French Student Visa Instructions
Semester and Academic Year students need a French student visa to study in France. You must apply for and receive your French student visa before you depart the US to begin your program (unless you are an international student; in that case, you must obtain your visa in your home country). The visa process is complicated, so start early.
US citizens need not apply for a visa for summer programs..
The French Student Visa process has 3 parts:
- Obtain a passport, if you do not already have one.
- Register with CampusFrance at http://www.usa.campusfrance.org/en/
- Apply for your visa in person at the appropriate French Consulate.
1. Obtain a Passport
Your student visa is physically put inside your passport, so you must have your passport prior to applying for your visa. If you already have a passport, make sure that it is valid for 6 months after your return and has at least 2 blank pages left for visas.
Visit the State Department's website for information on how to apply for or renew your passport. It takes approximately 10 weeks to receive passports due to an increased volume of applications, so apply as soon as possible.
2. Register with CampusFrance
Before applying for your student visa, you must complete registration and be approved with CampusFrance.
Begin the CampusFrance registration process as soon as you are accepted to the program. The CampusFrance approval process takes several weeks, and they will not begin reviewing your application until it is complete:
Follow the link below to access the exact instructions that will allow you to enter the English version of the USA CampusFrance registration process.
You need to follow each step EXACTLY as they list it. Take your time, read the instructions carefully, and don't rush any steps. It works just fine, if you do this.
Start by Reviewing the CampusFrance Home Page:
Follow the Instructions for the CampusFrance Regular Process:
•Review the key steps outlined on this page and keep this web page open to complete steps 2 and 3 after completing your on-line registration
•Have a head shot of yourself (50 KB maximum size) and a copy of your passport ID page (50 KB maximum size) ready to upload. 50KB is very small, and so take a low grade photo of yourself from your laptop, phone or iPad camera in a low light setting with no background interference. Keep shrinking the size of the image until you get to 50KB.
•Click on the option: I am a study-abroad/exchange/dual-degree student
•Follow the instructions carefully and keep this web page open to reference throughout your on-line application process
NOTE: if you do not see the “Register” button described in the instructions, click on the black “Learn More” bar and arrow below the “Your ETUDES EN FRANCE account” on the right hand side of the CampusFrance home page. It will take you to a new page that will allow you to log in. Be sure that you have the ENGLISH version of this new web page. If not, click on “English” in the top right corner of this new web page to access the English version:
You will see the ETUDES EN FRANCE box on the left hand side of the web page with the option to Register (with a pencil symbol before the word “Register”)
•Be certain to refer back to the instructions in the previous CampusFrance tab to guide you through the steps of completing your application, including the Personal information section.
•Key information to use to complete the course of study section of the CampusFrance on-line application:
1) Determine Your Home Institution:
Select "Minnesota", "Minneapolis", "University of Minnesota - Twin Cities". The Learning Abroad Center has an approved expedited process for our programs. Since you are on a University of Minnesota program, the University of Minnesota is considered your "home institution" for program purposes.
2) Determine Your Host Institution and Campus:
Determine which of the Learning Abroad Center Montpellier programs you are on:
Study Abroad in Montpellier progrram students enrolling in humanities courses should select “Universite Paul Valery” and then from the drop-down menu, select "UFR1-de lettres, art, philosophie, et psychanalyse - Site de Montpellier"
Teaching Practicum in France program students should select “Universite de Montpellier” and then the 6th option: "ESPE - Universite de Montpellier - Faculte d'Education - UFRd'Education"
Business in France in English program students should select “Universite de Montpellier” and then select from the drop-down menu the business course track that you are most likely to take:
the 9th option, IAE: "Institut d'administration des enteprises - Site de Montpellier"
or the 13th option, ISEM: "Institut des sciences de l'enterpise et du management - Site de Montpellier"
Business in France in French program students should select “Universite de Montpellier” and then the 13th option, ISEM: "Institut des sciences de l'enterpise et du management - Site de Montpellier"
Engineering in France program students should select “Universite de Montpellier” and then “ESPE – Universite de Montpellier – Site de Montpellier”
3) Program Information:
Enter the dates of your program as listed in the Learning Abroad Center CampusFrance/French Consulate verification of enrollment letter.
4) Personal Statement:
Briefly explain in English your reasons for studying abroad (3-4 sentences).
Using the Expedited Process:
It is very stressful and expensive to rely on the expedited process, and we do not recommend it. If you miss your consulate appointment because your CampusFrance application is not complete, it can be difficult to get another Consulate appointment. If you need to use the express service, however, instructions are on the CampusFrance web site:
If you do not receive acceptance from CampusFrance approximately 3 weeks after submitting your materials, contact them directly through their on-line web portal to see if there is a problem.
3. Apply For Your Visa at the Appropriate French Consulate
Review these instructions and consult your Consulate’s website as soon as you are accepted to the Study Abroad in Montpellier program. Pay careful attention to the appropriate consulate's website in addition to the instructions on this page. The Learning Abroad Center has no authority on visa issues, and we are not always notified when there is a change in visa application requirements.
You must visit the appropriate consulate in person, and so plan ahead. Appointments can fill at least 1 month in advance. Be certain that you have received and bring your CampusFrance approval (sent to you by email) to the visa appointment. The consulate will not see you unless you can verify CampusFrance approval.
Which Consulate Should I Use?
Visit the French Embassy website to determine which jurisdiction serves your area. Each regional French consulate holds jurisdiction over the residents living in their area and students studying at universities in their area and has a right to set its own processing fees and procedures. You must visit the consulate in person to apply for your visa.
French Consulate in Chicago
Any student on the Study Abroad in Montpellier program can use the Chicago Consulate. Go to the Consulate General of France in Chicago website to obtain the visa application and instructions and make an appointment through their online scheduling system. Read the instructions and make sure to gather all requirements.
Other French Consulates
The Learning Abroad Center cannot advise on visa applications for other consulates. Contact your consulate immediately so that you have time to request their assistance. Read your consulate’s instructions carefully.
New York and Los Angeles Consulates
Students have reported many difficulties using the French consulates in New York and Los Angeles. If you have the option to obtain your visa through another consular office, such as the Chicago Consulate which is available to all students, we recommend that you do so.
If you decide to obtain your visa through the French consulate in New York or Los Angeles, be certain to consult the consulate's website web site well in advance. The New York consulate often requires additional documentation. The Los Angeles consulate only allows students to make their visa appointment after they have received approval from Campus France, which means that you need to complete your Campus France application process as early as possible.
Non-US citizens should check with the French Embassy or Consulate for entry regulations to France, as processing times for international passports can take up to 2 months. During the processing period, you cannot leave the USA, as you will not have a valid passport in your possession. You can utilize the USA CampusFrance and one of the USA Consulates of France as an international student, but you must complete both processes in one country. Thus, you cannot initiate your process in the USA with CampusFrance and then return to your home country for the visa appointment.
Permission from US authorities to exit and reenter the US may also be required. Refer to the international student office on your campus for assistance. Refugees are typically not able to receive a student visa to study in France because their refugee paperwork will not be valid for the duration required by French authorities.
If you are a citizen of or hold dual citizenship in a European Union country, you may not need a student visa to study in France. Check with the French Embassy or Consulate for more information.