Consular officers are required to take into consideration general factors, including the likelihood that the applicant's training in France will result in "professional success," the likely contribution of the student's plans to the economic and social development of his or her home country, and France's relationship with that country. Please note that the following criteria are taken into consideration when making the decision to grant a student visa (Source: Campus France):

Criterion 1: The applicant's academic background, with priority given to applicants prepared to enter a master's or doctoral program, holders of a French baccalauréat, applicants admitted to a program to prepare students for the grandes écoles, and applicants admitted to selective short programs (IUT, STS).

Criterion 2: The applicant's level of preparation (notably in assembling and sending to French institutions "information designed to facilitate their autonomous decision to offer preliminary admission to the student through indications of how the institution is likely to complement and enhance the applicant's academic preparation"), the reliability of the grades and evaluations claimed by the applicant, and the overall fit between the applicant's international study plans and his or her prior preparation and background.

Criterion 3: The institutional framework of the applicant's international study plan, with priority accorded to applicants participating in exchange programs governed by agreements between French institutions and institutions in the applicant's home country, to recipients of French government scholarships, and to students who have graduated in their home country from a degree program offered by or involving a French institution.

Criterion 4: Language proficiency, as determined by an assessment of the applicant's command of French, without prejudice to applicants showing exception academic potential.
Also mentioned are three other criteria whose relevance is not limited to the decision on whether or not to issue a student visa. They are:
•    the absence of any threat to France's security or to public order
•    the authenticity of the documentation produced by the applicant (such as diplomas and grade reports)
•    evidence of sufficient financial resources.

The last point is dealt with in general guidelines on the issuance of visas, since France's immigration code (CESEDA) does not specify a minimum amount. Prospective students must demonstrate that they possess resources equivalent to the monthly base amounts paid to recipients of French government scholarship grants, about €615. France's consulates have discretion in applying these guidelines.

It is highly recommended that students who intend on studying in France contact their nearest Consulate of France or Campus France office, at least three months prior to their desired departure date. Please also note that the time required to process a visa varies depending on the student’s country of origin.

*Students participating in programs for a duration of less than three months such as summer programs, may need only a short-stay visa. Students should inquire with their nearest Consulate of France, or Campus France office.