Staying in France after your studies – the Autorisation provisoire de Séjour (APS)

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT OVER THE SUMMER THE GOVERNMENT PASSED A FEW CHANGES TO THE LAW COVERING THE APS. THE APS HAS BEEN CHANGED IT INTO A FULL-FLEDGED “TITRE DE SEJOUR” FOR JOB HUNTING. THE UPDATED PAGE CAN BE FOUND HERE.
Updated on 6 DECEMBER 2018

The Autorisation provisoire de Séjour (or APS) is a one-year visa (with exceptions) that is granted free of charge to foreign (non-EU / Swiss) students who have recently graduated (or about to graduate) with a masters degree from a recognized French higher education institution. Some countries have specific agreements with France that would allow you to have special conditions regarding the APS (details below).

For more information on transitioning from a student/APS permit to a work permit, read this page.

CONDITIONS: 

  1. Be in possession of a valid student residency permit  (titre de séjour étudiant)
  2. A diploma equivalent to a masters degree
    1. The diplomas equivalent to a masters degree or enumerated on a list that is published by decree, which can be found here.
      Check with your school to make sure that your diploma is recognized.
    2. Countries with special agreements regarding diplomas and APS renewal are listed here (in French)

PROCEDURE:

The APS is done upon request (often without a need for appointment) at your préfecture (or the Préfécture de Police for Paris) up until the last day of validity of your current student permit.

TC the cat!TC says:
If the préfecture requires you to send the request via mail/post, make sure you send it via registered mail (called lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception in French) so that you have proof that you sent in the application before your student titre de séjour expires.

Based on the new law that was passed in 2016, you would have to apply for the APS the year you get your diploma (it seems that the interpretation varies: the year you finish your studies or the year you get the physical diploma).
(e.g. you finish your program in 2017, you would have to apply for the APS in 2017).

You would need the following documents (with photocopies, of course):

  1. Passport
  2. Three (3) passport pictures
  3. Your current student ID
  4. Your diploma
    –> Note that you most likely will not have this yet BEFORE your visa expires. You can submit to the préfécture an attestation de réussite (a certificate of completion) and usually this suffices.
    –> Some have been required to go back with their actual diplomas. So double check.
  5. Some would request for a proof of accommodation (justificatif de domicile)
  6. Additional requirement (not on the official list): a “cover letter” of sorts, in French, that states why you would like to stay in France.
    1. This document is not in the official list but has been requested from many students. It need not be detailed but they ask it from you even though it has been removed from the requirements last year.

The APS is granted for a one-year period (some prefectures give it to you for 6 months, and you can renew it once) free of charge.

The delay before the prefecture makes it decision is supposed to be 4 months. Some grant it right away, some take two weeks, some take longer.

RIGHT TO WORK:

  • The APS gives you a right to search for a job and work for the entire duration of its validity, and is valid for ALL employers.
  • In much the same way as you would as a student – 20 hours a week (part-time) for one year. The alternative is 35 hours a week (full-time) for 6 months).
  • If you find a job that is related to your diploma, you can work full time, but it should be 1.5 times the minimum wage
    • As of this writing, minimum wage is EUR 9.76/hour gross or EUR 1480.27/month.
    • Thus, your salary has to be at least EUR 14.64/hour gross or EUR 2220.40/month.
  • With the APS you can start working right away once you have signed the contract (if you do not have the APS, you cannot do this).
  • Afterwards, you have 15 days to make a request to change your visa to a temporary working visa. The process is the same as changing status from student to work permit. 

TRAVELING WITH THE APS:

(based on https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F12189)

There has been some confusion regarding the right to travel for the APS. Based on information I received, these are the conditions:

  1. You can travel around the Schengen area with the APS.
  2. You can LEAVE the Schengen area with the APS and come back.
    HOWEVER, I highly recommend that you LEAVE and RE-ENTER the Schengen area VIA FRANCE in order to avoid hassles.
  3. Have a translation of your APS in in English (or your native language) handy in case of any issues with immigration in other countries.
  4. Suggestion: keep a copy of this circulaire with you when you are travelling to facilitate re-entry into France, as well as a copy of the Schengen Borders Code and highlighting article 2 paragraph 16 and article 39 paragraph 1
    1. These two paragraphs from the Schengen Borders Code basically mention that the APS is a valid residence permit (art. 2 paragraph 16: since it’s issued by France) and that the circulaire also states that it was mentioned to the EU by the French government, according to art. 39 paragraph 1.

TC the cat!TC says:
Once again, bring as many documents as you can when applying so as to avoid being refused the APS. The more, the merrier!

—-

Source:

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389 thoughts on “Staying in France after your studies – the Autorisation provisoire de Séjour (APS)

  1. Amandeep Singh says:

    How long must i have studied in france to be eligible for the APS. In that, if my masters course is with a french university however it is a cooperation course with other EU nations with at least a semester in france and possibly another two depending on whether you get your internship in france and your dissertation supervised in france. Of course the case might be that you get internship in the partnering nation along with your dissertation supervised via a partnering university based in another EU nation.
    Would i still be eligible for APS if i am at the least getting one master certification from a french university.

    Like

  2. Ramana Tenneti says:

    Hello,

    Thanks for the information. Appreciate that.

    I need a clarification please. I am currently on a student visa (Expiring in August 2019) and my course gets over in May 2019. However, I will be getting my official transcripts in September (College can provide me with a letter confirming my grades by June though). I got a call from a company any they asked me when would I be getting my APS so that they can help me apply for work permit. Till then they would recruit me through a CDD contract.

    My questions are:
    1. Can I apply directly for APS now (before my student visa expires) or Is is necessary to apply for carte de séjour first and then APS?
    2. can I sign a CDD contract with my student visa ( since it would take time for me to get APS)?

    It would really help if you could clarify on this please.

    Regards
    Ramana

    Like

  3. Abhishek Ranjan says:

    I have done my masters in France now I am on my APS visa status and now I want go for further higher degree like P.H.D program here in France.
    Am I eligible to apply PhD program here in France ?

    Like

    • André says:

      Hi,

      I am unsure about my answer, but you could try. A PhD is not the same as a master’s program so the prefecture might consider it.

      I would ask them directly.

      Like

  4. Aman says:

    Hello.
    I will start master in Finance in September 2019. My course is not RNCP Certified but the school where I’m going to study is triple accredited. So my question is will I be eligible to apply for APS upon completion of my course without the course being RNCP certified. The course is of one year, 90 Credits.
    Thanks a lot for your help.

    Like

      • Aman says:

        Thank you very much for your reply and for this clarification. Is there any other option for the students to stay and search for a job after completing the master course if its not RNCP certified (something similar to the APS) ?

        Thank you

        Like

      • André says:

        Not for job searching, no. If you find a job before graduation, you can change status directly to employee…but you would have to go through the normal procedure and not have any of the advantages of the APS / job hunting titre de séjour.

        Like

  5. EUlaw says:

    Bonjour André!
    First, thank you so much for building this site. It is much more helpful than some of the official government sites. I hope you will continue to enhance it further.
    Second, I’d like to ask you about the APS particularly on the equivalent diplomas to a master’s degree. Do you know if an LLM program that is taught in English from a French university is accepted under this requirement?
    Lastly, if one graduated and acquired the LLM in May 2019 and then temporarily leaves France for a few months only to come back right before the student visa expires around September 2019, can he still apply for APS?
    Again, thank you for this very informative post.

    Like

    • André says:

      Hi,

      It depends on the school and the program. I do not know a lot about LLMs, but the general rule is that the program has to be on the official list of recognized programs to be eligible for the new job hunting permit (the APS is now defunct).

      For your second query, yes. As long as it’s still valid when you apply.
      (and the new law has changed this and it technically allows you to apply for a job hunting visa up to 4 years after you get your degree. But I have no feedback on this since it is brand new).

      Like

  6. Shiva says:

    Hi!

    Thanks for the information!

    Currently, I hold my APS visa but still yet to sign a contract, is the time period (15 days) mandatory to change the visa status to temporary visa? Also, is it mandatory to have a translation of APS before travelling within the EU?

    Kindly please advise me on the same as early as possible.

    Thank You!

    Like

    • André says:

      Hi Shiva,

      Yes, legally you have to do the change of status once you sign a contract that is within the parameters set forth for the change of contract with an APS (1.5x the minimum wage, etc.).

      No, no need to have a translation fo the APS when travelling within the Schengen area. It is a recognized permit.

      Like

  7. Felipe S says:

    Hello Andre

    I have a question. I just finished my master degree (waiting for the diploma) but I got the 16/08/2018 an extension of my carte de sejour pluriannuelle for 2 years (ending in 15/10/2020) I do not know why that much …. As I am technically done with my studies, DO I HAVE TO CHANGE TO APS?

    Another question, I am working with an interim contract by using the time of my student visa until the end of july (finishing the legal hours as student). If I change my student visa to APS in july, DOES THE COUNT START OVER AGAIN (talking about legal hours)? or WOULD I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE STATUS OF MY VISA CHANGES TO SALARIE TO WORK AGAIN? (i already found the company to work in CDD starting end of july)

    Thank you

    Like

  8. Dave says:

    Hi Andre,

    Thank you for the details of the APS situation.
    I have a situation, i recently applied for my aps as i got the APS from my prefecture in nanterre for 6 months.
    I dont understand why they didnt give me a 1 year APS.
    But coming to the point can you tell me little more about this job hunting permit?
    Also if i get a CDD for 6 months can i work on a APS or i need to apply for a temporary work permit?

    Thanks a lot.
    Dave

    Like

  9. MAQ says:

    Dear Andre,

    I know you have no feedback on the fresh changes in APS, infact I did my M2 from University Toulouse I, Capitole in 2015 and applied for APS in 2016 within validity of my carte sejour, however, I was denied to grant APS that time due to change of law – late application. Now, I found myself eligible to apply for APS on the basis of reply from Service-Public.fr, following is my correspondence with them for your reference.

    Bonjour,

    En réponse , vous pouvez vous rapprocher des services consulaires français pour vous diriger vers une demande de nouveau visa dans un cadre professionnel.
    Il vous est tout à fait possible de revenir , soit en tant que salarié, soit en tant que créateur d’entreprise.

    https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F16162
    https://www.service-public.fr/professionnels-entreprises/vosdroits/F22782
    http://www.ofii.fr/recruter-un-travailleur-etranger
    Cordialement,

    C. Morbois
    Service-public.fr

    Bonjour, J’ai fait le M2 de l’université de toulouse I, capitale en août 2015 et j’ai postulé pour un APS en 2016 (moins d’un an après le M2) pendant la validité de mon étudiant carte de sejore mais la préfecture a rejeté ma demande et ne m’a pas accordé l’APS. Je suis maintenant dans mon pays, le Pakistan, et j’ai appris sur votre site Web que votre loi en
    matière de carte de séjour – Recherche d’emploi / création d’entreprise a changé. Par conséquent, ma question est la suivante: “puis-je faire une demande d’APS en vertu de la nouvelle politique / loi? Vous recherchez votre réponse rapide et aimable, Cordialement,

    Now, my question is to you that if I’m eligible to apply then which kind of visa it would be in the category of long stay? and what documents I need to supply to French Embassy?
    Looking for your kind response,
    MAQ

    Like

  10. MAQ says:

    The exact reason of refusal was not applied in the year of passing my M2 i.e. in August/Sep. 2015 but I applied in August 2016 before the expiry of my titer de sejor in Sep. 2016. Well the given link states that under new law a graduate/M2 from France can apply for titre-de-sejour-recherche-demploi-creation-dentreprise and you have also mentioned it on your above cited page so If I’m not wrong a person graduated from France in last fours can apply for this kind of ctied visa??

    https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F17319

    This is what I understand from the given link, please guide.

    Like

    • André says:

      Right. Unfortunately, I think you ended up in a transition period between when the old law was still in effect and the new law was about to take effect. It would have been better if you had applied for the APS when you graduated and not upon the expiry of your titre de séjour (since it seems that the prefecture was using the law passed on March 2016 as the basis, which required that you apply for the APS the year you got your diploma).

      Yes, I am aware of what is in the link you gave me. Based on what I heard from lawyers (and this is based on their interpretation of the new law, and not in practice since the new titre de séjour recherche d’emploi is REALLY new), this applies only if you receive your diploma AFTER the creation of this new visa (hence, you should have graduated AFTER 1 March 2019).

      It seems that French consulates / embassies overseas aren’t issuing this visa yet and so nobody has any experience with it yet.

      Until then, I have to say that unfortunately, you are not eligible neither for the recherche d’emploi permit nor the new recherche d’emploi visa.

      Like

  11. Aditya Panikker says:

    Hi Andre!

    I currently have a student visa that expires in September. My Master’s course is for two years, where I study for a year and I complete my thesis during the second (2017-2019). Fortunately, I’ve found myself a job and am currently on a full-time CDD contract for 6 months (Feb 4th-August 4th, 2019) and the company intends to convert this to a CDI contract. I have a student visa that is valid until September 30th and will get my provisional degree by June end. Ideally, I would like to get my APS by August, so that the company can convert my contract to CDI, without me having to take any breaks.
    Is this possible? I have heard that it is easier and often cheaper for the company to give me a CDI contract if I have an APS, instead of them applying for a work visa directly.

    Thank you in advance and your blog has been really insightful! 🙂

    Regards,
    Aditya

    Like

  12. Riddhi bichu says:

    Hi André,

    I am currently a holder of the APS, I received my APS in November 2016 and have one that is valid for a year.
    I have completed my masters 2 from ESCE, and have been looking for a job since. Since I have done my master’s immediately after my Bachelors, I do not have much work experience and so finding a job has been tough. I was considering doing another internship and so I wanted to confirm if I could purchase a convention de stage online or elroll into another university.. could this be done under the APS? ( could I bypass the legality and undertake another internship despite having the APS?)

    Thanks a ton!

    Riddhi

    Like

    • André says:

      Hi Riddhi,

      I saw that you corrected the year to November 2018 (and not November 2016).

      The Prefectures consider that since you applied for the APS last November, you have finished your studies. You would need a student titre de séjour to enroll in a university / school, not an APS. Thus, as you very well know, what you are planning to do is illegal, and would not recommend it.

      The only way to do what you want to do legally is to return to your home country, apply and be accepted into another university, and come back as a student.

      Finding a job is really tough, but not impossible (been through it myself). Good luck.

      Like

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