Sunday, November 05, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Getting a Visa


Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

This is the week we travel to Chicago to apply for our Visa that will allow us to stay in France for a year or more.
We could have applied anytime within three months of our departure, but we picked the date this week because the house was originally scheduled to close on Tuesday. We thought to deposit the money from the sale of the house and then print out our bank statement as proof that we have enough money to live in France for the coming year.
We kept our appointment, even though we won't close on the sale of the house until December 8. The visa can take a month to get, so we didn't want to risk not getting the paperwork in time.
First, let me say that Americans don't need a visa to visit France. It's only for long-term visits, like going to school or moving there that Americans need a visa.
I took this out the window of the plane on our last flight, knowing that was the day we'd land in France.

I searched online and found that Earl and I have to apply for a visa at the French consulate in Chicago. Chicago is about five hours away from us, so that isn't terrible. Plus, we have friends who live there so we can stay with them. The consulate has a whole page on its website about how to apply for a long-stay visa.
I made the appointments before we had all of our documents ready, but I figured that would give us incentive to get everything done.
And what did we need get done? Here's a list from the website:
Just today I headed to CVS to get a new photo taken. I had extra pictures printed when I renewed my passport in July, but since the instructions for the Visa say the picture has to be with three months, I didn't want it thrown out on a technicality.
On Friday, we had our friend who is a notary notarize all of our letters that declared we're American citizens, that promised we won't try to find work in France.
We ordered a birth certificates and two marriage certificates, one for each of us.
Just last week, after perusing the health insurance available, I ordered and paid for a year's worth of insurance.
If you aren't American, you may not realize how amazing that is. Here, even though we get our insurance through Earl's work and it is good insurance, we pay about $225 per week. That's about $900 per month that comes straight out of Earl's paycheck. I filled out the forms with Mondassur, an insurance broker, which an Australian living in France had told us about, and our insurance bid came in at 846 Euros for the year for both of us. The price we paid in American dollars was $956 -- for the whole year for two people. That is amazing, and I had no problem seeing that money disappear from our account.
Today, I opened the folder that holds all of our important documents and I put them in order as listed above. I still need to get an Express Mail envelope to take with us.
I've been super nervous about applying for the Visa, especially since we haven't closed on the house yet, but I found a blog post by a man who successfully applied and received a Visa. He was very reassuring at MadManBlog.
So, tomorrow is the appraisal on our house -- possible the last time we have to stage it (fingers crossed). If all goes smoothly, we'll receive our Visas within the month so we can fly off to France in January.
And then, you'll find us there, beginning our new ex-pat life.


Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. I hope you'll visit each other's blogs and leave comments. Also post your blog info in the Linky below.


4 comments:

Suzie Tullett said...

I'd say get bring your marriage and birth certificates with you. You never know when you'll need them, the French authorities love their bureaucracy. It's all getting very real now. Exciting stuff x

Sim Carter said...

Wow, it is as Suzie says, getting very real! Best of luck with the appraisal, the trip to Chicago, everything!

francetaste said...

Sounds good! You also will be pleasantly surprised by the cost of doctor visits--€25. That's the entire cost, not the co-pay. So even if your insurance doesn't cover routine visits, you won't feel dinged.
The French health tax is very logically based on a person's income, not their health.

martinealison said...

Bonjour chère amie,

Je suis très heureuse d'apprendre que vous veniez vous installer dans mon pays. A quel endroit exactement ?...
Plein de bonnes choses à vous.

Gros bisous 🌸

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