France Visa Regulation Process and Updates

March 11, 2019


french flagNAFSA 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.

Campus France

What is Campus France?
Campus France is an agency within the French government that is tasked with promoting higher education in France. Campus France USA is based at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. and serves as the “clearinghouse” for all visa applicants. It is step one in the process of securing a visa for France.

Is this a mandatory part of the process?
Yes. No student can obtain a visa without a confirmation email from Campus France stating their file has been processed.

What is the Campus France processing fee?
$190 for individual applicants for regular service and $340 for expedited service. (Each student who will be part of an optional group mailing service done with his or her adviser will pay the same $190 fee).

How do individual students apply?
Students must create an Etudes en France (Campus France) account and submit an online application. Individual applicants will then pay the processing fee online and submit the required paperwork to Campus France using this website ( This new tool (Docbox) should eliminate the need to communicate with Campus France via email.

What is the group mailing service?
The optional group mailing service is available to advisors who have at least 5 students applying for a visa for France. This option reduces the processing time from 3 weeks to 5 to 7 business days, streamlines the process and makes it easier for advisors and students, presuming the advisor’s office has the bandwidth and time to commit to supporting their students. Additional information can be found here:

View the Group Mailing Form. pdf

Visa Application

The Consulate General of France outsourced the visa application process to VFS Global in 2018. Students no longer go to Consulates to submit their visa applications, but rather, to one of the nine Visa Application Centers across the U.S. that are operated by VFS.

The application process and procedure is more streamlined now that the VACs are open. Below is a list of the essential documents required for the visa appointment for US passport holders applying for a long-stay student visa:

  1. Printed Campus France confirmation email.
  2. Passport valid for at least three months after the intended departure date from France/Schengen zone.  The passport must have at least two blank pages.
  3. One black and white photocopy of the passport information and signature pages.
  4. Two recent photographs that meet the French photo requirements (not smiling, no head scarf).
  5. Signed, completed application PDF printout from the France-Visas website.
  6. Printed visa appointment confirmation page.
  7. Signed acceptance letter from France.
  8. Proof of accommodation for the first 3 months in France. Students should use their actual address in France on the application, when possible.*
  9. Proof of Funds requirement (full amount of 615€ x number of months in France). You must indicate an amount if your home institution is providing a Financial Guarantee letter.

How much does it cost

  1. $29.50 to make appointment with VFS
  2. $57 for the visa – this is based on the exchange rate and subject to change.

*The CAL Subcommittee has received numerous requests for clarification on what the Consulate requires as proof of accommodation. An actual address in France is mandatory. The local address of the person onsite (ex: Program Director) is acceptable if the exact housing is unknown at the time of application. We strongly advise against students using Airbnb as the Consulate significantly scrutinizes independent housing arrangements. In one instance, they mentioned that having too many occupants in a single dwelling was a red flag.


What is OFII?
OFII stands for Office Français de l’Immigration et l’Intégration. This office issues stamps or « vignettes » that validate long-stay visas.

Does every student need to do this part of the process?
No, OFII is required only for students staying over 180 days, or for those who will be working (not interning as part of an education abroad program).

How much does it cost?

What happens after a student arrives?
OFII implemented a new procedure in February 2018. Students only need to follow the procedure using this link ( Students no longer have in-person appointments at the OFII and can pay the tax right away. The register as soon as they arrive in France since they must enter their arrival date. Once the process is completed, students will receive an ‘attestation” to print and put in their passport.

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/VAC and cannot be changed.

Important! 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 yet received their OFII attestation.