Certain nationalities do not require a visa to enter metropolitan France and the Schengen Area, namely nationals of the European Economic Area countries, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican, regardless of the length of their stay.
Other nationalities require a visa. To apply for a visa, you should directly contact the French embassy or consulate in your home country.
To apply for a student visa, you should contact the Centres pour les études en France (Centres for Studying in France) in the Campus France offices in the countries where they operate.
Health insurance is mandatory in France. Certain nationalities are eligible for « social security », French state health insurance which partially covers medical and hospitalisation costs.
If you have an EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) issued by your country’s Social Security Centre (apply for this before you leave), you are not required to join the French social security system for students.
Your healthcare costs will be reimbursed by the CPAM (French Primary Health Insurance Fund).
Non-EC students must register with the French student social security scheme. There are two parts to the health insurance cover:
- basic cover which reimburses 70% of treatment costs
- top-up cover, called a ‘Mutuelle’, which tops up the reimbursements by up to 25% and sometimes 30%
Subscription to a top-up ‘mutuelle’ insurance scheme is not compulsory, but strongly recommended, especially in the event of hospitalisation.
Students who are nationals of a non-EEA state
If you are under the age of 28, you must register with the French student social security scheme.
If you are over the age of 28, you are no longer eligible for the French student social security scheme. You should then request basic CMU (universal health insurance) or take out a French private health insurance plan.
You are exempt from registering for French social security if you have the SE 401 Q102 bis form.
If you have a French government grant
You are automatically eligible for French student social security coverage free of charge, if you are under the age of 28. If you are over the age of 28, you are no longer eligible for the French student social security scheme and should therefore take out private health insurance.
Top-up ‘mutuelle’ health insurance schemes
Top-up health insurance only reimburses a part of healthcare costs. You are strongly advised to take out private or mutual health insurance which can supplement such reimbursements.