Since France is party to the Schengen agreement, US citizens traveling to France on business or for tourist purposes are not required to present a visa, provided that they are able to present a passport which is valid for at least 3 months beyond the intended duration of stay. The Schengen agreement also eliminates all internal border controls between the signing countries so a traveler who enters one Schengen country is permitted for up to 90 days of continuous travel between the Schengen states.
However, those intending to travel to France to study or work should obtain a visa for their relevant purpose before leaving the United States since it is nearly impossible to change a visa status while in France.
General Requirements – Student Long-stay Visa:
All students aspiring to study in France must first enroll themselves within the “CampusFrance” in order to obtain a student visa for France. A proof of payment from CampusFrance will have to be presented. For more information you may:
- Proof of payment from CampusFrance (receipt, mentioning student number as USxxxxx).
- Passport, valid for at least 3 months beyond the date of departure from France. An applicant’s passport must:
- Have a minimum of 2 blank pages. Only visa pages are valid, amendment pages cannot be used for visas or entry stamps.
- Be in good condition. Any minor damage, even to the cover, can discredit the security of the passport and may be declined at the visa section or at the border.
- Bear proper identification of the owner without any doubt. Adults with passport pictures of them in their younger ages may not be accepted.
- Have been issued less than 10 years ago.
- Copy of the first 5 pages of passport.
- For U.S. citizen: 1 fully accomplished and duly signed long stay application form, in black ink. Applicant must indicate a home or cellular phone number and an email address.
- 2 recent, identical passport size (1.4″ x 1.7″) photographs conforming to the Photo ID requirements.
- An OFII form with the first part filled in by the applicant (above the middle section). If a visa has been granted, the consulate will stamp this form and give it back. The last portion of it shall then be filled up by the student upon arrival in France and sent to the closest local branch of the OFII.
- For non-Americans: Proof of status in the US such as a Green Card, a valid US visa with the I-94, the I-20, the valid I-AP66, I-551, or Advance Parole. These must be in their original form and come with copies of each. B1/B2 visa holders cannot apply for a study visa in France from the US; they should apply from their country of residence.
- Proof of address for those living in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia: Driver’s license or state ID and one of the following:
- Original and copy of a utility bill not older than 3 months or lease agreement or deed of house/apartment. Only water, electricity, resident telephone, cable or rent slips are accepted for this kind of documentation. The bill should reflect the name and prove the address of the applicant as shown on the Driver’s license or state ID. If the address is of the applicant’s parents’, the applicant’s birth certificate as well as the Driver’s license of the parents’ matching the address should be presented.
- Proof of studies in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Enrollment verification letter provided by the registrar of applicant’s university only.
- Letter of admission from a French public or private school, university along with a copy. This document should state the beginning and end dates of the applicant’s studies, address of the educational institution where applicant is enrolled.
- Letter from applicant’s current university (enrollment verification letter provided by the registrar of applicant’s university) in the US stating that the applicant is presently registered as a student. This must be in the original form along with a copy. 2 copies of the applicant’s last diploma can also be submitted.
- Evidence of sufficient financial resources:
- If the parents are going to cover the cost of living in France:
- Financial guarantee, such as notarized statement verifying that $600 as monthly allowance will be provided to the applicant for the duration of stay in France, or
- Proof of personal income, together with a letter from the educational institution certifying that room, board and tuition have been prepaid in full, or
- Letter from a host stating that lodging will be provided free of charge, together with his or her pictured ID. In this case, $400 monthly allowance for student will be acceptable.
- If student will pay for his own expenses:
- Bank statements for the last 3 months, either savings or checking. This should include a detailed account history and day to day balance. Any document edited should contain the name of the account owner and address (in some cases, web edited statements of account will not show these information and the applicant should ask the bank’s local branch to edit a certified bank statement to reflect all the requirements).
- If the parents are going to cover the cost of living in France:
- Flight reservation. One way itinerary or round trip ticket with confirmed dates and the passenger’s name. However, it is advised that applicants do not purchase the tickets until the visa is approved.
- Proof of accommodation for the first 3 months of stay in France.
- Processing fee payment of USD68. This must be made either in cash, by credit card (Visa and MasterCard only), money order or certified check made out to “Consulate General of France”. Personal checks will not be accepted.
- This concerns students who will be engaged in studies for more than 3 months, including doctorate studies, or those pursuing studies after high school education.
- Personal appearance is mandatory for student visa applications. Those who live in the areas of: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia must apply at:
French Consulate in D.C.
4101 Reservoir Road NW
Telephone: (202) 944-6000
Those living outside the above-mentioned states should visit the guide for General Consulates of France in the US.
- If granted, a student long stay visa grants the bearer multiple entry into France that is valid from 4 to 12 months depending on the length of studies. Individuals in possession of this visa will no longer need to apply for a resident card and will only need to register at the OFII local branch by sending in the form, completely filled in and to be stamped by the French consulate if the visa has been granted.
- All the required documents must be in their original form and come with a copy of each.
- Applicants may choose to:
- Leave their passport at the visa office and get it back when the visa has been approved. It is highly recommended that the applicants provide a prepaid, self-addressed, registered express mail envelope for this purpose.
- Keep their passport during the visa processing period. A pre-approval letter will be sent to the applicant when the visa has been granted. This letter, along with the passport should be presented when the applicant returns to the embassy any morning that they are open. If an applicant chooses this option, he or she cannot decide to send in his or her passport to the visa section afterwards to get the visa stamped.
- Visa processing for US passport holders take a minimum of 10 to 15 business days. It is strongly advised that applications be done well in advance of intended departure to avoid the likelihood of postponing the trip if the visa is not processed before then.
General Requirements – Working Visa:
In an effort to provide better structure for professional immigration, France categorizes professions accordingly:
- Skills and Talents Permit: This type of visa is valid for an initial period of 3 years and is subsequently renewable. This allows the bearer to perform any professional activity of choice in connection with his or her project.
- Salaried and Temporary Worker Permit – Allows the bearer to gain employment from within a list of professions.
- Employee on Assignment Permit – An individual is eligible to apply for this permit, which is valid for an initial period of 3 years and is subsequently renewable if, he or she has been working for at least 3 years for a company based abroad and:
- He or she has been seconded to one of the company’s establishments in France or to another company within the same group.
- He or she has been temporarily hired by a company based in France which is part of the same group as his or her employer.
- Employee on Assignment Card for Senior Managers or High-level Executives An individual may be eligible for this type of visa if he or she is employed by a French company that is part of an international group. Additionally, an individual who carries a very important role or responsibility, or earns a gross monthly income that is greater than or equal to 5,000 EUROS will be issued a residence permit valid for a period of 3 years.
- Seasonal Worker Permit – Those employed under seasonal employment contract with a period of 3 months can be issued a temporary residence permit. This is valid for 3 years and is subsequently renewable, and will allow the bearer to perform seasonal work for a period not longer than 6 months over a period of 12 uninterrupted months. Several contracts may be accumulated in succession, as long as an individual spends no more than 6 months per year in France and maintains his or her usual residence outside of France.
- Scientific Permit – Individuals with a master’s degree or equivalent can come to France to conduct research or teaching activities. Proof of status as a researcher and evidence of the planned duration of research work must be presented along with a hosting agreement from an accredited French research institute or teaching facility.
All foreigners must submit an endorsed employment contract and obtain a medical certificate from the ANAEM (Agence Nationale de l’Accueil des Étrangers et des Migrations) upon arrival in France. If the ANAEM has a delegation from an applicant’s country of origin, this medical examination may be done there, or in France within 3 months upon arrival in the country.
As soon as they arrive in France, foreign employees with endorsed employment contracts are allowed to perform their duties. However, if they do not obtain a medical certificate within 3 months of their arrival, the work permit may be withdrawn.
For more information on the visa requirements for the appropriate work-related purposes, you may contact:
Embassy of France
4101 Reservoir Road NW
Telephone: (202) 944-6000
French Consulates General
The Lenox Building
3399 Peachtree Rd. NE
Telephone: (404) 495-1660
Fax: (404) 495-1661
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