Can I get a 9-month student visa if I'm only taking classes for 1 semester?
November 8, 2007 5:08 PM   Subscribe

I have a question about studying in France and long-stay visas...

I'm going to study in France during the spring semester 2008, in which I have to register in person in mid-January and attend class from February until the end of May. (I'm not a current university student - I'll be taking intensive French classes as an adult).

That means that the minimum amount of time I'd have to be in France is a little over 4 months. Given that info, what's the longest amount of time I could ask to stay in France on a student visa and still get approved?

It looks like I could either get a "temporary long stay visa" for 3-6 months or a "one-year visa." If I get a temporary long-stay visa, are they going to let me stay the entire 6 months, even though I will be done with school after 4.5 months? And is there any chance I'd qualify for the 1-year visa?

The reason I'm asking is because it would give me much more flexibility in what I can do after my spring semester ends. I'd like the option to register for summer/fall classes without having to return to the States (and lose whatever housing I find). I'd also like to be able to enjoy France for at least a few weeks after I finish my studies.

The documents on the consulate site are pretty vague about this point. Just wondering if anyone has experience with this.

BTW, I'm a US citizen, and I'm currently residing in the US.

posted by helios to Travel & Transportation around France (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm a US citizen who studied in France last year on a "temporary long stay" visa. My program was also 4.5 months, from the beginning of January to the middle of May, but when I applied for my visa at the consulate I asked them to make it valid until July 1, in case I wanted to spend longer in Europe. They approved my request, no questions asked about the duration of my program (this was the NYC consulate, by the way). So, in my experience, it can't hurt to ask for the full 6 months.

Also when you go to get your visa, make sure you ask if they can give you the "Dispense Temporaire de Carte de Sejour" stamp, which will relieve you of the responsibility of having to get a "carte de sejour" from the French government when you arrive.
posted by clair-de-lune at 5:43 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I studied in Paris in 2002. Not sure why I didn't get the "Dispense Temporaire de Carte de Sejour" stamp. I didn't even know that was an option. When I arrived I was supposed to get the carte de sejour, but after visiting a few of their bureaucracies (where they don't speak English and aren't very helpful) I failed to make any headway. Eventually I gave up.

On my last day in Paris after 4 months, I was running in the metro to catch my train to Prague and just used my unlimited Carte Orange. I exited the metro to make a phone call, but couldn't wait the 15 more minutes to reuse my card. My bloody train was leaving in a few minutes. So, I did what I had seen dozens of natives do: hop the turnstile. Lo and behold I was stopped by a undercover cop. Surely I would miss it now and be stuck who knows where for New Years. Not only that, but my visa had expired because I never got my Sejour. I pleaded my case with the man in my broken language skills. Luckily French cops are pretty cool. I made my train as it was literally pulling away.

So my advice would be to avoid needing a carte de sejour altogether.
posted by yeti at 1:47 PM on November 9, 2007

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