Student Visa in France
Semester and Academic Year students need a “long-stay” student visa in order to study in France. You must apply for and receive your French student visa before you depart from the US to France. The visa process has multiple steps, so plan on getting your passport in order as soon as you have been accepted to the program. After you have confirmed your spot in the program through the Learning Abroad Center online system, an additional French Visa Guide will be sent to you, which contains detailed instructions and a timeline to stay on track.
French Student Visa Process
The French Student Visa process has 4 steps:
Obtain a passport or verify that your passport is valid for 6 months after your program end date.
Register with Campus France online.
Apply for your visa online.
Book and attend an in-person appointment.
Obtain a Passport
If you are applying for a passport for the first time, visit the US Department of State website for information on the steps you will need to take. It can take up to 10 weeks to receive a new passport during busy processing times, so apply as soon as possible. Consider expedited service if necessary.
If you already have a passport, make sure that it is valid for 6 months after your program end date and has at least 2 blank pages available.
Your student visa is a document that is the size of and applied to a page in your passport, so you must have your passport prior to applying for your visa. Do not plan to travel internationally during the 100 days prior to your program start date. At your in-person appointment, you will give your passport to a VFS Global official to be sent to the Embassy in Washington, D.C. for processing. You will pick up or request to receive your passport via mail approximately 3-8 weeks after your in-person appointment.
Complete an online application with Campus France
The first step to applying for a visa is to create a new account and complete an online application with Campus France. Your application must be correct, complete and submitted in order for your dossier to be reviewed and approved. There is a $190 fee, which must be paid online at the time you complete your Campus France application. The last step for this part is to email several documents to Campus France, which will be detailed in the step-by-step French Visa Guide. It can take several weeks for Campus France to review and send you the approval via email.
Apply for your French Student Visa and book your in-person appointment
In this step, you will complete your visa application on the France-Visas official web site, maintained by the French government. You will find details and screen shots in our step-by-step French Visa Guide. The last step in this part is to book your in-person appointment at a VFS Global location. VFS Global is a company with which the French government has contracted to assist in visa appointments and applications. VFS Global locations that assist with French visas are in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. All students may book their in-person appointments at the location closest or most convenient to them. Most UofM students book their appointments at the Chicago location. Non-UofM students may book their appointments at the location of their choice.
Attend your in-person visa appointment
You must attend your visa appointment in-person, during which biometric data will be collected. Appointments can fill at least 1 month in advance. In general the appointment takes about 20 minutes, but it’s possible that there may be wait times at the VFS Global location when you arrive. Additional information on what to expect at your appointment is included in the France Visa Guide.
Non-US citizens should check with the French Embassy or Consulate for entry regulations to France. A good starting point is France-Visas; complete the “Do you need a visa?” step.
Processing times for international passports can take up to 2 months. During the processing period, you cannot leave the US, because you will not have a valid passport in your possession. You can use USA Campus France and the VFS Global processing centers in the US 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. 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.