France.
What is the application process for a student visa in France?
It is recommended that you allow a minimum of four weeks for the application to be processed. You should also ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your trip to France is completed. Documented proof that you have enrolled on a study course that is recognized by the French government (typically a French language course) will be crucial to your application. The first step is to register with Campus France, a French Government program that can be found here: www.usa.campusfrance.org/en. A registration fee of $70 is required to obtain an 'attestation'. Next you must visit your nearest French Consulate in person to lodge your application. The exact requirements are subject to change, but are typically:
- Completed application form
- Valid passport
- Additional passport photo
- Photocopy of passport ID page
- Documentation regarding your study course in France
- Proof of available finances (bank statement showing funds of $1,000 for every month of your stay, or notarized document from parent or similar declaring they will guarantee the funds)
- An 'attestation' from Campus France
- Completed French immigration form
- Airline reservations showing date of departure
- 50 euro processing fee
How can I check that I have the right documents?
It is recommended that you visit the consulate website for the current documentation requirements before submitting your application.
What should I do on arrival in France?
If you plan to stay in France for more than six months, you need to register with l'office français de l'immigration et de l'intégration (OFII) within three months of your arrival. To complete your registration you will need to provide the following:
- Valid passport, plus copy of ID pages
- A passport size photo
- Proof of residence in France (utility bill etc)
- 55 euro tax fee
How easy is it to get a student visa for France?
Although it is not guaranteed that your student visa application will be accepted, if you supply all the required documentation throughout the application process, you should find you are able to head to France to begin your adventure teaching English abroad.