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I'm considering learning French at France, and as a Japanese citizen I can stay for up to 90 days at the Schengen area without any visa.

Now, in order to obtain the student visa, I must go back to Japan (where I don't live in), do lots of paperworks and interview at the French embassy at Tokyo, and also get charged with a steep application fee. So I rather want to make the study period less than 90 days and study there without getting visa.

But is this possible or do I have to obtain a student visa even though the duration is less than 90 days?

  • What is your country of residence? – Traveller Nov 11 '18 at 9:26
  • @Traveller Mainland China – Blaszard Nov 11 '18 at 9:28
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    Schengen visa applications must normally be submitted in the applicant’s country of residence. Is there a reason why you believe you have to return to Japan to apply rather than apply in China? fr.tlscontact.com/cn/BJS/splash.php?l=en – Traveller Nov 11 '18 at 9:41
  • @Traveller It is not the Schengen visa but the student visa for France, which is only applicable to France. I have read I must apply from my own country; at least the working holiday visa must be applied from my own country even if I live in other countries, which was written at the Embassy website (I saw it when I was considering it but eventually gave up due to the reason). – Blaszard Nov 11 '18 at 9:47
  • fr.tlscontact.com/cn/splash.php?l=fr also indicates application from country of residence. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 11 '18 at 10:59
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You do not need a student visa. The Schengen regulations cover all short-stays in France no matter their purpose. You don't need one in your case but there is even a box “study” on the standard Schengen short-stay visa application form and your visa-free stay would be governed by the same rules.

Should you need a French long-stay visa for another purpose, note that applying from your country of residence (as opposed to your country of origin) is generally fine. Work-holiday visas are a very particular beast as they are rooted in bilateral agreements. There are also some special rules regarding student visas as many people have to apply online first.

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