Passports and Visas - France
2. Campus France Registration
3. France-Visas Application
4. Booking and Attending Your Visa Appointment
5. Completing the Visa Process Once in France
6. Resources & Visa Costs
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. Since the IAU semester and academic year programs in Aix-en-Provence are longer than 90 days in length, U.S. passport-holders are required to secure a student visa. Non-U.S. passport-holders may require a student or tourist visa for entry and are encouraged to consult the French Consulate’s website to determine if a student or tourist visa is necessary and to learn more about the requirements. 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 six months after their date of departure, in good condition, issued within the past 10 years and contains at least 2 blank pages. 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 6 months beyond your period of intended stay.
Applying for a Long-Stay Student Visa
Semester and academic year students must register with Campus France before obtaining their long-term student visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS). Complete these steps as soon as possible after receiving your acceptance packet from IAU!
Start the visa 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 to Campus France USA via this link. This should be completed immediately after completing your online portion of the Campus France application. Payment completes the Campus France application submission process.
*There are two options for submitting your documents to Campus France:
- Regular service ($250) -- You will receive a confirmation email within 3 weeks
- Expedited service ($390) -- You will receive a confirmation email within 3 business days
If you completed the application correctly, you will receive a confirmation email and acceptance letter (within the timeline provided above) letting you know that your application has been reviewed and validated by Campus France USA. This documentation is necessary for you to bring to your visa appointment, so make sure to save it and print it.
*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.
After registering with Campus France, students must complete a student visa application via France-Visas. 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.
Students should register for an account and complete the France-Visas application immediately after completing the Campus France application process. Please be sure to complete the application carefully with precise dates of arrival and departure from France. Follow this step-by-step guide carefully when completing the France-Visas 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. You should also review the Student Visa Guidelines - 2022-2023 for an overview of visa appointment guidelines and the required documents to bring.
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-ACM’s address (if you are studying in Aix):
Institute for American Universities-American College of the Mediterranean
2 bis rue du Bon Pasteur
13100, 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-ACM’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. You should also refer to this guide: Student Visa Guidelines - 2022-2023 for an overview of visa appointment guidelines and the required documents to bring. 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 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 for 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 submitted 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/acceptance letter 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/acceptance letter. The visa fee of approximately $60 may be paid by credit card during your VFS Global appointment.
It will take approximately 4-6 weeks after the visa appointment for American students to receive their visas following their appointment. (There is an optional fee of about $35 for express mailing 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 6 weeks (more than 6 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
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.
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, and Sweden.
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 the
Expect the total cost of obtaining a student visa for France to be between $400-$600 (not including travel costs for getting to the visa appointment), depending on the services selected.Before you start the student visa process, run through this checklist to make sure you have everything you need and are aware of the general steps!
- Apply for passport (or make sure your current passport meets all international travel requirements)
- Register with Campus France and complete the application. Refer to their Step-by-Step Guide for assistance.
- 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 acceptance letter before you can go to the VFS Global Center, so schedule your appointment for at least 3-4 weeks after you have completed the Campus France application in its entirety (if you chose the regular service option).
- Receive Campus France’s email confirmation/acceptance letters and proof of payment message. Retain these documents for your in-person visa appointment.
- Gather supplementary required documents for the visa appointment (refer to this checklist). Bring at least 2 copies of everything.
- Attend your in-person visa appointment at a VFS Global Visa Application Center. Make sure you have all of the required documents.
- Receive your visa and validate it within three months of your arrival once you are in France.