Obtaining the Visa at the French Consulate

The Instructions on the consulate website may be different than the ones here. You should check the consulate website and follow their instructions.

  • Determine at which consulate you will apply for your visa.

    You may apply at the consulate that represents the jurisdiction over where you live or study. If you are using the one that represents your place of study, please be sure to put your school address on all visa forms.

  • Schedule an appointment.

    Most consulates now require that you schedule an online appointment. Since appointments at many consulates fill up quickly, please make an appointment as soon as possible for no later than a month before you are scheduled to leave. Once you have submitted your visa paperwork, the processing will take five to ten days, so you will need to both choose your consulate (home or school jurisdiction) and your timing appropriately.  Do NOT wait for your Campus France registration to be completed before scheduling your appointment at the consulate.

  • Make certain you read the consulate website carefully and SLOWLY.

    You need to make sure you are looking at the instructions for the LONG STAY student visa, but it is very easy to make a mistake and read the instructions for the Short Stay visa. The requirements for the LONG STAY visa MIGHT be on a PDF that you must click on in order to access depending on the consulate. 

  • Gather all supporting documents and complete the visa application.

  • Go to your visa appointment and submit all materials/Pay the fee.

    Please make the appropriate number of copies of all of your visa materials. Bring any requested copies with you to your appointment, since the consulate will not make copies for you under any circumstances. 

    Sometimes the consular officer with whom you are meeting will request additional materials. In this case he/she will normally tell you when you may return. Since the consulates are generally very difficult - if not impossible - to reach by phone, please ask any questions you might have at your appointment. 

    The amount of the visa fee is listed on the consulate website. You can pay this fee at the consulate by credit/debit card or cash. Your visa will not be issued without this payment. 

Required Documents

To obtain a visa, you generally need to supply the following. Please make photocopies of your documents for yourself and also be sure to make the requested number of photocopies for the consulate (usually at least one copy of each document, but read the consulate website carefully.)  You will not be able to make photocopies at the consulate. 

  • Proof of registration from Campus France (this will come to you as an email at your Campus France personal account.) Be sure to take it with you.
  • Passport signed and valid for a period of three months beyond the applicant's last day of stay in France with at least two blank pages so that a visa may be affixed.
  • Completed Schengen (EU) visa application and requested number of copies and photos. This form can be found on the consulate website.
  • The letter of admission, emailed  by the GSAS, AND the “Attestation d’études, de ressources et de domicile” emailed by Christine Valero
  • Financial Guarantee you will need the following:
    • If your parents are providing your financial support in France
      • Notarized Financial Guarantee Form certifying that the applicant will be granted a monthly allowance of at least $ 900 for the duration of his/her stay in France.
      • A copy of the personal bank statement of the provider must be attached or proof of personal income of at least $900/month for the duration of the stay in France. 
    • If you will use your own personal funds to support yourself in France
      • A personal bank statement or notarized letter from the bank showing that you currently have the equivalent of at least $850/month in your account or that there are regular monthly deposits that will cover that amount.
    • If you will use Financial Aid funds to support yourself in France
      • Request a signed copy of your support letter. You must take this with you to the consulate.  This functions as your proof of personal income. It should have the date and amount of your refund disbursement. 
  • Proof of Medical Insurance (required by some consulates, please check the consulate at which you will apply for your visa):
    • You will receive a letter from the EHESS via Christine Valero stating that students under 28 will be enrolled in French medical insurance from October 1st   2016 until September 1st  2017. You will need to be covered in Europe during the month of September either by your current insurance company or by a private company in France ( around 60 euros). Email Christine Valero if you want to benefit from this insurance.
    • If you are above 28, you will have to show a letter from a US insurance company stating that you will be covered during your stay in Europe.  You may choose to be covered by “Couverture Etudiant Etranger” which costs around 650 euros a year. See section on  Health and medical care.
  • The program will provide you with a letter that specifies that all students are automatically covered under the ISOS plan for emergency hospitalization, evacuation and repatriation expenses.
    Columbia’s ISOS program – get your emergency card http://finance.columbia.edu/treasury/risk_management/Intl_SOS.html
  • Proof of Accommodation: The Attestation d’études, de ressources et de domicile” is usually sufficient for this requirement. This may differ by consulate, so be sure to verify the needed requirements before your appointment.
  • Complete itinerary showing a roundtrip ticket with confirmed dates (not required at all consulates): Reserve a flight that shows the dates you will enter and leave France. Bring the itinerary to the consulate. Open ended tickets are not acceptable. You do not need to PURCHASE the ticket to show your itinerary; simply create an itinerary showing your name and proposed dates on a search engine like Kayak or through a travel agent.
  • Visa fee payable by credit card. This fee changes according to the rate of exchange—check with your consulate.