Learn more about the requirements and steps that go into obtaining a student visa to teach English in France for American teachers.
Updated: November 15, 2016
In order to teach English in France, ESL teachers have to find their own way to do so legally. If you are not an EU citizen, don’t have the option of teaching on a Working Holiday Visa, or were not accepted/not interested in the TAPIF program there is still an option of working legally in France by acquiring a Student Visa. On a Student Visa, teachers will typically take approximately 20 hours of French language courses and will then be able to find an English teaching job or tutor students privately. Student Visas can be an expensive option as the cost for French language courses are not cheap. However, this is an excellent opportunity to learn a language and teach in an amazing country all at the same time!
*Please note that this information applies to United States citizens only.
*Please check the Campus France and French Consulate websites for any updates to visa requirements, documents needed, costs, etc. The information provided should be used in concordance with information from Campus France and the French Consulate.
Important information to know about a Student Visa for France:
- Student Visas MUST be obtained in your home country. They cannot be processed once you are already located in France. However, Student Visas can be renewed in France by purchasing more French courses.
- The whole process can take approximately three months (12 weeks) from purchasing French courses to receiving your Student Visa so give yourself enough preparation time.
- The total cost (not including the French courses, necessary paperwork, or financial guarantee) for the Student Visa is approximately $235 USD.
Two Options for a Student Visa in France:
1. Enroll for the 4 week course at TEFL Toulouse through International TEFL Academy and register for French Language Courses through the Alliance Francaise in the Place du Capitole in Toulouse.
2. Take any other TEFL course offered through International TEFL Academy and get a Student Visa independently.
How to apply for your French Student Visa:
1. Register for French language courses through the Alliance Francaise or any other French language school recognized by the French consulate or embassy.
- You should receive a registration certificate after paying for the courses. You will then take this registration confirmation to help you begin the process with Campus France.
- STEP 1: Create an account on Campus France and Submit an Online Application. Documents needed to submit online: headshot, official photo ID (passport, license), resume, transcripts and/or last obtained diploma, official acceptance letter from school (Official acceptance letter must include: Full name, institutional letterhead, exact start and end dates, contact information, signature/stamp and full address of institution).
- STEP 2: Pay $180 application fee online or via money order.
- STEP 3: Mail required paperwork: Admission Form, Photocopy of official acceptance letter, Processing fee (receipt of online payment or money order).
- STEP 4: Receive email confirmation from Campus France once everything has been processed (takes approximately three weeks after submitting complete application). This email confirmation enables you to book an appointment at the French Consulate.
3. Book an appointment at the French consulate in your jurisdiction
- Visa appointments can typically be booked online on the consulate’s website.
- Visa appointment at the French Consulate must take place no more than 90 days and no less than two weeks before departure to France. (Recommended visit is 6 to 8 weeks in advance of departure).
- Check the consulate’s website for a list of required documents, visa processing fee, and appropriate photocopies to bring to the visa appointment (all consulates have different requirements). If you forget anything, the appointment will be postponed and you will have to set up a new appointment and pay the entire visa fee again.
- Documents you may need for your appointment could include but may not be limited to: original passport, photocopy of the identity page of your passport, proof of residence, processing fee, application form, US passport sized photo, attestation from Campus France, receipt of payment from Campus France, proof of French class registration, financial guarantee, OFII form, airline reservation, self-addressed envelope, etc.
4. Appointment at the local immigration office or OFII upon arrival to France.
- You will receive a notice in the mail regarding an appointment at the OFII. This appointment must take place within the first three months of your arrival in France.
- During this appointment you will need to pass a medical examination including an x-ray of your lungs to check for tuberculosis.
- Once you pass the examination you will receive a new sticker in your passport that validates your student visa.
Note: Student visas are not an "automatic" thing that are purchased. Consulates are notorious for being very particular on every item needed on their checklist and will send you home to get it perfect before issuing a student visa.
* This article was updated November 15, 2016.