Student's guide Part 1: The puzzle of housing in France - the first abroad

Student’s guide Part 1: The puzzle of housing in France – the first abroad

A few weeks before the start of the school year, Outre-mer la 1ère offers you a guide to help you settle in France, when you arrive from abroad. The first component: housing.

Among the thousands of advertisements and files to be put together and the stress of the beginning of the school year, looking for accommodation upon arrival in France can seem like an insurmountable mountain. However, there are some tips to easily find accommodation and take advantage of current aid.

1 Where and how do you look for accommodation?

You can apply for student housing in a university residence with CROUS, where priority is given to students coming from abroad. “We have done work to raise awareness with CROUS and the system is changing this year as the level of admission for international students increases”, explains the ministerial delegation to the Overseas Territories. This also reminds to stay “filled” for “Hard Cases”.

To contact the Overseas Territories Ministerial Delegation, click here.

The Cité internationale universitaire de Paris (CIUP) also provides accommodation for adults who are preparing for a master’s degree (or equivalent diploma) at a public institution. Partnerships may also exist within your territories. Maison de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, for example, offers accommodation directly from the license thanks to a partnership with CIUP.

Beware of scams if you want to look for private housing. It is preferable to carry out the search on specialized websites (, Le Bon Coin, PAP, etc.) or directly at a real estate agency with price criteria, region or location.

There are also Facebook groups dedicated to accommodating students, in particular by branch of study, school or university, by city, or to contribute apartments … “Intergenerational coexistence” is also an interesting alternative when you arrive in France. Seniors living alone are offering to share the roof of their home with young people, for moderate or even free rent. An inexpensive solution that helps fight loneliness, which sometimes gets heavy when you’re away from home.

Note that to make sure you don’t pay too much, you can check that the city you’ll be staying in exercises rent control.

In case of doubt or disagreement, associations such as the National Housing Information Agency (Anil) are available to inform and support you.

2 Guarantors and insurance … How do you collect your file?

Once you find the solid mass that inspires you to sleep there and work quietly there, the coil stage comes. But sometimes foreign students have a problem when it is necessary to give the name of the guarantor who will guarantee in case of difficulty in paying the rent. In fact, some landlords still refuse resident sponsors abroad, even though this is illegal. If you experience this discrimination, it is possible to ask the rights advocate to contact the landlord to request the order.

But don’t worry if you don’t have a sponsor or if your application is rejected. There is a solution developed by the state: the VISALE guarantee. Here the guarantor is the French state who will pay the rent and rental fees in case of problems. The system is free and available to all students under the age of 30, regardless of income conditions.

Like the Maison de la Nouvelle-Calédonie or the Polynesian Mission in Paris, some outside organizations can also guarantee you through partnerships with donors.

3 What help pay your rent?

Whether you are staying in student housing or in private accommodation, it is possible to benefit from Personal Housing Assistance (APL). They are allocated without age limits, but residency must be approved and there are income requirements. The resources considered are the resources of the past 12 months. To see if you qualify, there is a simulator on the Café website.

Please note: To benefit from the assistance from the coffee shop, you must be registered with Social Security. Click here to access the Health section of the Student Handbook.

You can also contact the Municipal Center for Social Work (CCAS) in your city, which can direct you to the help you are entitled to and the steps to take to benefit from it.

For renters in private housing, the government has established financial aid through the Housing Solidarity Fund (FSL). It can be distributed in the form of a grant or loan, to finance a security deposit, or first rent, but also to pay bills or purchase basic furniture.

In the event of emergencies and major financial difficulties, CROUS advisors can be reached toll-free at 0806000278, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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