European Union and Swiss nationals do not need a visa or a residence permit to enter and live in France. American citizens who will studying in France for less than 90 days do not need a visa.
All other students planning to stay in France for more than 90 days should have a long-stay student visa in their possession. You will obtain this visa from the appropriate French Consulate in your own country.
In 33 countries, an online application procedure has been set up through CampusFrance; this procedure must be followed in order to obtain a student visa.
The list of these countries can be found here.
U.S. Citizens can only obtain student visas through this online procedure:
The student visa will allow you to enter France as a student and to reside in France for 12 months.
- Although it usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to get a student visa, we strongly advise you to send in your application at least 4 to 5 weeks prior to your scheduled departure to ensure that you receive your visa on time.
- Do not enter France with a tourist visa, for you would have to return to your home country to have your status changed; this cannot be done from France.
Visa application procedure - Required documents
You must provide the original AND a copy of each of the following documents. The visa section of the Consulate will not make copies of your documents for you; incomplete files will not be accepted. Note that no visa is granted automatically based on these documents; the French Consulate may ask you for additional documents.
You must take these document to the French Consulate of your country; make an appointment online; no appointment will be given by phone.
Once you have arrived in France
You must register at a French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) within the first three months of your stay in France. If you don't do this within this time period, the French authorities will consider that you are in an irregular situation and may ask you to leave the country. We strongly recommend that you do this in the first two weeks after your arrival as the registration procedure takes some time.
If you arrive in France between September 8 and December 11, AND if your residence is in Paris, you must go to the Cité Universitaire Internationale of Paris www.ciup.fr 17 boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris, with the documentation detailed below.
If you arrive after December 11 AND reside in Paris (75), then you must send the documentation detailed below by registered mail (lettre recommandée) to: Direction Territoriale de l'OFII, 48 rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris.
If you reside outside Paris: Seine-et-Marne (77), Yvelines (78), Essone (91), Hauts-de-Seine (92), Val-de-Marne (94) you must send the documentation detailed below by registered mail to: Direction Territoriale de l'OFII, 221 avenue Pierre Brossolette, 92120 Montrouge.
The documentation to be submitted to OFII is the following:
Your residence form stamped by a French consulate and duly completed with:
You will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of your documents and giving you an appointment to go for an interview and a medical examination; there will also be a page onto which you must stick a 58-Euro stamp (timbre). This is how the visa processing fee is paid.
To buy a €58 stamp (OMI or ANAEM) you must go to one of the following Tax Offices:
- 29 rue Moulin Vert, 75014 Paris (Metro Alésia)
Go for your interview and medical. Bring with you:
When the file is complete and the medical passed, a registration stamp will be added to your passport, which validates your long-stay student visa.
You must keep the appointment you have been given for the interview and medical examination . If you cannot go - and this would have to be an emergency situation - you must request a second appointment in writing, to be sent to: OFII Direction Territoriale de Paris, 48, rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris. NB: OFII will not grant more than one change of appointment.
After the medical you will be given a medical certificate. You must keep this safe as you will be asked for it when you ask for the residence perm
it required if you are studying in France for a second year.
Your long-stay student visa
A long-stay student visa, is a multiple entry visa and is valid for 3 to 12 months, depending on the length of the study program in which you are enrolled.
There is no need to apply for a resident permit (carte de séjour), during your first year in France. This visa allows you to travel in the Schengen zone.
Non-EU students need a Residence Permit for their second year of study.
You will need to take the following documents:
After submission of all requested documents it will take at least one month before you are sent a notification to pick up your Carte de Séjour, at the Préfecture de Police de Paris, 9 boulevard du Palais (métro Cité) for Parisian students. You will then have to pay €31.
Note : Residence permit are only granted to students enrolled in full-time programs (M.A. or Ph.D.). Non-EU students wishing to enroll in shorter programs must get an authorization to reside in France by other means. Students in the summer program just need a tourist visa.