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[VISA] – Visa procedures for studying in France: In the corridors of stress, distress and… huge expenses


The procedures for obtaining a visa to study in France are the opposite of a health walk. Candidates must be physically, psychologically and financially prepared. They are plunged into uncertainty with the slowness of processing files, their rejection with sometimes slight arguments. Meeting all the criteria does not guarantee that a visa will be obtained. Sometimes, with the same guarantees, we can grant a visa to one candidate and refuse it for the other. At the limit, subjectivity guides the decisions of the persons responsible for handling the files. In this report, the students let their exasperation bloom.

A multi-unknown equation. Studying in France is still a dream for many Africans and Senegalese. It’s a long tunnel of stress, distress, physical effort. You also have to endure psychologically. Several projects to continue studies in the hexagon have fallen through. Financial requirements are not available for all awards. A revealing clue: a student spends at least 50,000 CFA francs just for paperwork. While the cost of booking an appointment varies between 35,000 CFA francs and 180,500 CFA francs. For delivery, it will cost between 11.000 and 22.000 CFA francs, not to mention 750 for an sms. These charges are nothing compared to the delays in processing files and the systematic refusals that are not based on anything in most cases. These are all facts that exasperate candidates. We denounce the slowness noted in the processing of our visa applications, then the delivery costs (11000 francs at DAKAR and 22000 francs CFA outside DAKAR) and SMS (750 francs CFA) that they require us. On my first deposit made on July 6th and I got my passport back on the 27th. This is abnormal. I was stuck with a reason 2 (non-credit guarantor) while my guarantor earns almost €3,900 each end of the month», objects the student. The latter is to the regret to note this tendency to standardize the guarantee. Otherwise all students submit the irrevocable transfer agreement. “They want everyone to do Avi (irrevocable transfer agreement) when not everyone can afford it,” says the student. She is far from the end of her sentence. Last year, she submitted her file to the University of Aix Marseille, which rejected it. In 2022, she resumed the process that was accepted by the same university. The meaning of a dossier is the beginning of a long process and a series of expenditures. The funding of the procedure, I did everything with but own means by sacrificing my scholarship that I collect every month end. My dad only gave me 75,000 CFA francs,” he said.

An agonizing wait
The 20-year-old student N.D endures in herself the suffering of all candidates wishing to continue their studies in France. The process is a maze. The wait is sometimes unbearable. “I have filed my application since July 4 and so far I have not received an answer. This is abnormal. I think it’s a complete disrespect to us. I’ve done everything I had to do. Unfortunately, I risk losing the pre-registration. We all know that academic returns start in September. But the consulate does not take this into account», laments N.D. The student currently in Bachelor’s Degree 2 was engaged in the process in 2019 when she had just obtained her baccalaureate degree. She had her numerous visa applications rejected on the basis of light arguments. I had made several visa applications. They were rejected on inadmissible and acceptable grounds. All these reasons can be summed up as 2, 4 and 5 without knowing the real reasons, even though we have met all the criteria asked for,” she says. The student does not enjoy taking stock of the money spent since 2019 to 2022. An apothecary would get lost in the tallies. This was also described by other students. I don’t know in total what I spent. But every year, I do masonry to pay my registration and fees via campus France. We found a lack of seriousness and a slowness in the processing of files,” the student said.

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Visa fees and delivery rates are not refundable. This is considered unfair to those who apply for a visa. The embassy refuses us the visa without reimbursing us the fees or returning the documents we had provided. We are forced to pay a delivery fee of 11,000 Cfa francs just for the residents in Dakar if we are in a city other than Dakar, it is 22,000 Cfa francs», notes the student. He wasn’t born with a spoon of gold in his mouth. It is with his savings and those of one of his relatives that he insures the cover of the costs of file and visa.

Slowness without explanation
The departments in charge of processing the files do not provide solid answers in relation to the slowness noted in the processing of the files. Elsewhere, the procedure is much faster. In principle, after admission and compliance with the criteria, the procedure must be accelerated. But this is not what is observed in Senegal. How a student who has had a guarantor who earns more than €3,000 may not be able to provide you with €615/month. It’s impossible . We cannot say everything but in summary we are not satisfied with this situation. We are surprised by the silence of the Senegalese authorities,” deplores our interlocutor.

The pill is difficult to swallow for many people who do not understand the reasons for almost systematic rejections despite the guarantees presented by the candidates. One of our candidates does indeed believe that a person who has a salary of 5,000 euros can ensure the support of a student enrolled in a French university. I deposited the visa on July 13 and received the passport on August 6 almost 26 days of waiting. It’s too much with a refusal reason 2. In addition, I want to file but there are only appointments for the month of September coinciding with the start of the courses in France. It must also be said that currently most French universities refuse to give derogations,” our interlocutor said.

The climax of paradoxes

The comparison of the rejections or acceptance of certain files suggests the paroxysm of paradoxes. The case of a student enrolled in Master 1 Economics of Law is illustrative. For his first pre-registration attempt in 2020, his application was accepted. The student had an uncle living in France who had assured him financial support. So his accommodation was also insured. In short, he had a solid record, to use his expression. His record did not weigh on the balance. “The embassy denied me the visa on grounds 5. Despite everything, I gave the guarantor papers to my little sister who managed to get the visa,” compares the student.

New chance, new failure
In 2022, he again filed his file. If the file was processed more quickly, in the end it was rejected in addition to a guarantee of 4.800.000 CFA francs. I was able to block a sum of 4.800.000 Cfa francs to have much more security compared to the capital requested by the embassy. I want to point out that it was my father and cousin who helped me set that aside. Unfortunately, they again refused the visa for reason 2. This reason states that «I do not have financial resources to cover my expenses of any kind during the stay in France», reported the student. In all, he spent 75,000 CFA francs for the Campus France application fee, 18,500 CFA francs to make an appointment, 35,000 CFA francs for the visa deposit, 22,000 CFA francs for delivery outside the Dakar and 750 CFA francs for an SMS sent. This is a real budget.


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