Throughout the process of getting my visa for France, the consulate website was my guide. I read through the application process over and over to make sure I had completed each step. The nearest French consulate to me was in Boston, so I used this site as my guide: http://www.consulfrance-boston.org/Long-stay-visa-for-visitors. Notice that the visa I applied for was a Long Stay Visitor visa. Because I was able to keep my job in the US, this was the option that best applied to me. Also, despite the internet age, an in-person appointment is required.
The application process was said to take up to one month and cannot be processed more than three months before. As someone who likes to always be on time, this made me a little nervous, so I started gathering my documents as soon as possible to try and apply as close to the 3-month mark as possible.
Most of the required documents were pretty straightforward. I had to go to my State Police to get a copy of my criminal record for $10 and find a notary public to sign a letter promising not to engage in any employment while in France. The most difficult parts for me were the insurance and the residence (OFII) form.
I had insurance through my employer and it took quite a few calls for me to eventually understand that I would not be covered through my insurance for any foreign visit for more than 30 days. I made an arrangement with my employer to change insurance so I could get the correct insurance while abroad. I read on other blogs that some other consulates required a certain amount of coverage while in France, but mine did not. Interestingly, the Boston consulate’s stipulations were only that the policy include “medical evacuation” and “repatriation”. Basically, if things get really bad or I die, they don’t want my body in France.
As for the residence form, my French was not nearly good enough to understand how to fill out the form, so I used another blog for help. I’ve uploaded the last page of a document I found on the Penn State website with a translation of all the required information on the OFII form: ofii_english_translation. It’s from 2010, but it still has the same entries. . Luckily, you only need to fill out the top part and worry about the rest once you arrive in France.
Resources I used during this process:
- French Consulate in Boston
- Penn State Visa Form with OFII English Translation
- American in Paris Blog
- Madman Blog
- Paris Unraveled Blog