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 and elect to obtain your French student 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 Campus France.
- Apply for your French student visa at the appropriate French Consulate or with the outsourcing agency, VFS.
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 US Department of State 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.
Register with Campus France
Before applying for your student visa, you must complete registration and be approved with Campus France.
Begin the Campus France registration process as soon as you are accepted to the program. The Campus France 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 Campus France 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 Campus France home page.
Campus France Regular Process
Follow the instructions for the Campus France 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.
Click on the option: I am a study-abroad/exchange/dual-degree student.
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 Campus France 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 Etudes en France 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 (look for the pencil symbol).
Refer back to the instructions in the previous Campus France 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 Campus France on-line application:
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.
Determine Your Host Institution and Campus
Determine which of the Learning Abroad Center Montpellier programs you are on:
Study Abroad in Montpellier program students enrolling in humanities courses should select “Universite Paul Valery” and then from the drop-down menu, select "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:
9th option, IAE: "Institut d'administration des enteprises—Site de Montpellier"
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'enterprise 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”
Enter the dates of your program as listed in the Learning Abroad Center Campus France/French Consulate verification of enrollment letter.
Briefly explain in English your reasons for studying abroad (3-4 sentences).
Campus France Verification of Enrollment Submission and Online Payment
For both regular and express service, you need to pay online and then email to Campus France the Learning Abroad Center official Verification of Enrollment letter (on UMN letterhead), the required Campus France cover page, and your verification of payment after you complete the online application.
It is very stressful and expensive to rely on the expedited process, and we do not recommend it. If you miss your consulate or VFS appointment because your Campus France application is not complete, it can be difficult to get another visa appointment. If you need to use the express service, however, instructions are on the Campus France web site.
Contacting Campus France
If you do not receive acceptance from Campus France approximately 3 weeks after submitting your materials, contact Campus France directly through their on-line web portal to see if there is a problem.
Apply For Your French Student Visa
The student visa application is transitioning to an outsourcing agency, VFS. You will complete your visa application on the Consulate of France's web site, print it out, and then submit it to a VFS processing center. In some cases, the Consulate of France for your region (location of permanent residence) may still be processing visas until the VFS transition occurs. After summer 2018, students can make an appointment at any VFS processing center in the United States.
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.
You must visit the appropriate consulate or the VFS processing agency in person, and so plan ahead. Appointments can fill at least 1 month in advance. Be certain that you have received and bring your Campus France approval (sent to you by email) to the visa appointment or you will not be able to keep your appointment.
- Your visa appointment cannot be sooner than 90 days before your official program start date.
- Plan your appointment far enough in the future to give you time to receive your CampusFrance approval (about 3 weeks), but soon enough to allow 3-4 weeks' proccessing time before your planned departure. Your passport and visa will be express mailed to you.
- Visas are never issued on the same day. You will leave your passport along with all of the required paperwork with the processing officer at your visa appointment.
- Emergency visa appointments are not possible. Late arrivals to the program are not allowed. If you do not see an appointment for the day/time you wish, keep checking the visa appointment web site multiple times per day until something opens up.
Which Consulate or VFS Processing Center Should I Use?
Visit the French Embassy website to determine which jurisdiction serves your area. You complete the on-line application at the Consulate servicing the state of your permanent residence. Each regional French consulate or VFS processing center holds jurisdiction over the residents living in their area. Through summer 2018, you must visit the consulate or VFS processing center related to this same area of jurisdiction in person to apply for your visa. After summer 2018, you can make an appointment at any VFS processing center in the USA.
How do I contact the French consulates in the USA?
How do I contact VFS Global?
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 USA Campus France and the VFS Global processing centers in the USA as an international student or complete your processes abroad in your home country. Since the USA Campus France process is now electronic (nothing needs to be mailed in), Campus France may be able to transfer your completed USA Campus France application to your home country for further processing. Contact Campus France directly via their web site for details and guidance, as not all overseas Campus France offices will accept the completed USA Campus France file and may require you to complete the overseas Campus France process if you are applying for your visa in your home country.
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.