The extended-stay student visa (VLS-TS)
If you decide to study at Ecole Centrale de Lyon, you must obtain the extended-stay student visa, known as the VLS-TS, with a validity period of between 4 and 12 months. This visa applies to all international students (with the exception of Algerian students, who are subject to special conditions) who wish to study in the French tertiary education system.
In order to obtain the visa VLS-TS, you must access the Campus France website and follow the CEF procedure, if it applies to your home country. There are Campus France offices in thirty-one countries, which you can find listed on the Campus France site.
For students who are thinking about studying in France, this resource provides support and advice in administrative matters, from visa requests to tracking the progress of online applications.
During your first three months in France, you will need to obtain a vignette valant titre de séjour, or an official document in your passport confirming the validity of your extended-stay student visa.
In order to obtain the vignette valant titre de séjour:
- When you applied for your extended-stay student visa, you will have sent a half-completed VLS-OFII form along with the other necessary documents. The French Embassy or Consulate located in your home country will have returned this VLS-OFII form to you, along with your visa.
- You will need to complete the second half of this form upon arrival in France and submit it to Centrale’s International Relations department, so that they can then send it to the OFII office located in Lyon.
- When the OFII receives your form and necessary documents such as a photocopy of your passport identity page and the stamp showing your entry date in France or the Schengen Zone, the OFII will send you a letter notifying you of an appointment at their office in Lyon.
- During this appointment, you may be required to submit to a medical examination, depending on your country of origin.
- Before the appointment, you will buy an official stamp worth 58 €, which is the administration fee of the OFII procedure.
- Once you have presented all the necessary documents and passed the medical examination, you will be given your vignette valant titre de séjour.
The International Relations department at ECL will help you will all these visa formalities for the VLS-TS once you arrive at Centrale. In the case that you are a double degree student, the International Relations department will also assist you when the time comes to renew your VLS-TS.
For more information, look at www.campusfrance.org.
French medical cover is overseen by the Securité sociale (social security). It is known to be of high quality: for the 2014-2015 fee of € 213, students are permitted a partial reimbursement of their medical costs. Students sign up for this medical cover once they arrive at Ecole Centrale Lyon. It is compulsory for all non-European students to sign up for this medical cover.
In order to benefit from the “student” rates from the Securité sociale, students must be less than 28 years old and be enrolled in a tertiary educational institution for at least 4 months.
Students who come from the European Economic Area (EEA) do not need to subscribe to the Securité sociale if they hold a European health insurance card valid for the entire university year (or a provisional certificate declaring this), or a certificate confirming private insurance which covers all medical expenses without price restrictions.
The Sécurité sociale reimburses an average of 60% of all medical costs. In addition to this compulsory system, student union funds known as mutuelles allow students to be fully reimbursed for all medical care, with the payment of an additional fee.
- L’assurance responsabilité civile (civil responsibility insurance) is compulsory for all students. It covers any accidents involving people or property caused to a third party during academic studies, internships or in an external setting. The civil responsibility insurance compensates the victim for any complications that your actions may cause. This insurance is often included as part of another type of insurance (such as housing insurance), so make sure you read the conditions carefully to avoid paying more than you need to.
- L’assurance logement (housing insurance) is compulsory, regardless of the type of accommodation you choose, whether it be in a university residence or in a privately owned dwelling.
Both these types of insurance can be purchased when you arrive at Centrale, as well as the mutuelles étudiantes (supplementary student medical cover), for between 20 and 40 Euro a year.
Ten hectares of the Ecole Centrale de Lyon campus are devoted to students’ residential needs. There are two residences available to students - Paul Comparat and Adoma.
Unfortunately, the school is not able to provide all its students with accommodation on campus. Students in first year receive first priority. Amongst the students in 2nd and 3rd year, international students participating in either the double degree program or a year-long exchange are given priority.
Other international students are usually able to find their own accommodation in Ecully or neighbouring suburbs. Additionally, given that the campus is easily accessible by public transport, students often consider finding accommodation in Lyon itself.
For more information, look at the Campus Life section
The CAF- Housing Assistance Aid
In France, students of all nationalities are eligible for a government-provided financial aid package for accommodation. France is the only country in Europe to offer this kind of housing benefit for students.
The organisation is known as the CAF, or the Caisse d’Allocations familales, which is responsible for assisting students financially with the APL (Aide Personalisée au Logement, or Personnalised Housing Assistance).
This assistance is calculated based on the cost of rent as well as the financial resources of individual students. Online applications for this kind of assistance will be completed once you arrive at Centrale and move in to your accommodation.
For more information, look at www.caf.fr.