Study Abroad in France
Temporary Long Stay (Semester) Visa Information
NOTE: These visa requirements are for semester students only. Summer students, please see this page.
Please read this entire page very carefully.
In order to study in France, you must obtain a student visa. Semester students will need to apply for a Temporary Long Stay Visa. Students who plan to study in France for more than six months should contact their program manager for more information regarding the visa process.
Please read the following information in its entirety very carefully before beginning the application process; any errors will delay the visa application process. These instructions are for US citizens only. Citizens of other countries should contact the program manager for France for more information.
How to Apply for a Temporary Long Stay Visa for France
Step 1: Secure Passport
If you do not already have a passport, you should apply for one immediately. Refer to the U.S. Department of State for instructions on how to apply for a passport. Your passport should be valid for at least six months past your scheduled return date from France to the U.S.
Step 2: Complete the CampusFrance registration (as soon as you are accepted to the program)
- Visit CampusFrance for study abroad students for application instructions. This is a two-step process: you must complete an online application and then mail in additional materials. Make sure to carefully read the CampusFrance Guide at the link above before completing the online portion of your CampusFrance application.
- As soon as you receive your acceptance materials from Arcadia by mail, mail a COPY of your AGS Attestation and Arcadia Confirmation of Enrollment letters and $100 money order for your registration fee to CampusFrance (confirm the payment amount on the CampusFrance website prior to obtaining the money order). These must be mailed together to:
4101 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
Note about Letters: You must send copies of the AGS Attestation (in French on AGS letterhead) and the Arcadia Confirmation of Enrollment Letter (in English on Arcadia letterhead, addressed to "To Whom it May Concern"). Do not send copies of the Arcadia acceptance letter (also on Arcadia letterhead, addressed to the student) or the HTH letter (in English and French on HTH letterhead) as these items are not required by CampusFrance and their submission may slow down processing time.
Note about Payment: CampusFrance does not accept personal checks, so you must send a money order. Make sure to include your full name and CampusFrance ID number on the money order.
Step 3: Determine the location of your local consulate
To determine which consulate you should use to apply for your visa, visit http://www.ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?article330 and click on your region on the map. Keep in mind that you will be required to travel to the consulate to submit your visa application, and you (or an authorized representative) may be required to return to the consulate to pick up your visa and passport, once granted. Some consulates will allow students who attend school in their jurisdiction to apply through them; others will only process applications for those who maintain official residency within their jurisdiction.
Review the instructions for a long stay visa on your consulate’s website, and contact your program manager with any questions.
Step 4: Gather Materials for Visa
Download and complete the long-stay visa application from your French Consulate’s website. This application must be fully completed, signed, and dated by you in black ink. You may need to complete two copies; see your Consulate's website for details. If you are unsure of an answer, call your program manager and ask for advice. Do not guess on any question. You must answer all questions, and sign and date the application. View a long-stay visa application guide here.
All non-US citizens will need to contact the French Consulate to find out whether you need to complete a different version of this form.
The following is a checklist of the materials you may need to bring with you to your appointment at the French Consulate. Refer to your Consulate’s website for a tailored list of items that they require.
- CampusFrance confirmation and proof of payment emails (these will be sent to your CampusFrance inbox, not your personal email) (+ one copy)
- 1 or 2 long-stay visa application forms completed in black ink
- 2 photographs (follow instructions at http://www.consulfrance-washington.org/spip.php?article385)
- Passport* (+ photocopy of first 5 pages)
- Flight reservation: complete itinerary with confirmed dates (+ one copy)
- Financial Guarantee signed by your parents and notarized (+ one copy)
- Proof of Residency: for students who plan to apply within the jurisdiction of their permanent address, please bring at least one of the following, as noted on the consulate's website: phone bill or bank statement or driver's license (+ one copy); for those applying within the jurisdiction of their college/university, if different from the permanent address, please bring at least one of the following: a copy of a student ID card, attestation from your college/university, etc.
- Credit card form for payment of application fee (or alternate proof of payment, depending on payment method preferred by your consulate) (+ one copy)
- Proof of Accommodation while in Paris (+ one copy)
- Arcadia University Confirmation of Enrollment Letter (+ one copy)
- Proof of HTH medical insurance letter (+ one copy)
- Letter of Admission from AGS (+ one copy)
- For most French consulate procedures, students must complete an "OFII Residence Form" (+one copy)** View a sample OFII Residence form here.
- For academic year students only, you need to bring to France a certified birth certificate translated into French and a copy of your original birth certificate.
- Any additional documentation required by the consulate where you are applying (review requirements at your consulate’s website carefully, and contact your program manager for documentation or assistance)
*Your passport must be valid three months beyond your intended date of departure from France.
** The OFII Residence Form will be processed and returned to you with your visa and passport. You must then bring this form to France and submit it to the local French authorities during the on-site immigration process (more details below).
Please note that all items in bold above will be provided to you by Arcadia University.
Step 5: Schedule Visa Appointment with Consulate (approx. 2-3 months prior to departure)
Schedule your appointment with your local consulate for the earliest possible date, and make arrangements to travel in-person to the consulate to apply for your visa. Most consulates require that students submit an online appointment request. Most consulates require students or an authorized individual to drop off the student visa application and passport in person.
It is not necessary to have the CampusFrance approval to set up the consulate appointment, but you will need to receive the CampusFrance approval before applying for your visa in person at the consulate. Please keep in mind that CampusFrance approval can take up to three weeks, once you complete the registration successfully and mail in the money order and copies of acceptance letters.
The average visa processing time can be up to four weeks, once you submit your application and materials in person to the consulate, but check your Consulate's website for their processing times as these vary by location. If you are not a U.S. passport holder, or if your U.S. Travel Document is not a U.S. passport, then your visa processing time may be significantly longer. Please refer to your Consulate's website.
In order to receive the visa once granted, some consulates may allow students to choose one of the following options (please verify with your respective consulate):
Option 1: Leave your passport at the visa office.
If you choose this option, please provide the consulate with a pre-paid self-addressed registered express mail envelope; once your visa is granted, the consulate will mail you your passport with the affixed visa.
Option 2: Keep your passport during the processing of your visa.
Once your visa is granted, you will receive a pre-approval letter from the consulate. With this letter, you will then be allowed to return in person to the consulate, with your passport, during normal business hours, without making an appointment. You will not be permitted to mail your passport to the consulate, once the visa is granted, in order to have your visa affixed to the inside of your passport. You –or an authorized representative – must return to the consulate in person.
Please refer to your consulate’s website for details on how to schedule an appointment, and contact your program manager with any questions.
Important Visa Notes
Please read these important notes before completing your student visa application.
- You must bring your actual passport to the French Consulate so that your visa can be physically attached to the inside of the passport.
- The fee for US passport holders varies by consulate. Please be advised that the French consulate reserves the right to alter this fee at any time.
- It is advisable that you begin the application process as soon as possible, upon acceptance to your program.
Once in France, students will need to comply with the requirements below. Please note that the staff in France will be able to assist you with these requirements.
- Submit the "OFII Residence Form" to the OFII
- Undergo a medical exam in France that is organized by OFII
- Pay the €55 tax
- Provide a copy of your passport with the residence stamp received at the consulate and the immigration stamp received upon entering France at the French border
- Provide proof of accommodation while in Paris
- Supply one photo ID picture
If you have any questions regarding the visa process do not hesitate to call your program manager, Francisco Guiller, toll free at 1-866-927-2234.