Frequently Asked Questions
Only for International students. FAQ’s for exchange student, please click here.
INFORMATION ABOUT VISA AND INSURANCE
Do I need to apply for a visa in order to come to France?
- Citizens of the European Union
They do not require a visa to enter France. An ID card or passport is sufficient.
- Non-European Union students
For a study period of over three months in France, non-EU students have to apply for a visa.
- Students from countries listed below
Algeria – Argentina – Benin – Brazil – Cameroun – Canada – Chile – China – Colombia – Congo Brazzaville – Gabon – Guinea – India – Ivory Coast – Korea – Lebanon – Madagascar – Mali – Mauritius – Mexico – Morocco – Russia – Senegal – Syria – Taïwan – Tunisia – Turkey – USA – Vietnam
Must register through the CEF, CAMPUSFRANCE procedure, as follows before applying for their visa:
If you are from one of the countries listed above, it is mandatory to register online on www.campusfrance.org in order to begin the visa procedure. You are required to pay for this registration.
On the website, you will be required to create your own personal file and then tick ESCEM as your chosen school. The next step is a mandatory interview with CampusFrance’s services which will assess your application. If your file is accepted, you will then be able to ask for the visa at the French consulate.
Please visit the website in order to find out more about this very important process (www.campusfrance.org) and contact the International Office directly if you need more information about CampusFrance or if you have problems (or questions) using the system.
- Students from other non-European countries
Must apply for the visa directly with the French Consulate of their country.
Is a tourist visa sufficient for one semester of study at ESCEM?
When do I have to apply for a visa?
As soon as you know that you will study at ESCEM, you must register with campusfrance online (see answer above). Once you receive your acceptance letter from ESCEM, you will be able to make an appointment to apply for your visa. (please visit the French Consulate website).
What documents will I need to provide in order to apply for the visa?
You have to ask the French consulate but of course, you need your acceptance letter from ESCEM and a valid passport.
How much does a visa cost?
In 2010 the cost is normally 60 €uros (via CEF campusfrance) or 120 €uros if there is no CEF procedure in your country
Can I be eligible for a visa if I have had serious disease?
You have to ask the French consulate
May I travel in Europe even if I am not from the European Union?
For non-EU students, we advise you to make enquiries at the French Consulate when applying for your visa.
Can I stay in France for a couple of months after the end of the semester?
We advise you to make enquiries at the French Consulate when applying for your visa.
If am a non-European student and I would like to do my internship in France after the study session at ESCEM, should I ask for an extension of visa? –
Yes, you will have to renew your visa, at least 2 months before the end of its validity. It costs 30 €uros. This will be done at the Prefecture in Tours or Poitiers.
Do I need a resident permit?
The French law concerning visas changed in June 2009. From now onwards, all students coming to study in France will receive a long-stay visa – valid for either one semester or a full academic year but not exceeding 12 months. Students with this new visa are no longer required to apply for an additional resident permit in France. –
The French consulate will issue you with a very important document called « Visa de long séjour – demande d’attestation OFII » (OFII = Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration). Soon after your arrival in France, the International Office will help you send this document to OFII in Poitiers and you will be summoned to a medical examination (lung X-ray and medical visit). The last step of this procedure is an appointment at OFII where you will have your visa validated by a yellow sticker. –
In order to have your visa validated by OFII, you will need to provide:
- Your passport
- Former lung X-ray if you have one
- Vaccination book if you have one
- Your glasses or/and contact lenses if applicable
- Any medical document you consider important
- One identity photo
- A proof that you live in France (the copy of your lease or a bill)
- A special stamp of 55 € (to be bought in France)
Please bear in mind that traveling outside France may not be possible until your visa has been fully validated (please check with the Consulate as to whether you are able to visit other countries).
What kind of insurance should I purchase before coming to France?
European students must take out an individual European insurance card in their home country before arriving in France. They also need insurance covering civil liability and medical repatriation. Students are required to give a copy of these documents to the International Office upon arrival.
Do I need to take out French Social Security? What is the procedure?
If you are a non European student under the age of 28, you must subscribe to French social security. This is compulsory. It costs around 200 euros for one academic year. This subscription is effective from 1st October until 30th September of the following year (= French academic year).
Non-European students staying one civil year (January to December) have to pay twice (around 400 euros). The payment of the subscription must be done with a French cheque only (Aloha will help you open a bank account in France).
How much does it cost to be registered to the French Social Security?
Costs for 2012-2013: 177 €uros
If I am over 28, can I register to the French Social Security?
You are not able to take out the student social security as you are over the age limit. We recommend that you purchase private health insurance prior to your arrival.
What is the additional health insurance?
If you take out the French student social security health insurance coverage, this only covers around 65% of any medical expenses. You can purchase complementary student health insurance called a ‘Mutuelle’ which covers the final 30 to 35% of medical costs. The international office can help you purchase this additional health insurance which costs approximately 200€ (maximum) for your stay in France.
What are the school’s opening hours?
From 7:30 am to 9:00 pm.
Do we have to buy books?
Is there a library in the school?
Yes. It is called the « infothèque » one of each campus, students are able to access the databases through the Intranet system on and off campus.
Can I make photocopies at ESCEM? How much does it cost?
You will find black & white photocopiers in the Infothèque (3€/50 copies).
Students are each given an individual print quota of a total of 500 monochrome pages (please note that a color page = 2 monochrome pages). ESCEM is committed to sustainable development and all staff and students are encouraged to save paper.
Can I rent a laptop at ESCEM?
Should I bring my laptop?
If you have one, we recommend you to bring it with you.
Is there a Wi-Fi connection at ESCEM?
Do we use computers in class?
Yes, some professors will ask you to work on your computer in class.
Are there computer rooms?
Yes. One room is in building D. You can plug your laptop. You can also go to the computer rooms on the second floor of building A. They are open from 7:30 am to 9:00pm
Are there places in the school where I can print documents?
Printers are available in the computer labs.
What can I do if I have a problem with my laptop?
Student instructors can help you during their permanence hours normally at lunch time and late afternoon.
Are the computer labs open during the holiday?
Can ESCEM accept disabled people?
Yes. Wheel chair access is possible in all buildings but please inform the International Office as early as possible as not all accommodation would be suitable.
Can I have lunch in the school? Where can I eat? How much is it?
Yes, food outlets are provided on either campus. It normally costs around 4 €uros.
Can I drink and buy alcohol before 21 years old?
Yes the legal age to buy and consume alcohol in France is 18. It is not possible to drink strong alcohols at ESCEM, only low-alcohol beer and other beverages are permitted on campus.
Am I allowed to smoke in the school?
No, ESCEM is a smoke-free establishment.
Is it against the law to smoke marijuana?
Is evening entertainment organised for students at ESCEM?
Yes, you will have to look at the notice boards in the school.
Does the school organize trips to other cities in France?
With associations such as Aloha, you can sometimes go for short trips
Can I do sports with the school?
Yes, you have to register with the BDS (Student Sports Office)
Can I drive in France? Can I rent a car?
Once you are in France, you may want to discover the region. If you have a valid driving license, you can drive a car in France. It is compulsory for both drivers and passengers in the front and the back seats of cars to have their safety belts fastened when moving.
Drivers must not drink and drive. If you have more alcohol than 0.5g in your blood when driving, you will face serious punishment.
How can I open a bank account?
The members of Aloha will help you opening your bank account. In order to open a bank account in France, you will generally need the following documents:
- valid passport or identity card
- proof of student status
- proof of your address in France
When you open an account, remember to ask for:
- a check book
- a credit card if desired (you often have to pay for this service)
- a R.I.B (= relevé d’identité bancaire = slip showing your bank details, used for direct bank transfers such as the housing benefit).
Each bank has its own specificities. Make sure that you are fully aware of the different rates and conditions before opening your account. Once your account is open, it is not always easy to change banks, especially when you have a limited budget.
What time do the banks open? Same thing for the post-office?
For banks, it depends on the agencies.
For post offices, they are normally open from Monday to Friday (9:00am to 7:00pm)
Can I have a mobile phone?
The Student Union Aloha usually helps students if they want to buy a mobile phone when they arrive to Poitiers. Many students only buy a French SIM card & prepaid credits.
Students can also purchase International telephone cards to call abroad. You also have the possibility to receive calls in public telephone cabins.
If I have an accident, what happens?
If necessary, you will be taken to hospital. You will receive the bill 2 months later on for any expenses that may have been incurred. The International Office will help you with the administrative procedure at the hospital.
Does the school have a nurse or doctor on campus?
If I am ill, where can I go?
You will have to make an appointment with a doctor. The consultation usually costs between 20 and 30 euros. You have to pay by cash. If you need to see a doctor, you can go to « Médecine Préventive », a student health center located outside the city center, next to the university.
Do French doctors speak English?
Only a few doctors speak English in Poitiers and Tours. The International Office will be able to give you names and addresses.
How much is a consultation?
Between 20 and 30 €uros. It can be more expensive if you see a dentist or a specialist doctor depending on the cure.
Can I be reimbursed?
If you are European, you can be partially reimbursed while in France thanks to your European card. If you are non European, you will be asked to subscribe to French health insurance and therefore, you will be able to be reimbursed while in France too.
How can I meet a social worker or a psychologist if needed?
Ask the International Office and they will organize an appointment for you. There is a social worker who comes to ESCEM once a month
You can also go to the Médecine Préventive.
If I am under medication before leaving for France what should I do?
We encourage you to talk to your personal doctor before your arrival, he may be able to give you some advice on the prescription you will need. Bring all the documents with you.
What are the emergency numbers?
15: free call for the emergency service (SAMU)
17: free call for the Police
18: free call for the fire brigade
118000: operator (the Enquiries)
What should I do if my belongings are stolen?
You have to go to the police station and make a declaration. The International office can help you in this procedure.
What should I do if I lose my passport during vacation outside of France?
You will have to contact your consulate in France in order to ask for a new one.
How can I find accommodation in Poitiers?
You can find accommodation by yourself or ask the international office to help find accommodation for you. In this case, you will have to send back an accommodation form as soon as possible.
What kind of accommodation can I find in Tours or Poitiers?
- Furnished single rooms
- Accommodation owned by private landlords
- Halls of Residence (University dorms)
How can I confirm my reservation?
You have to send an email to the International office.
Students who will have private landlords will have to pay the deposit before your arrival (bank transfer).
Can the International office find a place for me and my family for the whole semester?
It is possible but you have to make a special request in advance.
If I stay for the whole academic year, can I change the accommodation at the end of the first semester?
Yes, it may be possible.
If I don’t like the room offered by the International office, what can I do?
You have to find another accommodation by yourself. Exchange with another student may be possible but may only be done on an exceptional basis.
Can I live in a hall of residence?
We have a limited number of rooms available in halls of residence. You must return your accommodation form as soon as you can.
Will the lease available in English?
No, but a member of the Aloha team will help you read all the documents.
How much will the rent be?
It varies from 250 euros to 450 euros for a single furnished room.
What guarantee do I have to provide?
You always have to pay a deposit (one month’s rent) upon arrival.
Do I have to subscribe to a housing insurance?
For a limited number of accommodation option, the housing insurance is included in the rent.
What is included in the rent?
The monthly rent is arranged in advance with the landlord and it usually includes all taxes & bills (water, heating, electricity, gas, local taxes). This avoids the students to be in charge of all these matters. If you find accommodation by yourself, these charges will have to be paid separately.
Do I have to bring linen and crockery?
Normally, you have to provide your own linen but it will depend on the accommodation. Please contact the International office for more information
Do all the accommodation options have internet access?
Is there a phone socket in each room?
What should I do if I break something in the room?
You should warn the landlord, pay or replace the broken thing. He might retain a part of the deposit when you leave.
If I arrive on mid-month, will I have to pay for the whole first month?
Can I have my family stay with me in the accommodation?
No. Your family will have to stay in a hotel. Please note that the rooms allocated are rented to only one person.
If I decide to arrive one month before the first day of class, is it still possible for the International office to find accommodation for me?
Normally the accommodation proposed by the International Office is available a couple of days before the beginning of classes only. Residences are closed during summer and Christmas break.
If I arrive early, can I leave my luggage in the room?
You will have to double-check with the International office. If you stay in halls of residence, it is not possible.
When can I get settled in the accommodation?
If you are allocated a room in a Hall of Residence, please note that they are closed during summer and they open around September 1st. The office opening hours are 9:00 am – 4:30 pm which means that if you arrive after 4:30 pm in Tours or Poitiers, you will have to spend the first night at the youth hostel or a hotel.
Can I live on my own?
If you specify this request in advance, yes.
Can I have French housemates?
You have to specify this request in your accommodation form; however, the international office provides rooms for International students, not French students.
When do I have to pay the rent?
Before the 5th of each month.
Am I eligible for housing benefits?
European students and non-European students with the OFII validation of the visa are able to claim for housing benefits (on the condition that the current legislation is renewed). You must provide a birth certificate translated in French and you must open a French bank account too.
How can I claim for housing benefits?
You need to apply online.
What happens if I can’t pay the rent?
You will be obliged to leave the accommodation.
What happens if my landlord wants me to move out before the end of the semester?
Contact the International Office immediately.
What happens if I don’t get on well with my housemates and I want to leave the accommodation?
If you have signed a lease and you want to leave the accommodation before its term, we remind you that it is imperative to give notice on time. If you move out before the term, you will lose your deposit and that month’s rent.
What happens if I don’t give notice one month before my departure?
You will lose your deposit.