PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS PAGE IS NOW OBSELETE.
THE GOVERNMENT PASSED A FEW CHANGES TO THE LAW COVERING THE APS WHICH WENT INTO EFFECT LAST MARCH 2019. 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.
- Be in possession of a valid student residency permit (titre de séjour étudiant)
- A diploma equivalent to a masters degree
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.
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):
- Three (3) passport pictures
- Your current student ID
- 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.
- Some would request for a proof of accommodation (justificatif de domicile)
- Additional requirement (not on the official list): a “cover letter” of sorts, in French, that states why you would like to stay in France.
- 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:
- You can travel around the Schengen area with the APS.
- 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.
- Have a translation of your APS in in English (or your native language) handy in case of any issues with immigration in other countries.
- 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
- 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.
Once again, bring as many documents as you can when applying so as to avoid being refused the APS. The more, the merrier!