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Life in Paris / practical information

This section provides answers to your questions about life in Paris away from work on your doctoral project. Primarily aimed at doctoral candidates from outside France, it provides help and support for all candidates in areas such as accommodation, health insurance, banking, and cultural events and activities on offer at UPMC. 

  1. Residence permits
  2. Practical advice before you leave home 
    1. Money
    2. Useful documents for your stay in France
    3. Spouses and children
  3. Training in french as a foreign language
    1. Before leaving home
    2. After registering for a doctorate at UPMC

Residence permits

The following visa requirements apply to foreign (non-French) candidates coming to France to undertake a doctorate at UPMC on a short- or long-stay basis: 

− Citizens of EU and EEA countries as well as Swiss nationals may enter France with a passport or identity card that is valid for the duration of their stay, without needing to a apply for an entry visa or residence permit.

− Citizens of other countries must apply for a visa from the French consular authorities in their own country. 

Depending on how your doctorate is being funded, your visa will fall into one of the following categories (and must be marked accordingly):

  •  “RESEARCH SCIENTIST”,if you are a salaried employee holding a French employment contract (for example a doctoral contract, a CIFRE (business-education partnership) contract, or a fixed-term contract) for your doctorate in France. 

Note that in such cases it is still possible to hold a “student” visa if you have obtained a temporary work permit (autorisation provisoire de travail) from the foreign employment department of your local DIRECCTE office before starting work (DIRECCTE is the French government agency that oversees compliance with labour market regulations).

  •  “STUDENT”, if you are coming to study in France, and you are in receipt of a grant from your own government or from the French government, or from a research institution or programme, or if you are receiving a salary in your country of origin.

Don’t forget to renew your visa (which is also valid as your residence permit) 2-5 months before it expires.

Your visa/residence permit provide evidence that you have a legal right to remain in France. Under French law, you must carry such documents with you at all times, and you are committing an offence if you do not renew your residence permit before it expires.

− Candidates from Algeria are not covered by the above visa requirements. A specific regulation applies to Algerian nationals: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F2215 (only in french).

To find out more, check out the FAQ for international doctoral candidates.

Practical advice before you leave home 

Before leaving home, make sure you have the money and documents you need (the list provided below is not exhaustive).


Make sure you bring a minimum amount of cash in Euros, or an international credit card, with you to France, so that you are able to make any initial purchases needed while waiting for your first salary or grant payment, or your first bank transfer from your home country.

Useful documents for your stay in France

  • Your passport
  • Identity photographs (passport-sized photos)
  • Your birth certificate*
  • Your family record book, marriage certificate or certificate of divorce*
  • The original hosting agreement signed by the person in charge of the approved research institution and by the French Consulate in your country. 
  • Your academic qualifications*

Spouses and children

You should bring the same documents for spouses and children, plus the following:

  • Children’s health and vaccination booklets,
  • Children’s school records.
  • Evidence of family income for the past tax year (latest tax notices, pay slips).
  • European social security card (EU citizens),
  • Or a form from your healthcare insurance provider,
  • Or, if you have already been registered under the French social security scheme, your existing certificate of social security coverage,
  • Or a private health insurance certificate and/or certificate of repatriation assistance.

*You will be required to present these documents, translated into French by a certified (sworn) translator. A list of certified translators is available from your local French Embassy or Consulate. You can also have these documents translated in France. Translators’ details can be found on the following website: http://www.ceticap.com/. (french)

Please keep a copy of all documents, as well as the originals, in case of loss or theft. 

Training in french as a foreign language

UPMC, as a science and medical university, does not provide any specific teaching in French language and culture. Nevertheless, here are some helpful tips.

Before leaving home

Contact the French Embassy, the Alliance Française or French cultural institutions in your home country to find out about courses in French as a foreign language.

After registering for a doctorate at UPMC

UPMC’s International Relations Department offers two types of French-language training courses, for which fees are payable:

-   French as a foreign language courses delivered on campus during the academic year (between two and seven hours per week, plus options for guided independent learning, over one or two semesters, depending on your level).

-   Intensive courses comprising a total of 30 hours of teaching (two hours per day over a three-week period in January and August).

Click here to find out more or to sign up for French-language training (only in french)


The Training and Careers Department also offers training in communication for non-French native speakers


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