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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Long Stay Student Visa for France


While doing my research about moving to France to study, I have scoured the internet forums and blogs for tips and tricks regarding French student visa applications for Philippine passport holders and to no avail did I find anything helpful, if at all. So, after finally getting mine, I thought I'd share to you what you need to be a step closer to getting that elusive Schengen visa.

Just to be clear, this post will cover the requirements and procedures to apply for a Long Stay Student Visa for France for Philippine passport holders. This is basically based on my experience while processing and getting the visa by myself. I did not go through any agencies. This is a DIY visa application.

Here I have collated all my references in applying for my visa with links to their respective sources.

For your official reference on tourist and other visas, please head on over to the Embassy of France in Manila website located here.

Again, this post will only cover Long Stay Student Visas for France for Philippine passport holders.

I'm assuming you've already secured yourself a spot in the school that you applied for and you're now on your next step which is applying for your student visa.

If you're still shopping around for schools, I won't be of very much help on how to start. I actually found my school when I was there in Paris the other year. Though, you can try the Campus France Manille website located here to help you with your search. They also have a Facebook Page located here.

Campus France Philippines offers free educational consultation services to everyone who wants to know how they can pursue higher education in France. You may click here for more information.

For more information on Campus France or to set an appointment with the Philippine representative for Campus France:




Consultation is by appointment only.



Scheduling the interview

Prior to the consular interview, the applicant will have to schedule a pre-consular interview with the

Attaché for Higher education to the French embassy. Contact: manille@campusfrance.org Send them an email with the details of your school and application. They will reply with their next available schedule. It's best to get a schedule that's roughly enough time to gather and complete your requirements below. I made mine about 3 and a half weeks away from when I set an appointment.

Once you've set an appointment for a pre-consular interview, it's time to set your consular interview by calling numbers below. I strongly suggest you make your appointments for the same day and a couple of hours apart. I booked my pre-consular interview for 8:30am and my visa interview for 10:30am. The pre-consular interview only lasts 30 minutes at best.

Appointments may only be set through calling the Embassy’s appointed Call Center:
For PLDT/Smart/Touchcard Subscribers 1 (909) 101- 3333
For Globe/Innove/Touchmobile Subscribers 1 (900) 101- 3333
For Bayantel Subscribers 1 (903) 101- 3333
* Appointments may only be taken from within the Philippines

Now its time to gather your requirements!

Requirements:

To download the requirements from the Embassy of France in Manila website, click here. I suggest that you print this out and make this your check list.


All documents must be presented in the order specified below and in three (3) sets: the original and 2 sets of photocopies (1 set of the photocopies shall be submitted during the pre-consular interview)
  1. Signed long stay visa application form with photo (35mm x 45mm, white background)
  2. Passport with a validity of at least 6 months and photocopy of valid and former visas
  3. Certificate of pre-enrollment in a French school or university
  4. If going on an exchange program, proof of enrollment in a Philippine university (enrollment certificate, valid school ID, or tuition receipt)
  5. Scholarship certificate (if applicable)
  6. Diplomas (including High School diploma)
  7. Proof of lodging in France
  8. Proof of financial resources (personal, parents, or eventual “sponsor”) refer to bullet points below
  9. Birth certificate
  10. Visa fee (prevailing peso equivalent of EUR 99), payable in cash
  • Certificate of employment with monthly salary
  • If self employed: official business registration for current and previous year
  • Income tax return from previous year, if applicable
  • Recent bank certification
  • Photocopy of the last three months statement of account of the same bank account
* Processing time: 5-10 working days (unless further verification is needed)
* Warning: Incomplete files may result to the refusal of the application

Processing Fee: 

Long Stay: €99

Fees are non refundable and are to be settled in cash, in Philippine pesos based on the prevailing embassy exchange rate at the time of application. Applicants must bring the exact amount on the day of their interview. At the time of my application back in July 28, 2015, I paid 4,900.00 php

Visa Application Form:

Download and print out the application form located here and attach a photo. Photo dimensions should strictly adhere to the guidelines below.

Photograph:

visas

  •  Colored photo taken against a white background 
  •  Size: 35mm x 45mm, maximum head length: 25mm 
  •  Head must not be tilted 
  •  Absolutely no eyewear and headgear in any form 
  •  Image must not have been altered 
  •  Image must be clear
ADDITIONAL REMINDERS AND REQUIREMENTS: 

FRENCH STUDENT LONG-STAY VISA APPLICATION
exact list can be found here.

PASSPORT VALIDITY
  • Holders of dual citizenship: Philippine passport must be presented during the interviews
  • Please make sure that the passport is valid until six months after the duration of planned stay in France
APPLICANTS WHO ARE MINORS AT TIME OF DEPARTURE

Additional requirements to be submitted:
- Letter of authorization from parents or guardians
- Copy of the data pages of parents’ or guardians’ passports
- Housing information in France (where and how)
> If staying with a French family, refer to the guidelines below about Proof of Lodging - if staying with a French national

Philippine immigration at NAIA will require a Travel Clearance for Minors Traveling Abroad issued by the DSWD, for more information, click here

AIRLINE TICKETS
  • A booking reservation must be presented to the visa section. A one-way ticket will suffice for those staying in France for one year or more
TRAVEL/HEALTH INSURANCE
  • If the length of studies in France is less than one year, it is necessary to purchase a travel insurance policy valid from the date of departure from the Philippines until the end of stay in France
  • The list of compliant insurance companies can be found here
PROOF OF LODGING IN FRANCE
  • Examples of sufficient proof: rent contract, receipt of rent downpayment, hotel/room reservation
  • If staying with a French national, all the following documents should be presented:
  • Signed letter of invitation from the host stating that they will be accommodating the applicant during his or her stay in France (include information about length of stay)
  • Copy the host’s rental contract or other proof of home ownership
  • Copy the of host’s national ID or passport data pages

DIPLOMAS
  • If applicant has already completed their university studies, there is no need to present the HS diploma; also, present the diploma of most recently completed studies
  • If original diploma is too big or lost, a certified true copy will suffice

PROOF OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES
  • Present all the documents in the list which are applicable to the applicant’s situation
  • The affidavit of support must be notarized
  • If the sponsor is not in the Philippines, a signed, official document must be presented; stating that they will be financially supporting the applicant during his or her studies in France
Warning: Applicants submitting incomplete files are at a high risk of denial

Et voila! Now you have your list of requirements, it's time to sit and wait for your interview date to arrive.

I had to fly from Cebu to Manila for the interview. In case you didn't know where to go,

The Embassy of France in Manila is located at: 
Pacific Star bldg, 16th Floor – corner Sen. Gil Puyat & Makati Avenue – Makati City 1200
Tel. : 857.69.00 
Fax : 857.69.51 

Just to make sure I wouldn't be late for my interview, I booked a 3:40am flight out of Cebu just in case there were delays. You know how it is with budget airlines.


Please note that the processing time for the visa is 5-10 working days (unless further verification is needed) and incomplete / insufficient files / documents may result to the refusal of the application. I had my interview scheduled on Tuesday July 28, 2015 and I was asked to claim my passport the following week on Friday August 7, 2015.

That meant that on July 28, I had to fly from Cebu to Manila, have my interview and then fly out from Manila to Cebu on the same day.

And again on August 7, I flew out of Cebu to Manila, claimed my passport, then headed back to Cebu from Manila all in the same day again.

It's quite a hassle. But with hourly flights between Cebu and Manila on Cebu Pacific, it wasn't really that much of a bother. Another option you could try is to have someone claim your passport for you, but I didn't really have anyone who could do that for me in Manila so I just went and got it myself.

Totally worth it though. Finally, after over a week of dreading the results, here's my student visa!


All visas issued by the Embassy are only valid for one year no matter how long the academic program is. You can ask your school's International Relations office for help in starting the renewal process a few months before it expires.

xo
Stephanie

10 comments:

  1. You have no idea how helpful this is!! :) I would like to know how was the interview. Got any tips?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,

    I am planning to apply for Short Stay Student Visa for France and I would like to ask if you have a document of ADDITIONAL REMINDERS AND REQUIREMENTS:
    FRENCH STUDENT SHORT-STAY VISA APPLICATION (specifically enumerating a list of acceptable proof of lodging in France documents). The VFS France checklist for short stay student visa is very vague regarding proof of lodging part.

    I'd like to ask where you found this document:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxZaclbGvkK2Q0R2NE1DaTV2SXM/view

    I couldn't find a version for the Short Stay student visa of it anywhere.

    Your response would be very much appreciated for me, Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
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  7. Such a great way of explanation! I really liked the way how things were explained by you. Thanks a lot!
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  8. Hello Stephanie, your blog was really helpful. I got my student visa two days ago with one year validity.. I have a question though. What other formalities/documents should I prepare for the immigration prior to my departure? I'm bound to fly out on Friday. Your reply is highly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete

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