Visa, insurance, accommodation

Long-term visa with right to reside (VLS-TS)

If you will be studying at École Centrale de Lyon and you are not a European citizen, you must apply for the VLS-TS visa. The validity period for this visa ranges from 4 to 12 months. This visa is granted to foreign students who are continuing their studies at a French higher education institution. This does not apply to Algerian nationals, who fall under another set of rules.

To obtain the VLS-TS visa, you must go to the Campus France website and follow the ‘Studying in France’ procedure of your country if applicable. The countries covered by this procedure are listed on the Campus France website.

This system allows you to receive support and advice on all procedures involved in applying to study in France including the visa application. It also enables you to view your online application.

Within three months of your arrival in France, you must validate your visa. The procedure is completely digital. To validate your visa, you must go to:

You will need to provide:

  • A valid email address,
  • Information stated on your visa,
  • The date you arrived in France,
  • Your address in France,
  • A debit/credit card to pay the permit fee. (If you do not have such a card upon arrival, you can either open a bank account in France or pay the stamp duty in cash at a dedicated terminal in a newsagent).

Algerian students do not report to the Directorate-General for Foreigners in France (DGEF) and therefore do not follow the same procedure. Within two months of their arrival, they must report directly to the prefecture.

All these formalities for validating the long-term visa, as well as the renewal of your residence permit if you are studying in a double degree programme, can be done with the assistance of Centrale Lyon’s International Relations Office from the start of term.

Useful link:

Medical expenses

France has an excellent health insurance system operated under social security. It allows you to receive a reimbursement of a portion of your medical expenses for a basic student contribution of €213 in 2014-2015). Membership to the French social security system takes place at the time of enrolling at École Centrale de Lyon. It is compulsory for non-European students.

To benefit from student social security, students must be under 28 years old and be enrolled at an accredited higher education institution for at least four months.

Students from countries in the European Economic Area are exempted if they hold a European Health Insurance Card (or its temporary certificate) for the academic year or hold private insurance covering all medical risks without expense restrictions.

French social security generally reimburses 60% of the total medical expense. Alongside this compulsory system, student mutual insurance companies can, in return for a premium, supplement this cover so that all healthcare expenses are covered.


  • Public liability insurance: this is mandatory for all students. This insurance covers bodily injury and property damage caused to third parties during your studies, placement or private life. It indemnifies the victim for any damages you cause to them. This insurance could be included in another insurance policy (e.g. housing insurance), so be sure that you do not over-insure yourself.
  • Housing insurance: this is compulsory regardless of whether you live in a university dormitory or in a private dwelling.

These insurance policies can be taken out at the start of the term from student mutual insurance companies among other bodies. They can cost between €20 and €40 per year.


Ten hectares of Centrale Lyon’s campus are set aside for residential use and include the two student dormitories, Paul Comparat residence and Adoma residence.

Not all students can be housed on campus. Accordingly, priority is given to first-year students amd then those entering 2nd and 3rd years, as well as students from our partner universities coming to study a double degree or coming for a year-long exchange and looking of on-campus accommodation.

Accommodation is also available in Écully and the surrounding areas.

The École Centrale de Lyon campus is well served by public transport, so living in Lyon can be an option.

For more information: see the campus life section

Housing allowance – CAF

In France, students of any nationality can apply for government financial aid to pay for accommodation. France is the only European country that offers this.

The Family Allowance Fund (CAF) is responsible for paying the Personalised Accommodation Allowance (APL) to students.

This allowance is calculated according to the cost of rent and the student’s resources. You can apply online after you have found housing.

Information on