This page provides updates on France student visa processes and procedures. If you have case specific questions or concerns about visa processes for France, please submit a ticket to NAFSA's Consular Affairs Liaison Subcommittee through EA Visa Help. EA Visa Help is a NAFSA member benefit.
VFS Global - Visa Application Centers
All VFS Centers around the country are open and accepting student visa application appointments. They are operating in compliance with local public health regulations, which may include wearing a mask.
More information about VFS centers and operating hours may be found here.
Travel Entry Requirements
Since June 9th, 2021, short-term academic travel (study abroad programs) less than 90 days is allowed in France. This applies to both students and faculty.
COVID-related entry requirements are based on the color code of the country of origin of travel: Green, Orange (Amber), and Red. To see the most current color coded map of countries, go here. As of September 12, 2021 the United States is classified as an Orange/Amber country. Read the most recent and up to date information on travel requirements to France here.
Requirements for vaccinated travelers:
- Proof of vaccination
- Approved COVID-19 vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson only.
- Details can be found on the Campus France COVID-19 FAQ page here.
- "Statement of Honor" downloadable at the French Ministry of Health website.
- Fully vaccinated travelers are not required to quarantine or isolate upon arrival.
- Fully vaccinated travelers are not required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (although certain airlines may still require this for boarding).
Requirements for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers from Orange/Amber countries (e.g., U.S.):
- Complete the Certificate of Travel from an Amber List Country indicating the "compelling reason" to enter France (e.g. studies)
- Negative PCR COVID test done within 72 hours of boarding their flight, or, negative antigenic test taken within 48 hours of departure, or, a certificate of recovery dated more than 11 days but no more than 6 months before departure
- Isolation period (quarantine) for 7 days upon arrival
- May be subject to random testing upon arrrival
The French "Passe Sanitaire" serves as proof of either full vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 testing, in digital or paper form. International students can apply to obtain a passe sanitaire on this French government website. The passe sanitaire is needed to enter some places in France such as restaurants and cultural events. Other information regarding the passe sanitaire can be found here.
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). Campus France is unable to offer expedited service as of late August 2020.
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 (https://www.docboxcfusa.org). 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: https://www.usa.campusfrance.org/advisors
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:
- Printed Campus France confirmation email.
- 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.
- One black and white photocopy of the passport information and signature pages.
- Two recent photographs that meet the French photo requirements (not smiling, no head scarf).
- Signed, completed application PDF printout from the France-Visas website.
- Printed visa appointment confirmation page.
- Signed acceptance letter from France.
- Proof of accommodation for the first 3 months in France. Students should use their actual address in France on the application, when possible.*
- 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
- $29.50 to make appointment with VFS
- $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?
Every student is now required to do this part of the process as the Consulate is only issuing VLS-TS visas for study abroad students.
How much does it cost?
What happens after a student arrives?
Students 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. They 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 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.
Submit a request to the Consular Affairs Liaison Subcommittee for help with U.S. student visa issues for education abroad programs.