Beginning in late 2011, France’s consulates will grant a VLS-TS visa to holders of a master’s degree or higher who wish to enter France to engage in scholarship or research or to teach at the university level.

Public and private institutions of higher education and research organizations may use this visa category to bring doctoral candidates, research scholars, and research faculty to France to perform research or to teach at the university level. 

Holders of the research scholar VLS-TS are no longer required to apply upon arrival for a special temporary residency permit corresponding to their visa category. On the other hand, like students, they must report to the OFII. The residency permit will be issued at the end of the period of validity of the visa. 

The hosting agreement is an administrative document that spells out the nature and duration of the work to be performed by the applicant. Intended to support the application for the extended-stay scientific visa, the hosting agreement is stamped by the prefecture and sent by the host institution to the research scholar, who then submits the agreement to consulate with his or her visa application. 

The hosting agreement is the sole document attesting to the purpose of the stay and the resources to be made available to the research scholar (including housing and medical insurance). The same procedure is applied to doctoral candidates who will be paid to perform their research, regardless of the nature of their employment contract, which may be a doctoral contract, an industrial agreement for training through research (CIFRE), or other arrangement. 

A residency permit marked “research scholar” allows the holder to perform research and teaching activities in France under the terms of the hosting agreement. The residency permit must be applied for two months before the expiration of the research scholar visa. A fee of €340 is collected upon issuance.

Foreign researchers may obtain residency permits for periods longer than 1 year but  no longer than 4 years. The permit’s duration reflects the time required or expected to be required for the work described in the hosting agreement. The prefecture for the applicant’s place of residence has jurisdiction (CESEDA, article  L313-4).

Family members of the holder of the research scholar visa or residency permit are automatically eligible for a residency permit marked "vie privée et familiale" (covering spouse and children who entered France as minors, article L. 313-8 of CESEDA as amended by law 2011-672 of June 16, 2011) .