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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Advice: Renewing the Student Visa (revisited from 2011)

I've been getting quite a few questions recently regarding the renewal process for a student visa; so first off, the important thing is to know which préfecture you must go to.  Each region has their own specific requests for the renewal, but the general information needed is:

What's needed:

  • Your passport.
  • Copies of the following pages in your passport:
    • Identification page (the 'passport' page)
    • The original visa
    • Stamp of entry into France from the last time you came in
    • Vignette d'OFII (the medical paper they gave you after your OFII appointment, or the actual certificate often glued into your passport)
  • Original Birth Certificate
  • 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 39 euros, as well as in the original post. It is normal that she requests you pay in advance)
  • Copy of Translated Birth Certificate
  • Proof of Housing:  The rent bill dated at least 3 months from the date of renewal and a original of the electricity or phone bill if possible.
  • Copy of Proof of Housing & Electricity bill
  • 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.  At least 650€ per month.
  • COPY of all the above.
  • 3 Photos, taken from a photo booth or shop.  Ensure the background is off white, light gray- NOT WHITE- they will not accept WHITE.
  • The stamps that pay for the visa, called timbres fiscales available for purchase at any tabac.  The average student visa is 58€ in timbres, there is no longer a OMI or OFII stamp available since January 2012.

The Actual Process
Renewing a visa has a couple of different options to renew:
  1. Renew through the University (guichets and offices available on campus for some universities, you simply bring all paperwork and copies and deposit, for this bring a lettre recommandée in order to have the récépissé returned to your address)
  2. Renew through the prefecture (depending on the préfecture, in Lyon you have to get there at 6am in order to wait in line, in Paris you can take an appointment online)
Remember to really keep the récépissé they hand you in a safe place, it is the only proof you have of a legal stay in France.  The new titre de séjour will be ready within 6 - 8 weeks, unfortunately there is no indicator so you sort of need to try to pick it up at some point between that time.

Commonly asked questions

Does this mean you will have to renew your student visa every 3 months?
Once you receive a récipissé, which is a temporary visa, once you get the student titre de sejour it should last for one year, unless your in a special and complicated case where you aren't "inscribed" for school yet (happens in july).

For the renewal do we need to get the prefecture stamps again which can be bought online and in the tabac like I did on my first visa? 
Yes.  Every renewal needs these timbres or stamps, a student Visa is 58€ of stamps.

For the birth certificate, do you really need to have the original with you?
Yes. Absolutely. All original documents are needed, as well as their copies.

Do you mind giving the contact information of your translator Karen?

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