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
Due to the evolving nature of the public health situation and the high level of vaccination in most countries, the French government has relaxed the COVID-19 restrictions at the borders, in particular for vaccinated travelers. Since February 12, 2022 the following rules apply at borders for travelers coming from the United States, which is categorized as a GREEN country. View the the most current color-coded map of countries here.*
Fully vaccinated travelers:
- No restrictions apply for fully vaccinated travelers when entering metropolitan France from a green list country.
- No compelling reason is required for fully vaccinated travelers when entering metropolitan France from a green list country.
- Proof of vaccination
- Approved COVID-19 vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson only.
- "Fully vaccinated" according to French authorities as of February 1, 2022 means that all travelers aged 18 and over have received a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine no later than 9 months after the last mandatory dose.
- Fully vaccinated travelers are not required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (although certain airlines may still require this for boarding).
Travelers who are not fully vaccinated:
- Must present a negative PCR COVID test done within 72 hours before departure, or, negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure (departure of the first flight in the event os a connection).
- Or, a certificate of recovery (positive result of a PCR or antigen test carried out more than eleven days and less than 6 months previously).
- No compelling reason is required for unvaccinated travelers from GREEN countries.
- No measures such as isolation, testing, or quarantine is in force upon arrival in metropolitan France for travelers from GREEN countries.
Because of the rapidly evolving nature of the global health sitation, France may change is country color destinations (Green, Orange, Red) at any time. We strongly recommend that advisors, faculty, and students routinely check the French Ministry of the Interior website before advising students on entry requirements.
*French COVID-related entry requirements are based on the color code of the country of origin of travel: Green, Orange (Amber), and Red. View the the most current color-coded map of countries here.
"Passe Sanitaire" - Vaccine Pass
As of March 14th, the French "Passe Sanitaire" is no longer required to access indoor spaces. It is still required for long-distance train, plane, and bus travel as well as in medical buildings and nursing homes. International students can apply to obtain a passe sanitaire on this French government website.
The "Passe Sanitaire" serves as proof of either full vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 testing, in digital or paper form. 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.