Student Visa Process for France


This video recording will step you through the process of how to obtain a visa, who is required to get one, and will answer many of the most commonly asked questions.


If your program is exactly 90 days or under 90 days, you are not required to obtain a visa. Please note that the French consulate will not issue student visas for programs under 90 days at this time. U.S. citizens can travel to France on a tourist visa which is obtained as a stamp in your passport when going through customs. 


U.S. citizens are required to obtain a student visa to participate in a program in France if the program is longer than 90 days. 


  • The student visa process consists of 4-5 steps.
  • The student visa process can take up to 12 weeks to complete, so please carefully read and review the information immediately. We recommend that students begin the Campus France application (also known as Etudes en France) and student visa application process 10-12 weeks before your departure date, and at the latest 6-8 weeks before departure (if using expedited Campus France processing service) to allow enough time to book the in-person visa appointment at a VFS Global Center.
  • Non- U.S. citizens may be able to follow the same procedures outlined here if they have the required U.S. visa(s) and documentation. The France Visas website will outline these details.


Yes! And it is important that the expiration date on your passport be a minimum of 6 months beyond your program end date. When you apply for your visa, you will submit your original passport to the consulate as part of your visa application and they will return it to you with the visa affixed inside. NOTE: You will not be able to travel internationally between the time that you submit your application to the consulate and when the consulate issues your visa/ returns your passport. For this reason, API strongly discourages students from making international travel plans prior to the start of the program. 



Follow the steps below to obtain your visa. We encourage you to read through all of the information below before beginning the visa process! 

STEP 1: Create a CampusFrance account, complete the application, and submit proper documentation to CampusFrance.

  • Complete your Etudes en France CampusFrance application. CampusFrance is an organization created to facilitate student applications to French universities. As a study abroad student, you are required to create an online profile and submit documentation to CampusFrance to validate your enrollment in the API program.
    • First, follow the link above to the CampusFrance homepage. On the right side of the page, you will see a section titled “Etudes en France Account”.
    • Click on “Register” to create your account.
    • NOTE: Make sure to write down your password in case you forget it!
    • Please reference the CampusFrance Application Tutorial to help you through the application process.
    • NOTE: that the application may differ slightly from the tutorials due to updates or changes. These tutorials are meant to be used as guides to help you complete the CampusFrance application.
  • After you complete the online CampusFrance application you will pay a processing fee online and submit your supporting application materials. You can choose from the two processing and payment options below:
    1. $205 for the 3- week regular service
    2. $360 for the 3- day expedited service
  • When CampusFrance receives your documents, they will send a series of messages to the e-mail address you provided when creating your account.
    • You will receive an email verifying that your documents have been received
    • You will receive an email stating that your payment has been processed.
    • Most importantly, you will receive a confirmation email indicating that your CampusFrance application has been processed and that you can now book your in person appointment. You will receive this email in either 3 days or 3 weeks depending on the processing speed you chose. 
  • Once you have received the CampusFrance confirmation email you must print the email and bring it to your appointment at the VFS visa application center!
  • NOTE: Please begin this process as soon as possible! Processing time at CampusFrance can vary depending on the volume of applications at the time. 

Visit this link for the latest Campus France COVID-19 FAQS. 

You do not have to wait until you receive your Campus France approval email to complete your French Visa application or before making an appointment at the VFS visa application center. You will have to have this before the day of your appointment. You will need your EEF number, which can be found on your Campus France account, in the upper right hand corner of the main page. This number will start with the letters US and will be followed by a series of numbers.

Although CampusFrance recommends waiting to make an appointment until they have finished processing your file, we DO NOT recommend waiting. To allow time for processing, make an appointment for at least 4 weeks (or 1 week if you are expediting your Campus France application) from the time you finish your CampusFrance application and submit your supporting documents via email.

**Visa appointments fill up quickly and we don’t want your visa to be delayed because you waited until after your CampusFrance application was processed to make an appointment. 

STEP 2: Complete your online France Visas application and schedule your in person visa appointment.

  • After you have completed your CampusFrance application you will then complete the online France Visas application. You will need to create an account with France Visas to fill out the online application form. Once you have completed the form in full, make sure to submit your application.The following documents may be helpful in completing your online France Visas application:


    • The France Visas online application will ask for your address abroad. As you will not have your address until 2-3 weeks before the program starts, please use the Sample Accommodation Address document to help you complete this part of your application.
    • The France Visas online application will ask for onsite contact information. Please reference the Onsite Contact Information document to help you complete this part of your application.
    • During the online application process, you will be asked to schedule your appointment. You can schedule your in person visa appointment at any VFS visa application center in the U.S.

STEP 3: Research, review and prepare for your in person appointment.

  • Carefully review all the documents provided by API AND reference the list of required documents in your France Visas application. We do our best to provide the most up-to-date guidelines on the visa process, but the student visa requirements may change at any time.
  • It is extremely important that you verify the document requirements outlined on your online France Visas application before your in person visa appointment. You should also verify the number of copies of each document you are required to submit as well as the fee to process your visa. Incomplete applications will not be processed.
  • Visa applicants can submit the documents accompanying their applications digitally. If you choose this option, all required documents must be submitted digitally. This will speed up processing at the visa applications center.

Please note: The digitization of supporting documents does not exempt you from bringing the originals of all the digitized documents, translated into French or English, on the day of your appointment.

  •  Research the following components:
    • Long- stay student visa application requirements
    • Standard processing times and recommended timeline guidelines
    • Submission requirements
    • Appointment requirements/ procedures
    • Open days/hours
    • Fees for application (Currently, you can pay using cash or Visa/ Mastercard.)
    • Return procedure (Currently, you can pick up your visa in person or have it mailed to you.)
    • Personal travel plans that will affect your ability to obtain your visa before leaving the U.S. (Remember that API discourages students from making plans to travel internationally before the program.)
    • The OFII form (for Academic Year students)
  • Next, we encourage you to create a schedule for when and how you will collect all of the necessary documents and make travel plans to visit the consulate well in advance of your travel dates. You should be ready to attend your in person appointment a maximum of 90 days prior to the program start date but no later than 31 days prior to the program start date. If you do not follow this strict guideline, your documents may be returned to you unprocessed. It is critical that you do not wait until the last minute to schedule an appointment to apply for your student visa!

API will provide you with the following documents via email to submit with your visa application:

  • API letter of enrollment
  • Acceptance letter from the French university
  • API letter of enrollment (same as in the acceptance email)
  • API proof of accommodation
  • Proof of insurance letter 
  • Collect and submit documentation
  • NOTE: You may not be asked for all of these forms at your appointment, but we recommend bringing all of them to your appointment in case they ask for additional documentation.

STEP 4: Collect and submit documentation

  • Gather the necessary documents and submit them during your in person visa appointment. Consult API’s sample documents here:
  • You should also be certain to review any sample documents provided on the France Visas website. After you have had your appointment at the VFS visa application center, the average processing time for a student visa is 3 weeks.
  • When submitting the application and supporting documents, please be sure to keep a copy of the tracking number on the return envelope (if you have chosen to have your visa mailed to you) so that you can track the package at a later date.
  • The French consulate in D.C. does not have an expedited visa processing service. You must apply on time or you risk not receiving a visa before your program start date.
  • Students whose passports and visas have not been returned to them prior to their scheduled departure date will have to wait for their passport and visa to be returned to them before traveling and will not receive a refund from API for missed orientation activities.


Campus France may ask for additional application materials such as an interview. Please be sure to check your email for any follow ups after you have submitted your application. 


You will obtain a visa called the “mineur scolarisé” (school-going minor) visa. In addition to the materials mentioned above, you will need to show your most recent grade report or transcript, a note regarding your knowledge of the French language, and parental authorization. You may also be asked to submit more details regarding your accommodation in France, financial resources and insurance information. Please visit the France Visas website and your France Visas online application for a specific list of required materials. 

Visas issued to minors become invalid 2 months after the student’s 18th birthday. If you will turn 18 more than two months before your scheduled departure from France, you will be required to begin the process of applying for a carte de séjour onsite in order to legally extend your stay in the country.