- Planning your arrival
Planning your arrival
Do you plan to apply to EICAR or have been admitted to our Bachelor, Master or One Year Filmmaking Programs? This page provides essential information for international students and European Union nationals who plan to study in France.
To make this transition to France as smooth as possible, we invite you to carefully review the following information in detail and consult the corresponding website links.
Student Visa (for a period longer than 3 months)
A student visa may be required, depending on your nationality, to study in France. All visas must be applied for prior to departure. The first two important steps in the process are the following:
- Visit the Campus France website. Click on the globe to find the information that specifically pertains to your country of origin.Campus France is the French national agency in charge of promoting higher education and managing the reception and international mobility of students, researchers, and guests. We invite you to review this site carefully. You will be required to complete an online Campus France application.
- Consult the French Embassy or Consulate in your country to know which type of visa is best suited for your stay. The visa application to France is available on the official website – https://france-visas.gouv.fr/ – where you will also find a wealth of information to help you successfully prepare your stay in France. The Campus France application and the visa application are two different required steps on your way to studying in France. You must complete the Campus France application process prior to applying for the French visa. The amount of time needed to obtain a visa varies by consular post.
Once you arrive in the country you will need to get an extended-stay visa with residence permit (VLS-TS – Visa Long Séjour valant Titre de Séjour) which must be validated by the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII).
No visa obligation for European students: if you are a national of a European Economic Area country (European Union country and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland, you do not need a student visa to study in France. You may freely enter French territory regardless of the length of your studies.
Paris is a vibrant city and the perfect place for a film student with weekly theatrical releases of French, international and independent cinema. We are excited for you to explore the city and choose where you feel most at home.
While housing in Paris can be challenging, it is not impossible, and there are several resources available to make your search easier. We highly recommend that you research accommodation options as early as possible. Common types of accommodations are student housing, private apartment rentals, living with a host family.
Once enrolled, EICAR provides support service and guidance. The school has partnerships with student residences that have accommodations nearby the school in the 18th, 19th, and 20th districts (“arrondissements”) of Paris.
Note: it is advisable to live in the city or in a close and accessible suburb.
Housing Financial Assistance
In France, students can apply for housing financial aid called “A.P.L.” (“Aide Personnalisée au Logement”) from a state assistance fund called C.A.F. (Caisse d’Allocation familiale). This aid could amount to approximately 200€/ month. EICAR provides assistance in filling out the APL application.
The cost of living in Paris is high and International students must be prepared for this. Often during the first months of your stay you may discover things you forgot to bring with you or you may need to make additional purchases to make your living space comfortable. Budget extra resources for these first few months.
National Healthcare Insurance
French healthcare coverage, subsidized by the French government and provided under the national social security system (“sécurité sociale”) is affordable and of very high quality.
It is compulsory and free for all students, regardless of age, to register for student health insurance coverage. This coverage allows you to be reimbursed for all or a part of your medical expenses (doctor visits, hospitalization, prescribed medicine). The student’s nationality (international or European Union citizen) will determine the appropriate healthcare insurance plan. Registration is free and completed online by logging on to the following health insurance website dedicated to foreign students: https://etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr
Complementary Healthcare Insurance (“la Mutuelle”)
Complementary healthcare insurance coverage is available to all students, regardless of age. This insurance secures coverage of all or part of the expenses not covered by the basic healthcare plan. Supplemental plans cost on average of 200€ per academic year. This insurance is not mandatory.
Personal Liability and Accident Insurance
It is compulsory for all students to obtain personal liability insurance to cover you if you are the victim of, or responsible for an accident during your academic year. It must be renewed in the Fall of each new school year until the end of your studies.
If you possess personal liability and accident insurance in your home country, you will have to provide the school with the valid insurance certificate which states the coverage conditions and the period of coverage.
One of the largest student group health plans is SMEREP. They provide complementary healthcare insurance as well as personal liability insurance. To insure immediate coverage at the start of classes, we invite you to subscribe to the PACK SMEREP plan for 27€ per year. It includes personal liability and accident insurance. The online application is fast and easy to process.
Once you are fully registered for National Healthcare coverage, you will receive an Attestation de droits (Health insurance certificate) or the Carte vitale (healthcare card). This entitles you to partial reimbursement by the healthcare insurance system for certain medical consultations and prescribed medicines. You should present the certificate or card at all times when seeing a doctor and purchasing prescribed medicine at the pharmacy.
Pre-Departure Check List
Here are some important things to remember when preparing your departure to Paris:
- Use your name exactly as it appears on your passport or birth certificate on your school application and all supporting documents.
- Your visa: Make sure you have fulfilled all visa and residence permit requirements.
- Registration & tuition fee payment: Complete the registration process with EICAR and confirm your attendance to the program to which you have been admitted. Please do not hesitate to write via email or to call EICAR for any questions you may have. Ascertain that you will be able to pay the tuition fees on time. We must remind you that failure to make tuition fee payments may result in suspension of your studies and withdrawal of your visa.
- Money: Make sure you have access to enough funds to cover your tuition fees, your accommodation fees and initial expenses. Contact your home bank before travelling to ensure you will be able to access your account when you arrive in France.
- Accommodations: Have you booked a flat in one of the student residences in partnership with EICAR or will you be looking for private accommodations once you arrive? Whatever the case, be sure to have a place to stay when you arrive. EICAR does not have any housing facilities of its own.
- Arrival Date: Give yourself enough time to settle in before Orientation day. We do not recommend that students attempt to find and secure lodging while in the first days of our intensive programs.
- Book your flights and make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months into the future.
- Your Official Documents: Have your official documents easily accessible when arriving to France. We advise you to travel with these documents in your hand baggage, photocopies in your check-in luggage. Upon arrival, make sure to keep photocopies in a safe place separate from the original documents.
- Valid passport for international students; official identity card for European Union nationals.
- A long-term student visa for non-European Union students.
- A birth certificate translated in French (parents’ names must be mentioned).
- The original documents you used to obtain a visa from the French consulate or embassy in your home country. You may be asked to present these at customs and they will be necessary when you apply for a residence permit.
- The “pré-inscription” certificate you received from EICAR.
- Officially certified copies of diploma/degree certificate and transcripts (in both original language and translation in English if applicable).
- For European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland citizens: a European Health Insurance card.
- Copy of prescriptions for any medication and eye glasses, if necessary.
- Health and vaccination records.
- For married students: a marriage certificate translated into French and certified by the appropriate authorities.
- If you intend to drive in France, don’t forget your valid driver’s license.
- Clothing: Prepare for the four seasons of the year. Paris goes through all four in an often unpredictable manner: sunshine, rain, rare snowfall. However, other parts of the country offer the possibility to ski in winter, sunbathe at the seashore in the summer.
- Specific Support: Please inform us if you require any specific support or arrangements due to a physical disability.
Settling In and Beginning Daily Life
Every year, the Cité Universitaire de Paris sets up a 3-month welcome service from September – November for foreign students on their university campus. All students from all schools are invited to use the services. Here you will find a multi-lingual team who will reply to the various questions regarding accommodations, administrative procedures, work regulations, learning French and leisure activities. They will then guide you to the public services on site that will start processing your claims on-the-spot.
Under one roof, you will find the following public services :
- Campus France officers will be present to answer any outstanding questions you may have regarding visa status, residence permit, etc.
- the Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) – Its role is to set up appointments for newly arrived Paris-based students qualifying for the long stay visa and residence permit.
- Prefecture de Police de Paris – Staff will be on site to process claims for residence permits.
- Housing financial assistance – Staff from the CAF (Caisse des allocations familiales) will be on site to offer a service allowing a faster processing of your application for this financial assistance.
- Healthcare insurance & liability insurance – SMEREP, the student healthcare organization will be present to inform about complementary healthcare plans, mandatory liability & accident insurance, and apartment insurance.
- Work regulations – A representative from the Office of Foreign Workers – Direction du Travail (DIRECCTE) – will be there to advise on regulation regarding students who wish to work while studying in France.
Phone and Internet
Having a personal cell phone is a necessity while living and studying in Paris. It is essential to be able to contact the school, family, friends and emergency services.
If you possess an unlocked phone or if you plan to purchase one here, France has several cell phone providers. Having a French phone number is necessary while living in Paris. Foreign cell phone numbers are not always appreciated by callers. Their providers may surcharge them for these calls.
You can also buy a prepaid cell phone card that you can recharge when credit has run out or sign up for a contract. A contract can be monthly or annual. To sign up for a contract, you will need: an ID or valid passport, your bank account information, a French permanent address and a utility bill (electricity, gas…). The company will ask for your bank information so that each month, the amount of the bill is automatically debited from your bank account. The utility bill that you present is proof that you are living in France.
The easiest way to set up cell phone and internet service is to go directly to any one of the providers: Free, Sosh, Red, SFR, Bouygues Telecom, Orange … Inquire about the most reasonably priced service for your needs. If you choose a cell phone plan, you must already have an address in France & proof of residence and French bank account.
Having a French bank account is invaluable for long stays in France and is highly recommended for anyone accepted to our Bachelors and Masters programs. It will be easier to pay rent, phone bills and other expenses. French housing financial aid, reimbursements from the French Healthcare Insurance will be deposited directly to this account. In addition, you will not be charged for each transaction and you will not have to worry about the exchange rate.
To open a bank account, each bank may ask you for different documents but It is recommended to have the following documents with you:
- Student card
- Resident permit (if you are a not a citizen of the EU)
- Proof of address in France – utility bill or apartment rental lease. (this can also be a signed letter from your landlord with copy of her/his identity card)
Paris offers a huge public transportation network including metro, bus, tramway, RER and Transilien suburban lines, as well as self-service bike rentals, electric car rentals & scooter rentals.
The ideal travel plan is the Navigo pass and the most convenient option for regular travel on the public transportation system. The student Navigo pass is called Imagine R for students under the age of 26. With the Imagine R annual travel pass, you save more than 50% off the price of a regular Navigo monthly travel pass. For students over the age of 26, you can apply for the regular Navigo monthly pass. You can pick up an application form for either pass at any train station.
Paris is made up of 5 different zones. Depending on where you live, study or work, you will want to make sure that your Navigo Pass corresponds to the zones you will use most often because this will affect the price.
The pass exists in “all zones” or “two zones” versions. The “all zones” travel pass allows you unlimited travel in all zones, every day of the week. The “two-zone” travel pass allows you unlimited travel in the selected zones. To travel outside of your two zones, you may purchase a “top-up ticket” and only pay for the extra distance travelled. The two-zone Navigo monthly travel passes (zones 2-3, 3-4 and 4-5) allow “zone-free” travel during certain periods. This perk allows you to take trips to towns and villages outside of Paris to explore the French countryside.
Until you apply for the Navigo pass, you can buy individual tickets for the metro, bus, RER and Transilien suburban lines, or you can buy a book of 10 individual tickets. Singularly, metro and bus tickets cost around 1,90€/ ticket. RER prices depend upon the distance of the destination.