Medici Fountain, Luxembourg Garden
Sacré Coeur
Père Lachaise Cemetery

Preparing your departure for Paris

Assembling a pre-departure checklist for study abroad can be a challenge. Often this will be the first time students will be visiting a foreign country which means so many unknowns! Depending on whether students will be studying for an entire semester or on one of our short term programs in January or in the Summer, students must keep in mind a different set of needs.

As North American (Americans, Canadians and Mexicans) students, you will need a passport to travel to France. If you do not already hold a passport, you will need to quickly take steps to get this process underway as it can take from several weeks to more than a month once you have turned in all necessary paperwork. Don’t delay on this one!

For those who already have a passport, verify that its expiration date is at least six months beyond the end of your program (if it is less you may not be allowed to fly to France).

For American, Canadian and Mexican nationals, any stay longer than 3 months in France will require a visa. For traveling to the 26 Schengen Treaty countries (the United Kingdon and Ireland are two non-Schengen Treaty countries in Europe and there is no need for a visa Americans, Canadians or Mexicans for a visit of less than 3 months). Obtaining long-stay visas to France can take two months or more to complete, so get started early collecting the required materials and setting up an appointment with the nearest French Consulate or Embassy!

  • Discuss with your home bank the possibility of using your ATM or Credit Card for cash withdrawals in France (be sure to ask about potential fees as well as currency exchange charges. Likewise, see if your bank has have a partner bank in France and Europe from which you can withdraw funds for free or lower fees).
  • Make sure that you have health insurance that will cover you abroad and includes medical evacuation and repatriation.
  • Review information for each country you plan to visit. The U.S. Department of State offers Background Notes on all countries.
  • Exchange a small amount of currency (US $100 to $300) in advance (if possible) so that you have some cash available upon arrival in Paris.


You may also be interested in our Money Management Page to help plan your study abroad trip.