Information for newcomers

Welcome to ED 560 STEP'UP!

Here you will find some information on the mandatory actions you need to fulfill to start your PhD in Paris (VISA, Housing, Social Security and Healthcare, Academic registration) and some additional links that may be useful for you. For your PhD, you will be enrolled in one of the academic institutes of our ED (Paris-Diderot, SU, ENS or IPGP) and you will perform your research in one of the laboratories (APC, AIM, Géo-ENS, IPGP, LPNHE, LPTHE).

Welcome information for foreign students in the Universities

• Paris-Diderot : (in French)
• SU : Welcome desk for PhD, with special assistance for foreigners (in French)
• ENS/PSL (a very complete guide for everyone!):


All the information is available on the official site for France

You will also find out here whether you need a VISA and, if you do, when you need to start the procedure for application.

Social Security and Healthcare

If you have a doctoral fellowship (Contrat Doctoral) or another type of work contract, you are automatically registered for general Social Security. Your employer (University or IPGP) pays your contributions for you. [this is going to change in 2018!]

If you do not have a work contract (foreign PhD fellowship) and you are under 28 years of age, you must register for Social Security when you enroll at the university. It costs approximately 250 euros per year. If you do not have a work contract and you are over 28, you must take private health insurance, at your expense. This is not compulsory if you are from the EU, Schengen area, Switzerland or Canada. Before leaving your country, ask for a European Heath Insurance card or the Heath Form provided by the international protocol with France.

Social Security provides only partial coverage of medical expenses. A larger amount of reimbursement may be obtained by subscribing a private complementary health insurance, or mutuelle.

Information on how to find doctors and healthcare is available on the Campus France website



Finding housing in Paris may take a long time, make sure you think about it well ahead of your arrival! Detailed information on housing opportunities for students is provided on the Campus France website

Further information
- National Agency for Housing Support, ANIL (in French)
- Student Housing in Paris (in French)

Specific housing support in the Universities of our Doctoral School
- Paris Diderot :
- Sorbonne Universités :
- PSL :

Opening a bank account

Some operations are only possible if you own a bank account in France: reimbursement for medical expenses, receiving your salary, etc. Get in touch with the bank of your choice to find out which documents you need to provide. Usually, you need to prove that you live in France (see Housing) and that you have a salary. There is no specific support from the institutes or the laboratories for this. You may ask your thesis supervisor for help. Prior to your arrival, if you already have a bank account in your home country, check with your bank to find out if they have some agreement with a French banking partner organization, as this would simplify the whole process.

Learning French


France offers a system of public nursery for children from 2,5 months to 3 years old. You have to apply in the city hall or directly to the nursery. The fees are calculated according to the household income. "Assistantes maternelles" provide childcare for young children in small groups, on a regular basis. Public school is open to all residents, from the age of 3. After-school care (typically from 4:30 to 6:00 PM and on Wednesdays afternoon) is provided at very moderate prices, depending on the income. Details on (in French)

If you have a doctoral fellowship (Contrat Doctoral) or another type of work contract, the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales (CAF, provides some financial support for childcare.

Several websites or agencies allow to search for private childcare solutions, on a regular basis or for occasional events.

Welcome desk Paris

Every year from August until November, the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris (CIUP) and the CROUS de Paris run with the support of City of Paris and Ile-de-France Region a welcome service for international students. The objective is to enable foreign students to perform all the administrative steps necessary for their stay for studies in France. Information can be found on