Immigration Formalities

Friday, 07 May 2010

Visa requirements | Residence permit (Carte de Séjour)

Who needs a visa to study in France?

European Union and Swiss nationals do not need a visa or a residence permit to enter and live in France.

All other students planning to stay in France for more than 90 days should have a long-stay student visa in their possession. You will obtain this visa from the appropriate French Consulate in your own country.

In more than twenty countries an online application procedure has been set up through CampusFrance; this procedure must be followed in order to obtain a student visa.

U.S. Citizens can only obtain student visas through this online procedure:

Please click here for further instructions on the CampusFrance procedures

The student visa will allow you to enter France as a student and to reside in France for 12 months.

Important notes:

- Although it usually takes two to three weeks to get a student visa, we strongly advise you to send in your application at least 4 to 5 weeks prior to your scheduled departure to ensure that you receive your visa on time.

- Do not enter France with a tourist visa, for you would have to return to your home country to have your status changed; this cannot be done from France.

Visa application procedure - Required documents

You must provide the original AND a copy of each of the following documents. The visa section of the Consulate will not make copies of your documents for you; incomplete files will not be accepted. Note that no visa is granted automatically based on these documents; the French Consulate may ask you for additional documents.

  • Your passport, which has to be valid until at least three months after the scheduled last day of your stay in France; a photocopy of the pages of your passport with your photo, identity details and the validity of the passport. Please make sure there are two blank pages in your passport for the visa stamp.

  • A long stay application form (downloadable from the website of the French Consulate that is closest to your place of residence)

  • An OFII application form (downloadable from the OFII website here)

  • A recent passport-size photograph with a white background, to be attached to your application form (see specifications on the sebsite of the French Consulate in Washington, DC

  • Your identification number given by CampusFrance

  • Your letter of admission from the American Graduate School in Paris

  • Proof of sufficient funds:
    If your parents are paying for your expenses in France they must provide a financial guarantee, such as a notarized statement certifying that you will receive a minimum monthly allowance of USD 820 (approximately 615 Euros) for the duration of your stay
    – Or, if you are staying with a friend or family, you must submit a letter from your host certifying that you will be lodged free of charge, along with a copy of his/her identity papers, in which case a monthly allowance of € 215 will be accepted
    – Or, if you have personal income then you must submit your last three bank statements, along with a letter from AGS stating that room, board, and tuition are fully prepaid.

  • A self-addressed prepaid envelope (priority mail) for the return of your passport stamped with the visa - if granted. Your passport will be kept during the processing time. If you require your passport during this time, you will be required to make a second visit to the visa section with your passport so your visa may be issued.

  • Processing fees (you will find more information on website of the French Consulate that is closest to your residence).

You must take these documents to a French Consulate in your country; note that appointments typically have to be made online and cannot be made by phone.

Once you have arrived in France

Step 1:

You must register at a French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII)within the first three months of your stay in France. If you don't do this within this time period, the French authorities will consider that you are in an irregular situation and may ask you to leave the country. We strongly recommend that you do this in the first two weeks after your arrival as the registration procedure takes some time.

  • If you arrive in France between September 8 and December 11, AND if your residence is in Paris, you must go to the Cité Universitaire Internationale of Paris 17 boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris, with the documentation detailed below.

  • If you arrive after December 11 AND reside in Paris (75), then you must send the documentation detailed below by registered mail ("lettre recommandée") to: Direction Territoriale de l'OFII, 48 rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris.

  • If you reside outside Paris: Seine-et-Marne (77), Yvelines (78), Essone (91), Hauts-de-Seine (92), Val-de-Marne (94) you must send the documentation detailed below by registered mail to: Direction Territoriale de l'OFII, 221 avenue Pierre Brossolette, 92120 Montrouge.

  • The documentation to be submitted to OFII is the following:

Your residence form stamped by a French consulate and duly completed with:

  • Your visa number

  • Your date of entry into France or the Schengen area

  • Your address in France

  • A copy of the ID pages of your passport and of the immigration stamp received as you entered France.

Step 2:

You will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of your documents and giving you an appointment to go for an interview and a medical examination; there will also be a page onto which you must stick a 58-Euro stamp. This is how the visa processing fee is paid.

Step 3:

To buy a €58 stamp (OMI or ANAEM) you must go to one of the following Tax Offices:

  • 29 rue Moulin Vert, 75014 Paris (Metro Alésia)

  • 18/20 rue Geofroy Saint Hilaire, 75005 Paris (Metro Censier Daubenton)

  • 5/7 avenue Bouvines, 75011 Paris (Metro Nation)

Step 4:

Go for your interview and medical. Bring with you:

  • Your passport with your visa.

  • Proof of accommodation in France: this could be a rent receipt, or a letter from your host attesting that you are staying with him/her.

  • An ID picture

  • The page with the €55 stamp on it.

When the file is complete and the medical passed, a registration stamp will be added to your passport, which validates your long-stay student visa.

You must keep the appointment you have been given for the interview and medical examination . If you cannot go - and this would have to be an emergency situation - you must request a second appointment in writing, to be sent to: OFII Direction Territoriale de Paris, 48, rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris. NB: OFII will not grant more than one change of appointment.

After the medical you will be given a medical certificate. You must keep this safe as you will be asked for it when you ask for the residence perm

it required if you are studying in France for a second year.

Your long-stay student visa

A long-stay student visa, is a multiple entry visa and is valid for 3 to 12 months, depending on the length of the study program in which you are enrolled.

There is no need to apply for a resident permit (carte de séjour), during your first year in France. This visa allows you to travel in the Schengen zone.

Residence permit (Carte de Séjour)

Non-EU students need a Residence Permit for their second year of study.
Before your second year of study, at least two months before the expiration of your visa, you must make an appointment with the Préfecture, to request a Residence Permit ("Carte de Séjour"). This residence permit allows you to legally reside and work in France.

  • students living in Paris can do this at the Centre des étudiants étrangers, 92 boulevard Ney, 75018 Paris (Metro Porte de Clignancourt).

  • students living outside Paris must go to their local sous-préfecture.

You will need to take the following documents:

  • your passport with a valid student visa

  • a letter provided by AGS certifying your enrollment

  • an attestation d'hébergement (proof of residence): statement from your landlord with copy of landlord's identity papers and a copy of an electricity bill

  • all documents confirming your financial resources

  • three recent ID photos (3.5 x 4.5 cm)

  • an official translation of your birth certificate (this can be obtained from your consulate)

After submission of all requested documents it will take at least one month before you are sent a notification to pick up your Carte de Séjour, at the Préfecture de Police de Paris, 9 boulevard du Palais (métro Cité) for Parisian students. You will then have to pay €31.
Before obtaining a carte de séjour non-EU or non-US students may be asked to pass a physical exam.
Prices above are subject to change.

Note that residence permits are only granted to students enrolled in full-time programs (M.A. or Ph.D.). Non-EU students wishing to enroll in shorter programs must get an authorization to reside in France by other means. Students in the summer program only need a tourist visa (or no visa, depending on their country of origin).


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Ruchi Anand India
Associate Professor
School of International Relations

quote leftThe 'AGS experience' is about travelling through various places, spaces, contexts, perspectives, theories, approaches and ideas, colored in different nationalities, accents, cultures and identities, all at one place. The AGS corridors may be short but they are wide if you let your minds roam free.quote right

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