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PHD students: scientific or student visa?

PHD students that are enrolled at Sorbonne University and that are financed by a scholarship need to ask for a student visa/titre de séjour.PHD students that are enrolled at Sorbonne University and that have a contract can chose between the student visa + authorization to work or the scientific visa/titre de séjour.

The authorization to work has to be asked at the « Direction régionale des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi (DIRECCTE) ». This authorization allows you to work full-time (while your student residence permit only allows you to work half time). For further information on this authorization to work, go to http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/F2729.xhtml.


A change from a student residence permit to a scientist residence permit is possible but it is not an obligation.


Why then change the status from “student” to “scientific”?


A scientist residence permit allows to:

- work full time without having to ask for an authorization to work
- hand the documents to the Welcome Office of Sorbonne University. Researchers who live in Paris don’t have to go to the prefecture.
- in case of a professional visit abroad the dossier at the prefecture can be accelerated with an “ordre de mission” from Sorbonne University. This document can be asked at the lab and has to be handed to the prefecture.
- After the first year the scientific residence permit can be valid for several years (case of researchers who can present a contract for several years).
- The partner of the researcher with a scientific research residence permit can ask for a residence permit that allows him/her to work full time.

Attention: If you live outside of Paris you can get the convention d’accueil from Sorbonne Université but you have to hand in your documents to the prefecture of your department. You cannot pass by Sorbonne Université.


The disadvantages of the scientist residence permit:

- The office for researchers at the prefecture de Police needs 3 months to hand you the first recepisse. However the stamped convention d’accueil allows you to be paid during that time
- The first change to a scientific residence costs 241€ and the renewal of the title costs 85€ or 113 if the card is valid for more than a year.
- CAUTIOUS: PhD students who haven’t finished their thesis after the end of their contract will not be able to extend the status of « scientist » if their laboratory cannot provide them with a new contract. They will have to change their status anew into « student »
- While students can get a temporary authorization to work after having completed their studies, the scientific residence permit can only be extended with a concrete job proposition



If you want to keep your student visa, you need to ask for an authorization to work at the DIRECCTE.


If you live in Paris you can go to the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris (CIUP) to find the DIRECCTE (La Direction Départementale du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Formation Professionnelle de Paris) between September and November.

During the rest of the year you have to go here:
19 rue Madeleine Vionnet
93300 Aubervilliers
Ouverture : du lundi au mercredi, 9h30 a 12h
Mail : dd-75.moe @ direccte.gouv.fr

It is obligatory to take an appointment at the DIRECCTE.

If you don’t live in Paris you need to contact the DIRECCTE of your department. You can consult the following website to find their contact data::  http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/F2729.xhtml

Download the list of documents for the demand of authorization to work (28 KB).


If you are interested in changing your status from “student” to “scientific”, you need to bring the following documents to the International Welcome Office:

- demande de convention d’accueil
- your contract
- your last master diploma

Hanna Hertwig - 08/06/18

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    International Welcome Office


    Office 1605, Zamansky Tower, Jussieu campus


    Omar DIALLO
    Responsible for the Welcome Office
    +33 (0)1 44 27 41 16

    Mail ( omar.diallo @ upmc.fr)