FAQ : MSc in IBD&C

Do I need a Visa to study in France?

  • You do NOT require a Visa…
    • IF you are a citizen from the EU[1];
    • IF you are from the European Economic region[2];
    • IF you are from Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland, San Marin and from the Vatican are exempted from the visa procedures for all the stays.
  • You DO need a Visa…
    For all those outside of the EU, a Visa is ESSENTIAL. If you still are unsure whether you need a Visa, here is a useful link to a list of French Consulates (pick the one closest to you), www.diplomatie.gouv.fr.

[1] Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the UK, Sweden, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia.

[2] The 15 countries of the EU plus Island, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Which Visa do I need ?

The MSc Fall semester lasts 4 months (October to January) and the MSc Spring semester (February to June) 4 months + your Master Thesis writing (July to September) 3 months, therefore you might need a Long-stay Visa if you come for the Spring semester + your Master thesis writing. Keep in mind, even with the Long-stay visa, you will still need to validate it within three months upon your arrival in France. A Tourist Visa (normally 3 months) is not sufficient, you will run the risk of being expelled from France, and any credits or diplomas earned while in France will NOT be recognized.

A long-stay Visa applies ONLY to France. In certain cases, the visa “FRANCE + 1 Transit SCHENGEN” allows you to come to France through the Schengen area.

How to apply for a Visa?

To obtain a Visa, you must apply through your country’s French consulate. The application procedure should not be left to the last minute, because it can take a longer period of time depending on each country’s rules and regulations.

Important: For students who do not reside in their country of origin, they must bring with them to the nearest consulate location proof of residence in the country where they submit their Visa application. For example, you are from Ecuador, currently residing in Germany. You apply for a visa at the French consulate in Germany while providing a proof of residence in Germany.

For more information regarding Visa instructions for your particular country, please consult the following links :

  • www.mfe.org
    Will provide you with the contacts of the French Embassies and Consulates abroad
  • www.diplomatie.gouv.fr
    Will give you all the useful information about getting a visa

What is the Schengen area?

Under the Schengen agreement, transiting from one country to another within the Schengen area is done without border controls. In fact, the Schengen visa makes it possible to visit all the countries in the Schengen area and to cross internal borders without further formalities.But be careful – the European Union and the Schengen area are two different zones! The list below will enable you to see the difference and check that the countries where you are planning to stay are all in the Schengen area.

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

When traveling outside France, you should enquire at the embassy in Paris of the country you plan to visit whether or not you have to apply for a visa. A French visa is only valid to enter France.

Who has to complete the OFII (Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration) procedure?

This procedure does not concern European Students (European Union, European Community or European Economic Area).

Students in possession of a Visa have to complete the OFII document (unless it is stated on the Visa itself that they do not have to undertake this procedure) and provide a copy of:

  • Their passport
  • Their Visa (with visible stamp of French customs)

This procedure authorizes International students to study in France and gives them access to the French education system. The OFII document can be downloaded from OFFI website: click here [FR].

You have within 3 months after your arrival to send these required documents to the Office in charge of the Immigration. There are many offices in Paris and the outskirts. In order to know which office you are allocated to, it is important to know the postcode of your mail address in France. This postcode gives you the department you are living in.
For example, if your postcode is 75014, your department will be “75” so you will be sent to the Office of department 75.

No document can be brought in body and dropped off at the Office desk. You will need to send them by post at the correct address as followed: click here [FR].
Once the documents are received and the approval given, you will be contacted to attend a medical appointment and get your Visa accepted.

What will it cost to spend a semester in Paris?

Preparing your budget for the whole duration of your studies is probably the most important thing you can do before leaving home. It is really vital to make realistic financial provision as there is no chance that you will obtain financial support from our School.

The cost of living in Paris is quite high and you normally find that living here is more expansive than in your home country. It is important that you plan your budget in advance and take into consideration all expenses you may have in Paris.

Estimate cost of living in Paris
  • It all depends if you stay alone or if you share your apartment. Average price 600 € to 1 100 €
  • Monthly pass (pass Navigo) for bus/metro 63€
Food, local travel, laundry, entertainment, etc.
  • Monthly at least 500 €

Do I need a subway pass for the duration of my stay?

  • There are some deals for using public transport in Paris and the suburbs. However they are only valid for a year. As you will be staying for a semester, we advise you to subscribe for a “pay as you go” card you will need to top-up when credit runs out of the card.
  • There are 5 different zones in the Parisian Area. Zone 1 represents the heart of Paris, Zones 2, 3, 4 and 5 are suburban areas. To travel around Paris and come to School, you will absolutely need Zone 1. Then you have to choose 1 or several additional zones if you are living outside of Paris (which is likely to happen to some of you).
  • The helpdesk at the train station will tell you which zones your need regardless of your situation. However, you cannot pick zone 1 and zone 5 separately. If you need Zone 5, you will have to subscribe to zones 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. It is the same for students needing zones 3 or 4.
Useful tips :
  • you can buy a card extension in case you need to go somewhere where your pass cannot take you because it is outside the zones you have paid for.
  • you can go anywhere you want at week-ends and during holiday periods without having to spend extra money.
  • we advise you to only pay for zones you really need (travel from your place to the school) as the 5 zones deal is expensive and will not be worth it from the use you will have of public transports.

How to apply for rental assistance (CAF) in France?

The French Government gives students who have low income some social aids for housing as the number of students’ residencies does not meet the market demand. If you are renting an apartment, you might be eligible to receive housing benefits.

It varies from €100 to €300/month and depends on the amount of the rent and the location of your flat.

  • The application form can be downloaded from internet:
    Click here

Only students who open a French bank account can perceive the money. Here are the banks close by the school : BNP Paribas and Société Générale.

Because of the large number of documents required and the huge number of students and family applying for CAF money it can take up to several months for the office to process your documents. Another thing to think about is that CAF will only pay your stipend starting in the second month that you live in an apartment.
In other words, we do suggest you to keep your bank account open for a few more weeks after your departure.

In addition to the application form, some documents will be required:

  • a copy of your bank statement (French ones)
  • a copy of the valid legal lease edited and signed by your landlord or landlady (it should state the duration of the stay, the address of the flat, your name and the amount of the rent)
  • details about your net income for the previous two years

You will have to send these documents by post to the office of your department. To find out the address, you should type “agence caf + the number of your department” on Google.

This does not apply to people sharing flats (1 application per flat ONLY) or subrenting a flat.

  • More information (Paris Unraveled Blog - “Are you eligible to receive CAF Rental Assistance?”)

How do I open a bank account?

Opening a French bank account can be very useful in order to get and transfer money to France and to do daily financial operations. Actually, credit card is largely used in France even for paying small amounts of money.

Opening a bank account in France can become a difficult and time consuming process due to the banking regulations. In order to make the process easier you should :

  • Check if your home bank has a partner bank in Paris. If so, you should be able to open a bank account with them with relative ease.
  • If your home bank does not have a partner bank in Paris do not worry. There are a lot of banks in Paris for you to choose from. You can visit several to find out the one offers you the best service.
  • Here the list of documents you have generally to present to the bank in order to open an account :
    • Copy of your passport (or identity card if you are an European citizen)
    • Your accommodation contract or declaration of residency in France- this must have :
      a - your name on it
      b - your address in France
    • School’s Final Certificate of Acceptance letter which shows your home (overseas) address

Should I learn French while I am in Paris?

Here are 4 good reasons to convince you to take French lessons while you are in Paris :

  • It’s spoken all over the world : French is spoken by more than 260 million people on five continents. It is the official language, or one of the official languages, of 70 nations. It’s also the second-most commonly studied foreign language, after English.

  • It’s the second language of international relations. French is one of the official (and working) languages of the United Nations (including UNESCO), the European Union, the International Olympic Committee, NATO, OECD, and the International Red Cross.

  • It’s the key to a vast and growing cultural treasure. French is the international language of the theater, dance, architecture, haute cuisine, and fashion. Knowing French gives you direct access to the great literature, films, and songs of French and francophone culture.

  • And last but not least, it’s a good way to get to know more people who might become your close friends and some may even be your future business partners.

So we highly recommend that you learn French while you are in Paris, especially since we are arranging French courses for you. You will be asked a financial contribution of 95 € to cover just one part of the costs. During the first week upon your arrival, you will be taking a test to evaluate your level. You will then attend a 20 to 24 hour course with other international students.

What are the breaks and the Public holiday in France during the Fall and the Spring semester ?

Fall Semester which starts first week of October and ends mid-January
  • November 1st : All Saints Day
  • November 11th : Armistice Day 1918
  • Christmas Break : two weeks including Christmas and New Year Eve
Spring Semester which starts first week of February and end mid-June
  • Half semester break : one week in April or May
  • May 1st : Labour Day
  • May 8th : Victory in Europe Day (End of hostilities in Europe in World War II)
  • Ascension Day (Thursday, 39 days after Easter)
  • Whit Monday (Monday after Pentecost)
  • July 14th : Bastille Day (National Day)
  • August 15th : Assumption of Mary

The French word for bank holiday/public holiday/legal holiday is “un jour férié”.

  • French organisations and businesses close on public holidays.
  • Although some shopping centres and grocers open for part of the day, the majority of shops do not.
  • Police stations and hospitals do not close.
  • When a public holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday, it is common to "faire le pont" by taking off the Friday or Monday to get a very long weekend. When this happens you may find businesses running on short staff or smaller family close their business for the full period.

Do you offer Orientation Programme for International Students?

At Novancia we organise two orientation sessions at the start of the first semester (October-January) and one orientation session at the start of the second semester (February- September). This is an interesting opportunity to meet the advisers, teachers, all of the support services open to international students at the School and a chance to meet your fellow international students. Valuable information is given about student life in Novancia and about the city.

What sports facilities are available at Novancia?

At Novancia you can join the sport association of the School. A variety of different activities are offered.

To become a member you need :

  • 1 ID picture
  • To fill in the membership form
  • A medical fitness certificate
  • To pay a membership fee of 25 €(trimester) and 50€ (full year)

Do I need a Social Security and Health insurance ?

Each and every foreign student attending a school or a university in France for a minimum of 3 months must have European Social Security, which includes health insurance (70% medical coverage).
Students may take additional health insurances from their own countries
Please find below details to plan your health coverage during your stay.


1- Mandatory European Social Security
  • Non-EU students under 28
    Students under 28 are required to take out French student social security, referred to as "Sécurité Sociale". This entitles the student to a reimbursement of up to 70 % of the standard price of medical expenses incurred and between 35% and 65% of the cost of most prescribed medicines. Eyeglasses and dental expenses are subject to different rates.

    Coverage for one year from October 1 to the following September 30, regardless of when the student enrolls, costs 211€ for 2015-2016. You must enter in the student social security scheme and pay the contribution before the end of your visa insurance.

  • EU students under 28
    If you live in one of the countries in the European Economic Area[1] or Switzerland : if you have a European Health Insurance Card (the public healthcare of your country of origin will take care of your medical expenses) or private insurance, you do not need to enroll in the student social security scheme.

    You must obtain your European Health Insurance Card before you leave for your studies abroad. Beware of the validity date of your card, it must cover the whole academic year.
    You can find out more about the EHIC on the website:
    Click here

    [1] List of EEA countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus (Greek part), Denmark, Spain, Estonia, France, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway.

  • Students from Quebec
    Students who are nationals of Quebec must arrive in France with the SE-401-Q-102-bis form, or the SE-401-Q-106 form (which can be obtained from their local Social Security Office at home). These forms give dispensation from joining student requirements in the French social security system. Students must take this form, and particulars of their bank account, to your local Social Security Office in Paris to claim back medical expenses.

    In the event of sickness, the French National Health Security “Sécurité Sociale" - refunds a certain percentage or your expenditure based on set charges called "tarifs de base (TB)" or "tarifs conventionnés (TC)". You bear the remainder of the expenditure unless you have taken out a complementary health insurance that will pay the balance.

  • You are not eligible for cover by the Student Social Security Scheme.
    • If you are over 28 years old on the 1st of October
    • If you are coming to France and staying less than 3 months
2- Additional Health Insurance

Novancia Business School Paris requires international students to subscribe to an insurance covering the following liabilities:

    • repatriation assistance,
    • civil liability,
    • individual accident,
    • medical costs following an accident (medical, paramedical, surgical, pharmaceutical and hospitalization fees).
  • ACS insurance
    If these liabilities are not included in your private (home) contract (the European Card does not cover them) you can subscribe to the ACS insurance (a good quality-price ratio) for 14 €.

    For more information and subscription of your ACS insurance:

    Password: cciparis

  • Complementary health cover in France
    Students may also subscribe to a top-up complementary health insurance policy to ensure optimal reimbursement of healthcare expenses. These policies may cover up to 100 % of the difference between “sécurité sociale” coverage and the actual medical expenses.
3- Useful tips
  • Medical Center for Students
    You are free to choose any doctor you like in France, however, always telephone for an appointment. Social security reimbursements depend on the status of the doctor you are visiting. The doctor will fall into one of the following categories and it is worth checking before making your appointment.

    • ‘‘Conventionné’’
      State fixed price/consultation: 75% social security - 25% mutual insurance

    • ‘‘Conventionné à honoraires libres’’
      Varying price/consultation: 75% social security- 25% mutual insurance

    • ‘‘Non conventionné’’
      Set their own price per consultation and reimbursement by the social security is low, check what your mutual insurance will pay for or this could be an expensive visit!

      Address: Medical Center for Student
      12, rue Viala – 75015 Paris
      M°6 Dupleix

  • How to get refunded?
    You need to open a bank account in France. That will be possible as soon as you get a proof of residence in France.

What is a “medical certificate” and why do I need one?

A medical certificate (certificat médical) is given by a GP (General Practitioner) after a medical appointment. This certificate states that you are in good health in order to practice any kind of sport.

This medical certificate is obligatory for any student who is willing to register for Novancia sports club or for any sport club outside the school.

The medical center before the school will receive you and give you a medical certificate. However, in order to get some reimbursement, you have to make sure that you are in possession of either your European Health Insurance Card or your private insurance.

Do I have to attend school every day ?

Once you have entered the MSc programme you should expect an average of 15 hours of class per week.​ Classes are 3 hours long and include one or two breaks. You will either take 5 or 6 modules according to the semester you spend in Paris. Each module includes 30 hours face to face and 30 hours of personal and group work.

In other words, you will not have to attend school every day unless you wish to study in the library or to go to the gym.

Attendance to class is compulsory.