France Visa Regulation Updates

March 28, 2014

 

NAFSA has created this update page to provide information to international educators from a variety of sources on France student visa law and regulations. If you have questions or concerns about visa regulations, or if you have information that you would like to share with your colleagues through this update page, please submit to NAFSA leaders through IssueNet: Report an Issue.

March 27, 2014

CampusFrance Update

Effective immediately the consulate assigned to a student's Campus France USA file will be enforced. Since PASTEL assigns the consulate according to the address used when students create their accounts, they will need to choose whether to use their home or school address based on where they will apply for their visa.

Passwords can no longer be retrieved by Campus France USA staff, so students who forget or lose their password will need to create a new account with a different email address, which depending on their progress, may entail paying a second processing fee. To avoid any added hassle, it is suggested that all students from a school use the same password (e.g., SchoolName2014). Also, there have been reports of students not being able to create a PASTEL using a Hotmail or Gmail address. Students should be instructed to use their school (.edu) email address.

Advisors interested in submitting their students' Campus France USA payment and supporting documentation in batches may do so by following the instructions on the Group Mailing form (165kb Adobe PDF). Please do not submit incomplete files.

June 6, 2013
June Appointments at the Boston Consulate The French Consulate General in Boston has announced that it will not accept student visa applications until July 1st. All students who have made appointments for the month of June should re-schedule immediately. Since appointments are assigned by passport number, only one appointment may be held at a time. In order to change an appointment, students will first need to cancel their original slot. This will require the confirmation number of the original appointment. If students do not have this number, they will need to contact the Consulate to have their dossier re-set.

 October 17, 2012
CampusFrance USA has announced a flat processing fee of $100 effective October 1st. This applies to all money orders purchased on or after October 1st. The previous fee of $70 will still be accepted for money orders purchased on or before September 30th

November 14, 2011
CampusFrance
Previous information about an increase in the CampusFrance USA processing fee was premature. The increase will not go into effect until 2012. Further updates will be made once a timeline has been confirmed.

Consulates
The nine visa-issuing Consulates General of France in the United States have completed their harmonization process for the supporting documentation required of student visa applicants. The most significant change is that all consulates will now require bank statements and/or financial aid letters to prove access to sufficient funds while in France. View the full list of the new requirements.

OFII
This summer some consulates began advising students that the OFII step was no longer required. The details of this change have now been confirmed. Students spending between 91 and 180 days in France may "opt out" of the OFII procedure in France. This decision is made at the time of application for the visa at the Consulate and cannot be changed. Students who opt out of the OFII procedure may not work in France or extend their stay. Students who choose to go through the OFII procedure are still expected to limit their travel to the Schengen area after their first 90 days in France if they have not received their OFII vignette.

August 4, 2011
"CampusFrance USA has redesigned their website to include more information about studying in France with particular focus on full-degree studies and programs available in English. While the changes to the PASTEL portal are primarily cosmetic, several related URLs have changed and advisors should check their bookmarks. There is an updated tutorial for the on-line application students must complete to begin their visa application. A video highlighting the features of the new website can be viewed here.

July 12, 2011
While France is part of the Schengen area, there is an agreement with the U.S. government which now permits students traveling on a U.S. passport to stay in France up to 90 days without a visa to spend an additional 90 days in other Schengen countries without a visa. Both 90-day limits are over a 180-day period, however. This means that students spending 90 days in France must spend 90 more days outside of France before they would be permitted to re-enter French territory without a visa. Students who will be in France for more than 90 days are still required to obtain a visa prior to entering France.

February 8, 2010
As of March 31, 2010, CampusFrance will be increasing its visa processing fees for students. This announcement contains emergency contact information, including phone numbers, for NAFSA members use only, and a fax cover with requisite information. In an effort to improve service, CampusFrance is redesigning its website and is seeking your feedback. Read the February 8 CampusFrance Update.

December 1, 2009
The Education Abroad Regulatory Practice Consular Affairs Liaison Subcommittee conferred with the French Consulate of New York on December 1, 2009, to clarify student visa procedures. See examples of important application documents and read the update on residency, financial guarantees, and more.

September 21, 2009
The Embassy of France in Washington, DC, has announced that biometrics screening will be implemented at all U.S. Consulates of France beginning this fall for students studying in France. As of October 1, the Washington, DC, Consulate will no longer accept mailed applications. All students must appear in person for their visa appointment. NAFSA anticipates that this new process will extend the processing time at the French consulates, and students should be encouraged to register and receive CampusFrance approval as soon as they are accepted to their study abroad program and to make an appointment with the appropriate French Consulate as close to the 90-day allowable processing date as possible. Read the statement from the Embassy of France in Washington, DC.

The French Consulates have also clarified the requirements for the immigration registration process in France and the process for U.S. refugees wishing to study in France. Please see the France Visa Procedures below.

June 8, 2009
France has instituted new visa requirements for students who study in France for longer than three months. These new requirements are effective June 1, 2009.

All students studying longer than three months in France will need to register with the local French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) upon their arrival in France. In order to comply with this requirement, the visa process in the United States has changed, and there are new procedures for students once they are in France.


France Visa Procedures

  • U.S. French Consulates are requiring extended time for French visa processing, as the new visa procedures require additional work on their part. The processing time can be up to four weeks, and students should make an appointment for their visa well in advance of their departure.
  • It is not necessary to have CampusFrance approval to set up the consulate appointment, but students will need CampusFrance approval to keep the appointment. The French consulates are not making exceptions if students set an appointment too close to their departure date. The student must either receive permission from the study abroad program to arrive late or defer to the following semester. Students should keep in mind that CampusFrance approval can take up to three weeks once the student completes the registration successfully and mails in the check and accompanying paperwork.
  • All consulates and the France embassy require in-person visa appointments.
  • As part of the visa process, students must complete a residence form. This form will be processed and returned to the student with their passport and visa. The student must bring this registration form to France and submit it to the local French authorities during the on-site immigration registration process.
  • Students should consult the visa procedures at their appropriate U.S. French Consulate for more information on materials to submit for their visa appointment and what materials to bring with them to France for the immigration registration process.



Emergency Appointments at the Consulate
The consulates have not been entertaining requests for emergency appointments if students do not have an appointment that allows for the 2-week processing. Students must either arrive late to the program or defer to another term. Students should, however, check the consulate appointment center once or twice a day, every day, in case there is a cancellation. This has been successful for students. In addition, most consulates will accept a student who either resides or studies in that jurisdiction, and so the student can check the appropriate alternative consulate for possible openings. Students should be sure to check the consulate web sites to confirm that they are eligible to be seen at that consulate.

Process for Extending Student Visas
Students who wish to extend their visa for a second semester or term must return to the United States and reapply at their local U.S. French Consulate. The student must send a fax to CampusFrance to notify them of the extension along with a verification letter from the French university confirming the extended enrollment. There is no fee for the CampusFrance extension. CampusFrance will send the student a new confirmation number to their CampusFrance registration page. For the consulate appointment, students must bring all items listed on the consulate's web site and allow for the 2-3 weeks processing time. As with the initial consulate appointments, students can only go to the consulate once they have received the new confirmation number from CampusFrance.

Documents for Immigration Registration in France
In general, students will need to comply with the following process once in France:

  • Submit the "residence form" if required as part of their local French consulate visa procedures.
  • Undergo a medical exam in France that is organized by OFII.
  • Pay a 55 euro 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.
  • Proof of accommodation (typically provided by the on-site program once the student is in France)
  • One photo ID picture


Students with Refugee Status

Students in U.S. refugee status should note that their travel documents must be valid for three months after the visa expiration date. For students studying for a semester or a year, this means that their travel documents must be valid for 15 months from the date of their visa appointment at the French consulate. In most cases, U.S. refugee documents are not valid for this extended period of time, and students should be advised to study for less than 90 days in France.

Students with Permanent Residence Status
According to the French consulate Web sites, permanent residents can apply for a visa. Their permanent resident status must be valid for the same time period listed above for refugees.

NAFSA will post updates to these procedures, should any changes occur during this initial year of implementation. NAFSA also welcomes updated information and personal experiences from education abroad advisers. Use NAFSA's Report an Issue to provide feedback and information to the team of Consular Liaisons working on French visa issues.

April 27, 2009
The NAFSA Education Abroad Regulatory Committee met with CampusFrance staff in Washington, DC, to clarify the CampusFrance process for U.S. students.

View CampusFrance advising staff contact information.Members Only

Nonmembers may request CampusFrance advising staff contact information by submitting a request through NAFSA's Report an Issue.

April 1, 2009
U.S. students no longer need visa for short-term programs