In order to study in France for more than 90 days, you must obtain a student visa. Semester students will need to apply for a Temporary Long Stay Visa. This may seem daunting but don’t worry – your program manager will walk you through every step, and send you a complete Visa Pack with full instructions and details of everything you will need. If you are traveling internationally in the months leading up to your program start date, please let your program manager know.
If you plan to study in France for more than six months, you should contact your program manager for more information.
Step 1: Passport
Be sure you have a valid, signed passport that will be good for at least six months following the completion of the program. If you do not have a passport, please begin the process of securing one immediately.
Step 2: Complete your CampusFrance registration
This is a two-step process that should be completed as soon as you are accepted to the program. It can take up to 3 weeks for approval.
- Complete the online application at CampusFrance. Carefully read the CampusFrance Guide before completing the online portion of your CampusFrance application.
- Mail in additional materials. As soon as you receive your acceptance materials from Arcadia, you’ll need to mail a COPY of your AGS Attestation and Arcadia Confirmation of Enrollment letters along with a $100 money order to CampusFrance (confirm the payment amount on the CampusFrance website prior to obtaining the money order). These must be mailed together to:
4101 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
Important information regarding materials to send:
- You must send copies of the AGS Attestation (in French on AGS letterhead) and the Arcadia Confirmation of Enrollment Letter (in English on Arcadia letterhead, addressed to "To Whom it May Concern").
- Do not send copies of the Arcadia acceptance letter (also on Arcadia letterhead, addressed to you) or the HTH letter (in English and French on HTH letterhead) as these items are not required by CampusFrance and submitting them may slow down processing time.
- CampusFrance does not accept personal checks, so you must send a money order. Make sure to include your full name and CampusFrance ID number on the money order.
Step 3: Determine the location of your local consulate
The visa process for France is administered in the U.S. by a series of consulate offices located throughout the country. Each consulate office administers student visas in a slightly different way, so please pay special attention to the specific requirements at your Consulate. Most consulates require that you appear in person to submit your application, and to return to pick up your visa and passport once granted. However, there are some exceptions. Be prepared for to travel a great distance to apply. Please refer to the instructions listed on the consulate webpage to determine whether you must submit your application in person.
French Consulate of Jurisdiction
Some consulates will allow students who attend school in their jurisdiction to apply through them; others will only process applications for those who maintain official residency within their jurisdiction. Check with your consulate to determine which is appropriate for you.
Once you’ve determined which consulate you will apply through, be certain you understand their specific requirements for the visa application process as each Consulate follows slightly different rules. These rules may change without notice and it is your responsibility to know exactly what is expected of you at your particular Consulate.
Step 4: Gather Materials for Visa
Download and complete the long-stay visa application from your French Consulate’s website. This application must be fully completed, signed, and dated by you in black ink. You may need to complete two copies; see your Consulate's website for details. If you are unsure how to answer a question, do not guess. Call your program manager and ask for advice. View a long-stay visa application guide here.
If you are not a US citizen, you will need to contact the French Consulate to determine if you need to complete a different version of this form.
To apply for a student visa, you may be required to bring the following items with you to your appointment at the French Consulate. Refer to your Consulate’s website for a tailored list of items that they require. (All items in bold will be provided to you by Arcadia University)
- 2 copies of your CampusFrance confirmation and proof of payment emails (these will be sent to your CampusFrance inbox, not your personal email)
- 1 or 2 long-stay visa application forms completed in black ink
- Passport – You will need to submit your physical passport and a photocopy of the first 5 pages. The consulate may keep your passport during the application period and then place the visa on a blank page in your passport once approved.
- 1-2 recent, passport-sized photos that meet requirements.
- 2 copies of your round trip flight itinerary – The Consulate will require a copy of your flight itinerary verifying an arrival and departure flight.
- Financial Guarantee signed by your parents and notarized (2 copies)
- Proof of Residency: for students who plan to apply within the jurisdiction of their permanent address, please bring at least one of the following, as noted on the consulate's website:
- Phone bill
- Bank statement
- Driver's license (+ one copy)
- For those applying within the jurisdiction of their college/university, if different from the permanent address, please bring at least one of the following:
- A copy of a student ID card
- Attestation from your college/university
- Credit card form for payment of application fee (or alternate proof of payment, depending on payment method preferred by your consulate)
- Proof of Accommodation while in Paris
- Arcadia University Confirmation of Enrollment Letter
- Proof of HTH medical insurance letter
- Letter of Admission from AGS
- OFII Residence Form
Other important notes:
- Be aware that each French consulate office retains the right to amend its visa process at any time. Please refer back to your consulate's website frequently throughout the process. As Arcadia University becomes aware of changes in the visa process, we will alert you by email.
- Any additional documentation required by the consulate where you are applying (review requirements at your consulate’s website carefully, and contact your program manager for documentation or assistance)
- Academic year students will need to bring a certified birth certificate translated into French and a copy of your original birth certificate to France.
- * Your passport must be valid three months beyond your intended date of departure from France.
- ** The OFII Residence Form will be processed and returned to you with your visa and passport. You must then bring this form to France and submit it to the local French authorities during the on-site immigration process (more details below).
- Retain at least one photocopy of all documents presented to the Consulate.
Step 5: Schedule Visa Appointment with Consulate
This should be done approx. 2-3 months prior to departure. Schedule your appointment with your local consulate for the earliest possible date, and make arrangements to travel in-person to the consulate to apply for your visa.
- Most consulates require that students submit an online appointment request.
- Most consulates require students or an authorized individual to drop off the student visa application and passport in person.
- It is not necessary to have the CampusFrance approval (approval can take up to three weeks ) to make the consulate appointment, but you will need to receive the CampusFrance approval before applying for your visa in person at the consulate.
- The average visa processing time can be up to four weeks, once you submit your application and materials in person to the consulate. Check your Consulate's website for their processing times as these vary by location. If you are not a U.S. passport holder, or if your U.S. Travel Document is not a U.S. passport, then your visa processing time may be significantly longer.
- The fee for US passport holders varies by consulate. Please be advised that the French consulate reserves the right to alter this fee at any time.
In order to receive the visa once granted, some consulates may allow students to choose one of the following options (please verify with your respective consulate):
Option 1: Leave your passport at the visa office.
If you choose this option, provide the consulate with a pre-paid self-addressed registered express mail envelope; once your visa is granted, the consulate will mail you your passport with the affixed visa.
Option 2: Keep your passport during the processing of your visa.
Once your visa is granted, you will receive a pre-approval letter from the consulate. With this letter, you will then be allowed to return in person to the consulate, with your passport, during normal business hours, without making an appointment. You will not be permitted to mail your passport to the consulate, once the visa is granted, in order to have your visa affixed to the inside of your passport. You –or an authorized representative – must return to the consulate in person.
Step 6: Upon Arrival in France - OFII Registration
Once in France, any student who will be in France for longer than 90 days will need to comply with the requirements below. Please note that the staff in France will be able to assist you with these requirements.
- Submit the "OFII Residence Form" to the OFII
- Undergo a medical exam in France that is organized by OFII
- Pay the €55 tax
- Provide a copy of your passport with the residence stamp received at the consulate and the immigration stamp received upon entering France at the French border
- Provide proof of accommodation while in Paris
- Supply one photo ID picture
If you have any questions regarding the visa process do not hesitate to call your program manager.