Frequently Asked Questions

In order to stay in France or Europe and travel after the expiration of a student visa, students must leave the Schengen Zone before the visa expires. 

Students can then re-enter the Schengen Zone after leaving, and they can stay in the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days as a tourist. 

Students need to ensure their passport is stamped at the port of entry when they re-enter the Schengen Zone in order to ensure that they can be considered a tourist for the 90-day period. 

If you are currently in France on a valid student visa, you have the right to work up to 964 total hours per year. The year in question is considered to be the 12 months following the issue date of your residence permit. You cannot work if your residence permit has expired. More information can be found on this document and at

Non-Columbia students participating on Columbia-led Programs during the semester and academic year will receive Columbia grades for the work completed. Grades are generally available within 2 months of the program end date.

Once grades are received and submitted by the program, you can request a transcript from the Columbia Registrar.

All non-Columbia students are billed a transcript fee which entitles them to unlimited transcripts for life.

Please follow your home school's procedures for requesting credit once you have received your transcript from Columbia.

We highly suggest obtaining a "Carte Navigo," or Navigo Pass. These are contactless cards onto which you can load daily, weekly, or monthly travel tickets. Follow these steps in order to obtain a pass:

  • Bring one passport I.D. photo to the help desk at almost any Metro or RER station. *If you do not have a photo, you can take one at an official I.D. photo machine, which are located in most stations.
  • Tell the person at the counter that you would like a Navigo Découverte travel card
  • The fee for the card is 5 euros
  • You will be provided with a blank card
  • On the card, write your first and last name and place your photo I.D. on the sticky area
  • You can top up your card at machines located in all stations or by using the SNCF Connect app, available on all smartphones.

Monthly fee for transportation in Paris Zones 1-5: 86.40€

More information can be found at

The Columbia in Paris Program cannot guarantee that a student will receive major/minor credit for courses taken at a local university. The student must request that a course be considered for major/minor credit by contacting their academic advisor at their home university.

French phone companies require a written, mailed letter in order to cancel an active phone plan. Right before leaving France at the end of your program, draft a letter indicating that you wish to cancel (résilier) your plan and send it (lettre recommandé avec accusé de réception) to the address provided by your phone company through La Poste (France’s national mail service). If you have already left France, you may also use a new online service provided by the French postal service whereby you can send registered mail 100% electronically.

A template for the lettre de résiliation is available online via the French Ministry of the Economy. Be sure to specify in the letter that you would like to cancel your contract because you are moving out of the country.

Every student in a semester or academic year program must validate their visa within 90 days after arriving in France. You must register with the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (Office français de l'immigration et de l'intégration – OFII). Fortunately, since February 2019, the process has been improved and facilitated for visa holders. The entire process can be completed online at the this link.

To validate your visa, all you need to do is to indicate your visa number and the date you entered France - hence the day your passport was stamped.

In addition, you have to buy a timbre fiscal électronique for 50 EUR. Timbre fiscaux must be purchased online at the following website:

On this site, follow the instructions under "Acheter un timbre électronique". Once you have started your purchase select "Titre pour étrangers" and enter the amount (50.00€).

Once you have bought the timbre fiscal and have validated your visa, you will receive a confirmation de la validation de l'enregistrement de votre visa long séjour valant titre de séjour.

Please keep a copy of this confirmation and the reference number with you either printed out or as a PDF on your phone AT ALL TIMES.