France Introduces 5-Year Visa Program for Indian Students, Clarifies Work Permit Misconception

France has unveiled a new visa initiative aimed at attracting Indian students, following the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the nation. Contrary to some media reports, the program does not offer a work permit. The move is intended to bolster cultural and educational ties between the two countries.

Under the newly introduced program, Indian individuals who hold a Master’s degree or higher and have completed a minimum of one semester studying in France are eligible to apply for a 5-year Schengen visa. This “short-stay” visa, as described by the French embassy in India, allows for stays of up to 90 days per visit within the Schengen zone. However, it does not confer residency status, the right to work, or assistance in job hunting.

Despite some misinterpretations in the media, the visa program is not a post-study work permit, as seen in various other countries. The primary goal of this initiative is to boost tourism and facilitate short-term business trips within the Schengen area, rather than providing an avenue for extended work experiences following completion of studies.

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It’s important to note that the 5-year Schengen visa applies exclusively to Indian alumni who possess a Master’s degree or higher, or those who have completed at least one semester as an exchange student at a French institution. The program is not applicable to undergraduate students.

The French embassy in India has clarified that the country does indeed offer a separate post-study work visa. Indian students who have graduated from French universities with a Master’s degree or higher are eligible for a two-year post-study work visa. France’s ambition is to host 30,000 Indian students by the year 2030, building upon the 10,000 Indian students who were welcomed into its universities in 2019.

The new visa program highlights France’s commitment to fostering educational ties with India while dispelling any misconceptions about the scope and intent of the initiative.

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