France Visa Guidelines

The Padnos International Center (PIC) provides the general information below as a service to GVSU students. We strive to maintain accurate information regarding visa procedures, however, changes to policies and procedures may occur frequently without our knowledge. Students are responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa for their program and must consult the consulate for the most up to date information on application procedures.

Please look over the visa information carefully and do not delay, as visa procedures are time sensitive.

You will be required to make an appointment with the VFS Visa Processing Center in Chicago (or any of the other VFS French visa processing centers located throughout the United States) in order to apply for your visa. The longer you wait to make this appointment, the fewer options you may have. 


Do I need a visa?

All students participating in study abroad programs in France longer than 90 days are required to apply for a student visa

Processing Time and Visa Appointment

Campus France 3 week minimum*

VFS Global 1-4 weeks

The total processing time is usually 7-10 weeks but it can take longer if you run into issues or problems with your application

All applicants must make an appointment to appear in person at a VFS processing center (nearest in Chicago) to receive a visa.

*There is a 3-day expedited Campus France Service available for an additional charge of $155 on top of the $205 Campus France fee. If students are finding themselves behind in the process of applying for their visa, they may want to utilize this service.

Application Instructions


  1. You must complete the Campus France online application process before completing your visa application. Visit Campus France for a complete overview of the application process. You can also view Campus France student visa guidelines for more instructions.
  2. It is very important that you carefully follow ALL OF THE STEPS listed in the Campus France application process. If you do not mail your confirmation of payment ($205 – subject to change at any time), you will not be approved by Campus France to apply for the student visa. The Campus France process takes a minimum of 3 weeks unless you pay for expedited 3-day service.
  3. Schedule your in person visa appointment at the VFS processing center. Your visa appointment must occur within 90 days of your official program start date listed on your acceptance letter from the institution in France. If your appointment is scheduled for an earlier date, you will not be granted a visa. Visa applications can take up to 4 weeks to process. You need to schedule your appointment for a date that is at least 4 weeks prior to your intended departure. You do NOT need to wait until the Campus France process is completed to schedule your appointment. For students going abroad in the fall, your appointment must be scheduled for a date no later than August 1. For students going abroad in the winter, your appointment must be scheduled for a date no later than December 10.
  4. Once you send your payment to Campus France, you can start your visa application on the France Online Visa Application website. Students are encouraged to start this process early so that they have plenty of time to complete the visa process.
  5. After your appointment you can Track your visa application 
  6. Download the printable France Visa Checklist for more information.

Estimated Cost

Campus France $205

Student Visa Processing Fee 99 Euro (only debit/credit card accepted)

VFS Global Appointment Fee $33 (online payment only)

Return Envelope $35 (purchased at VFS Center)

OFII 55 Euro

Nearest Consulate or Embassy

VFS Global Center - Chicago

564 West Randolph Street

Regus Office 2nd Floor

Chicago, IL 60601


Please Note: The nearest French consulate is also located in Chicago but is no longer processing visa applications as of May 2018.

Contact Information

(212) 784-6157 or (347) 252-3055

Please Note: GVSU has been informed by past participants that VFS has provided conflicting information regarding more complicated visa questions. Please contact the Padnos International Center for assistance with complex visa questions.

Additional Information

The Campus France Application can be started immediately after you receive your acceptance letter. The interview through VFS can happen no sooner than 90 days before your official program start date.

You are required to register and validate your visa within your first three months in France to maintain your legal status.