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I'm a citizen of a non EU member state (I might as well just admit I'm American). And until I can maintain a constant income and permanent address in France, I don't qualify for a carte de séjour, so I will be staying on a student visa.

I'm doing a Masters at Paris IV in German and Scandinavian studies plus translation before I apply for a masters in CI (most likely ISIT Paris because they allow the ABCC EN/FR/DE/DK combination). But it seems like not very many people pass the final exams the first go round. That makes me nervous because one of the caveats of the student visa is 'good academic standing.'

Does anyone know of maybe other non EU students that had to repeat a year and yet still were allowed to maintain their student immigration status? This is way in the future and maybe planning for failure is not what I should be doing. But I'd like to not get deported or become sans papiers because I fail an exam that a majority of people fail.

This might be a better question for an immigration lawyer.

asked 24 Feb '14, 15:47

charlielee's gravatar image


NB: French naturalisation law does provide that upon successful completion of a Masters degree from a French university, one can apply for naturalisation or for a carte de séjour, though I've heard that the vast majority of people who attempt this are denied. Though naturalisation is my eventual goal for a whole lot of reasons, it doesn't seem likely I could do so right after my initial masters degree despite what the law says. Once again it's a question of residency, employment and "assimilation," which seems to often just mean how much the interviewer likes you.

(24 Feb '14, 15:57) charlielee

one of the caveats of the student visa is 'good academic standing.'

I didn't look into it nor am I very knowledgeable about the current immigration politics in France. Nevertheless, the official conditions don't say you have to succeed, only that you have to try hard (assiduité).

Conditions liées aux études Le renouvellement de votre titre de séjour étudiant suppose que vous :

soyez assidu dans vos études,

présentiez vos examens,

progressiez dans vos études dans un même cursus (licence par exemple),

soyez cohérent dans votre parcours si vous changez d'orientation.

So, if reality matches this description, you (only) have to attend your classes, go to your exams and not study architecture during your first year and musicology during the second. I can't imagine France deporting all non-EU freshmen failing their exams at the end of the year.

I guess the internet has better informed opinions at hand. Give a look at one of the many many discussion boards for international students in France. A quick glance only showed me stories of people who had messed up badly before the authorities would ask them to leave the country. Some even manage to do a 3 year bachelor's degree in six years of time before being bothered.

I might be a bit prejudiced when it comes to the French public administration, but I have the feeling that if you show up as a white, American male who's about to study in a very selective private school that requires to pay an over 5,000€ tuition fee per year, your file won't be much of a problem. Wear a suit, be eloquent, self-confident, polite... and patient. You'll do great. ;-)

When I had to apply for a loan to finance my studies and go through the usual paperwork, I used to bring along my CV putting the emphasis on my language skills and had printed out some official pages where the UN and EU staffers salaries were listed, as well as the freelance daily remuneration. Can't hurt to abuse the clichés people have regarding our profession. ;-)

permanent link

answered 24 Feb '14, 16:22

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

edited 24 Feb '14, 16:40

What an immense relief. I find the international student discussion boards a bit depressing and the advice sometimes comes from very questionable sources. Also, when you apply to French universities from abroad, there is a person charged with your dossier, but I've been advised to be careful with what questions you ask. Since the circulaire de guéant, which heavily restricted the right to remain under a student visa and nearly eliminated the path to citizenship for students, though it was later overturned, the situation for non EU students in France has been quite tenuous. That being said, the general environment in the EU seems a lot more relaxed than in the US, where there are few grace periods and a dip in grades can often mean the end of a student visa.

Once again, thank you Gaspar for putting my worst case scenarios to rest!

(24 Feb '14, 16:40) charlielee
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question asked: 24 Feb '14, 15:47

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last updated: 24 Feb '14, 16:40 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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