If you just applied at a French university or institution, then you better prepare for a student visa the right way. Depending on your nationality, you may or may not need a student visa to pursue your studies in France. To help you get started, this guide is for international students who wish to obtain a student visa. It covers the steps, documents, and fees needed to apply for a student visa in France.
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What documents do you need to apply for a student visa in France?
You don’t need a student visa if you are from EU and EEA countries, or Switzerland. The only document needed is a valid passport to enter France and study. However, for other countries not mentioned, it is required to obtain a student visa.
The required documents depend on the type of visa, whether you need a Schengen student visa (short-stay), Temporary long-stay visa, or a Long-stay visa. Generally, you must provide the consulate the following documents:
- Completed visa application form and visa appointment confirmation page
- Valid passport and photocopy of passport information page
- Two recent photographs
- Acceptance letter from the university
- Printed Campus France confirmation email
- Last complete degree certificate
- Financial statement with funds that can cover your entire study (€615 or US$722 x number of months)
- Proof of medical insurance
- Proof of accommodation
- Round trip airline ticket/itinerary
- Proof of visa application fee payment
- English or French language proficiency certificate (depends on the course language curriculum requirement)
For other additional documents that may be required based on your visa, you can check France’s official visa website via Visa Wizard to learn more about your country’s requirements.
How much money do you need for a French Student Visa?
The France student visa application processing costs about €50 for countries or territories with EEF processing, and €99 for other countries. Aside from the application fee, you’ll need to show proof of financial capacity to cover all your expenses in France which amounts to €615 per month for the entire study. Moreover, you may be asked for medical insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000.
If you are applying through Campus France, the application fee for regular service is $190 and $340 for expedited service.
Steps on Applying for a Student Visa in France
1. Get an acceptance letter from a French school
Before applying for a France student visa, you need to apply and get accepted at a French school, college, or university and obtain an application letter. The application letter is needed as part of the student visa requirements. To help you get started with your school prospects, here are some well-known universities in France to check out:
- Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres)
- Ecole Polytechnique
- Sorbonne University
- Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon
2. Complete the Campus France Application if needed
Once you get an acceptance letter, you can start the Campus France online application process, which is a mandatory requirement in some countries. Campus France is the official national agency for international students applying to French institutions. You can check if you reside in the countries needing Campus France.
If you don’t need to apply through Campus France, you’ll have to apply for both the French school application and student visa yourself. If you need to apply through Campus France, start by creating an account with Campus France and follow the instructions needed for the “Students already accepted” category. You’ll be asked to submit the required documents online.
After completing the application form, wait for the Campus France confirmation email which will be needed for your visa appointment.
3. Determine the type of visa you need
International applicants from EU and EEA countries or Switzerland don’t need a visa to study in France. If you are not from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you’ll need to apply for a France student visa. The three types of student visas are a Schengen student visa (short-stay), a Temporary long-stay visa, and a Long-stay visa.
The Schengen student visa (short-stay) is for students studying short-term programs that are less than three months only. This visa has no processing fees and doesn’t require a residence permit upon arrival in France. For studies longer than three months and up to six months, you’ll need to apply for a temporary long-stay visa.
Lastly, a long-stay visa is required for those taking a program for more than six months, which will also require a residence permit to be able to stay longer.
4. Complete the visa application form and book an appointment at your country’s French consulate
Begin your visa application at France-Visas by creating an account and completing the application form. Keep in mind that visa applications can only be submitted at least three months before departure for long-stay visas and at least six months for short-stay visas. Make a list of documents needed to make sure you don’t forget a single document on your appointment for France student visa.
Additionally, you need to have digital copies of your documents as supporting documents may be asked to be submitted online. After submitting your application, you can book an appointment. The visa appointment can be scheduled even before getting approval from Campus France, but you need to make sure you get the Campus France confirmation before attending your visa appointment. You should book your visa appointment at least 90 days before your expected departure.
To learn more about fees and how to book an appointment in your country, visit the country of application page.
5. Track your application and wait to receive your passport
You can track your visa application status via the visa application center or consulate embassy you submitted your application to. If your application is approved, you’ll be asked to pick up your passport or receive it through a passport courier service. After receiving your passport and visa, you can start preparing for your flight and make sure that you can comply with the required entry conditions of France.
If you are applying for a long-term visa, keep in mind you’ll need a residence permit if you are studying for more than a year. Moreover, your long-term France student visa should be validated within one month after arrival. You can validate your visa by registering at the local French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) and undergo a medical examination.
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