Coming to France
This page offers informations for PhD students arriving to France from abroad (housing, administrative tasks, bank, etc...).
It is mainted by the PhD students representatives, and is still "Work in progress".
Some Universities offer a dedicated help:
- PSL has prepared a document that gives many useful informations to everybody.
- Paris-Saclay has a dedicated web site.
A Visa for France
Keep in touch with your supervisor and the laboratory. Usually part of the documents cannot be obtained without them.
- If you come to France for the first time, ask your nearest French consulate, as details may vary.
- All the requirements are detailed on the Official web site of the French administration (in French). Click on "Chercheur".
- If you need to validate a foreign diploma, go to CIEP.
- If uou need a French translation of your documents, you may look for a sworn translator.
Begin as soon as possible. Delays can be several monthes long.
Opening a bank account
Upon your arrival in France, you will need a bank account in order to receive your salary, pay by bank transfer, credit card or check.
To open an account, you need your certificate of education (obtained after registration at the university) and a proof of residence (gas or electricity invoice, certificate of accommodation written by the owner of your flat, ...).
Here is a non-exhaustive list of banks where you can open an account : LCL, la Banque Postale, la Société Générale, le Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, la Banque Populaire, Caisse d’épargne, ...
At the beginning of September, some banks allow the opening and using of an account with only a pre-registration.
As a PhD student registered at the doctoral school “Astronomy and Astrophysics of Ile-de-France”, you can take French courses. You can register to those proposed by:
The financial cost is paid by the doctoral school.
If you use transports every day (bus, metro, RER, tram, etc.), it is cheaper for you to have a transport card. If you use the transport occasionally, you can buy tickets in each station or bus.
As a PhD student, you are both a student and an employee of the French administration. As a student, if you are less than 26 year old, you have a preferential rate for transport in Ile-de-France: “forfait Imagine R Scolaire et Etudiant” to have access to all transports in Ile-de-France for 38 euros per month. You can subscribe on the internet at Imagine R (in french). You have to be registered at the university and you must provide a registration certificate or a photocopy of your student card in order to obtain this card.
The minimum age for driving in France is 18 years old for the permit “B” (which allows to drive car and van).
As a student, you can drive with your European or non-European driving license during your studies. If you want, you can exchange your driving license for a French license, if your home country practices the reciprocal exchange of licenses (this is the case for European and some non-European countries). To do this, you must go to the prefecture or sub-prefecture of your place of residence, or to the police prefecture if you live in Paris, to make an exchange request:
When your license expires, you must pass all the theoretical and practical tests of the French driving license by enrolling in a driving school.