Entry and residency formalities
All international students are required to secure a residency permit, with the exception of European Union nationals. Students intending to come to study in France are required to secure a D visa from their French Embassy.
The C visa (for tourism) can under no circumstances be converted to a residency permit. The D visa (valid for a duration of 3 months for Algerian nationals, and between 4 and 12 months for other foreign nationals) must be obtained. It entitles the holder to remain in France for the duration of their studies provided it is properly renewed.
The Prefecture of Lille and the University of Lille have signed an agreement that enables students to have their dossier processed at La Maison Internationale, which is located in Villeneuve d'Ascq, on the Cité Scientifique campus (building A4). Throughout the academic year, various staff members are on hand to answer any questions relating to residency, help out with the administrative procedures necessary to obtain and/or renew residency permits, as well as other issues.
A one-stop facility for all your residency-related formalities: La Maison Internationale
Access: Metro 4 Cantons-Grand Stade or Cité Scientifique - Villeneuve d'Ascq
Cité Scientifique, Building A4
Monday to Friday
9 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 4 PM
Questions should be addressed to: titredesejouruniv-lillefr
NB: New opening hours from 6 January 2020
Monday to Friday: 9 AM–11:45 AM // 1 PM – 4 PM
Closed all day Friday.
Procedure for submitting residency permit requests
Applicants will be received all year round at building A4 on the Cité Scientifique campus in Villeneuve d'Ascq.
You can ask any questions you might have, get information relating to residency permits and even pick up a hard copy of the application dossier if required.
For your first request or to renew a residency permit, you must first have your application dossier and the required documents checked at reception, during opening hours and WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT. Please ensure you have correctly completed the forms beforehand. You must also provide all the required documents so they can be checked before being definitively validated. Once this pre-check has been completed, you will be given an access code to make an appointment online, when you will be able to formally submit your residency permit request (if your dossier is complete).
STEPS to complete to submit your first request or renew your residency permit:
1. Ensure you have ALL the necessary documents for your request and make any photocopies requested (see right-hand side of this page).
2. Download the dossier or pick one up at the reception of La Maison Internationale and carefully complete it.
3. Come to reception with your completed dossier (forms properly filled in + requested copies of documents) WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT during the opening hours to obtain an access code to make an online appointment via the appointments platform.
4. Come to the appointment with ALL the required documents (originals and photocopies) AND the completed DOSSIER. The originals will be returned to you, and only the photocopies will be submitted to the Prefecture as part of your dossier. The appointment will take 20 to 30 minutes. It is important to show up at your allotted time to ensure things run smoothly and avoid being turned away or given a new appointment. All incomplete dossiers, unless in exceptional circumstances, will be assigned a new appointment. For appointments not kept for whatever reason, the student will be offered an appointment one month later, subject to availability (this waiting time may be extended).
The dossier is checked by the staff member before being submitted to the Prefecture. The student receives proof of submission when the request is complete. The Prefecture examines the dossier within 2 months. The student will be given a receipt which can be used until such time as the definitive residency permit is produced.
To obtain this receipt, a notice to attend the Prefecture will be available at the reception of La Maison Internationale. You will be informed as soon as it is available via your university email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. This document must be presented at the Prefecture to obtain the receipt. We also recommend you check that your university email address has been properly activated.
Step: pick up your receipt and residency permit at the Prefecture of Lille!
1st requests and residency permit renewals
You have just arrived in France and a D (student) visa has been placed inside your passport. This is known as a long-stay visa, or “Visa Long Séjour” (VLS). You do not yet have a residency permit, but only a D visa that entitles you to study in France.
- your D visa contains the words “Visa Long Séjour Temporaire”: this means you have no procedure to complete when you arrive. This visa is issued by French Embassies as part of exchange programmes. You are lawfully allowed to stay until it expires.
- your D visa contains the word “étudiant”: this means the Embassy has issued a long-stay visa that constitutes a residency permit (VLS-TS). You are required to validate it at the OFII (see section on this page relating to OFII formalities) within 3 months of your arrival.
- your D visa is valid for a duration of 3 months: this means you must begin the procedure to obtain a residency permit within 2 months of arriving in France.
- you are a minor at the time of submitting your visa request at the Embassy: your visa contains the words “mineur-scolarisé”. You must begin the procedure to obtain a residency permit 2 months before reaching the age of 18 via the on-site service available at the University of Lille.
Here you will find: the list of documents required for first-time residency permit requests, the application dossier to be downloaded and completed, information on how to complete it (with important explanatory notes), and then consult the procedure for submitting your request.
If you have already been in France for a few months:
- you have a D visa in your passport and an OFII sticker or you are a residency permit holder: you must apply to renew your residency permit. Your request must be submitted with a valid residency permit (except in specific cases). The procedure takes two months to be processed by the Prefecture of Lille. You are therefore advised to submit your request two months before your current permit expires.
NB: for requests submitted two months and one day after the expiry of the current permit, the applicant faces a fine of €180.
Here you will find the list of documents required to renew your residency permit, the application dossier to be downloaded and completed, and the document explaining how to complete your dossier on your own. Then, consult the procedure for submitting your request.
Procedure at the Prefecture
Procedure for picking up your receipt and residency permit at the Prefecture of Lille
First visit to the Prefecture: The Prefecture has received your completed dossier from the staff at the University of Lille; the request is processed within 2 months and a receipt is produced.
A notice to attend the Prefecture is sent to corresponding staff at the University of Lille and you receive an email (via email@example.com) to come and pick it up. This document will enable you to obtain a ticket for the professional/student immigration service at the Prefecture (open Monday to Thursday from 1 PM to 3:30 PM) where you will be able to pick up your receipt.
You must present a valid passport, your current residency permit, your renewal receipt if obtained in June 2018, proof of the request submission and the notice to attend the Prefecture.
Your fingerprints will be taken and you will be asked to sign a CERFA document to validate your request for a biometric residency permit. The order to produce your residency permit can then be issued.
Second visit to the Prefecture: within a period of 6 to 10 weeks, you will receive an SMS on your mobile phone from the Prefecture informing you that your residency permit is available.
You must then go to the Prefecture during the reception opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM and from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM with all of the documents requested (valid passport, previous residency permit, request submission receipt and fiscal stamps) and you will be able to pick up your residency permit.
Validation of your long-stay visa that serves as a residency permit, known as a "VLS-TS"
(valid for 4 to 12 months)
You entered France with a long-stay visa that serves as a residency permit, known as a “VLS-TS”, which is valid for 4 to 12 months and entitles you to residency in France. Bienvenue!
In order for this visa to be validated and converted into a residency permit for the duration indicated, you must complete the following procedure online within 3 months of your arrival in France:
1. Visit the following website: https://administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr/
2. Click on "Je valide mon VLS-TS"
3. Follow the instructions
To complete the online form, you will need the following:
- A valid email address,
- The information that appears on your French visa,
- The entry stamp that appears on the visa,
- Your address in France,
- Bankcard for the online payment of the residency permit issuance tax (other forms of payment are available on the website).
NB: If you have not completed this procedure within 3 months of your arrival in France, you will no longer be lawfully entitled to remain in France. This means you will no longer be able to cross the borders within the Schengen area and you will be required once again to apply for lawful entry. The Prefecture will be unable to approve your residency on French soil.
If you have any questions:
0806 001 620
NB: the tax to be paid online is €60, payable in fiscal stamps.
- Fiscal stamps: these are used to pay for residency entitlements with French administrative authorities. They can be purchased from a tobacconist. €79 for a multi-year permit and €49 for a single renewal.
- Biometrics: Since October 2013, biometric indicators have been part of the procedure for issuing residency permits. These include digital fingerprints (taken when the applicant picks up his/her receipt) and the photo requirements which must respect the applicable standards. Students must therefore visit the Prefecture of Lille twice, once to validate the request and pick up the receipt, and again to pick up the residency permit.
- Proof of request submission: this document is drawn up by staff at the University of Lille and is proof that the residency permit application dossier is complete. It is valid for a period of 2 months, during which time the Prefecture processes the request. This document can be presented in the event of a police check. It does not constitute a work permit, nor does it replace the residency permit.
- Multi-year renewal: French legislation dated 7 March 2016 makes multi-year residency permits generally available and therefore provides for the issuance of such permits for students in their first year on an undergraduate programme. This means that at the end of the first year of lawful residency, students can request a multi-year residency permit that covers the duration of their remaining studies (1 to 4 years), provided they respect the initial conditions for the issuance of a residency permit and can prove that their status as a student is real and with serious intent. The cost of this permit is €79, payable in fiscal stamps.
ID photos: applicable standards
registration certificate (valid)
Further useful information
Provisional residency authorisation (APS) for a duration of 12 months (varies in accordance with bilateral agreements) can be issued to some foreign students who wish to build on their education with initial work experience or who can provide proof of an entrepreneurship project in an area relating to their studies. The APS is non-renewable. Algerian students cannot request an APS as the Franco-Algerian agreement does not provide for this possibility.
Conditions of issuance
The student must:
● hold a valid residency permit or “student” VLS-TS,
● hold a degree at least equivalent to a master’s, a professional diploma or a level I diploma certified by the Conférence des grandes écoles (e.g. specialized master’s or MSC certified by the Conférence des grandes écoles)
see decree n° 2016-1463 dated 28 October 2016 (NOR:INTV1630601D) and order dated 21 May 2011 stipulating the list of diplomas at least equivalent to a master’s degree.
Foreign nationals are authorised to look for and take up employment during the period of their provisional residency authorisation. Until such time as an employment contract has been signed in a relevant area or until a business has been set up in the area of their studies, they can take up any salary-paid employment up to a limit of 964 hours (60% of the annual duration of work). Depending on the profession concerned, the remuneration for said employment must reach 1.5 times the amount of the French minimum wage (SMIC) and comply with the minimum agreed remuneration or salary habitually paid in the sector.
No later than the expiry of the APS, the foreign national in question can request a residency permit if he/she has found employment or set up a business.
Applicants who would like to request an APS under the status of “student in search of employment or start-up entrepreneur” must download the application form on the website of the Prefecture of the Nord department: www.nord.gouv.fr/Demarches-administratives/Etrangers-en-France/Etudiants-etrangers/Travail-des-etudiants-etrangers
and send it by post with notification of receipt to the following address:
Préfecture du Nord
DII - Bureau de l'admission au séjour
"APS ETUDIANT EN RECHERCHE D'EMPLOI OU CREATION D'ENTREPRISE"
12, rue Jean sans Peur CS 20003
59039 LILLE cedex
Upon receipt, if the dossier is complete and the student satisfies all of the conditions, he/she will be notified by email.
Lost/stolen residency permits
If you lose your residency permit: you must draw up a statement of loss (document available for download on our website) and download the duplicate request form via this page
If your residency permit is stolen: you must declare the theft of your residency permit at a police station and download the duplicate request form
Please print out and complete the request form and send it by registered letter with notification of receipt, along with the requested documents, to the following address:
Préfecture du Nord -DII- Bureau de l'admission au Séjour
Demande de Duplicata
12 rue Jean Sans Peur
59039 LILLE Cedex
A new residency permit will be produced at a cost of €19, payable in fiscal stamps
How to change the address on your residency permit if you move house
You must download, print and complete the address change request form
Within 3 months of a change of address within the Nord department, you must send the form, along with all of the requested documents, to the following address:
Préfecture du Nord -DII- Bureau de l’admission au Séjour
Demande de changement d’adresse
12 rue Jean Sans Peur
59039 LILLE Cedex
NB: if your proof of address is not deemed admissible (refer to our list of admissible documents), your request will not be processed and the documents will be returned to you.
A residency permit will be produced indicating the new address at a cost of €19, payable in fiscal stamps
You must inform your contact staff member at the University of Lille. It is very important that you tell the Prefecture about your situation. Simply email me your address for the period concerned, a copy of your validated traineeship agreement, the exchange contract, the duration and a copy of the visa or residency permit obtained in the country concerned. The information provided to the Prefecture will be valuable when requesting a new visa (VLS-TS or return visa) from the French Embassy.