When beginning your PhD, you have 2 options:
- First option:
Renew your “student” long stay residence permit
This residence permit can be obtained before signing your working contract and can be renewed after the ending date of the working contract.
BE CAREFUL: Nevertheless, you must apply for an « autorisation provisoire de travail » (APT) (temporary work permit) from the relevant DIRECCTE (Direction Régionale des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi).
NB: The student residence permit only allows part time work (964 hours per year = 60% of the normal annual hours in France). In order to work up to 100% that is to say a full time work in a laboratory, an “authorisation provisoire de travail” is compulsory. The APT has to be renewed every year. Without a valid APT, you cannot work, your salary can be stopped and you can be expelled.
- Second option:
Change your status for a “scientific” long stay residence permit (“titre de séjour scientifique”). This residence permit is designed for researchers who have a working contract.
You can apply for it only once you have entered the doctoral school and signed your working contract. Thank to this scientific residence permit, you do not have to apply for an APT. Family members of the holder of the research scientific residence permit are automatically eligible for a residency permit marked "vie privée et familiale".
ENP WARNING: PhD students who haven’t finished their thesis after the end of their contract will not be able to extend the status of « scientist » if their laboratory cannot provide them with a new contract. So if you feel that you’ll not defend before the ending date of your working contract, do not pretend to a scientific status.
To obtain this residence permit, you have to submit a hosting agreement (“convention d’accueil”) filled and signed by your employer. Since you have signed your working contract, your employer is the university or the research organism to which your research team belongs.
Documents to provide for changing your status (non exhaustive list).
More information at the International Relations Department of the Parisian universities or at “Access Paris Centre” at the CIUP.