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I'm an Indian citizen who will be starting my studies in France this autumn. So I will be having a French Long Stay Visa as a student. However, I am pursuing a mobility programme, which means I will be moving to the UK for my second semester.

Would it be possible for me to apply for my UK Student Visa (which I believe is a PBS/Tier4 visa) while in France? (It seems the CAS will be issued only three months prior to the start of course, which of course implies, that I will get it only after I'm in France.)

I had contacted the International enquiry office and all that I've been told is :

With regards to your query, you can apply for a visit, EEA or Tier 5 sportsperson or entertainer visa in any country in which UK Visas and Immigration accept visa applications. If you wish to apply for other PBS visas or a settlement visa, you can do so in your home country or in a country in which you normally live.

It is advisable to apply for a UK visa from the city where you are documented as a resident. Where an applicant wants to apply out of their region, they must provide a compelling reason as to why. Any acceptance to do so is up to the discretion of Home Office but, as an indication only, visitors (for example) can generally apply from any location. Please note that there might be delay in application if applicants apply from out of region.

PS: My duration of study in UK would be a full year, so I can't apply for a short-term visa.

closed as off-topic by Zach Lipton, David Richerby, JoErNanO, blackbird, Willeke Jun 15 '16 at 20:10

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The key words in that text are "normally live", which means something different than your home country.

So for their policy if you are in a country that is not your home country then you can claim to be "normally resident" in that country if you were issued a visa that is more than six months in duration.

If that's the case with your French visa (i.e., it was issued for a term of more than six months), then you can apply using the VFS in France. If your French visa was issued for exactly six months or less than six months, then you must return to your home country to apply.

  • How hard and fast would this "six month" rule be? As far as I have been able to surmise, I should be holding a "carte de sejour" and be registered as a (temporary) resident in France within one month of my arrival there. Wouldn't that suffice? – D.Phish Jun 15 '16 at 6:27
  • It is rigorously hard and fast. There's no latitude for discretion in this particular policy. – Gayot Fow Jun 15 '16 at 6:33
  • Ah. So I do have a problem at hand then. My stay on French territory is going to be between 3-6 months (Sept-Jan), so that wouldn't really give me the residence permit visa, I guess. Tough call, given that there's no break between semesters to apply for the visa afresh from the home country. – D.Phish Jun 15 '16 at 6:44
  • Is there possibly anything that could be done from my part? Like requesting the French Embassy to grant me a longer visa for this purpose? – D.Phish Jun 15 '16 at 6:45
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    @D.Phish there's an opportunity for you to follow up on the French Long Stay Visas at our sister site: expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions they have expertise on the long-stay side of things and perhaps in a better position to help you qualify – Gayot Fow Jun 15 '16 at 7:52

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