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Formalities in United States of Amercia

Etats-Unis - ENG


Short stay

French nationals do not need a visa to travel to the United States for less than 90 days. Moreover, these documents are mandatory:

  • A passport valid for at least 6 months before the date of return.
  • A request for travel authorization via the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) form at least 72 hours before your departure. Don't worry, this is done on the ESTA website and the answer is almost imminent (13€).
  • A round-trip plane ticket proving exit from U.S. territory.
  • Proof of sufficient funds (credit card, chequebook) to support him/her for the duration of the stay in the United States.

Long stay

For any trip to the United States longer than three months, a visa and a passport valid for at least six months before your return date are required. You can apply for a visa at the American embassy or consulate in France. However, there are several types of visas, depending on the nature of your stay.

Student Visa for the United States

To study in the United States, a visa is therefore essential. You must be pre-registered at a U.S. university or college or participate in a language program.

For any student visa, you will need to provide :

  • the I-20 form: online registration in the SEVIS system and online payment of the fee of 181€.
  • completed and signed DS-156 / -157/ -158 forms
  • a passport valid for at least another 6 months
  • a Chronopost envelope with your contact details
  • a passport photo
  • proof of sufficient funds for the duration of the stay. (written in English)
  • visa fees of 144€
  • a medical examination
  • the famous immigration survey (on arrival in the United States, also valid for short stays).

The formalities for the United States are still complicated. Although the procedure is identical, there are three types of American student visa:

  • The F-1 visa: to study full-time at a university or higher education institution. This visa also gives the right to work in the United States after having lived there for one year. Otherwise, it is impossible.
  • The J-1 visa: for all artistic and cultural courses, internships and au pair stays.
  • The M-1 visa: for all technical and vocational education in the United States.

Working visa for the United States

There are as many work visas as there are socio-professional categories. To obtain the latter, you must first have a job offer and an employment contract that the employer must file with the U.S. Immigration Services via form I-129. They are generally valid for 3 years.

The application must be accompanied by the following documents/procedures:

  • a valid passport
  • the confirmation page of Form DS-160
  • a recent passport photo (taken less than six months) the original I-797 form (accompanied by a letter of confirmation from the employer if the form has been approved for more than two months).
  • a personal interview of the candidate with the embassy
  • a medical examination

Get your e-visa easily, quickly and securely. The easiest and fastest way to get your visa to the United States is to apply for an e-visa directly online. You fill in the form in 5 minutes and then you will receive your visa directly by e-mail. Order your E-VISA

Health coverage in the United States

It's well known that care in medical institutions in the United States is expensive! Nevertheless, the American health care system is comparable to that of developed countries. Offering a high quality of care, it also benefits from a dense medical and hospital network. All types of care are available.

As a French person, you will not be covered by the social security system if your stay exceeds three months.

It is extremely important, if not essential, to purchase travel insurance before going on a student trip to the United States!

Driving in the United States

An international driver's license for a stay of less than 90 days is not required throughout the United States. In some states, you will simply have to exchange your French license for an American one.

The international driving licence is therefore compulsory for a long stay and for a large number of States. Therefore, remember to obtain it before your departure.

Applications for an International Driving Permit can only be made by post. To download the form, which is the Cerfa n°14881*01, you have to go to the public service website. You must then print it and complete it.

You will need to attach to the document :

  • Two recent passport photos
  • A colour copy of both sides of your driver's licence
  • A copy of a proof of identity (national identity document or passport)
  • Proof of address
  • A pre-stamped envelope at letter rate followed by 50 g "ready-to-post" format, marked with your name and address.

The permit will be issued at your home, this application may take one to several weeks. So remember to do it well in advance!

IMPORTANT: We remind you that the international driving licence is valid for 3 years and must always be accompanied by the French driving licence in order to be valid!

Be aware that the rules of conduct are different depending on the State, the traffic lights are located on the other side of the intersection. Moreover, it is possible to rent a car from 21 years old or even 25 years old in some states.

Real estate rental in the United States

Unlike some foreign countries, it is not difficult to find temporary housing in the United States. Apartments or houses, there will be something for everyone.

Multiple real estate agencies or specialized presses will be at your disposal for your choice of rental. As far as prices are concerned, there are huge differences between states. (Refer to the housing theme of the state of your choice). The rent is generally paid every month.

Here are the online real estate agencies that will be of great help in your search for a home in the United States: Realtor, Zillow,, Rent Xpress, Easy Roommate and Craiglist.

Opening a bank account in the United States

Before you leave for your student trip, check with your bank to see if it has a global network, including branches in the United States. They will ask you:

  • Two passport photos
  • your passport
  • your employer's contact information
  • your social security number
  • proof of residence in the United States
  • a minimum deposit of €94

Be aware that it is complicated to get a credit card when you arrive in the United States. First of all, you have to prove yourself. So you'll get a checkbook. Be aware that if you withdraw money from a bank that is not yours, bank charges will apply.

For your bank account, we advise you N26 which is La banque Mobile. N26 transforms the banking experience to make it simple, fast and modern. You can open your bank account in less than 8 minutes, use an N26 Mastercard worldwide, send instant transfers to other N26 users, receive real-time account notifications and much more...

Open your N26 current account for 0€/month

Openning of a mobile line 

The area in which a phone can be used depends on the regions and operators (verizon wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint). On this link, you will find a simulator that will help you to know the most suitable zone according to your place of residence and work.

Local, regional and international calls are at competitive rates between US operators. To open a line during your student trip, remember to bring your ID, visas, and proof of residence.

Don't forget to unlock your phone before you leave if you want to use your usual mobile phone.


No vaccinations are required for entry into the United States. However, some of them are still recommended for your trip to the United States:

  • Yellow Fever (for all travellers over 9 months old)
  • DTPolio (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio)
  • Hepatitis A and B

Avoid tap water in some states (ask around) and remember to get your medical exam.


Not all drugs are allowed in the United States. You can apply to the American embassy to avoid problems during your student trip. In case of specific treatment, please bring the necessary amount of medication with you. (To be declared at customs upon arrival by presenting a doctor's prescription translated into English).

You won't have any trouble finding a pharmacy in the United States, it can take a little longer if you are "in the middle of nowhere".

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