Campuses across France from universities closed on March 16 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across Europe.
Now, French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs announced earlier this month that it would be allowed to reopen the higher education institutions of the country as of September.
According to the statement, “Considering the value of the attractiveness of French higher education, international students will be able to move to France, regardless of their country of origin, and visa procedures will be made simpler. Visa and resident permit requirements will be treated as a priority.’
The reopening is accompanied by detailed public health protocols that should be observed by all institutions, includes maintaining a physical distance of at least one meter “or one seat” between classroom students and all other “physical learning spaces,” and a recommendation that masks should be worn at all times.
Campus France has also produced a special catalogue of more than 600 online degree programs for the next academic year for those students who are unprepared or unable to attend classes in person in September.
For the academic year 2020/21, the directory “Back to Campus Online” lists both fully online programs as well as hybrid options.
The announcement on the Campus France anticipates that students may choose to start their studies online and then go on to study in person in France.
It explains: “An online degree program from a French higher education institution is currently the best way to get to know the institution’s campus that will welcome you in France as soon as possible, if you can’t come because of your country’s health situation or if you prefer to kick off your online training course.”
Travellers from other EU states could enter France as of June 15. Travellers from outside the EU could also be entering the country as of July 1.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at the time that, “International students may travel to France, regardless of their country of origin. Visa applications and resident permit applications will be processed as a priority.
International students may come irrespective of their country of origin or residence permit, and also for short stays if they can prove their status”.
Following the opening of the French border, the Government also gradually resumed visa processing services in France and at post offices abroad, with some variability in local conditions and guidance for public health.
Also, Campus France has published a comprehensive FAQ that describes the latest visa procedures and facilities for students visiting.
The Government has also provided to current and incoming international students the following accommodations:
- All visas expiring between March 16 and June 15 were automatically extended for six months.
- The right to work has been extended so that students who have been in France since March 16 will be able to work up to 80% of their annual work limits until the university classes resume.
- A new online service will begin in September 2020 for the collection and processing of student residence permit applications.