Studying in France

What you should know about studying in France

To help you make an informed decision when considering to apply for the Master of Aerospace Engineering, we have compiled a summary of the most important issues related to studying in France and links to resources with further information.

Sources of information

We can only give you a brief overview of the most important facts and issues related to studying in France. A number of useful resources are available on the web to provide detailed information on all the topics that we cover on this page:

  • CampusFrance
    CampusFrance is the national agency that promotes French higher education abroad; it can help you with looking for financial assistance and preparing your stay in France. The CampusFrance provides a lot of useful information about living and studying in France; see also this map of CampusFrance offices around the world.
  • Université de Lyon and LyonCampus
    The website of the University of Lyon and the dedicated LyonCampus site deal with both specifics related to Lyon and general issues. Most of the information on these two sites is in French; LyonCampus has an English section for international students.

Obtaining a Residence Permit

If you are a citizen of one of the countries belonging to the European Economic Area or of Switzerland then you do not need a residence permit to study in France; having a valid passport or identity card of your country of origin is sufficient.
Foreigners from other countries have to apply for a residence permit once they are enrolled in a French establishment of higher education. The residence permit is issued by the Préfecture (the local administration of the department of residence). Our institution has entered into an administrative partnership with the Préfecture, which means that a large part of the formalities to obtain the residence permit can be handled during your enrollment as a student. The receipt of your complete application form will serve as a provisional residence permit (valid for three months) until you receive the final one. The residence permit will have to be renewed when you are accepted for your Masters second year. Of course, the permit has an administrative cost that changes every year.
Note that if you need a visa to enter France then you have to use a student visa, not a tourist one, in order to be eligible for a residence permit. If you obtain an extended-stay student visa with residence permit (VLS-TS) then you will only have to follow a simplified validation procedure once you are enrolled as a student.
More information on this topic can be found in the corresponding sections of the CampusFrance website.

Health Insurance and Social Security

As a student (under 28 years of age) in France you will be enrolled in the French public health care system; this is mandatory with your inscription at an academic institution.
This medical insurance will cover the major part of all costs of medical treatment, pharmaceutical drugs and hospitalization. You have the option to sign up for supplementary insurance to obtain additional coverage for up to 100% of all medical costs.

Financial questions

Remember that a minimum monthly income of 615€ is required for requesting a residence permit!
Plan on 850€ per month for proper living and even 1,500€ the first month for fees related to your installation (paying housing agency fees, signing up for utilities, opening a bank account, etc).

The most common methods of payment in France are:

  • a bank card for store purchases
  • checks or automatic bank transfers for gas, water and electricity
  • cash for everyday expenses.

When you receive a bill or a sales receipt, the amount to be paid includes service and taxes.
In bars and restaurants, you may leave a tip for the waiter if you like, but this is not mandatory.

Opening a bank account

You need a bank account in your name for several reasons:

  • to have a bank card and a checkbook;
  • housing subventions and reimbursement of medical expenses by LMDE or SMERRA are automatically transferred to a bank account;
  • salaries are paid by check or automatic transfer, never in cash;
  • checks are generally needed to pay for rent or electricity.


The most important search criteria are lodgings that suit your budget and your lifestyle (dorm room, apartment, joint tenancy, low-rent housing, a room in someone’s home, etc.). When you install yourself, you will have to pay substantial fees.
Make sure you have enough for the rental deposit and charges. Remember that financial assistance is not allocated immediately. Count on a delay of about two months before receiving this assistance once it has been granted!

Accommodation in a students’ residence will be around 350-500€ per month, renting on the general housing market in Lyon will be more expensive.

(International Students: We can help you finding a room if your application is selected and you are sure to come for the next academic year. However, we cannot guarantee that you will get it in your preferred location.
The monthly cost of the rent will be between 350€ and 500€ depending on the location available.
Rooms / locations will also be given on the « First registered, first served » basis.)

All holders of a student’s residence permit are allowed to work for up to 964 hours per year; the minimum wage in France is 9.76€ per hour (before taxes, approximately 20%).
The Préfecture may withdraw the residence permit of foreign students who go beyond this limit!
Please note, however, that it can be very difficult to find a job that is compatible with pursuing your studies, especially if you do not speak French very well. We therefore strongly recommend that you secure the major part of your expected costs before you arrive in France, for example by obtaining a government grant.