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International Students

Formalities to enter in France

You have been admitted to the Université Côte d'Azur as part of an international agreement or following your application to join our university as an individual.

At this step, you have already received your letter of admission (either from the Office of International Relations or the Student Services) and you may be wondering about the administrative steps that are required to prepare for your move to France.

Before your arrival in France

Depending on your nationality and the duration of your stay, you may need to obtain a visa to study in France.

If you are a citizen of a country in the European Economic Area or Switzerland, an identity card is sufficient and there is no need for a visa.
If you are a national from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you must take the necessary steps with the Consulate or Embassy of France in the country of your current residence. Remember that your passport is essential and must be valid for at least the entire duration of the stay:

-        VLS – TS Student Visa : "Visa long séjour valant titre de séjour" (VLS/TS) for a duration of 4 to 12 months.

This visa allows you to pursue studies at a higher education institution in France for a minimum duration of 4 months. The normal validity period of the long-stay visa is one year. This visa is renewable. Holders of the VLS-TS visa marked "étudiant" are exempted from applying for a temporary residence permit in the first year of their stay in France. However, you must carry out formalities with the OFII upon your arrival in France in order to validate your visa. Be careful: in the case of non-compliance with this requirement, the VLS-TS visa will lose its validity.
This visa is extendable for the continuation of studies in France 

-        VLS – T Visa : Visa long séjour temporaire” for a duration of 4 to 12 months.

This visa also makes it possible for you to pursue studies in France for a maximum duration of one year. The VLS-T visa waives all formalities with the OFII and the residence permit requirement. This visa is not extendable on French territory.

web site established by the French Government, allows you to check if you need to apply for a visa (by using a simulation) and provides all the detailed information, including where to submit your application, the list of documents to be provided, the cost of the visa and other important information.

Once in France

If you hold a VLS-TS student visa, you must have your visa validated by the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) within 3 months of your arrival in FranceThis procedure is required for all students holding a new visa, except for Algerian students who will have to go directly to the prefecture to obtain their student residence certificate.

Procedure for OFII validation of the VLS–TS Visa

At first, you have to send the OFII Attestation Request Form (Formulaire de demande d’attestation de l’OFII) by mail to the OFII office closest to your home. The form will be given to you by the Consulate of France before your departure. This form must be accompanied by the additional documents requested, including a copy of your passport pages containing the information relating to your identity, your visa and the stamp attesting your entry into France or in the Schengen area (date of your entry). 

This formality is mandatory and in the absence of registration within three months of arrival in France, the visa holder will be considered to be without status by the French authorities. Upon receipt of all these documents, the OFII registers the file and will send you a confirmation of deposit of the application file by mail and will summon you to validate the visa.

During your OFII appointment, you must submit the following documents:

  • your passport and your visa;
  • proof of address in France : rent receipt, lease, water or electricity bill, or accommodation certification (attestation d'hébergement), etc.;
  • an identification photo, bareheaded;
  • stamps or OFII online stamps to a value of 60 euros (tarif valid in 2018). Warning: in addition to your invitation you will receive a stamp-letter (lettre-timbre) that will ask you to pay the tax of 60 € by buying online OFII stamps (timbre dématérialisé OFII) on the site. Do not buy the online public finance stamps (timbre dématérialisé des finances publiques) or stamps from a tobacconist because these cannot be accepted by the OFII.

At the end of your appointment, the OFII will give you a sticker to affix on your passport. This OFII sticker certifies that your long-term student visa has been validated. If you have not completed the OFII formalities within the time limit, you will have to file a new visa application with the French consular authorities of your country of residence.

Good to know: In order to facilitate these processes for students, the Université Côte d'Azur (in partnership with the Nice CROUS) sets up a system every year, from September to January, allowing students to directly submit their Formulaire de demande d’attestation de l’OFIIwith the necessary documents on certain university campuses or with the CROUS. 

OFII de Nice
Immeuble SPACE- Bât. B
11, rue des Grenouillères
06 200 NICE
Phone : 04 92 29 49 00

Procedure for the renewal of the residence permit (titre de séjour)

At the end of your VLS-TS student visa, you can renew your right to stay to continue your studies in France under certain conditions and apply for a residence permit (carte de séjour; which can be multi-year in some cases). It requires a fee and its validity corresponds to the number of years remaining in your registered degree program. To benefit from a residence permit, you must meet certain conditions:

  • be enrolled in a French public or private higher education institution;
  • jhave proven monthly resources at least equal to 615 euros;
  • ddemonstrate the real and serious nature of your studies since the beginning of your course in France (attendance, exam results, diplomas obtained, explanations in case of change of degree program).

Note that repetition of a course does not necessarily bring the seriousness of your studies into question.
The application for the residence permit is made at the Prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes 

Good to know : the Université Côte d'Azur, in partnership with the CROUS of Nice, allows students to submit their applications for the renewal of their residence permits directly on certain campus of the university or with the CROUS, every year from September to January.

Warning: during this period, no direct, independent student interactions will be allowed at the Prefecture


Formalities: accommodation reservation and arrangements for the keys

In France, the process of reserving and entering your home includes many formalities that apply to both the public and private sectors.

deposit will be required at the time of booking (by the student residences) or at the time of signing the lease (by the landlord). This deposit will protect the landlord and allow for the repair of potential damage if the tenant does not return the place to the same condition as it was at the beginning of the contract.

The deposit cannot exceed one month's rent without charges and must be returned by the landlord within two months of the departure of the tenant and the delivery of the keys (if no degradation has been noticed).

In addition to the security deposit, all student residences and the majority of landlords require a guarantor to ensure the payment of rent if the tenant does not honor the payment obligations. The guarantor is a person who agrees to pay any rent that you might not have paid. He or she signs 3rd-party guarantee (acte de caution solidaire).

Without a guarantor, the student’s application may not be prioritized.

Good to know: there is a VISALE student rental guarantee set up by the State that guarantees to facilitate access to the student's housing if he or she does not have a guarantor. You will find detailed information on the website :

Finally, be aware that the landlord (or residence) may refuse to give you the keys if you do not submit a certificate of home insurance. This insurance is mandatory in France to cover serious damage to the building, in case of fire, explosion or water damage, etc.

This insurance can be taken out either directly from an insurance agency in Nice or online before your arrival. Many insurance companies now offer the possibility of subscribing home insurance on the internet. Do not hesitate to compare the competition. 

Support for finding a home

• ESN Nice has a Facebook group for the research and supply of student accommodation: Students Accommodation in Nice by ESN Nice: Students Accommodation in Nice by ESN Nice.

• Lokaviz is an Internet portal offering all types of accommodation for students. It allows to connect students and private owners, and offers throughout the year rooms still available in the university residences of CROUS. You can explore the base of ads according to the criteria you prefer (city, number of rooms, furnished or not, maximum rent, availability, etc.).


Where to stay

The Université Côte d'Azur, like all French universities, does not have its own student residences.

However, there are different options for housing in the Alpes-Maritimes area.

Download the hosting solutions guide for Université Côte d'Azur students

CROUS Details

Web site 


Centre de numérisation du Crous de Nice-Toulon
TSA 24010
59901 Lille cedex 9

Financial aid for housing

The French State offers housing assistance funding for all individuals domiciled in France. The assistance is provided by the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales (CAF) and varies according to the financial situation of the applicant, his or her housing situation and family composition.

If you wish to benefit from this help, it is important to make the request upon arrival in the accommodation because if the aid is awarded, it is paid only from the month following the validation. It can be paid either on the tenant's French bank account or directly to the landlord who then deducts the amount of this assistance from the rent. 

Different aids exist and are allocated depending on the situation of the applicant, and they are not cumulative. CAF also provides a calculator to assess the amount of aid that can be allocated to an applicant

Warningonly the VLS - TS visa validated by the OFII, as well as the residence permit (carte de séjour) are eligible for financial assistance from the CAF.

Personalized Housing Assistance 

"Aide Personnalisée au Logement" (APL) is granted to people with APL registered housing: that is to say that the landlord has completed an agreement with the French State to respect a defined level of rent, among other things. In return, the landlord benefits from financial advantages. The tenant must ask his or her landlord if the housing is APL approved. The dwelling must be the principal residence of the applicant, regardless of whether or not it is a furnished apartment, or if the landlord is a university, private residence or even a hotel.

To apply for APL, it is possible to go directly to a CAF agency or to follow the online steps on the website

Social Housing Allocation Logement Social (ALS)

The ALS allowance (Allocation Logement Social) is intended for people who are not eligible for the APL. The amount allocated (generally lower than the APL) is calculated based on the financial and family situation, and location of the housing.

To apply for the ALS, it is possible to go directly to a CAF agency or to follow the online steps on the website

Home Insurance

On arrival in France, if the student rents the same accommodation for more than one month, he has to take out a home insurance. This subscription is mandatory and covers the risks and damages related to student housing (eg fire, theft, water damage ....) for a maximum of one year. The contract must be renewed each year. If the student moves, the contract evolves because the characteristics taken into account in the evaluation of the pricing are no longer the same. It is therefore important to warn the insurance company during the move to ensure the protection of the new place of residence.

The home insurance generally offers the assumption of liability insurance. This insurance is obligatory and makes it possible to compensate an individual if the student unintentionally causes him damage or deteriorates one of his property. If this insurance is not included in the student's home insurance policy, it can be purchased separately from any insurance company

Health insurance

Depending on your country of origin, healthcare expenses for international students are covered either by a French or national agency.

For students from the European Union, European Economic Area, or Switzerland

Holders of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are covered by the corresponding social security agency in their home country, which will continue to take care of their reimbursements. In case of illness, there is only a co-payment due after presenting the EHIC.
If you do not have an EHIC or a temporary certificate, you must register with the French health insurance agency on the website

For students not from the European Union nor European Economic Area

These students must register on the website, which is open from 1 September 2018. This procedure enables a portion of all healthcare charges to be covered by the French health insurance agency upon arriving in France.
The following are required to register:

  • ID (national identity card, passport, etc.);
  • Proof of registration at an institution of higher education for the academic year in question;
  • Bank account details (RIB) for reimbursements;
  • Civil status certificate for the attribution of an ID number (social security number). Permissible documents are:
    • Full copy of the birth certificate;
    • Extract from the birth certificate with parents listed (or any such document issued by a consulate);
    • Family record book;
    • Marriage certificate;
    • Residence permit (For information on the procedure to obtain one, contact the French consulate in your country or consult the information available on Campus France.

If you are unable to register online, dial 36 46 (€0.06/min + cost of the call).

For students from Monaco, Andorra, or Quebec

Special agreements exist with France and these territories. Before your departure, ask for proof of health insurance from your social security agency.

For students staying less than three months

These students remain covered by their national health insurance system and cannot register for French health coverage. They should ask their social security agency for proof of health insurance.

Additional insurance

Since there is generally not total reimbursement for healthcare charges, it is recommended to contact a provider of additional health insurance.

Bank account

For stays in France of over three months, opening a bank account can be useful to simplify your transactions. Opening a bank account allows you to receive APL housing aid, buy public transportation or telephone subscriptions, use the Vélo Bleu shared bicycles, and pay for purchases at shops without transactions fees. 

Opening a bank account is generally free and requires the following:

  • Copy of your passport
  • Proof of residence
  • Student ID card or pre-registration document
  • Valid visa or residence permit

Generally speaking, you must be living in France to be able to open a French bank account. Thus, once you are on French soil, you can choose a bank. The Welcome Center can provide a list of banks in the area.

It is usually more practical to choose a bank branch near your residence or workplace so as to make it easier to go there.

Once the account is opened, you can obtain your debit card, checks (if requested), and a RIB (Bank ID number) document containing the coordinates of your account. The RIB enables third-parties to make authorized withdrawals, e.g. monthly telephone charges, from your account, among other things. It is sufficient to provide a RIB, an identity card, and a withdrawal authorization at the corresponding business to initiate automatic withdrawals. This obviates the need to write a check every month to every payee.

If you leave France for good, it is advisable to close your account at least 15 days before your departure. To do so, contact your bank to find out which steps to take. At the same time, do not forget to terminate your electricity, water, internet, and other contracts

Whom to contact if your debit card is lost  or stolen?

Carte Bleue or Visa : 08 00 90 11 79 (free call)
Carte Eurocard or Mastercard : 08 00 90 13 87 (free call)
Carte American Express : 01 47 77 70 00 (free call)