Passports and Visas - France
2. Campus France Registration
3. Student Visa Application
4. Booking and Attending Your Visa Appointment
5. Completing the Visa Process Once in France
All U.S. semester and academic year students must meet the requirements that the French government has in place in order to study abroad with IAU. Please follow the instructions below carefully and promptly, and the process will be much easier. The information is provided in the order that each step should be completed.
For non-U.S. citizens or those who retain citizenship within a Schengen country (specific European countries), please see the section at the bottom of this page that discusses those steps and/or requirements.
Beware of fraudulent sites: Visa applicants are advised to be cautious in all dealings with companies that claim to offer assistance in obtaining visas
All students studying in France need a passport that is valid for at least 90 days after their date of departure. Passports should be applied for five months in advance of departure date through a US Passport Agency (Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC); through a Postal Clerk designated by the Postmaster General; Clerk of any Federal Court; or Judge or Clerk of any Probate Court. It is absolutely necessary to have a passport before applying for a visa.
Needed for a passport application:
- proof of identity
- proof of US citizenship (birth certificate, naturalization certificate, consular report or certification of birth, or previous passport)
- completed application forms
- photographs (two duplicate color passport-size)
There is also an expedited passport option for an additional fee. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for additional details.
On receipt of the passport, check that all information is correct. If not, return it for correction to the office of application; under no circumstances should you correct it yourself. Keep a photocopy of the information on the first two pages of your passport; in case of loss, this information will be very helpful in getting a replacement.
For students studying abroad for a short-term program, please note that your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your period of intended stay.
Semester and academic year students must register with Campus France before obtaining their long-term student visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS). Summer students with American passports are exempt from this requirement.
*NEW INFO!* Please refer to the following link when going through each of the detailed steps below as it provides more comprehensive clarification on the entire visa process. This guide provides an overview of the visa application process, serves as an annotated checklist of documents required, and responds to FAQs:
How to Apply for a French Student Visa
Start the registration process by completing the online portion of the Campus France Application (my Etudes
After submitting your Campus France application on the Etudes on France platform, you will pay the online processing fee and submit the required paperwork to Campus France USA using a tool called a Docbox. This should be completed immediately after completing your online portion of the Campus France application.
*There are two options for submitting your documents to Campus France:
- Regular service ($205) -- You will receive a confirmation email within 3 weeks
- Expedited service ($360) -- You will receive a confirmation email within 3 business days
If you completed the application correctly, you will receive a confirmation email (within the timeline provided above) letting you know that your visa application has been processed. This email is necessary for you to bring to your visa appointment, make sure to save it.
Complete Campus France steps ASAP
*Note to advisors: Campus France also offers a Group Mailing option for processing Campus France applications. Advisors can send a batch of students' Campus France applications (minimum of five applications) and have them processed within 5-7 business days. Click here to learn more about this service or contact IAU's Office of Admissions.
Applying for a Long-Stay Student Visa (VLS-TS)
After registering with Campus France, students are required to apply for a long-stay student visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS). This type of visa allows students to study in France for a period of four months to a year. Begin this process as soon as possible so you do not risk delaying the arrival of your visa. Getting to your visa appointment may also require traveling long distances, so it is imperative that you plan ahead. Campus France recommends starting the process at least two months before you need to leave for France. Priority is given to students who start the process early.
You will need to first complete the France-Visas application. Visit the France-Visas platform, register for an account, and complete the full application immediately after completing the Campus France application process. Please be sure to complete the application carefully, with precise dates of arrival in and departure from France. Follow this step-by-step guide carefully when completing the application.
Upon completion of the application, students will be provided with a list detailing the required supplementary documents to gather and bring along to their visa appointment. Follow this list closely as required documents may vary depending on the Visa Application Center visited.
Tips for Completing Your Visa Application:
- Use European date format - DD/MM/YYYY
- National Identity number - leave blank
- In “Your Plans:"
Mainpurpose of stay is "Student" (even if you are completing an IAU internship, select the “student” option only)
- In “Your Information:” Current occupation is "Student"
- List University name, city, country, and email address of your Study Abroad Advisor
- In “Your Stay:” Indicate the dates you are planning on arriving and leaving from France
- Your CEF number is your Etudes
- Your CEF number is your Etudes
- In “Your Contacts”: A company or organization will be accommodating me
- Use IAU’s address (if you are studying in Aix):
Institute for American Universities
2 bis rue du Bon Pasteur
13625, Aix-en-Provence, CEDEX 1, France
Tel: +33 0/4 42 23 02 82
Fax: +33 0/4 42 21 11 38
Contact: Kurt Schick
- This section is very important-- please do not select that “a person will be accommodating my stay.” This will result in delaying your visa.
- Use IAU’s address (if you are studying in Aix):
- Recap - Continue
Read carefully through the required materials for your appointment provided upon completion of your France-Visas application. This page will explain each supporting document needed for your visit to the Visa Application Center. Bring along at least 2 copies of everything. Some of the key items to note:
- Last completed degree would be your high school diploma.
- Accommodation is the Attestation emailed to you in your acceptance packet.
- Proof of sufficient funds includes a scholarship certificate or bank certificate proving deposits in a bank account of at least 615 euros ($725) per month, or coverage of costs by a sponsor who can provide evidence of sufficient, reliable and regular funds. If you provide bank statements from a parent or sponsor, copies (and the original version) of their ID and a notarized letter stating that they assume full financial responsibility of your expenses during your time abroad might also be requested.
Students will attend their visa appointment in person at a VFS Global Visa Application Center (VAC). A full list of these centers' locations can be viewed here. Students may make and attend their appointment at any VAC location in the U.S. Please keep in mind that VAC's are only located in the following cities: Washington D.C., Boston, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Thus, long-distance travel may be required depending on where you live.
You will schedule your appointment at a VAC immediately upon completion of the France-Visas application. Appointments book weeks, sometimes months, in advance and can fill up very quickly. If you delay, you risk not receiving your visa on time to depart. An appointment can be scheduled by visiting the VFS Global appointment platform. Register for an account, select a VAC
**Please be sure that you make your visa appointment for no more than 3 months before your start date but with enough time to receive your mailed passport back from the consulate or visa processing center before arriving in France.
When making the appointment, please be sure to schedule it for 3 weeks after the date you emailed your Campus France documents, or 3 business days after the date you expedited your Campus France documents. This will allow enough time for you to receive the confirmation email from Campus France for your visa appointment. You do not need to wait for Campus France approval to schedule your appointment. However, you will be unable to attend your visa appointment without the Campus France confirmation email. The visa fee of approximately $60 may be paid by Visa or MasterCard during your VFS Global appointment.
It will take approximately 2-4 weeks after the visa appointment for American students to receive their visas following their appointment. (There is a fee of $35 for express mailing of your passport once your visa has been processed). For international students, it could take up to three months so please read all of the information on the visa website very carefully. **This means that students must schedule their visa appointments for approximately 3 weeks (more than 3 weeks for international students) before their departure date. Otherwise, students risk not being able to leave on time for the program.
*The French Consulate in Washington, DC is the only consulate that still provides visa appointment slots. Students visiting the French Consulate in Washington, DC will have the option to book their visa appointment at either the VAC or the Consulate.
The long-stay visa equivalent to a student's residence permit, or VLS-TS "student," allows you to study in France for a period of four months to a year. You will need to validate your long-stay student visa (VLS-TS) within three months of your arrival in France. This process is done completely online.
When it expires, you must apply for a residence permit to stay in France.
To validate your student visa, follow these instructions. You will need:
- A valid email address
- Your visa
- The dates of your program in France
- Your address of residence while studying on the program in France
- A payment card to pay the fee for issuing a residence permit
Students must also register with the French social security system once they arrive. Once registered, you will be able to go to the doctor in France and get reimbursed by the French healthcare system for any healthcare costs in France. More information can be found here.
Important Note: Once students arrive at IAU's campus for orientation, the on-site staff will be able to guide students through the validation process and social security registration.
Students with passports to the following countries are not required to apply for a long-stay student visa: Switzerland, Andorra, Vatican, San Marino, Monaco, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.
For citizens of any other country, visit your country's French consulate website to determine the visa requirements. The visa process for non-US citizens may take much longer than that of US citizens so please begin the application process as soon as possible or you risk not receiving your visa on time. If you need a visa, please contact the U.S. Office immediately for assistance.
In addition, before arrival in France, non-US citizens must check
Before you go to your appointment, run through this checklist to make sure you have everything you need for a Visa!
- Apply for passport
- Register with Campus France and complete the application. Refer to their Step-by-Step Guide if needed.
- Complete the France-Visas application and schedule your appointment at a VFS Global Visa Application Center. Appointments book weeks/months in advance and can fill up quickly. So if you delay, you risk not receiving your visa on time. You do not need to wait for Campus France approval before scheduling your appointment. However, you need the Campus France e-mail before you can go to the VAC, so schedule your appointment for at least 3-4 weeks after you have completed the Campus France application in its entirety.
- Receive Campus France’s e-mail confirmation, print it out and write your Campus France ID number on it (beginning with "USXXXXXX").
- Receive Campus France's Proof of Payment message, print it out.
- Gather supplementary required documents. Bring at least 2 copies of everything.
- Apply for a student visa in person at a VFS Global Visa Application Center. Make sure you have all of the required documents by reviewing the checklist from France-Visas very carefully.
- Receive your visa and validate it within three months of your arrival.