The NAFSA Education Abroad Regulatory Practice Consular Affairs Liaison Subcommittee has conferred with the New York Consulate of France to clarify some issues regarding student visas for France. Below please find an update on these issues.


Residence

The NY consulate will process student visas for applicants whose college/university is in NY, NJ, or CT, and for permanent residents of NY, NJ, CT, or Bermuda (the NY consulate’s jurisdiction). Those applying in NY because their school is within the consulate’s jurisdiction need only to show proof of enrollment at that school (copy of student ID card or attestation from School in the U.S.A., as noted on the consulate’s Web site). Those applying in NY because their permanent residence (but not their school) is within the consulate’s jurisdiction must show proof of residency when applying, such as a copy of a driver’s license, non-driver state ID20016, voter registration, or vehicle registration.

The consulate had earlier indicated to some students that they would not process residents, but they have reversed this decision as of December 1, 2009. Students who were denied the opportunity to apply for a visa at the NY consulate can now book an appointment there. Please remind your students there is a delay of at least one week for processing (not including any holidays).


"Proof of Accommodation"

Every "proof of accommodation" submitted with a student visa application must contain a residential address where the student will live. These addresses are entered in the consulate's system and it has to be valid. If students' final housing arrangements are not made until they are on site, if the provider/college/university can provide preliminary information for the purposes of this document, then it can be accepted.

For home-stay students, the NY consulate will trust the information coming from the provider/college/university and presume that the provider/college/university has established ties with the families; only the letter from the provider/college/university is necessary.

For students living in other private accommodations such as a flat rented by the student or a friend’s family or flat, they need to provide a letter from the owner/renter of the flat verifying that the student will live with him/her or in his/her flat from "this date" to "that date," and include a copy of the title of ownership or renter's agreement, as well as a utility bill for that property with the owner's/renter's name on it. For students in university dormitories, the consulate prefers a similar letter from the French dormitory but has stated that they will accept a letter written by the U.S. provider/college/university verifying a contract with "the dormitory" and that their student will live there at "the address" (must be a full street address with city and zip). The letter from the French dormitory is preferred, but the U.S. university letter could be a useful alternative for advisers who are unable to work out an arrangement for a letter from the dormitory manager. A sample Proof of Accommodation letter, reviewed by the consulate, is available here (written for the home stay option, but can be edited to fit your needs).


Financial Guarantees for Full Financial Aid Recipients

The NY consulate will accept letters from the provider/college/university verifying that the students is on full scholarship/full financial aid – for U.S. citizens. They cannot guarantee to accept such a letter for non-U.S. citizens, however. The letter from the provider/college/university should include the amount of financial allowance to be made available to the student once in France, state that the student will receive these funds as of X date, and state that all on-site expenses will be covered, such as tuition, housing, meals, and insurance.


O.F.I.I. Form

This form is required as part of the visa application, and must be pristine in presentation both to the consulate and to the authorities in France. No cross-outs or white out are allowable for this document. If a mistake is made, a new original must be used. A sample of how to properly complete the form, approved by the NY consulate, is also available here. This form will be returned to students along with their passports/visas, and should be treated with the same care and caution as their passports.


Collection Of Visa - 2nd Visit To Consulate

NY will still allow either the applicant him/herself or a person other than the applicant to collect the visa after the student has applied. If the student sends a third party individual to collect his/her visa, the individual must have the student's original passport used for the application and the student's receipt for payment of the visa. Currently, the consulate is processing visas in 5-10 business days for U.S. citizens.


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 two-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 many 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.