Welcome to Bordeaux

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The University of Bordeaux's Welcome Centre for International Researchers (WCIR) is the special point of contact for hosting laboratories and incoming international researchers in Gironde. It provides support to help you get settled in Bordeaux.

Photo : The Welcome Centre for International Researchers © University of Bordeaux
The Welcome Centre for International Researchers © University of Bordeaux

Welcome Centre for International Researchers (WCIR)

The University of Bordeaux's Welcome Centre for International Researchers (WCIR) assists researchers and their families with procedures concerning their entry and stay in France and settling in Bordeaux:

  • conditions for entry into France (visa)
  • obtaining a residence permit
  • social security / health coverage
  • schooling for children
  • French as a foreign language (FLE) classes
  • socio-cultural activities
  • annual income declaration


  • Welcome Centre for International Researchers

    166 cours de l'Argonne
    33000 Bordeaux

    + 33 (0)5 40 00 68 73


Schedule an appointment

Long-stay visa or residence permit

All teachers, lecturer-researchers and researchers on a mobility programme in Bordeaux must have valid residence and work permits in France.

You must obtain the following in the specified order:

  • A scientific hosting agreement ("Hosting agreement for a foreign teacher or researcher") from your Bordeaux host laboratory

The scientific hosting agreement specifies the purpose and dates of your stay in France, and consequently determines the duration of the stay. It shows that the holder has sufficient funds to cover the costs of the stay and repatriation. The signing host institution must make sure that the concerned party has health coverage and civil liability insurance.

  • Visa to be applied for at the French consulate closest to your place of residence

There are several types of visa, depending on the duration and purpose of your stay:
Short-stay Visa (type C) for stays of 90 days or less (except for exempted nationalities)
Long-stay Visa (VLS-TS) equivalent to a residence permit for stays from 91 days up to 12 months
Long-stay Visa with the indication "Titre de séjour à solliciter (Residence permit to be applied for..." or another indication such as "Passeport Talent" for which a residence permit must be applied for within the 2 months following arrival in France.

  • Residence permit, if your stay is over 90 days

The residence permit documents a foreign national's right to reside in France. It can also serve as a work permit. It is mandatory for a stay of more than 90 days on French territory. It can only be issued to holders of a long-stay visa  (type D).

You can consult the official website for visa applications for France (in French).

Exemption from entry visa and residence permit requirement: nationals from European Union member states and the European Economic Area, Switzerland, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino are not concerned by these procedures. 

These procedures also apply to your spouse/partner and child(ren) if they are accompanying you.

Minors (children under 18 years old)


Children under 18 accompanying a foreign researcher in France are subject to the same conditions for entry.

  • Short-stay visa (type C): for a stay of 90 days or less
  • Long-stay visa (type D): for a stay over 90 days

Residence permit

Minors do not need a residence permit to stay in France, so long as one of their parents or legal guardian holds a valid residence permit.

DCEM (Travel Document for Foreign Children under 18)

The DCEM document is not mandatory, however, it facilitates administrative procedures in France and travel through French Customs. It is valid 5 years but is not the equivalent of a residence permit. Please note: it does not allow parents to claim an extension to their stay.

"Passeport Talent"

As soon as you arrive in Bordeaux, contact the Welcome Centre for International Researchers (WCIR) for guidance in top-priority administrative procedures.

Contact the Welcome Centre (WCIR)

Social security and health insurance

As soon as you arrive in Bordeaux, contact the Welcome Centre for International Researchers (WCIR) for guidance in getting affiliated with the French healthcare system, depending on your status.

Income tax

If you are a resident in France for tax purposes, you are required to declare your income to the French Treasury Department (in French).

There are 2 types of tax that you may have to pay during your stay in France:

  • Income tax: the declaration of all income is mandatory for anyone whose fiscal residence is in France.*
  • Residence tax (taxe d'habitation) is a local tax on the accommodation occupied on 1st January of each year. The taxe d’habitation also takes into account the audiovisual licence fee for anyone who owns a television.

*Fiscal residence can be determined on the basis of the fiscal agreements (in French) signed by France with most countries. In some cases, the latter allow income tax collected in France to be paid to the previous country of residence.

Application for French nationality

The application for French nationality can be made under certain conditions. The procedure cannot be done through the Welcome Centre for International Researchers. Applications must be submitted directly to the Prefecture of the Gironde. 


Several solutions for accommodation are available in Bordeaux and the surrounding towns:

  • University residence halls (if your stay is less than or equal to 3 months, you can apply for accommodation in a  "Centre Prévost" through your laboratory)
  • Residential hotels 
  • Private rentals

You can access private accommodation and residential hotels reserved for international researchers by registering on our housing application.

Access to this app is strictly reserved for international researchers hosted on the Bordeaux campus.



Tram lines A, B, C and D operate all week from 5 am to 12:30 am (until 1:15 am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays), with an average of 10 minutes between trams and less than 6 minutes from 7 am to 8 pm.

Bordeaux Metropolitan Transport website


There are several kinds of bus lines, depending on frequency and areas served:

  • Liane bus lines go fast and far: there are 13 lianes whose simple and direct routes intersect with tram lines at least twice. 10 minutes on average between each bus from 7 am to 8 pm.
  • Corol bus lines avoid the centre: 6 corols and run from suburb to suburb, avoiding the Bordeaux city centre. Many connections between lianes and trams. Every 20 to 30 minutes
  • Citéis bus lines opt for proximity: 8 citéis for local trips within suburbs and neighbourhoods generally organised in two-way loops. Every 20, 30 or 60 minutes
  • Flexo are regular bus lines, with some stops served only on request.
  • Résago: 3 résago lines run subject to reservations made by phone, the day before.
  • Mobibus: is a transport-on-demand service for people with disabilities.

36 other lines round out the bus service. They serve living and working areas efficiently as well as places for study and leisure activities.


1545 self-service bikes are available in 139 stations spread out in the urban area. Trips under 30 minutes are free after membership fee. From 25€ to 35€ a year; from 12€ to 15€ a month.

VCub - self-service bikes

VVBs (Bordeaux City bicycles on loan for free) (in French)

Maps of Bordeaux bike paths (in French)


Driving licence: the Welcome Centre for International Researchers can help you get your driving licence equivalence. You should also consult the Prefecture's website for more information about international driving licences.

Caution: if your vehicle is registered abroad and you will be staying in France for more than six months, you will probably need to register it in France to obtain a "carte grise" (car registration) from the Prefecture.

Train station

Bordeaux-Saint-Jean is the largest railway station in the Aquitaine region, just 3 hours from Paris. 

Book train tickets (in French)


The Bordeaux-Mérignac airport is located approximately 30 minutes from the Bordeaux city centre.

You can reach the airport by public transport: TBM Line 1 or the Jet’Bus shuttle.

Everyday life


If you come to France with your family, you can have your children recognised by the Family Benefits Agency - Caisse d’allocations familiales (CAF) (in French) and thus benefit from financial aid. The children of "researchers" are subject to a special procedure for entering France and are not required to undergo a medical examination, unlike children of other foreigners, but must enter France on a D visa.

Public childcare centres (crèches) depend on the town hall's childcare service, so you must apply for them, bearing in mind that the cost depends on your income. Places are not easy to get, so make sure you apply in advance.
There are also private crèches, and you can use childminders approved by the childcare department of your town council. The costs of childcare may be eligible for tax relief.

Bank accounts

On arrival in France you should open a bank account. All foreigners staying in France for at least 3 months can open a bank account and have a bank card and/or chequebook.

Three documents are required for opening an account: your passport and a photocopy of it, proof of address and your hosting agreement. With a French bank account, you can pay your expenses more easily, make money transfers using the account(s) you have in your home country, and receive your salary and social benefits.

Currency and budget

The currency used is the same as in the European Union, the Euro, whose symbol is €. You can convert your currency (in French) online. You can exchange your currency for Euros in a bank or in a Bureau de Change (Foreign Exchange Office).

Here are the average prices of a few basic products: 

  • coffee: 1.50€
  • baguette: 1€
  • brasserie-style meal: from 10 to 20€

During your first month in France, there may be additional expenses to cover, such as:

  • OFII tax (French Office of Immigration and Integration)
  • Move-in expenses (incl. 2-month deposit for accommodation): approx. 1100€
  • Social security depending on status
  • Supplementary insurance (non-compulsory mutual insurance): up to 170€

Welcome Guide for International Researchers

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