Welcome to MICEFA!
Now that you have made the decision to study abroad on the MICEFA exchange, you need to start preparing for your stay. This includes getting or renewing your passport and applying for a visa through Campus France or through your local embassy in Canada. You will find all the information you need below.
All students planning to study in France are first required to register with Campus France Etudes En France. They can then proceed with their application through France-Visas.gouv.fr and an in-person appointment with a VFS Global processing center. This is a mandatory 2 step process. Plan a minimum of 3 weeks for Campus France / Etudes En France validation and 2-3 weeks for reception of your visa after the VFS appointment.
Go to the Campus France website and follow the procedure listed. Please read all listed and downloadable materials on the website.
American Students: https://www.usa.campusfrance.org/application-overview
NB. The last step of the process concerning validating your visa upon arrival with the OFII will be explained by the MICEFA when you arrive.
Visa Information for all Students
If you are staying for less than 90 days, a visa is no longer required for U.S. or Canadian passport holders. Students of other nationalities should contact their French Consulate to determine whether they will need a visa.
If you are staying for over 90 days a student visa is required for all students (European Union and E.C.C. students are exempt from this requirement). You must apply for a long stay student visa through Campus France / Etudes En France.
NB. If you are given the option, we recommend checking the box to have a Long Stay Student Visa and not one for “Temporary Stay”. This will allow you to have the opportunity to work while abroad at any establishment for a maximum of 20 hours per week.
Before applying for their visa, American and Canadian students must first complete and online application through Campus France (specific country links listed above). You will end up registering with a page called “Etudes en France” as an exchange student. Please be careful to say that you are an exchange student and not a degree-seeking student! You may download the PDF that explains the visa process step-by-step. You can also download the PDF explaining EEF (Etudes en France) document requirements.
The Campus France part of the Visa process costs 250 USD for regular processing time (390 USD for expedited service) payable online. You will receive an email of payment that you will need to keep for proof for your visa appointment.
Once Campus France has validated a student’s file, the student may proceed with their visa application through France-Visas, the French government’s official visa application website.
At the end of the process, the student must print their application form and acknowledgment letter, which comes with a checklist of required documents. The next step is to follow the link to sign up for a mandatory in-person interview appointment date with VFS Global, the French embassy’s visa processing partner.
For U.S.A. students, appointments can be made with any of the 9 VFS centers in the US: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. For Canadian students, appointments can be made with any of the 4 VFS centers in Canada: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver. Your biometrics, such as fingerprints, will also be taken during that appointment.
Everyone should start the visa process upon reception of their acceptance materials from MICEFA. Canadian students especially need to move as quickly as possible since VFS appointment often fill up quickly due to fewer center locations.
Yes, all student applicants must appear in person at a VFS Global visa processing center for the visa interview and to submit biometrics (fingerprints). You must have all required documents physically with you.
All students at U.S.-based institution may apply, however nationals of other countries must be in possession of a valid visa to re-enter the United States after their stay in France.
The Campus France process takes at least three weeks. Processing time after your appointment at VFS takes at least two weeks. You will also sometimes have to wait multiple weeks before a VFS appointment is available. The application process can begin no sooner than 90 days before the departure date. It is strongly recommended that students begin the process at the earliest possible time in the event of unforeseeable delays.
For the first step in the visa process, students can choose to pay for the expedited service with CampusFrance. Processing time is 3 days, as opposed to 3 weeks, provided all your documents are correct. Unfortunately, there is no means by which the VFS step can be expedited. It is your responsibility to begin your visa process on time.
It is recommended that the student sign up for the earliest possible open VFS appointment. If appointments are full, students should check the VFS website daily for cancellations. Earlier appointments do open up due to cancellations but student must check the website multiple times per day because the openings will be claimed quickly by others seeking to advance their appointment. The VFS appointment system uses passport numbers as reference numbers and only one appointment can be assigned to a passport number. This means that students, and in particular those who may need to change their appointment, need to be careful to keep their appointment confirmation number as this is the only way to access the system to change or cancel an appointment.