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.



Obtaining a student residence permit ? DEMATERIALISATION

As of Tuesday 15 September 2020, the Prefecture of Lille asks you to use the new national procedure for submitting applications for student residence permits (except for "minor-scholar" visas, please refer to the first application). This is a dematerialised procedure, ANEF procedure.

The Maison Internationale and all its staff are at your disposal if you wish to carry out this procedure with assistance, if you wish to have your documents checked or simply to scan them, you can contact us by e-mail.

The time taken to deliver residence permits generally varies between 7 and 8 weeks minimum from the date of issue of the favourable opinion or the receipt. The delivery of residence permits is again done by appointment at the prefecture (you must be patient to receive the convocation by SMS). 

Due to the current health situation, the time required to obtain a residence permit has been considerably extended compared to previous years.

IMPORTANT: the suspension of penalties for late applications for residence permits is now over. As a reminder, all applications for residence permits must be made between the 3rd and 2nd month before the expiry of the residence permit. Otherwise penalties are automatically charged by the ANEF software (two months before expiry until 6 months after expiry). Do not wait until your residence permit has expired to start your procedures.

After 6 months of expiry, the files are automatically refused by the Anef platform and will no longer be accepted by the Prefecture. A new legal entry must be presented. You will then have to go back to your country of origin to apply for a new visa.

Finally, for incomplete applications received via Anef, students receive a notification on their ANEF account specifying the missing document(s). If the student does not provide these documents in return within a maximum of 1 month (from the notification), the application is automatically closed by the ANEF software. A new complete submission via ANEF is then necessary.

Two different residency permits

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 Prefecture of Lille asks you to use the dematerialised procedure, ANEF procedure obligatory. Here you will find the list of documents required to renew 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.

Legal framework

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


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 have lost or had your residence permit stolen, please click on this link.

You will have to apply online.

If you change your address, please make this declaration on this site.

The procedures are to be carried out online.