France is one of several European countries where non-EU citizens might find it more difficult to secure an English teaching job due to the time and expense required by employers to apply for an official work permit. To avoid these hassles, some schools prefer to hire teachers with an EU passport rather than those from outside the EU zone. One way to get by this potential issue is to apply for a student visa that also allows the holder to work for a certain number of hours each week. The hours you can legally work will be limited, but many teachers also take on a few private students on top of this to bring in some extra cash.
How do I apply for a student visa in France?
You need to apply for a student visa from within your home country, at least a month before you plan to set off for France. The basic documents you will need for the initial application are a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date you plan to leave France to return home, and solid proof that you have enrolled on a study course that is recognized by the French government. The best place to start is to register with a French Government program known as Campus France, which has an initial fee of $70 in order to obtain an 'attestation'. Once complete, you can then visit a French Consulate in person to submit your official application. The requirements for the application are subject to change, but are currently:
- 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
What do I need to do on arrival in France?
If you plan to stay in France for more than six months, you must register with l'office français de l'immigration et de l'intégration (OFII) within the first three months of your visit. The registration process requires 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
Is it easy to get a student visa for France?
Student visa applications in France are certainly not guaranteed to be accepted. However, if you ensure that you provide all the right documents at the right time throughout the application process, you should have a very good chance of heading off to France with a student visa stamp in your passport.