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If you went to study French in France

And spent a couple months, as an American, did you need a student Visa?

This would be studies in Lyon and Alliance Française, for about 8-10 weeks.

Also, would a letter from my company, stating that I am returning to work, plus a letter or document from the insurance company, and possibly HR, suffice as far as medical is concerned? I have had to pay up front for a doctor and prescription in Belgium, but I was reimbursed when I submitted all necessary documents. Therefore, I don’t see the need to buy insurance through AF.

I am going for the almost 90 days (😳87), but I still can’t figure out if they need to see a visa. The school doesn’t seem to comprehend this 90 days thing, or that I am not going to be studying all year.

Posted by
244 posts

Less than 90 days and not in a degree-granting program means you should be fine as a tourist. Just be careful to get out within those 90 days; you wouldn't want to have issues down the road!

Posted by
567 posts

They should understand price - what are you proposing to pay for - A 10 week course, or a Year long course? For less than 90 days they won't see an issue because they won't have one.

Posted by
3304 posts

If it's not a program that grants a degree then you are fine on a tourist visa as long as you stay less than 90 days.
I have no idea about the school's medical requirement. Are they requiring that you purchase their insurance or is it just a suggestion? Most schools like this just require proof of insurance for civil damage or medical costs. Minor medical care in France is relatively cheap. People usually buy travel insurance to cover big expenses such as medical evacuation or hospitalization.
Usually when attending a degree-granting institution in Europe, they give you an ID number that you submit to the consulate in order to get your student visa. You shouldn't need this though since you aren't going to be enrolling in a degree program.

Posted by
5405 posts

It’s bizarre that Alliance Française of all places can’t tell you about visa requirements.

I am not so sure as the others that you don’t require a visa, but you should look at the website of the French consulate in the U.S. to know for sure.

Posted by
5 posts

Our daughter studied in Perpignon for about 6 weeks one summer and was there with no student visa. So I think you should be fine.

Posted by
76 posts

As long as you stay for fewer than 90 days, and as long as you don't take a job, and as long as you obey the law, it wouldn't matter if you stood on your head for 8 to 10 weeks or spent your money at the AF in Lyon for 8 to 10 weeks. You would be on a visitor's visa.

By the way, if you do go to the AF in Lyon, be sure to stop by the nearby Bahadourian flagship store. It's an institution. There's one at Les Halles Paul Bocuse, but the one just off rue Paul Bert is special.

No one would care about your medical coverage because you wouldn't be seeking a titre de séjour; rather, you would be visiting as a tourist for under 90 days in the Schengen zone. In other words, you're on your own for medical coverage.

Posted by
4809 posts

Another way to look at it...as long as you respect the 90 Day limit, if the School does not require proof of a Visa, then the Government will not care. For Degree type course, the School will want proof of Visa before starting, Immigration is oblivious to your needs, often you need to make an effort to get the proper stamp or visa validated.

Posted by
1145 posts

"It’s bizarre that Alliance Française of all places can’t tell you about visa requirements."

You have to keep asking until you get someone who knows what you're talking about, or seems to know anything at all, in France . . . or at home, too.

Posted by
244 posts

Honestly, it's not that surprising that the AF didn't give much visa advice. They have students from around the world in different situations, some living locally long-term working or with a working spouse, others coming for short-term studies, and they are not a degree-granting institution. It's not their job to know what kind of visa students need in the same way that a university would get involved (which again, in this case, one is not needed). Plus, they probably don't want to give someone the wrong advice since it can be so different depending on national origin.

Posted by
449 posts

Thanks everyone.
I decided on Lyon for a month. Strasbourg for a month. Then a few weeks to travel around, leaving on the 87th day! That should be safe enough, I hope.

The problem I am facing with schools in both areas, is that they have lots of holidays, and even stop after quite early in April, I think the 17th, for a couple weeks break! Anyway, I will sort something out. But so far, I am pleased that in both regions, there are opportunities for day, or weekend trips.

Posted by
1145 posts

Good idea to leave days to see things outside of class.

I never seem to get to see much when I've taken intensive courses.