Every year, France welcomes many students enrolling in its higher education institutions. If you wish to be one of them, here is how to proceed.
If you are planning to continue your higher studies abroad, France will probably be your first choice. Indeed, the country attracts many expatriates every year, thanks to the numerous opportunities it provides, especially due to its high quality higher education with rather affordable fees compared to other neighboring countries. France is also popular for its prestigious French-style way of living, as well as its fine cuisine. But before moving there, it is best to inquire on the relating conditions and formalities.
Nationals of the European Union, Switzerland, Monaco, Andorra and of the European Economic Area can freely enroll in French universities and faculties. Non-European nationals, for their part, have to apply for a student visa first. Find more information in the article “Visas for France”.
In general, students wishing to enroll in a French higher education institution must:
- be in possession of a foreign secondary education certificate or diploma
- make a preliminary enrollment application (refer to the “Useful links” section).
Foreign students can enroll directly in the higher education institution they prefer:
- if they are already registered on a degree or masters program in a French university
- if they are applying for a graduate or postgraduate program in a university or other specific higher education institution
- in the case of enrollment following a competition.
In the following case, you are required to enroll through the Admission-Postbac website (see in the “Useful links” section):
- you are in possession of a French, European, German-French or International baccalaureate
- you are a EEA or Swiss national
- you are moving to France within an agreement between two universities
- you have received a scholarship from the French government, an international organization or a foreign government whose scholarships are managed by an accredited French organization
- you are either stateless or a political refugee and hold an OFPRA (Office français pour les Réfugiés et les Apatrides) card (see “Useful links”)
- you are the child of a diplomat who is posted and lives in France
- you are in preparatory class for Grandes Ecoles (CPGE)
- you are in higher technical section (STS)
- you are in a polytechnic institution (IUT)
Students featuring in the second above-mentioned list have to pass a French language test beforehand. Their French writing and speaking skills will be assessed by a Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) which is present in all universities. This examination generally takes place in February and March. Fees of some 63 euros apply, but these have to be confirmed beforehand.
The following students are, however, exempt from the visa requirement:
- nationals coming from officially French-speaking countries
- foreigners coming from French bilingual sections (according to a list established jointly by the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- holders of the Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française (DALF) and of the level B2 of the Diplôme d'études en Langue Française (DELF)
- candidates having obtained 14/20 at the written test of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris.
Find a complete list of fees applied to higher studies in the “Useful links” section. Note, however, that the least expensive rates apply to the State Veterinarian Diploma (168 euros) against 1,316 euros in the case of the Psycho-motor State Diploma.
The fees mentioned for the 2015-2016 academic year are liable to changes.
Expat.com – Study in France Forum
Preliminary Enrollment (DAP) – White file www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid24144
Preliminary Enrollment (DAP) – Green File www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid24146
Centre International d’Études Pédagogiques www.ciep.fr
Enrollment fees for the academic year 2015-2016 www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20195