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Plan Ahead for Study Abroad in Paris

Applying to study abroad in Paris isn’t overly complicated but it is important to get the process started early enough to complete a number of different tasks. The study abroad application requires some time to assemble but it is especially administrative chores that can be more time consuming. Do you have a valid passport? It must still be up to date for at least three months beyond the END of your study abroad program. If you need a new passport this can take from two weeks to as long as two months. Will you need a study visa to come to France?

Currently, American and Canadians can choose a short term (January or Summer) or a semester-length (Fall or Spring) program without needing to an additional visa. Only students wishing to combine two or more programs where the study period extends beyond 90 days, will be required to seek a visa from the nearest French Consulate.

In addition to resolving any potential passport or visa issues, students are strongly advised to discuss their study abroad plans with their home school advisor. This will help insure that all the courses a student will sign up for will help fulfill needed requirements and avoid slowing down completion of all diploma requirements. All PICA classes are U.S. University Accredited through Whittier College. Some schools accept the PICA/Athena transcript for proof of successful completion of coursework with PICA. Other schools request a separate transcript from Whittier College.

Obtaining a Passport

For those who do not have a passport, this will be a necessity for studying in France and can take several weeks or more to complete the application and receive your passport. No passport, no travel to France for non-European citizens! Typically, U.S. citizens can apply for a first passport at their local town hall or post office. For a first passport, you’ll need to fill out one form, provide evidence of citizenship (certificate of birth or naturalization), a government issued ID (driver’s license), color ID photos (double check the size format required, and, sadly, don’t smile for your picture–it won’t be accepted!) and pay a $110 application fee and a $35 “execution fee” (as of 2018). Without paying an expedited service, you can expect to wait 4 to 6 weeks to receive your passport. To expedite the processing of your U.S. passport you can expect to pay an extra $60 (in 2018).

Already have a Passport?

Great! Just double check that its expiration date is at least three months after the last day you will be in France for the PICA study program. Anything less will likely prohibit you from flying to France!

Visa Question

Do you need a visa to study in France with PICA? It depends.

No Need for Visa

Currently, students holding North American passports do NOT need a visa for our short term or semester length programs. Likewise, anyone holding citizenship in a European Union country, there is no need for a study visa.

Will Need a Visa

However, if students with North American passports wish to study for a full academic year (or any combination of programs requiring students to remain in France for more than 90 days), they will be required to obtain a study visa.

Likewise, for foreign nationals who are studying in the United States, you may be require a study visa even for programs lasting less than 90 days. Consult a French Consulate website to see what is required for your nationality. For those who have citizenship in a European Union country, there is no need for a visa to study in France, regardless of the length of your stay.

For those needing a study visa, here is a link to Campus France USA which oversees the visa application process. It seems, finally, after years, that the applications can be filled out and paid for completely online. It’s unclear if they have also done away with the mandatory visit to the French Consulate nearest you (only in big cities).

International Flights

Your PICA tuition and fees do NOT cover international flights. Please wait until your formal acceptance into the program before booking your flights. Applying early will help you receive earlier notification of your acceptance which will enable you sometimes to save considerable money when booking your flights to Paris.

Register Here to Study in Paris!

Ready to start your adventure? click here for the Paris Study Abroad Application with our partners Athena Abroad! Their team will help answer all your questions.

Learn more about Paris on these other PICA pages: