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France updates travel guidance for incoming students

Over February and March, the French government has updated its travel guidance for foreign students entering the country to begin or resume studies.

Campus France has prepared a concise summary of the current guidance, which amounts to:

  1. Arrival requirements vary according to the country from which the student is travelling. France has established a two-tier scheme of COVID-19 risk classification, where “green countries” are those considered to have “negligible or moderate virus circulation”. “Orange countries”, meanwhile, are those with “active circulation of the virus, in the absence of an emerging variant of concern and showing no vaccine or immune escape.”
  2. Those arriving from green countries may enter France without restriction (although unvaccinated arrivals are required to rapid antigen testing before departure). Unvaccinated arrivals from orange countries are subject to additional testing and documentation requirements and may be required to self-isolate after arriving in France.

They must also provide evidence of a “compelling reason” to visit France, which, important to our context, may include:

  • Students registered in French language studies in preparation for higher education in France;
  • Students undertaking oral entry exams for French higher education institutions;
  • Students registered in a higher education institution for the academic year;
  • Researchers or teachers settling in France at the invitation of a research laboratory or a higher education institution, for “research or teaching activities imperatively needing physical presence”.

Orange countries are essentially all those not included on the “green” list, and currently include a number of important sending markets for French institutions and schools. Most notable among those are China and Algeria, the second- and third-largest source markets for France.

The French Ministry of the Interior provides additional detail on current green and orange country classifications as well as downloadable versions of the COVID-related declarations required for arriving travellers.

For additional background, please see:


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