FAQ – International students

I am an international student planning to come to ESPOL, what practical information should I know?

Visa requirements – How to get a visa

Students from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland do not need visas. You can enter and stay in France with your national identity card or your passport.

To know if your country is exempted from the visa procedure, check this website.

Housing – How to find housing in Lille

It is very difficult to find housing upon arrival in Lille, so we strongly recommend making sure that you have accommodation arranged before your arrival in France. There are two options:

  1. Stay in a university dorm

If you wish to book a room in a university dorm, all the information you need (list of dorms, description, rent price, housing application procedure, etc.) is available on the website of AEU (Housing Office) : www.aeu.asso.fr/en

Information and Contact : Service Logement  (Housing Office)  – A.E.U Association d’Entraide Universitaire, 47 Boulevard Vauban (second floor) – Lille – Tel : +33 (0)320 159 778 – E-mail : logement@aeu.asso.fr – Website : http://www.asso-aeu.fr– Facebook: facebook.com/aeu.com, Open from Monday to Friday : 8.30 am to 6.00 pm

Recommended housing application deadlines:

For a student exchange beginning in August/September (Fall semester), housing applications are open from January 1st. It is recommended to apply by April 30th.

For a student exchange beginning in January (Spring semester), housing applications are open from September 15th. It is recommended to apply by October 30th.

Check our Frequently Asked Questions on Housing for more details.

  1. Other housing options

These are some websites for students wishing to find housing outside the campus:



A guide of Housing in Lille (in French) is available on this website http://www.crij‐npdc.fr/site/wpcontent/uploads/2012/07/Guide‐logement‐2012.pdf



http://www.livinlille.com/ (service with fees)

Scholarships & financial aid: How to get financial aid to pay the tuition fees


Exchange students do NOT pay tuition fees at ESPOL : they are charged for the fees at their home university

You can ask for financial aid before/during your stay in France:


The Catholic University of Lille does not offer its own grants, but there are 3 types of grants available to international students:

Grants provided by the French Government:

They are offered by the French cultural services abroad (embassies, consulates and the Alliance Française).
The “Centre National des Oeuvres Universitaires et Scolaires” (CNOUS) manages the grants distributed by the French Government to foreign students as well as the grants given by foreign governments who have signed reciprocal agreements.
The CNOUS and EGIDE are the French organizations which manage foreign students’ grants.
CNOUS website: www.cnous.fr
EGIDE website: www.egide.asso.fr

Grants delivered by the government of your home country.

Some countries offer grants to study in France. In that case, you will have to get in touch with the Department of Education in your home country. You can also get information from your home university. The amount of financial aid granted is variable and it is perhaps not enough for all your expenditure. That is why it is better to be sure before coming to France that you can live here without any financial difficulties.

Some grants are distributed by international organizations or non-governmental organizations.

A website about possible sources of funds: www.fondations.com
Sources : Centre National de Ressources de Lille – CIO de la Madeleine

Financial Aid for Housing

For a stay of more than 3 months in the same accommodation, it is possible to get a rent rebate – ALS (Allocation Logement Social).
ALS is an allowance paid by the “Caisse d’Allocations Familiales” (CAF). Its aim is to help students pay for their accommodation. If you reserve a room in a university hall of residence, please ask for the ALS application form from the Housing Office (A.E.U.)
The ALS refunds approximately 92 € per month from the second month. The allowance is given directly to the student, and the university is not responsible for any part of the process.

Find more information to prepare your stay in Lille on this webpage.


For students under 28 years: Even if you have your own health insurance, the French Government requires non European Union students (EU) under 28 years old and spending more than 3 months in France to purchase the French health insurance, called “Sécurité Sociale”.
For further information : https://www.ameli.fr/assure/english-pages
Important: Sécurité sociale doesn’t cover you if you travel outside France, in case of repatriation and for civil liability.
For students over 28 years old, please bring with you proof of your health insurance coverage.


Students have the option of getting complementary financial cover to obtain better refunds.
This cover is distinct from the affiliation to Sécurité Sociale. There are several complementary student insurance companies. Most of the students from UCL take out the SMENO: www.smeno.com.
The costs vary depending on the insurance company and the option chosen
Another supplementary student insurance company :

French – How to learn French

Semester Classes:

French classes are organized for students who wish to improve their language skills.

The programme consists of:

  • Intensive French courses before the beginning of the academic year
  • French civilization courses
  • Oral practice courses
  • Training for DELF/DALF exams

For further information, please contact Amandine Marlière:

Email: clarife@univ-catholille.fr or amandine.marliere@univ-catholille.fr


Tel. +33 (0)3 20 57 92 19 – Fax: +33 (0)3 20 15 29 30

Summer Classes

The Catholic University of Lille organises a European Summer Programme for international students to study French and discover French and European culture. To find more information, check this webpage.