Administrative formalities Excelia
Administrative support

To simplify student life and help you settle in to France, there are 2 teams at Excelia dedicated to international students. These teams look after more than 750 students of 72 different nationalities. The services they offer aim to facilitate both your academic and personal success as well as your personal development, throughout your studies in La Rochelle.

The International Admissions team offers personalised support, from your initial contact with the Group until your registration is finalised. Our multicultural team will not only help you with your admissions application, but provide valuable support to ensure your admissions tests go smoothly. In addition, the team will assist you with all your administrative procedures prior to your arrival in France such as:

  • putting together your registration papers
  • preparing you for the international admissions tests
  • helping you with the visa application procedure

Click here to contact the International Admissions team

The aim of Student Life is to help you settle in and assist you in your daily life. Our multilingual team is available at any time to support you and answer any questions you may have, once your registration is finalised, such as:

  • how to obtain a residence permit
  • looking for accommodation
  • how to register for social security
  • how to apply for housing benefit
  • how to open a bank account

Click here to contact the International Office

Prior to your arrival in France

Passport and Visa

Click here to go to the section ‘Applying for a visa’

Compulsory Insurance

Health insurance

Before leaving your home country, we strongly advise you to have a medical check-up and consult a dentist, to avoid any urgent treatment when you arrive in France.

All students must take out health insurance for their entire stay in France.

If you are coming to France for 4 months or less:

You will need to take out health insurance in your home country to cover you for your entire stay in France, whether for routine treatment, the purchase of medication or hospitalisation. 

If you are coming to France for more than 4 months, there are two scenarios:

  • Students from within the European Union

You must bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card is issued by the social security office in your home country. Remember to apply for it at least 4 weeks before your departure. With the EHIC card, you will be reimbursed by the health system in your home country for all doctor’s, medical and hospital expenses incurred in France. 

  • Students from outside the European Union

You will need to register with the French Social Security system as soon as you arrive in France. This process is completely free of charge. Once you have registered, you will receive a Social Security number followed by a Carte Vitale (health insurance card), which you can use when visiting the doctor or buying medication at a pharmacy. With this card, you will be reimbursed for most medical expenses in the same way as French citizens.

Note: Social security, also known as the CPAM (Caisse primaire d'assurance maladie) reimburses up to 70% of your healthcare expenses.


Additional health insurance

When you join the French health insurance scheme (Assurance Maladie), you will be reimbursed for up to 70% of all your healthcare costs (doctors, medication and hospital treatment). You can take out an additional health insurance policy to cover the remaining percentage. Our partner SMERRA will be available at the start of the academic year to talk to you about the various additional health insurance options available.

We strongly encourage all non-European international students to take out additional health insurance, particularly the ‘minimum’ cover which reimburses 100% of hospital stays. Students often ignore this complementary insurance, but accidents can happen and a day in hospital is expensive for students on a budget. For around €5 a month, you can take out minimum cover and be fully protected in the event of hospitalisation.


Other compulsory insurance

In addition to health insurance, all students must take out third-party liability insurance. Furthermore, students renting a studio or flat must also take out home insurance.


Prepare your arrival

Campus France advices you


Good to know

Most banks can arrange both Public Liability insurance and House insurance policies. We suggest that when you open a bank account, ask about a Public Liability insurance contract at the same time. There are many insurance companies in La Rochelle that can arrange Public Liability insurance for you, at a cost of around €80 per year.

For any questions concerning administrative formalities before your arrival in France, do not hesitate to contact the team at the International Admissions Office, who are there to help you.

Contact the International Admissions Office
After your arrival in France

Residency permits for non-European students

Students from outside the European Union

If you are a student from outside the European Union, you will need to apply for a student visa at the French Embassy located in your home country.
  • If you are planning on staying in La Rochelle for one year
    Before your departure, you must contact the French Embassy or Consulate in your home country to apply for a student visa. As soon as you arrive in France, regardless of your visa expiration date, you must validate your visa within 90 days of your arrival. This is done at the OFII (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration - French Office of Immigration and Integration). The process can take up to two months so we recommend you contact the International Office as soon as you can.

When you go to the Registrar to validate your visa, you will need to provide photocopies of the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • Your visa
  • Your entry stamp (you usually receive this stamp when you arrive at an airport in France)


  • If you are planning on staying in La Rochelle for more than one year
    You must apply for a residency permit (une carte de séjour) at least 2-3 months before the expiration of your visa (at the end of your first year of studies). The team at the International Office will provide you with the necessary paperwork to apply for a residency permit and will explain the whole process, as well as how to fill in your request. They will check your paperwork and then forward it to the La Rochelle Prefecture on your behalf.
Please note: Students from within the European Union do not require a residency permit. You simply need to have a valid passport or national identity card.

Opening a bank account

If you are planning on staying in La Rochelle for more than a few months, it is essential to open a bank account. Most of the major French banks have a branch near the campus (see list below) and are happy to welcome international students. 

At the beginning of each semester, representatives from one of the school’s partner banks have a promotional stand at Excelia. They will be happy to help you open an account.

  • BNP Paribas
  • Crédit Mutuel
  • Crédit Agricole
  • Société Générale
  • LCL
  • Crédit Maritime

Before leaving for France, it is also a good idea to speak to your bank in your home country, as they may have a partnership with a bank in France.

Documents required to open a bank account in France :
  • A copy of your passport
  • Proof of address in La Rochelle (your rental contract or proof that you are living with a host family e.g. a sworn statement from the family)
  • Your Excelia student ID card
  • Proof of enrolment at Excelia - known as "attestation de scolarité" (available via your WebGaïa account, go to: in My account > My administrative file > Enrolment certificate)