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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings, new here, thinking of moving abroad (US to France). If anyone could help with my first (of likely many) questions, I would be grateful.

My husband and I would like to enroll in a language program (8 months to a year long) in Pau. We are also older folks. We would like to relocate there if all goes well.

Does anyone know whether you can get a (visitor) carte de séjour or a carte de longue séjour while still in France when the student visa is expiring/expires? We have an income and would not need to work. Really not keen on traveling back to the States to do it.

Thanks if you can help.

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In theory, there are limits on which types of residence permit (carte de séjour) you can change to or from while remaining within France. Different prefectures have different takes on which types of visas you can change status on. But, a "student" visa is actually intended for young people attending university or something like that. There is no reason you couldn't get a regular old visitor visa and then attend language school while on that titre de séjour.

I think the rationale is that, most younger students wouldn't qualify for a "visitor" visa because of the suspicion that they would be tempted (or have to) work - so the student visa gives them the right to go to school and to work a limited number of hours for "pocket money." On a visitor visa, there is no restriction on your attending language school or any other kind of classes. You do have to meet the requirements for financial resources (i.e. your pension) and medical insurance, but in your situation that's not really an issue. With a visitor visa, you can do your language school and then decide if you want to renew your carte de séjour (actually, your residence permit) or not and just stay on.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, there may be benefits that specifically accompany the student visa, but I will stay open to both. Meanwhile, I have queried the French consulate and the language program.

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Just one other note - I don't believe a student visa is renewable unless you enroll in another program. A visitor visa is pretty much infinitely renewable. And just be careful in that some of those "advantages" with the student visa may not be applicable to "older" students. (For example, eligibility for student health cover.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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