There are two ways to renew your student visa:
- Through the préfecture.
- Through the University.
If your visa is going to expire before the results of acceptance into University- the Préfecture understands and will simply take the information you have. When you come back to pick up the long stay visa, then you will bring in proof of schooling.
For either situation you will need the following documents:
- Your passeport.
- Copies of the following pages in your passport:
- Identification page (the 'passport' page)
- The original visa
- Stamp of entry into France the year previous
- Vignette d'OFII (the medical paper they gave you after your OFII appointment)
- Original Birth Certificate, dated less than 3 months from date of renewal.
- Copy of Original Birth Certificate
- Translation of Birth Certificate (done by a certified translator, I used a woman named Karen King in Northern France; scanned it, sent it, she translated it and then mailed it back for only 32 euros).
- Copy of Translation
- Proof of Housing: The rent bill dated at least 3 months from the date of renewal.
- Copy of Proof of Housing
- Certificate de Scolarité from the previous year's study- this comes from when you sign up at University, they give you this paper that on the back reads: Certificate de Scolarité. Get one for each semester.
- Copies of the certificat de scolarité
- Grades from the previous semester (if grades are not released yet, use the FIRST semester)
- Copies of Grades from previous semester
- Proof of Ability to Take Care of Yourself; basically a Bank RIB copy (in France), Contrat de Travail (if you work), proof of WORK payments, or an attestation written by your parents stating they will pay for your studies- as well as their most recent bank statement.
- COPY of all the above.
- 3 Photos, taken from a photo shop (I used: Arsilver Photo. 5 r Barre 69002) ensure the background is off white, light gray- NOT WHITE- they will not accept WHITE.
Furthermore, you will need to go to the préfecture in the 3ème, next door to the Commercial Center Part-Dieu: 12 rue des Cuirassiers. NOTE: GET IN LINE EARLY. GET THERE AT 8:30am IF YOU WANT TO GET SERVED ON TIME. I had to wait 3 HOURS.
You pass through the 'accueil' and take a ticket. Tell them you are there for a "renouvellement de visa étudiant". They will hand you a ticket, go up stairs, wait in the THIRD HALL.
After the woman calls you up, simply show her your visa, state you are renewing your visa and begin to give the documents as she asks for them. After this, she will take your photo, attach it to a paper... which will extend your visit for another 3 months...
Your new visa will arrive in 6-8 weeks, there is no reference or notification... so you have to simply wait for 8 weeks and come by the same place to see if it has arrived.
It's a lot simpler than in the states...