Passports and Visas
All U.S. semester and academic year students must meet the requirements that the French government has in place in order to study abroad with IAU. Please follow the instructions below carefully and promptly, and the process will be much easier. The information is provided in the order that each step should be completed.
For non-U.S. citizens or those who retain citizenshilp within a Schengen country (specific European countries), please see the section at the bottom of this page that discusses those steps and/or requirements.
All students studying in France need a passport that is valid for at least 90 days after their date of departure. Passports should be applied for five months in advance of departure date through a US Passport Agency (Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC); through a Postal Clerk designated by the Postmaster General; Clerk of any Federal Court; or Judge or Clerk of any Probate Court. It is absolutely necessary to have a passport before applying for a visa.
Needed for a passport application:
- proof of identity
- proof of US citizenship (birth certificate, naturalization certificate, consular report or certification of birth, or previous passport)
- completed application forms
- photographs (two duplicate color passport-size)
On receipt of the passport, check that all information is correct. If not, return it for correction to the office of application; under no circumstances should you correct it yourself. Keep a photocopy of the information on the first two pages of your passport; in case of loss, this information will be very helpful in getting a replacement.
For students studying abroad for a short term program, please note that your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your period of intended stay.
Semester and academic year students must register with CampusFrance before obtaining their long-term student visa. Summer students with American passports are exempt from this requirement.
To begin the registration process, please refer to the CampusFrance Step-by-Step Guide. This will walk students through the creation of a CampusFrance Etudes en France application. Once the online application is finished, students should mail the payment (or proof of payment), the Campus France admissions form, and a copy of the acceptance letter (included in the IAU College acceptance packet).
Begin this process as soon as possible so you do not risk delaying the arrival of your visa. CampusFrance recommends starting the process at least two months before you need to leave for France. Priority is given to students who start the process early.
CampusFrance takes 3-4 weeks to process applications once they receive both your online application (Etudes en France) and mailing the supporting documents. Complete this process ASAP.
Schedule Online Appointment at the French Consulate
Even though students are not able to apply for their visa at the consulate until the CampusFrance application is complete, students need to schedule an appointment at the consulate ahead of time (but no more than three months prior to leaving the U.S.) because these appointments book weeks, sometimes months, in advance. This can be done by going to the appropriate French consulate website and making the appointment online. Students MUST visit the consulate they were assigned. The assigned consulate can be found on the first page of the CampusFrance online application.
When making the appointment, please leave four weeks for CampusFrance to process your application. You do not need to wait for Campus France approval before scheduling the appointment. However, students cannot go to the consulate without their CampusFrance confirmation e-mail.
Applying for Long-Stay Visa at the French Consulate
After registering with CampusFrance, students are required to apply for a long-stay student visa (90+ days). Individual French consulates operate autonomously with regard to visa applications and requirements may vary from consulate to consulate or change without notice. Therefore, students are advised to verify the number of accompanying documents currently required by the consulate in question at the time they request an application form, and to be sure to carefully complete the form with precise dates of arrival in and departure from France.
It will take approximately 2-5 weeks after the appointment at the consulate for American students to receive their visas. For international students, it could take up to three months so please read all of the information on the consulate website very carefully. **This means that students must schedule their consulate appointments for approximately 5 weeks (more than 5 weeks for international students) before their departure date. Otherwise, students risk not being able to leave on time for the program.
Completing the Visa Process Once in France
Once students have their visas and arrive in France, some will need to submit the appropriate documents to the OFII (Office français de l' Immigration et de l'Intégration/French Office of Immigration and Integration). Students are responsible for completing the process once they arrive in France in order to abide by the French laws. Students who do not complete this process risk being arrested and deported. IAU helps students by scheduling the below medical visits as a group to facilitate transport. Students who miss these scheduled dates are required to arrange their own transportation.
According to the Chicago French Consulate website the OFII Form should be filled out by the following students:
- all students who will be staying in France for more than six months (180 days). This applies to all IAU Academic Year students.
- students who will be staying in France for a period of time between four and six months (for a total duration of 91-180 days) who wish to be allowed to work in France while studying.
- students who will be staying in France for a period of time between four and six months (for a total duration of 91-180 days) who wish to be able to extend their visa once they are in France.
Students will need to provide the OFII with:
- the completed residence form they submitted for their visa application in the U.S.
- a copy of the ID pages of their passport and of the immigration stamp received at the border
- although this is not required, it may be a good idea to have a copy of their birth certificate
Then, they will need to appear for an interview with:
- their passport
- a proof of accommodation/residence in France
- one ID picture (Students should have this taken in France. The cost is approximately 5€)
- means of payment for the processing fees of 60€
When the file is complete, a registration stamp will be added to their passport and it will allow them to stay and study for up to one full year.
Tips for Completing Your Visa Application:
#4: Use European date format - DD/MM/YYYY
#11: National Identity number - leave blank
#12: “Type of Travel Document”: This is requesting information about your US Passport.
#13: Complete this section with your passport information
#21: Current occupation is "Student"
#22: Your "Employer" if your current college or university
#23: The purpose of your visa is "Studies"
#24: Use IAU's address:
8, rue de Littéra
BP 30970 13604
Aix-en-Provence CEDEX 1
Tel: +33 0/4 42 23 02 82
Fax: +33 0/4 42 21 11 38
#25: “What will your address during your stay be?”: You can put IAU College's address or the address listed on your Attestation if it is different from the one below.
| IAU College
2 bis, rue du Bon Pasteur
Needed (typically - each consulate is different) for a visa application - requirements change often so please consult the consulate website:
- US Passport (signed)
- CampusFrance confirmation e-mail and proof of payment (sent to your CampusFrance inbox, not your personal email account)
- two or more passport-size photographs
- two or more visa application forms (Semester/Academic Year students need the long-stay form. Forms can be obtained from the Consulate website), completed and signed
- proof of enrollment and housing from IAU (this is the Attestation, written in French)
- proof of sufficient funds - please consult consulate website for details
- a notarized Financial Guarantee form, completed and signed by parent or guardian if they are paying for expenses
- OFII Residence Form (see if this applies to you) (you will receive this form back from the consulate with your visa and you need to take it with you to France to complete the process for those completing the OFII form)
- proof of your address (copy of driver's license or state id and utility bill - please see consulate website for details)
- letter from your home college/university verifying your enrollment
- acceptance letter from IAU
- present visa application fee is roughly $130 (price fluctuates due to the value of the dollar)
- proof of insurance
The figure of $820 per month suggested on the Financial Guarantee form does not necessarily mean that each student will be spending this amount or that it will actually cost that much to live in France. Rather, this figure approximates expenses such as lunches, travel, and theater, and is a guarantee to the French government that the student will not be stranded in France without funds.
In order to obtain a visa, apply to the French Consulate serving either the student's legal state of residence or the state in which the student's school resides.
Consulate Contact Information
For a list of consulates, including their address, phone number, and the web address for student visa requirements and application information, go HERE.
Passport and Visa Checklist for Semester Students
- Apply for passport
- Register with CampusFrance and mail money order and copy of acceptance letter to CampusFrance (included in IAU College acceptance packet). Additional details are listed under #3 on the Step-by-Step Guide.
- Visit French consulate website and and make online appointment at the same time you commence your CampusFrance application. Consulate appointments book weeks/months in advance so if you delay, you risk not receiving your visa on time. You do not need to wait for Campus France approval before scheduling your appointment. However, you need the CampusFrance e-mail before you can go to the consulate so schedule your appointment for at least three - four weeks after you have completed the CampusFrance application in its entirety.
- Receive CampusFrance’s e-mail confirmation, print it out and write your CampusFrance ID number on it (beginning with "USXXXXXX").
- Receive CampusFrance's Proof of Payment message, print it out.
- Apply for student visa in person at the French consulate. Make sure you have all of the required documents by reviewing the consulate website very carefully.
- Receive your visa and your residency form (if applicable); you will need to keep this form and take it with you to France to complete the process
- Complete your interview and medical exam once you arrive in France (if applicable)
Students with passports to the following countries are not required to apply for a long-stay student visa: Switzerland, Andorra, Vatican, San Marino, Monaco, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
For citizens of any other country, visit your country's French consulate website to determine the visa requirements. The visa process for non-US citizens may take much longer than that of US citizens so please begin the application process as soon as possible or you risk not receiving your visa on time. If you need a visa, please contact the U.S. Office immediately for assistance.
In addition, before arrival in France, non-US citizens must check visa requirements of countries to be visited, and obtain visas necessary for travel within Europe.