New academic year 2020-2021: FAQ international students

As the 2020-2021 academic year starts, the PSL Welcome desk is adapting its support services for international students, so that they will find customized help in adequation with health regulations.

This article will be regularly updated and developped. Please read the PSL Welcome Desk page for further information and feel free to contact our team for any question: 
One again, congratulations to you all for your admission and welcome to Paris and PSL! 

The Consulate in my hometown still doesn't deliver visas and I will be late for the new academic year. What should I do?

Visa delivery is gradually resuming in all French consulates but some of you may not arrive in time for the first courses.
If you think you will miss the start of the academic year, inform your academic referent (director of your curriculum/training) and the office of your training (teaching assistant/administrative manager) who will tell you of the measures available to access online courses.
Also inform the manager of your accommodation (CROUS/CIUP/private university residence, etc.) so that they can organize your accommodation in the best possible conditions.

I returned to my home country when the first lockdown was announced (March 2020) and in the meantime my residence permit has expired. How can I return to France?
  • If your residence permit expired between March 16 and June 15, you will be granted a 6-month extension of your residence permit. This extension is automatic. At the airport, please show this document issued by the French Ministry of the Interior to the border police.
  • If your residence permit expired after June 15, you will have to apply for a return visa or a new student visa at the Consulate of your home city.
In the current health context, what do I need to know to prepare my trip to Paris with peace of mind?

Depending on the home country and the spread of the virus, the procedures to enter French territory may vary.
Campus France regularly updates all the recommendations for entering France: read the dedicated page.
Remember: If you have taken a screening test at the airport in Paris and you do not yet have the result, please stay isolated in your accommodation until you get it.

I performed PCR test at the airport and it is positive; what should I do now?

Stay isolated in your home until you are fully recovered. You can make an online appointment with a doctor through applications such as Doctolib or allodocteur. In case of breathing disorders, call 15 (health emergency service).
You have to inform your curriculum manager and the landlord of your accommodation. The Health Insurance Service will contact you to establish a list of the people you have been in contact with

Remember: All PSL international students can subscribe to the social security system in the same way as French students. This means that your medical expenses will be reimbursed up to 70%. The subscription process must be initiated upon arrival in France as soon as you obtain your enrollment certificate and settle your French bank account. In this period of health crisis, we strongly recommend that you subscribe to a full complementary health insurance to cover the costs that won't be reimbursed by the social security.

Given the current situation, what are the reception arrangements offered by the PSL Welcome Desk for international students?

In this new situation, the PSL Welcome Desk has adapted its services to meet the needs of newcomer international students and those already based in Paris.

  • Remote interview with the PSL Welcome Desk
    Email is good, asking questions directly to someone and getting instant answers is better! Our team is available to help you prepare for your arrival in Paris with an individual online interview. To book a slot, go to the PSL Welcome Desk's appointment scheduling website and choose the "Preparing your arrival" service.
    You can also book an interview for specific topics: renewal of your residence permit, accommodation, health, proofreading service, etc.
  • PSL Group of international students
    As soon as you are admitted to PSL, join the PSL international students Facebook group. You will be able to chat with PSL students from your future university and you will find information about student and Parisian life and events organized by the PSL Welcome Desk.
  • Buddy Program 
  • If you are a first-time international student, register on our "Partner@PSL" platform to be put in touch with a PSL mentor who will help you take your marks in Paris. You will have the opportunity to chat with them before your arrival in France.
    If you are an international student and you have been at PSL for more than one semester, you can sponsor a new international student. Register on:
  • Meet & Greet 
    If you would like a member of our team to meet you personally at the train station or airport, sign up for the "Meet & Greet" service by writing to: Please read the terms and conditions of the service beforehand.
  • Welcome Days
    At the beginning of each academic year, the PSL Welcome Desk team organizes "Welcome Days" composed of workshops on life in France (study visa requirements, applying for an accommodation allowance, understanding the "cultural gap", etc.) and cultural events to help students discover Paris and meet other students.
    Due to the current health crisis, the in-person workshops will be open to a limited number of students but will also be available remotely. The Welcome Days period will be extended from September to January. Check out the Welcome Days 2020 program.

For further information, please contact

Considering the health crisis, does PSL grant students financial aid?

Given the context, PSL has launched a fund to support the social and digital inclusion for the start of the 2020/21 academic year. This emergency assistance fund allows students enrolled in initial training at PSL to access "social assistance" and "digital equipment assistance". Consult the eligibility conditions and download the application form on the dedicated page.

Applications must be submitted before midnight on September 15, 2020.

I arrived in France for the 2020/2021 academic year and I am experiencing my first lockdown in France. What should I know?

If you wish to go out of your home, you need to carry with you a valid “derogatory trip certificate”.

This is the link to generate such a certificate. Attached you will find the document in pdf format that you can print out and sign. If you don’t have a smartphone you can copy the text of the attest on paper or print the pdf version.

 Please note that you can only go out of your home for the following reasons:

  • 1. Déplacements entre le domicile et le lieu d'exercice de l'activité professionnelle ou les déplacements professionnels ne pouvant être différés.
    Commuting to and from work and training places; business trips that cannot be delayed.
  • 2. Déplacements pour effectuer des achats de fournitures nécessaires à l'activité professionnelle, des achats de première nécessité dans des établissements dont les activités demeurent autorisées (liste sur et les livraisons à domicile.
    Running necessary errands to purchase items for professional activity, or basic commodities available in the businesses allowed to provide service, order withdrawal or home deliveries.
  • 3. Consultations et soins ne pouvant être assurés à distance et ne pouvant être différés et l’achat de médicaments.
    Consults and provision of care that cannot be done remotely or delayed; medication purchase.
  • 4. Déplacements pour motif familial impérieux, pour l'assistance aux personnes vulnérables et précaires ou la garde d'enfants.
    Trips for urgent family matter to aid vulnerable people or take care of children.
  • 5. Déplacements des personnes en situation de handicap et de leur accompagnant.
    Persons with a disability and their accompanying person.
  • 6. Déplacements brefs, dans la limite d'une heure quotidienne et dans un rayon maximal d'un kilomètre autour du domicile, liés soit à l'activité physique individuelle des personnes, à l'exclusion de toute pratique sportive collective et de toute proximité avec d'autres personnes, soit à la promenade avec les seules personnes regroupées dans un même domicile, soit aux besoins des animaux de compagnie.
    Short travels, within 1 km radius of your home, for 1-hour max per day, for individual physical activity (excluding group sports or proximity with other individuals), or for walking pets.
  • 7. Convocation judiciaire ou administrative et rendez-vous dans un service public.
    Judicial or administrative summons; appointment to public service offices.
  • 8. Participation à des missions d'intérêt général sur demande de l'autorité administrative.
    Participation to general interest missions commissioned by an administrative authority.
  • 9. Déplacement pour chercher les enfants à l’écoles et à l’occasion de leurs activités périscolaires.
    Taking children to and picking them up from school or after-school activity.

When you go out of your home, make sure you have your "derogatory trip certificate" and your ID (passport, residential permit etc.) with you.

If you don't have a proper "derogatory trip certificate", you will get fined (1st fine: 135€, 2nd fine in case of recidivism within 15 days : 200€, 3rd fine in case of recidivism within 30 days: 3750€). If you don't pay your fine then it will get reassessed and become even more expensive (135 € --> 375€, 200€ --> 450€, 3750€ --> risk for a jail sentence).

If on the "derogatory trip certificate" you ticked the following box "Commuting to and from work or university and training places; business trips that cannot be delayed", keep in mind that you also need a signed attest from your employer for your request to be valid.

This employer attest is here

As we say in France, “nul n’est censé ignorer la loi” (ignorance of the law is no excuse) – so the fact you just arrived in France and are not 100% fluent in French will not be considered by the police officers.


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