Applying for a Student Visa in France Part 1

ai! As of this very second I am printing out my acceptance letter from the Cordon Bleu- a little less than 2 months from my start date. eek! Super exciting and nerve raking especially because of how long each step has taken so far. You might think applying for a visa is easy? oh no. Not so much. Expect a couple hours sitting in front or a computer staring blank at the screen or a step by step instructional video to be played along with printed instructions (and that’s if you’re lucky).

I was listening to a podcast today, Katia and KylieMac.. oh wait! first sidetrack! I’m working on a post on learning french and expat blogs/podcasts to check out and I absolutely love these girls! So sad they aren’t doing it any more! One is from America and the other, Australia, and they talk all about their life in France. I love that it’s day to day mundane stuff! Well Kyliemac was taking classes at a university in France, complaining about how difficult it is not knowing the language to a French girl. The French girl says, well you pretty much have to figure it out yourself, you ask questions and get no where, that’s just how France is. And yes, so far that has been my experience too. Made me giggle.

But anyways!

What do you need to get a student visa in France as of 2013? 

#1 Allow LOTS and Lots of time (2-3 months before you leave) and try to move as quickly as you can from step to step. Most of the time is spent waiting.

#2 Consult your closest consulate (all of the required docs are different, even though we’re all coming from the same country…). My closest consulate is Houston.

#3 Fill out an application on Campus France. (This is the pre-visa step to legitimize your school acceptance? I think?)

The application you do depends on what program you’re doing. You can apply to a French institution through Campus France (either undergrad or grad) or you apply to the school independently and then come back to the site to fill out paperwork. This would be for studying abroad, or like I’m doing, taking a class independently of a US institution. The actual application is incredibly convoluted. I was gnashing my teeth thinking up ways of how I could improve the process. This is the process where you watch a video and follow instructions all while filling out screen after screen of different things. I would allow a full afternoon for it. Everything you need to fill out is super easy things you already know but it just takes time to get through.

After you fill that out, you need a copy of your final acceptance letter from your institution. This along with $100 money order (not a check or credit card payment) 🙂 has to be sent to the Campus France office in DC to be processed? No idea what they’re doing that requires $100. Then you wait- up to three weeks – for a confirmation email through the Campus France email system.

*This is the step I’m at soooo I will be checking it every day starting about a week after I mail my letter. Because! Until I receive my confirmation email, I can’t sign up for an interview at the consulate and you can’t sign up for a interview any sooner than 90 days before your term starts. Lots of dependencies on previous steps. Super fun- in a geeky/I like to be organized kinda way. haha

Just think good thoughts about how soon, you will be here:

Champs Elysees, Paris, France

Champs Elysees, Paris France {credit}


Part 2  ~ When I get my confirmation email from Campus France. 🙂

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