French Student Visa Process

I’m going to continue off from the blog post from last week where I explained the different types of secondary education offered in Rennes.

The long-term student visa process
(For students from the US)

  1. Find the French Consulate that correlates with the state or territory that you reside in. To help this part of the process I fabricated a list:

    Consulate General of France in Atlanta 
    – Alabama
    – Georgia
    – Mississippi
    – North Carolina
    – South Carolina
    – Tennessee

    Consulate General of France in Boston
    – Maine
    – Massachusetts
    – New Hampshire
    – Rhode Island
    – Vermont

    Consulate General of France in Washington
    – Delaware
    – District of Columbia
    – Maryland
    – Pennsylvania
    – Virginia
    – West Virginia

    Consulate General of France in New York
    – New York
    – New Jersey
    – Connecticut

    Consulate General of France in Houston
    – Texas
    – Arkansas
    – Oklahoma
    – Louisiana

    Consulate General of France in San Francisco 
    – North California
    – North Nevada
    – Oregon
    – Washington
    – Idaho
    – Montana
    – Wyoming
    – Utah
    – Alaska
    – Hawaii (& Pacific islands)

    Consulate General of France in Chicago
    – Illinois
    – Indiana
    – Iowa
    – Kansas
    – Kentucky
    – Michigan
    – Minnesota
    – Missouri
    – Nebraska
    – North Dakota
    – South Dakota
    – Ohio
    – Wisconsin

    Consulate General of France in Los Angeles
    – Southern California
    – Arizona
    – Colorado
    – New Mexico
    – Southern Nevada

    Consulate General of France in Miami
    – Florida
    – Puerto-Rico
    – Bahamas
    – Cayman Islands
    – US Virgin Islands
    – Turks and Caicos Islands

  2.  Since I’m from Ohio, I went to Chicago to apply for the my student Visa. Remember this is the process for a long-term student visafor those wishing to stay longer than 3 months. Once you’ve picked your study, and you have your acceptance letter. You register at Campus France. There’s a service fee of $180 that you can pay online or through a money order.  I know I know… $180?!?! But think this $180 to study in another country or $20,000 for a degree in the US.

  3.  With Campus France you’ll have a small phone interview explaining why you want to study in France etc. It’s nothing too strenuous. Once the whole procedure with Campus France is over, you’ll receive an e-mail that will allow you to make an appointment with the your consulate. Bookings are rapid, so try to do this ASAP.

  4.  Finally on D-day, you’ll need to bring the following papers with a duplicate. I copied this exactly from the long stay visa studies so this is up to date of the papers you’ll  need. I added some side notes in italic.
    1. Original passport or travel document (+ ONE COPY of the identity pages). Your passport must have been issued less than 10 years ago, be valid for at least three months after your return to the US and have at least 2 blank visas pages left.
    2. If you are not a U.S. citizen: A valid U.S. permanent residence card (“green card”) or a valid U.S. visa with valid I-94 or valid I-20 (+ ONE COPY).
    3. proof of residence in the geographic area for which the consulate is responsible:
      - your parent’s most recent utility bill
      - or a valid student ID card (or a statement issued within the past 2 months from the register of your university), which must be located in the consulate’s jurisdiction.

    4. Processing fee in the U.S. dollar equivalent of €50. Exceptions:
      Recipients of scholarships from the French government or European Union (Chateaubriand, Eiffel, Franco-American Fulbright Commission, Erasmus Mundus, Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie) are not required to pay the application and processing fee. Ok, another $50, but that’s for the whole year!! 
    5. One application form (click here for the English version) filled out completely and signed by the applicant. I did both versions because I was so nervous. 
    6. One US passport size photo on a white background with no glasses and no hat and please do not smile
    7. “Attestation” from CAMPUSFRANCE: An e-mail message from CampusFrance (entitled “confirmation e-mail”) informing the student that he or she may begin preparations to apply to the consulate for the visa (make appointment, collect documents). Attention! This message should not be confused with the earlier message from CampusFrance notifying the student of the creation of his or her CampusFrance account, or with the message indicating that a receipt for payment was available for download.
    8. Receipt for payment issued by CampusFrance (does not apply to exempted students).
    9. Proof of registration: A copy of the student’s official acceptance letter or acknowledgment of enrollment, addressed to the student and mentioning his or her full name, printed on institutional letterhead and specifying the exact dates (day, month, year) of the academic program and including full contact information for the individual issuing the offer or acknowledgment, as well as the full address of the educational institution. Said address may serve as the student’s temporary address in France. Three cases are possible:
      • Students taking part in an exchange program between an American and a French institution. In this case, the acceptance or enrollment letter may be issued from either institution provided the formal exchange agreement is identified and the information specified above is provided.
      • Students enrolling directly in a French institution as an independent student. In this case, the acceptance or enrollment letter must be from the admitting institution and include all of the information specified above. This was my case since I was enrolling independently . 
      • Students enrolling in an American program in France (operated by an American institution with a branch in France). In this case, the acceptance or enrollment letter must come from the American institution and include all of the information specified above.
    10. Financial guarantee: Nonscholarship students must prove that they have access to at least $820 per month. Proof may be provided in the form of:
      • the applicant’s bank statement showing a balance of $820 multiplied by the number of months to be spent in France, I had enough in my account to show that I could financially support myself. 
      • or a notarized financial guarantee form signed by a guarantor declaring that the guarantor will provide the student applicant with at least $820 per month, plus the guarantor’s most recent bank statement
      • or for students receiving scholarship and financial aid: Letter of scholarship award specifying amount and duration of award, issued by the financial aid office of the student applicant’s home institution.
    11. The French immigration (OFII) form (upper part)[[<*>should be filled out by the following students:
      • ALL students who will be staying in France for more than 12 months (180 days);
      • Students who will be staying in France for a period of time between four and six months (for a total duration of 91-180 days) who wish to be allowed to work in France while studying;
      • Students who will be staying in France for a more than four months and who wish to be able to extend their visa once they are in France.

        Applicants are requested to print their e-mail address very carefully to avoid any risk of confusion or error. Applicants will be notified of their OFII appointment by e-mail.

    12. An airline reservation showing date of departure or a handwritten and legible statement from the applicant indicating the intended date of departure, as well as a formal commitment not to depart before that date. It is not possible to modify the start date of a visa once the application is made. I wrote a letter stating I would buy it once I knew my visa was approved. 
    13. A self-addressed prepaid EXPRESS MAIL or PRIORITY envelope from the US POST OFFICE ONLY – NO FEDEX / UPS / AIRBORNE EXPRESS accepted. This is about $20. 

      Please do NOT stick the mailing label on the envelope and fill out as follows :

    205N. Michigan Ave, Suite 3760
    CHICAGO, IL 60601
    Your full name
    Your address

  5. Extra Info
    1. Just a side note that this process can take up to 4 weeks, so plan ahead!
    2. The first time I applied for this visa I received only a 6 month visa, and had to return to the USA during the summer to get the right student visa. So be aware if you’re enrolling in January, and are planning to stay a while!!

Any another questions or comments let me know! And good luck on your process!

A bientôt



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