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APL for foreign students: everything you need to know before applying

The personalized housing assistance (APL) is not an aid reserved only for students. It is available to all low-income tenants, including foreigners. At Colonies, we therefore explain the complete procedure for receiving APL as a foreign student.

How do APL and CAF work?

The Family Allowances Fund, or CAF, is a French organization present in all departments. Its goal? To help vulnerable individuals (low-income tenants, families without jobs) meet their needs. To do this, it offers various housing aids and social benefits such as RSA, Prime d'activité, or personalized housing assistance.

As a foreign student, you are fully entitled to apply. But as administrative procedures are quite complex, we have summarized the entire process for you, from your application to your first payment.

Conditions for applying for APL as a foreign student

To benefit from APL as a foreign student, you must meet several criteria. The main one concerns your income level and that of your family. Indeed, the aid you are entitled to is calculated based on your rent, but also on your resources. Only vulnerable individuals can benefit from it. Therefore, it can be interesting to use a simulator before any request to have an idea of the possible aids.

The second criterion to be eligible for APL is being a tenant. This is essential to make your request. But not all accommodations are eligible for APL. Only landlords who have signed an agreement with the State can allow you to make a request. These include:

  • university residences;

  • hostels;

  • social housing;

  • HLM (Habitation à Loyer Modéré - low-rent housing).

Finally, to be eligible for APL as a university student or following a professional training course, you must live at least 8 months in the year in your accommodation.

The somewhat particular situation in the case of colocation

If you make an allocation request in a shared apartment, your roommate must also do the same. Otherwise, it may affect your eligibility.

How to make your APL request?

Now that you know whether you are eligible for APL or not, we explain how to make your request. It must be made online on the Family Allowances Fund website. All the information is summarized there, and you even have the option to use the CAF simulator to find out the average amount you can expect.

If this is your first request, you must register as a non-recipient. Then, you will receive a personal code to use to log in to your account to assemble your file.

But remember that your request can only be made from the moment you have signed the lease for your new accommodation.

Documents to provide

To support your request, you must provide several supporting documents such as:

  • bank account statement (RIB) of your bank account in France;

  • your signed lease agreement with the landlord's contact information;

  • an address proof form filled out by your landlord;

  • proof of your income for the past 2 years if you have any;

  • your ID card, passport, or birth certificate (proof of identity);

  • if you are a citizen of the EU: proof of enrollment in a school, your European health insurance card;

  • if you are a non-EU citizen: a valid residence permit for the entire duration of your training year;

  • your proof of enrollment in the student social security scheme.

What are the waiting times for approval?

Once you have made your request and provided all the supporting documents, the waiting times may vary depending on the activity of the Family Allowances Fund in your region. But don't worry, if the first payments are delayed, you will be able to receive the arrears owed to you.

Generally, the amount of APL is sent directly to the landlord. Then, the landlord deducts this amount from your rent, which saves you from advancing money and being reimbursed only the following month.

APL for foreign students: our final advice

First of all, make sure that the chosen accommodation meets the criteria to be eligible for financial assistance (decent housing and agreements with the State). Then, make your request as soon as you sign your lease to validate your file as soon as possible. If you have not yet received your valid residence permit, start the procedure anyway and add it to your supporting documents once received. This way, you will be able to save valuable time for your student APL request.

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