How do I apply for a student visa to legally teach English in France?

France, like many other countries in the region, can often be a difficult place for non-EU citizens to find teaching jobs. Employers often prefer to hire teachers with an EU passport, rather than go through the difficult process of applying for a work permit. One popular alternative route for non-EU teachers is to apply for a student visa as these allow you to work for a set number of hours each week. Although the legal amount of teaching hours is limited with a student visa, many teachers also take on a few private students in their free time to top up their income.

What is the application process for a student visa in France?

Applications for a student visa should be made in your country at least four weeks prior to your departure date. Required documents include a passport that is valid for at least six months after you plan to leave France and documented proof that you have enrolled on a study course that is recognized by the French government. To start the process you should register with a French Government program known as Campus France. A registration fee of $70 is needed to obtain an 'attestation'. Once you have this you need to visit a French Consulate to submit your application in person. The requirements for the application are subject to change, but are currently:

- Completed application form

- Valid passport

- Additional passport photo

- Photocopy of passport ID page

- Documentation regarding your study course in France

- Proof of available finances (bank statement showing funds of $1,000 for every month of your stay, or notarized document from parent or similar declaring they will guarantee the funds)

- An 'attestation' from Campus France

- Completed French immigration form

- Airline reservations showing date of departure

- 50 euro processing fee

How can I check that I have the right documents?

As with all visa issues, we recommend that you visit a French embassy website before submitting your application to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork.

What should I do on arrival in France?

If your planned stay in France exceeds six months, you will need to register with l'office français de l'immigration et de l'intégration (OFII) within three months of your arrival in the country. To complete the registration process you will need the following:

- Valid passport, plus copy of ID pages

- A passport size photo

- Proof of residence in France (utility bill etc)

- 55 euro tax fee

How easy is it to get a student visa for France?

Applications for a student visa are by no means guaranteed to be accepted. However, as long as you supply all the required documents at the right time during the process, you should find you will be on your way to France with a student visa in your passport in just a few short weeks.