I got my admission letter from a French Business School in August and after compiling my visa application with the mandatory documents I applied for France Long Stay Student Visa on 29/08/2016. My visa was refused on 02/09/2016 and there was no reason mentioned.

I traced back my documents and after some counselling, with VFS folks they pointed out that my application had a "Provisional Edu-Loan Sanction Letter" and not an Edu-Loan Sanction Letter. As I had very little time to compile my visa documents the Bank issued me a provisional sanction letter that stated the loan amount applied for and also that my documents for Edu loan have been accepted.

So, I got my sanction letter from the Bank and re-applied for my visa on 13/09/2016. I got my 2nd refusal on 21/09/2016 and this one like the previous one also did not have any reason.

Now, I knew that I was going to miss my orientation week starting from 26/09/2016 so I asked for a delayed arrival certificate from my Business School and they issued me one. This time, I went to Y-axis consultancy in New Delhi and applied with their help and paid them a good amount of money.

After going through my documents they could hardly find any glitch to refuse my application and within a week I applied again on 28/09/2016. This time, I showed a sum of INR 3,66,000 in my parent's account which in earlier 2 cases was around INR 1,50,000 and I had a different cover letter prepared by Y-axis consultancy. Again, I got my visa refused on 30/09/2016 (i.e. in just one day).

I am planning to lodge an appeal against the embassy but I need some assistance before doing that, because I don't want my appeal to vanish just like my visa applications.

Please suggest?

  • Visa refusals (from Western countries at least) always have to follow set formulas, and always have to give reasons. I'd suggest you post your refusal letter(s) with personal details blanked out
    – Gagravarr
    Oct 6, 2016 at 9:34
  • @Gagravarr No, it's not the case for a student visa for France.
    – Gala
    Oct 6, 2016 at 9:46
  • @Gargravarr, Indeed countries can, if they so chose, deny any non-citizen entry into their country for any reason they like or no reason at all. It's all part of being sovereign. Unless France has its own internal rules in place that state otherwise, they can just refuse without explanation.
    – ouflak
    Oct 6, 2016 at 10:06
  • 1
    Did you have an interview with an agent of Campus France/the Service de coopération et d'action culturelle/Insttitut français en Inde?
    – Gala
    Oct 6, 2016 at 10:08
  • 2
    Note that if your file changed too much between the second and third applications (e.g. you described a completely different professional project or suddenly had a lot more money without plausible explanation), this might in fact undermine your credibility, even if the third application would have been successful if it was your first, because the consulate is going to be concerned that you are making things up or trying to obtain a visa fraudulently with another purpose in mind.
    – Gala
    Oct 6, 2016 at 16:26

2 Answers 2


Sadly, the most reasonable thing to do at this point is to find another school in another country, that's how bad the process is. If you still have any interest in France after this, it will be easier to immigrate later, maybe on a work visa or using some EU law dispositions or even try your luck again with a French business school after collecting additional experience abroad rather than fight for a student visa now.

First, it's perfectly legal for the consulate not to provide any explanation when they refuse a student visa. Schengen refusals have to be motivated, family visa refusals have to be motivated, but not student visa refusals. And, unlike for, say, family visas, consulates have a lot of discretion in granting the visa or not (and that's not a coincidence: if you applied for a visa to which you are entitled based on your situation, they would have to explain why they think you don't qualify). You have to submit a cover letter and a resume and the consulate is legally empowered to evaluate that independently, an acceptance letter from a French university or higher education institution is no guarantee that you will get a visa.

In principle, you always have the right to appeal if you think the refusal was illegal. In practice, you can of course ask the consulate what their reason was and they are allowed to tell you... but they don't have to do it if they don't want to or to provide any justification in writing. And it's obviously very difficult to appeal effectively if you are not entitled to a visa in the first place and you don't know why it was refused!

Now, the appeal procedure itself also makes things very difficult, even if you have strong arguments on paper (which is probably not your case, as we just established). You can lodge a recours gracieux asking the consulate to reconsider its decision and you could probably try that, as it does not cost anything. On the other hand, for a student visa, it will almost certainly be ignored. You do need to find some cogent arguments and to write in French, of course.

At the same time, if you really want to exhaust all legal means, you will want to make a recours contentieux, i.e. go to court. But you can't do that directly, you first need to send your appeal to the Commission de recours contre les refus de visa d'entrée en France. In practice, it's not very helpful as it just confirms 98% of the decisions it evaluates and struggles to give an opinion within the two months the law prescribes. But you don't have a choice: you must first formulate an appeal in front the commission and wait for a two-month delay to elapse before you can actually go to court.

And then the real fun starts. All visa cases have to be treated by one specific court, the tribunal administratif in Nantes. Once you have lodged your appeal there, the foreign ministry has a certain amount time to present its arguments (something like 4 or 6 months, not sure anymore). It routinely ignores this delay but the court still waits for it. And it's overloaded anyway, what I read suggests that visa cases usually take one and a half year to reach a decision (and anecdotal evidence from friends and relatives bears this out).

This delay is bad enough in itself but it's even worse for you, as your admission letter probably won't be worth much in two years from now and you personal project will be less plausible if you just sit idly waiting for the decision. This means that even if you would manage to get the court to void the last refusal, the consulate would be perfectly justified in refusing again based on your new situation. And the odds are not good: The tribunal only finds in favour of the applicant in something like 20% of the cases (sorry, lost the source for that number) and that's only from the fraction of cases that are brought to its attention, i.e. the people with the strongest legal case for their appeal, the vast majority of unsuccessful visa applicants understandably don't bother.

And the icing on the cake is that the state can pull its decision at any time. In theory, it's not a stupid idea: If the state reviews your case and finds the original decision was wrong, it can correct things immediately. But in practice, it can be bad for you because the TA in Nantesd does not award the costs in this case (even though it should). Worse, I actually know someone who brought a case against a similar decision (it was not about a visa but a related procedure), was (probably) about to win it and then, after several months, the ministry suddenly reversed its original decision... and issued a new refusal, on another ground! She was stuck with her lawyer fees for the first appeal and had to start a new one from scratch. She eventually succeeded but that's the kind of things you have to brace for and, for a student visa, it probably does not make sense to put yourself through this.


It may be that they are questioning the reason for, and source of, the large transfer of money into your account without an apparent link of that money to pay for your education. You need to make sure all financial statements demonstrate the source of all income and its justification (this is also in part to prevent possible money laundering).

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