UniversitiesStudy for Free in France: Bachelor's and Master's Degrees Now Available Under...

Study for Free in France: Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees Now Available Under New Immigration Law

France has recently implemented a new immigration law that allows international students to study for free bachelor’s and master’s degrees at public universities. This groundbreaking policy aims to attract top global talent and provide world-class education regardless of a student’s financial background.

Overview of the New French Immigration Law for International Students

Effective January 2024, France opened up free higher education at public universities to all international students through a new immigration law called the “Bienvenue en France” (Welcome to France) visa program.

This new law allows international students to apply for a multi-year residence permit for the duration of their bachelor’s or master’s degree studies in France. Once admitted to a qualifying French university master’s or bachelor’s program, students can obtain the “Bienvenue en France” long-stay visa and residence permit.The key benefits of the “Bienvenue en France” visa include:

  • No tuition fees at French public universities
  • Multi-year residence permit for the length of the academic program
  • Part-time work rights to supplement living expenses
  • Easy application process conducted entirely in English
  • Post-study work and permanent residency opportunities after graduation

This groundbreaking French policy aims to increase France’s global talent pool by removing financial barriers to world-class education. It presents a life-changing opportunity for international students to earn free degrees at renowned French institutions and immigrate long-term to France after graduation.

Why Study in France is Now Extremely Appealing for International Students

France has long been a popular study abroad destination, renowned for its rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and leading universities. But the introduction of free tuition and multi-year visas under the new law makes France extremely attractive for price-sensitive international students.In addition to waived tuition fees, France offers very low costs of living compared to other top global study destinations like the UK, US, Australia, and Canada.

Average international student budgets range from €850-1100 per month for accommodation, food, health insurance, transportation, and other expenses.The country also has a world-class public transportation system, so students can easily travel around France and neighboring European countries affordably. An extensive network of low-cost intercity buses and budget airlines like Ryanair provide cheap mobility options.

These low costs coupled with access to highly ranked, research-intensive universities propels France to the top tier of global study abroad destinations in terms of value-for-money. International students can now achieve prestigious French degrees that dramatically improve their career prospects, without taking on massive student debt.

Overview of Free Public University Degree Programs Now Accessible

France’s public university system is extensive, with over 70 universities offering nearly 3,000 English-taught programs spanning a wide range of subjects. These public universities do not charge tuition fees for bachelor’s and master’s degrees, which sets France apart from countries that saddle students with exorbitant higher education costs.Under the new law, international students worldwide can study for free in English or French-taught bachelor’s degree programs at leading French universities.Nursing Abroad business proposal 770x384 1

Fields of study include:

  • STEM subjects like computer science, engineering, physics, chemistry, life sciences, and mathematics
  • Business and economics degrees including finance, accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurship
  • Social sciences and humanities such as political science, international relations, sociology, education, linguistics, arts, and more

At the master’s level, over 1,500 programs across all disciplines are fully available in English. This allows non-French speakers access to prestigious master’s degrees in highly sought-after fields like:

  • MBA and business master’s programs offered by institutions like INSEAD, HEC Paris, Grenoble EM, and Audencia
  • Engineering and technology master’s degrees in leading French technology institutes
  • Masters in finance, economics, and data analytics that lead to lucrative careers
  • Life sciences master’s programs in top biomedical research universities
  • Masters in computer science, AI, and cybersecurity that align with fast-growing industries

The broad range of bachelor’s and master’s programs on offer means international students have excellent flexibility to choose degrees that fit their academic strengths and career ambitions.

How to Apply for the “Bienvenue en France” Long-Stay Visa

To benefit from free higher education under the new French immigration law, international students must secure the “Bienvenue en France” long-stay visa and multi-year residence permit. This is a straightforward 5-step process:

Step 1) Apply and gain admission to a qualifying French public university program at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

Step 2) Submit an online “Bienvenue en France” visa application including proof of university admission, passport, and bank statements showing you have sufficient funds (approximately €620 per month) to support your cost of living throughout the degree program.

Step 3) Attend an in-person interview at your nearest French consulate. They will verify your documents and may conduct additional background checks.

Step 4) Obtain approval and pick up your “Bienvenue en France” long-stay visa from the consulate. This allows you to enter France and apply for your residence permit.

Step 5) Once in France, apply at the local prefecture for your multi-year residence permit that covers the length of your academic program plus an additional year after graduation. This permit allows you to legally live, study, and work part-time in France throughout your degree.The “Bienvenue en France” visa application is free of charge and conducted entirely in English to increase accessibility for international students.

The streamlined process makes studying in France easy and stress-free even before you arrive on campus for orientation and registration.Nursing Abroad Grad morter board girl 750 x 493

Top Free Public Universities in France to Target

With over 70 public universities to choose from across France, identifying the top institutions can help prospective students narrow their options. Here are the highest-ranked public universities in France offering English-taught bachelor’s and master’s degrees that are now accessible for free under the new immigration law:

1. Sorbonne University

As part of the iconic University of Paris system, Sorbonne University is France’s highest-ranked public university. It is ranked #36 in the world and excels in arts, languages, humanities and social sciences.

2. University of Strasbourg

Based in the vibrant border city of Strasbourg, this university ranks among the top 150 institutions globally. It has particular strengths in humanities and social sciences degrees.

3. University of Bordeaux

Located in the famous wine region of Bordeaux, this public university ranks in the top 300 worldwide. It offers innovative degrees in life sciences, computer science, engineering, business, and social sciences.

4. University of Montpellier

With roots dating back to the 13th century, the University of Montpellier offers degrees across arts, sciences, business, and law. The university and city attract students interested in the vibrant Mediterranean lifestyle.

5. Grenoble Institute of Technology

Specializing in science and technology disciplines, Grenoble Institute of Technology ranks among the top 400 universities globally. Students have access to degrees across engineering, computer science, natural sciences, and more.

This list shows the immense quality and variety among highly ranked public universities in France that now offer free tuition to international students. From world-famous institutions like the Sorbonne to leading technology institutes like Grenoble, France provides premium higher education opportunities across diverse subject areas.

Four Key Tips to Maximize Your Free French Degree Experience

If you secure your “Bienvenue en France” visa and gain admission to study for free at a French public university, keep these tips in mind to make the most of your overseas higher education experience:

1. Learn basic French – Take French language classes in your home country or online before arriving in France. Mastering basic conversational French will help you navigate daily life, make local friends more easily, and show respect for French culture.

2. Immerse yourself on campus – Get involved with university clubs, sports teams, cultural groups, and social events on campus. These activities will help you meet diverse peers and have a vibrant student life experience.

3. Travel on weekends – Thanks to France’s excellent public transport and proximity to other major European destinations, travel on weekends and holidays to immerse yourself in European culture.

4. Build professional networks – France has one of the world’s largest and most innovative economies. Leverage university career services and internships to connect with French companies and build professional relationships that lead to attractive job opportunities after graduation.

Making the most of your free university experience in France by learning French, being socially engaged on campus, travelling across Europe, and networking for your future career will ensure you have a fulfilling, productive, and life-changing time as an international student.

Post-Study Work and Permanent Residency Opportunities in FranceNursing Abroad Accenture Students Graduates Content 724

A major benefit of the new “Bienvenue en France” visa is that it enables international graduates from French universities to stay in France for work after finishing their degrees. The multi-year residence permit students obtain with their long-stay visa remains valid for one additional year after the program end date printed on their university enrollment certificate.

Within this one year period, international graduates can apply for a “passeport talent” French work visa and residence permit that enables highly skilled graduates to live and work long-term in France after completing studies. After holding a “passeport talent” skilled worker residence permit and being employed full-time in France for 5 years post-graduation, international degree holders become eligible to apply for permanent French residency.

Permanent residents can continue building their careers in France long-term and enjoy the same rights as French citizens when it comes to healthcare, education, housing, and other services. Gaining French permanent residency also opens up future citizenship opportunities. So the “Bienvenue en France” visa allows students to unlock free bachelor’s and master’s degrees at renowned French universities as well as facilitated post-study work rights and permanent immigration.

Conclusion – France Now Rivals Top Global Study Destinations Thanks to New Visa Law

The groundbreaking “Bienvenue en France” law provides international students incredible access to free higher education at leading French public universities along with long-term residence and work rights after graduation. This policy thrusts France into the top tier of global study destinations thanks to its world-class yet tuition-free degree programs, lower cost of living than peer countries, and post-study pathways to French work visas and permanent residency.

If you are an ambitious prospective bachelor’s or master’s student looking for prestigious, affordable higher education with immigration opportunities, France undoubtedly warrants consideration as your top choice. The “Bienvenue en France” visa program removes financial barriers that previously made France inaccessible for many international students.

Now anyone worldwide with academic talents and drive can obtain coveted French degrees, immigrate to France, and join the next generation of highly skilled global workforce talent. So if you are ready to change your life trajectory and future career prospects through an affordable, world-class overseas education, take advantage of this historic opportunity and apply to study for free in France today!

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