France is a land of administrative procedures and as an international student; one will find yourself spending a lot of time doing administrative procedures. Out of the many administrative procedures that you will be required to do, the following are the ones that need to be done immediately on your arrival in France.
The procedure for registration with the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) is mandatory for everyone who is coming to France on a long-term (VLS-TS) visa (> 6 months). The procedure has now been much simplified and can be done completely online. For completing the procedure, you just need to login to the website of the Interior Ministry to validate your VLS-TS long stay visa and fill in the details such as your Visa number, date of arrival in France, address, telephone number, email address, etc. and pay the tax of 50 €. The tax can be paid online by buying a digital revenue/fiscal stamp.
After the registration, you will receive two emails. The first email will contain your login credentials to access your account and a confirmation of the validation of VLS-TS visa. The second email will contain the information that you entered online and a downloadable confirmation of the validation of your VLS-TS visa.
A French bank account is inevitable for your life in France. Most payments are done only through formal banking channels like card payments or account transfers. There are multiple banks available in France and most of the times; you can make an appointment by calling the local branch or by walking-in and making an appointment at the welcome desk for opening an account. Some schools have an association with certain banks, and they can help with opening a bank account even before you reach France by sending all the documents by email. The following documents are necessary for opening a student account in France:
– Copy of Passport
– Copy of the student visa
– Residential proof (Copy of the rental agreement)
– Registration confirmation or acceptance letter from your university
The most popular banks in France include BNP Paribas, HSBC,Crédit Agricole, SociétéGénerale, Banque Populaire, La Banque Postale, etc. Most banks charge an account maintenance fee of about 5€ per month which is generally waived off for students.
Students who are above 26 years of age may be required to pay the monthly fees.
The CVEC is the Student and Campus Life Contribution (Contribution vie étudiante et de campus). The annual amount is €92 and must be paid at the beginning of the registration for the academic year at the university.
Most students in France qualify for the rent subsidy by the government through the CAF (Caisse d’Allocation Familiale). The rent subsidy can be up to 40% of your rent and is based on the type of accommodation that you have and your income. Applications for the CAF assistance can be made completely online. You will require having a bank account in France to apply for the CAF assistance. The CAF assistance will be paid to you from the month following the month in which you make your application for the assistance.
Step-by-step instructions on how to apply for the CAF assistance can be found here.
In France, social security covers about 70% of almost all medical expenses. You will need to register on the dedicated website for students to be covered for your medical expenses when you arrive in France.
Before coming to France for your studies, you need to apply for membership in the French social security program by signing up via the official website.
You will need to submit the following documents:
– Evidence of your identity (national ID card, passport, etc.),
– Evidence of your enrolment in an institute of higher education for the appropriate academic year, to certify your student status,
– Bank account identification details (RIB), which will be used to transfer your reimbursements to your account,
– A civil status document (in most cases the birth certificate), which is needed to generate your social security number (“numéro de sécurité sociale”).
– Finally, if you are a foreign student, you will need to show a valid residence permit (“titre de séjour”).
Keep the temporary social security number that has been automatically generated for you by the website and print off your certificate of entitlement.
If you have not been able to register online, please contact by phone at 36 46 (0.06€/min toll + cost of the call). If necessary, you can refer over to an English-speaking helpline.
Once you have your temporary number, you can create your personal space in ameli.fr and continue with uploading missing documents and requesting for your permanent Social security number and Carte Vitale.
REGISTERING WITH OR VISITING A DOCTOR
In order to have the highest rates of reimbursement of medical expenses, it is necessary to register a referring doctor (médecin traitant). If a referring doctor has not been registered and you have to consult a doctor, you will be reimbursed only 30% of the consulting fees whereas when consulting your registered doctor you will be reimbursed 70% of the consulting fees. The referring doctor can also refer you to a specialist after consultation and you will be reimbursed at the same rate. Whereas if you have not declared a referring doctor or if you decide to directly consult a specialist, you will only be reimbursed at lower rates.
The declaration of the referring doctor can be registered online by the doctor, with your permission, if you already have the Carte Vitale, by directly declaring it to the CPAM during your first consultation. If you do not have your Carte Vitale yet, then you can download the required form, fill it, get it signed by the doctor and submit it to your CPAM center.
Registering with your local income tax office is another important administrative procedure to be done. Even if you are not earning an income in France, it is mandatory for you to register with the Income Tax office.
If your income is zero or below a certain threshold limit (around 14000€ / year), your income tax would be zero.
If, in the future, you are planning to settle in France and would like to apply for a French citizenship, you would, in general, need to show proof of having paid income tax in France for at least 5 years and your stay as a student would count as long as you are registered at the Income Tax office.
In France Income Tax, declarations are usually done in the month of May, and for a first-time registration, the declaration must be done on paper by filling the tax form. The filled declaration can be submitted to the local tax office (Direction Générale des Finances publiques) and they will allot you your tax number and the credentials required by you to create your account on the online portal.
Once you have your account in the online portal, for the subsequent years, you can make your tax declaration online.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
In case of an emergency, there are different helpline numbers that can be used. The most important ones are:
18: Emergencies: This number connects to the fire brigade (Sapeurs Pompiers), but they also deal with medical emergencies and should be the first port of call in life-threatening situations
15: SAMU (Service of Urgent Medical Aid) (for other urgent medical emergencies)
17: Police / Gendarmes
112: Universal European Emergency Services number – works from all phones including mobiles
114: Emergency calls (to be used if you have difficulty speaking or hearing as you can communicate by text or fax)
In addition to these, other services also exist to extend a helping hand in times of trouble.
3919 is a free, expert telephone line that guarantees your anonymity in cases of gender-based and sexual abuse
116 006 is a number for all victims of discrimination, whatever the type of attack or prejudice including but not limited to racial, sexist, anti-Semitic or LGBTQ discrimination
Sexual/ Gender-based abuse victims can also use the online tool to report an instance of abuse.
If you are feeling lonely or would need psychological support, NIGHTLINE is a listening, support and information service run by students, for students that guarantees anonymity. They offer support over phone calls as well as chat service and are run by trained volunteers.