After your arrival in France
1. I get my visa validated
If you have a student visa VLS-TS or VLS-TS Passeport Talent Chercheur for a period of below 12 months, you must validate your visa at the Office français pour l’immigration et l’intégration within three months after your arrival in France.
This procedure is mandatory!
In order to validate your visa, go to the platform https://administration-etranger-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr/particuliers/#/ and fill it with all the necessary information (your visa number, email, date of arrival, address in France). Then you have to pay the tax in the form of a fiscal electronic stamp (60 euros for a student visa and 250 euros for a Passeport Talent Chercheur visa). You can also buy a fiscal stamp at a newsdealer. You will receive a certificate of validation in PDF format (attestation OFII) which you will fold and put in your passport.
2. I open a bank account
If you stay in Paris for more than three months for your studies, we advise you to open a bank account in France. This will make your life easier. Your bank will provide a check-book and a RIB (account number) which are necessary for some of your paperwork: to pay rent, sign a contract for a phone number or get a refund on your medical expenses, it is better to provide a French account number. When you need to make a deposit for an apartment, a trip or a bike rent, you can be asked for a check.
To open a bank account, a bank usually asks for:
- a photocopy of your ID card;
- a housing certificate from the last 3 months (certificate of accommodation from a university residence, electricity or gas invoice, certificate of accommodation);
- your OFII certificate;
- your enrollment certificate (a document which proves that you are enrolled in PSL and that you have paid the tuition fees).
A word of advice:
- Check if your bank in your home country has a partnership with a bank in France. Opening a bank account in France could be easier in that case.
- Opening a bank account and obtaining your bank card can take some time: start the process as soon as you arrive in France.
- The best-known French banks are BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Banque Postale, LCL, Caisse d’épargne.
3. I take care of my health
For international students (outside of EEA and Quebec) and residents of overseas territories (New Caledonia, French Polynesia or Wallis and Futuna): in order to pursue your studies, you have to register on the website etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr before your arrival in France.
Documents you need to upload:
- Identity card (national ID card, passport...)
- A document certifying your enrollment in an institution of higher education for the current academic year;
- Your bank record (RIB) which will allow you to receive your repayment;
- A civil-status document necessary to create your registration number. The accepted documents: a copy of your entire birth certificate, an extract from your birth certificate with filiation (or a document established by a consulate), a family record book, a marriage certificate;
- A regular residence permit.
This procedure is free of charge, simple and mandatory!
— Students from the EEA/Switzerland
Before arriving in France, request the European Health Insurance Card at your social security institution for the duration of the entire academic year. It certifies that you benefit from social security in your home country and that you can be affiliated with the French social security if you show it during your administrative enrollment. You do not have to register at: etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr.
If you do not have the European Health Insurance Card, request the S1 form from the centre of social security in your home country. Then you will have to register at: etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr
— Students from Quebec:
Before your departure, make sure to print out Se 401-Q-102 bus (or SE 401-Q-106 if you participate in an exchange program between universities) valid for the current academic year, which certifies your affiliation with the social security in Quebec. During your registration at etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr, you will have to provide one of these forms. You do not have to provide a residence permit.
If you are not entitled to social security for students, you can apply for the Universal Health Protection (PUMA). Registration for the PUMA is done at your primary health insurance fund in your home country.
4. I check if I am entitled to accommodation benefits...
... and make a request at the CAF (Caisse d’allocations familiales)
First, make a simulation online in order to check whether you are eligible. If this is the case, create an account at www.caf.fr to send your application for benefits.
5. Summary of your initial expenses
You need to anticipate the following expenses during the first month:
- Enrollment costs: check with your host institution for the exact amount and the conditions of payment;
- The CVEC (91 euros);
- The deposit for your accommodation (often equivalent to a 1-month rent) and possibly additional costs if you rent through an agency;
- Housing insurance and civic liability insurance;
- Health insurance to cover the period from your arrival in France to your enrollment at your host institution (because you are not insured if you are not enrolled);
- Additional health insurance (optional);
- For non-European students: costs of the visa and the fiscal stamp for the validation of your visa;
- Your transportation card: ImagineR (or Navigo if you are over 26 years old).