Prepare your arrival

Before leaving your country and after you get to France, you will need to complete certain administrative tasks so that your stay in France goes smoothly.

1. Who should I reach out to at PSL?

  • If you come to PSL for a dual degree in engineering or a university exchange, the office of international relations in your host institution.
  • If you come to PSL for a degree-awarding program (BA or Master), the Director and the administrative officer of your study program will be able to inform you on the enrolment process, the services to which you have access, the welcome events and will have means to answer your questions on your courses.
  • If you come to PSL for a doctorate: The Doctorate School in your research unit/team and the service in charge of the enrolment of Ph.D. students in the institution at which you prepare your thesis.

You have a question, but you don’t know who to talk to? Write to the PSL Welcome Desk at and we will direct you to the relevant services.


2. Which scholarship can I benefit from?

You can benefit from many scholarships to study in France:

  • scholarships from your government;
  • scholarships from the French government;
  • scholarships from the European Union; from international organisations;
  • scholarships from your host institution.

Check with your original institution, your government, the French embassy, the Campus France office in your country and your host institution. Find a scholarship of Campus France at Campus Bourses, a directory of programs of scholarships: and


3. Do I need a visa to study in France?

It depends on your nationality and the duration of your studies. If you come from one of the member states of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), you do not need a visa to study in France. If you come from a country outside of the EU or EEA and you would like to come study in France for more than 3 months, you need to request a student visa. Contact Campus France and the French consulate in your home country to make a request for a student visa as soon as possible at least three months before your departure. The online EEF (Études en France) pre-consular procedure is obligatory in certain countries:


Which visa should I request?

For a short stay (0 to 3 months)

  • The Schengen Visa for a short stay: this visa allows you to stay up to 90 days (interrupted or cumulated out of 180 days) in a country in the Schengen area. Depending on your nationality, you may not need it.
  • The Visa “étudiant-concours”: this visa allows you to come for an interview or take an entrance exam at a public or private institution of higher education. If you pass, you can obtain, without coming back to your country, a renewable residence permit for one year at the prefecture.

For a long stay (over 3 months)

  • The long-term visa for studies with the residence permit (VLS-TS) is valid for one year and renewable. This visa allows you to work 20 hours a week, travel within the Schengen area, get housing benefits from the CAF and the free student local deposit. This visa is for students doing their BAs, Masters and for PhD students without a contract.
  • The long-term visa (VLS) “passeport talent-chercheur”: renewable under the form of a residence permit valid for several years, this visa is for PhD students, researchers and academics, and their families. To obtain it, you need to get a hosting agreement approved by your host institution and by the French consular authorities in your home country.

Good to know: There is an official site of visas to France,, where you can find all the necessary information.


Recommendation: the CVEC, which you can complete before your arrival.

The CVEC, or Contribution Vie Etudiante et de Campus, is an obligatory contribution that most students must pay every year (exchange students are not concerned by the CVEC). To enrol at your host institution, you will have to provide an attestation of payment of the CVEC. It costs 91 euros and can be paid online.

For all information:

In order to pay the CVEC, sign up on this website:

Among other things, the CVEC provides healthcare funds, social assistance at the university, projects of student organizations, improve the reception of new students on campus, and allows better access to sport gear.


4. Find accommodation

If you need to apply for a visa, you will need to provide a "housing certificate" stating that you have found accommodation for the academic year. Therefore, finding accommodation is extremely important!

You will find all the useful information about accommodation in Paris on the Housing section of the PSL website.

5. Find a Buddy

If you want to be paired with a PSL student before your arrival in Paris, ask your host institution if they offer a Buddy Program. The missions of a buddy are:

  • to welcome you personally in Paris;
  • to have you visit the PSL campus and more specifically your host institution;
  • make you discover the dos and don’ts of the capital city.

If your institution does not offer this service, sign up to the Buddy Program of the PSL Welcome Desk Partner@PSL.



6. Sign up for a Welcome Event

Welcome events are not to be missed! Get all the information at your host institution on the expected facilities: the welcome day, orientation week etc.

Good to know

In coordination with PSL’s institutions, the PSL Welcome Desk team organizes “Welcome Days” with workshops (opening a bank account, having your visa validated and renewed, finding accommodation, learning about healthcare, security) and cultural and social events to meet other PSL students and discover your new campus.

For more information on the “Welcome Days”, contact the PSL Welcome Desk.

7. In my suitcase I don't forget

  • My administrative papers: passport, visa, certificate of admission to PSL, birth certificate (translated), certificate of housing, CVEC, photocopy of previous diplomas and grades with their certified translation, health record, certificate of social insurance from my home country (notes: if you are a European student, bring your European Health Insurance Card or the S1 form. If you are a Quebecker student, bring the SE401Q102bis or the SE401Q106 form), the last three bank records, certificate of success on my French/English test, driving license (optional), etc. Scan these documents and save them on a USB flash drive or a hard drive in case you lose them. Moreover, make a few photocopies. If you had to request the visa to come to France, please keep in mind that all the documents of your application package can be reviewed at the airport;
  • A credit/debit card which works in France;
  • Euros in cash;
  • My computer and my charged mobile phone : Do not forget to save the number of the PSL Welcome Desk in your contacts: +33 7 50 15 92 93 and the one of your Buddy if you have signed up for a Buddy program;
  • My medicines/antihistamines (if applicable);
  • A warm sweater and an umbrella : In September, the weather in Paris can be unpredictable!
  • An adapter, in case my devices are not suited to E/F type sockets. The voltage and the frequency in France are 230V, 50Hz.

Besides this list of useful items, you can bring belongings that remind you of your home country, your family and your friends to help make you feel comfortable. However, make sure not to weigh down your suitcase too much!

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