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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Advice: Renewing the Student Visa

I had to renew my student visa yesterday morning and WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!  I expected certain things and was surprised at others.  I also noticed there was barely any other people that wrote about this experience so I decided to give some information on the process.

First off:

There are two ways to renew your student visa:
  1. Through the préfecture.
  2. Through the University.
The University means less wait time- but the préfecture guarantees the timing on dropping off the paper work.

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.
Those are all the documents she ended up taking from me, even though I brought a whole bunch more. The list of needed documents are also available through the préfecture website:


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...


  1. Does this mean you will have to renew your student visa every 3 months? If you intend on studying longer, do you know if you have to apply for a visa long sejour? Thank you for writing about your experience! I've bookmarked you!

  2. Not at all, I'll have to go back because my visa was approved early in the Summer and I won't have proof I'm studying in France until September. Once the renewal is complete in September then I am solid for another year.

    I am applied for a Visa Long Sejour, it's a requirement if you will want to stay longer than 3 mos.

  3. Good day! I would just liek to ask if for the renewal we need to give the prefecture stamps again which can be bought online and in the tabac like I did on my first visa? Thank you very much. Hoping for your answer! :)

  4. Hi! I'm not sure if this discussion is still active, but just in case - as for the birth certificate, do you really need to have the original with you? I have a scanned copy of mine, but I'm not sure if that will do and I'm a bit worried about having my application refused!

  5. AnonymousJuly 09, 2012

    Do you mind giving the contact information of your translator Karen?? I am changing tha status of my visa from student to working so I need to go thru all this as well. Thanks!!!

  6. You absolutely need the original Certificate accompianed by a certified translation.

    I've just been through this process. Also like the author, strangely enough, am from Oregon as well.

  7. You absolutely need the original certificate accompianed by a certified translation.

    I've just been through this processes myself. Oddly enough I'm from Oregon as well and uprooted myself to live in France.

  8. AnonymousJuly 16, 2012

    Thanks for posting about your experience! Very helpful in information :)

  9. Hi!

    Can you go 1 month or less to renew your visa???

  10. hello thanks for your guidance but i want to know that - my visa will get over in this September 2014 and i want to extend my visa again but for visa extension, my husband can provide me letter which will state that he will take care of mine for 1 year about my experiences so is that enough or we have to keep money on our account? thank you in davance


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