fbpx Visa Support Services — PCA

Visas Support Services

Students from outside of the European Community must apply for and receive a student visa before entering France.

The Student Life office guides students through each step of the visa application, streamlining the process and responding to questions. To begin, you should start with the Visa Wizard to verify if you will need a visa to study in France. The visa process can vary depending on your nationality, so this will help you get off to the right start.  

Acceptance of PCA’s offer of admission brings with it the issuance of a Certificat d’Inscription or certficate of pre-registration, facilitating the start of the visa application process under the guidance of the Student Life team. Applying for a visa prior to acceptance is not possible, as students will need to submit proof of registration for the application. Students must apply for a visa in their country of permanent residence and are encouraged to do so as early as possible, as the process can take up to several months.

For students requiring a visa to study in France, attending Student Life’s admitted student webinars (details will be communicated via email) is strongly recommended. These sessions provide in-depth information and valuable guidance regarding the visa application process. You can sign up for a session via your PCA application portal.

120 days before the expiration of their initial visa, students staying in Paris for more than one semester are required to apply for a renewable residency permit called a titre de séjour. Please be aware that it is against the law to enter France under a tourist visa, or without a visa at all, with the intention of studying (except for students who are only attending summer programs).

First Time Applicants (All Full-Time Programs)

Type of visa for first-year students:
Long stay student visa (“Etudiant- VLS- TS CESEDA- R311 3 69): because the first-year students plan to stay in France more than one year.

Upon confirming your enrollment at PCA by way of a deposit in your application portal, you will receive detailed instructions and a certificat d’inscription, a document essential when applying for a long-stay student visa. This residency permit grants you legal authorization to reside in France while you complete your studies. 

The process for applying for a French Visa can be summarized in 3 steps:
1. Campus France/Études en France Application (if applicable)
Visa Application Form (France-Visa)
Scheduling and attending a visa appointment (Consulate/VFS Global)

To begin the visa application process, start with the Visa Wizard. On this page, you will be able to enter your information and find out what documents will be required for your visa application. You will also be able to find out if you are from a country that is required to do the Etudes en France (Campus France) procedure. This is important as it will determine whether you begin your visa application at Step 1 (Campus France/Etudes en France) or Step 2 (Visa Application Form).

Note: If your country has the Campus France procedure, you will not be able to complete the Visa Application form before you complete the Campus France/Etudes en France procedure.

Step 1 – Campus France/Etudes en France (at least 12 weeks before departure) 

Submit your Campus France/Etudes en France application at least 12 weeks before your planned departure. The following Campus France USA guides may help you navigate the portal. Although they are specifically designed for students applying from the USA, they can be helpful for students applying from other countries. Please remember that if you ever have any questions, we encourage you to reach out to us at [email protected]. 


Pay the application fee. The exact fee varies from country to country.

Your application will be reviewed within 3 weeks (3 days for expedited review may be possible depending on where you are applying from), as long as your application is complete (no missing documents). Once you receive your approval email and registration certificate, print these out to take with you to your visa appointment.

Step 2 – Applying for your visa (at least 7 weeks or up to 90 days before departure) 

First, create an account on the France Visas website. 

Fill out the application form then generate, save, and print a PDF of the form. Please note that if you are from an EEF country (see step 1), you will need to include your EEF number in the application. 

Save the receipt, which will include your registration number and the list of documents you will need for the visa appointment. The receipt is usually provided as the last page of your application.

Step 3 – Setting your appointment 

Schedule an appointment with your nearest visa processing center – depending on your country, this could be a consulate, embassy, or a VFS Global center. If no appointments are available, keep checking as new appointments become available regularly, or contact the center or consulate directly – some (but not all) accept walk-ins.   

Schedule an appointment that is:  

  • At least 3 weeks AFTER the date you paid Campus France; 
  • At least 3 weeks BEFORE your departure; 
  • No more than 90 days before your departure. 

Note: Prior to the start of your first semester, it is mandatory to provide Student Life with your visa as well as other matriculation documents listed in your application portal. Among these documents is your birth certificate (a certified copy in English or French). This document must be prepared before your arrival in France. Additionally, marriage, divorce, and adoption certificates are required to substantiate any change of name, if applicable. 

During Orientation Week, the Student Life office will guide you through validating your student visa. This process is a way for you to notify the French government that you have arrived in France and will permit you to renew your visa using the online process. During the visa validation workshop, you will need to have access to a computer and a debit/credit card to pay the visa validation fee. If you need an alternative method to make the payment, such as cash, for example, you must contact the Student Life office before the Visa Validation workshop. As of June 2024, visa validation costs €50.

Under-18 Students

Type of visa for under-18 students:
Visa for Minors (“visa pour mineur scolarisé“) 

Your “mineur scolarisé will need to be turned into a full-fledged residency permit when you turn 18. You must reach out to Student Life two months before you turn 18 to request the list of required documents (birth certificate, proof of housing, etc.).

You will meet with Student Life to fill out your student visa application a few weeks before you turn 18. When the application is completed, we will help you contact Prefecture de Police to schedule an in-person appointment where you will submit your application.

On the day of your meeting, the Prefecture de Police will process your request and issue you a “récépissé”, a temporary residency permit which legalizes your stay here as a student until you are granted a student visa, a “Titre de Séjour Etudiant”. You will not be able to leave or re-enter France with a “récépissé”. Please ensure that the Student Life office has a copy of your “récépissé.”

Returning Students

You must start the visa or residency card renewal process between 60 to 120 days before your current visa or residence card expires. If you validated your visa during Orientation or independently within your first 90 days in France, you can complete the process online through the Administration des Etrangers en France website. 

Important: If this is your second renewal or if you are renewing a residence card, you cannot complete the process online if you have not collected your previous residence card from the Prefecture. If you haven’t been contacted by the Prefecture to pick up your residence card within two months of receiving a favorable decision on your application, please reach out to your Student Life counselor.

Returning students should compile the documents listed below and schedule an appointment with their Student Life counselor at least a week before they become eligible to renew their visa (approximately 127 days before the visa expiration date). 

Required Documents for Visa Renewal: 

  • e-Photo: get one from the photomaton and make sure it is the appropriate one for titre de séjour. 
  • Transcripts (Global BFA students must order official transcripts through Emerson – click here to order online, All other students can order them through PCA Parchement – click here to order online) 
  • Enrollment Letter (available through your application portal) 
  • PDF Copy of Visa 
  • PDF Copy of ID page in Passport 
  • Visa Validation confirmation 
  • Proof of Finances – ask the Student Life Office for more information 
  • Proof of Housing: 
    • If the bills are in your name, you can use EDF/gas/internet bill 
    • If they are in your landlord’s name, you can use a justificatif de domicile from your landlord, and a copy of their ID. 
    • If you went through a housing agency, a justificatif de domicile from the agency on letter head, signed, dated, and stamped. 
  • Copy of Previous Titre de séjour (if you already had a titre de séjour before) – Please note: if you have not picked it up from the Prefecture, you will not be able to renew your visa. 

Renewals submitted less than 60 days before expiration are subject to delayed processing and additional fees.

Students are encouraged to check their e-mail and the visa portal regularly for notifications from the prefecture. Additional information such as proof of financial resources or updated academic information may be requested by the prefecture. If this is the case, please send a screenshot of the request to your Student Life counselor who will assist you in responding to the request.

Once your visa renewal application has been accepted, you will receive an Attestation de Décision Favorable. Send this document immediately to your Student Life counselor. You should receive a notification from the Prefecture (via text message or an update on your visa portal) informing you of the availability of your residence card. Once you receive this notification, you can proceed to set up an appointment to pick up your residence card using the Prefecture’s website if you live in Paris – if you live outside of Paris, please contact your Student Life counselor. If you haven’t been contacted by the Prefecture to pick up your residence card within two months of receiving a favorable decision on your application, please reach out to your Student Life counselor. 

EU and Dual Citizenship Students

If you have citizenship from a country in the European Union, you are not required to have a student visa. Please upload a clear scan of your valid European passport or national ID card to your Admissions portal along with all other matriculation documents as soon as possible. If your passport expires during your studies, please be sure to renew it in a timely manner and send a copy of the new one to [email protected].