Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone !

Thanks for taking the time to read my nervous ramblings.

I'm anticipating having my visa appointment at the Chicago Consulate this coming September, to apply for a Long-stay visitor's visa (one year) . . . I have "all my ducks in a row," financially speaking, but am slightly concerned about the proof of lodging.

I have a letter from friends in the Dordogne region stating that they will be willing to house me for an entire year (they specified in the letter the date of my arrival in France and then said that they would put me up until the date specified in the following year), along with a copy of their residency cards (front and back--both husband and wife), a copy of the title deed to the house, and a copy of a utility bill for the property. Additionally, my girlfriend (also a French citizen) will be living in France during the next year in her sister's apartment in Aix, and also offered to give me a letter of welcome.

However, I am wondering if this will suffice, as I have read in other places that an Attestation d'accueil is requested for proof of lodging. But I would like to think that the documents I have would be enough to prove that I won't just be bumming around sucking up grants from the social system. Additionally, with a pretty good arsenal of money in the bank (more than double the 1000euro/month benchmark for a year), I am hoping this won't be a problem.

Can someone reassure me? Or tell me that I should ask my friends to go through the pain-staking process of obtaining the Attestation d'accueil?

Thanks so much to everyone !
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,434 Posts
What you have should work just fine - but it may depend on just what you're using as your "reason" for wanting a one-year visa for France. If you're intending on staying on, possibly getting serious with the French girlfriend, then you should indicate this. If it's really just for a year, and you have intentions of studying French, doing research on a book or anything else, basically anything where you'd definitely be leaving at the end of the year, be sure that is clear in your application.

People tend to blow off that "reason" question on the visa form - but it can be key to whether or not they accept your application. You need to demonstrate that you have a reason for being there and that you won't be tempted to try to work under the table to keep yourself going.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for your reply, Bev !

My "reason" for going to France is really "reasons" for going to France -- I certainly have every intention of staying with my girlfriend (who will be in France for the next two years, at least) and I am desirous of immersing myself more intimately into the French language and culture. I wonder if these aren't too "whimsical" of reasons for desiring a year-long visa, or whether the Consulate wants to see that I'll be doing something more tangibly "of value."

I'm also thinking about volunteering on some farms, but I wonder whether that would be considered professional activity, even if it were not paid labor.

Sorry to take this in another direction, but your post certainly provides some good food for thought. Thanks again for your counsel !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
My "reason" for going to France is really "reasons" for going to France -- I certainly have every intention of staying with my girlfriend (who will be in France for the next two years, at least) and I am desirous of immersing myself more intimately into the French language and culture. I wonder if these aren't too "whimsical" of reasons for desiring a year-long visa, or whether the Consulate wants to see that I'll be doing something more tangibly "of value."
I agonized over what to write in my letter as to the reason I wanted to live in France. I thought "because I've always wanted to live in Europe" sounded weak and didn't center on France. So I wrote what was in my heart - I said that I feel "alive" when I'm in Paris, that my 3 favorite art galleries are in Paris (and listed them), that my passions are anything to do with "the arts" and what better place than Europe to study and appreciate art, and that I'm fascinated with 15th, 16th, and 17th century European history. I also said that I wanted to learn to speak the French language, knowing that it is the universal language, after English, in the world.

Even with what I wrote I still worried that it wasn't "good enough" and kept asking myself "why would they accept this as a reason, what am I contributing to them" (nothing). But I couldn't come up with anything else and I wasn't going to make stuff up. And they didn't question my letter at all. Actually, I just turned in my paperwork to a clerk (I thought I was going to an interview), they took a photo and fingerprints, and I paid the fee. That was it. 3 weeks later I had my long-stay visa. (Los Angeles consulate).

Long story short, try not to stress out (yeah, I know - not easy, I spent many sleepless nights worrying) - it's actually a fairly easy process. And, as of September 1st I'll be living in Paris! OMG - I still can't believe this is happening!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Congratulations coprnkl ! That's such great news !

And thanks so much for the encouragement . . . it just seems like such a mountain of paperwork to produce, all for a good cause, doubtless, but nevertheless I worry about all the little details. In fact, I was originally going to apply in New York, but had to change my appointment to Chicago because my FBI record (required at New York) wouldn't show up before the date of my visa appointment, and I'm leaving New York at the end of August to see my parents in Minnesota. It seems like Chicago is, at least, a little bit more lax (they do not require an FBI record).

The problem with the FBI record made me question every aspect of the application, and although I'm going to do everything to ensure that my application is in tip-top shape, your words really set me at ease. What a great comfort knowing I'm not the only one !

Thanks again and congrats !!!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,434 Posts
That was kind of my suspicion <g> and if I thought of it, chances are the folks at the consulate might, too. Haven't had too many cases lately here in the forum, but there was a time when it was seriously difficult for someone of "working age" to get a non-working visitor visa without having some plausible explanation about why they were going to be in France with no job.

If you were planning on marrying your French girlfriend within the first six months you're there, you could possibly get a visitor visa of the sort they use in lieu of a "fiancé" visa. (Some consulates are hesitant to issue these lately for some reason.)

The volunteer approach works better if you can find a "program" of volunteer work to go through. Unpaid labor is viewed suspiciously if it's the sort of thing that is doing real work that ought to be paid. (Friend of mine ran into problems with this trying to set up a program for volunteers at a hospital.) There are some seasonal programs for itinerant type work - but those visas only run for a few months.

Some folks go the student visa route (say, for language classes) if they really want to hang out in France with a boy- or girl-friend for a period of time. Trouble there is that the visa term will fit the length of the school term - probably less than a year - unless you enroll in a degree type program.

Anyhow, just a few ideas to consider.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, the place that is offering to put me up for a year is, in fact, a working farm, where a paysan-boulanger cultivates grain, mills it into flour, and bakes three times a week. They regularly welcome WWOOFers from all over, and part of the reason I am also applying is to learn more about organic cereal agriculture, so that I might be able to establish something on this side of the pond after a couple years of learning.

But I hesitate to include that in a letter of motivation, as it might be seen as labor that "ought to be paid." However, in much agricultural work, labor is usually given in exchange for experience/lodging. Hard to tell how the consulate might read that.

Thanks again for everything !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
In fact, I was originally going to apply in New York, but had to change my appointment to Chicago because my FBI record (required at New York) wouldn't show up before the date of my visa appointment, and I'm leaving New York at the end of August to see my parents in Minnesota. It seems like Chicago is, at least, a little bit more lax (they do not require an FBI record)
Okay, I don't want to add to your worrying, but what you said here raised huge red flags with me. I am no expert by any means but when I looked at the consulate website it was very clear that I could only apply to the one that my primary residence was located in - meaning there was no "consulate shopping". Did you make arrangements and get the okay to change? (I was wondering why you're profile says you live in NY but you were going to Chicago). You might run into issues when all your documents have a New York address and not one that is in the Chicago purview.

I'm not trying to be nosy, just concerned for you! I hope you do have that all worked out and my concern is for nothing. (And it is weird that each consulate handles the process differently - no FBI check for me, only a "local" police records check - and since I'm a retired police sergeant from my "local" police department it was quite easy to obtain) LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the heads up coprnkl. My parents live in Minnesota, and most of my official mail is listed under their address. My driver's license is from NY, but I am going to be getting a MN license as soon as I get out there. I hope that everything will come in in time !

Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
Long story short, try not to stress out (yeah, I know - not easy, I spent many sleepless nights worrying) - it's actually a fairly easy process. And, as of September 1st I'll be living in Paris! OMG - I still can't believe this is happening!!!
Hi,

Could you tell us what kind of long term visa they have given you? It is quite intriguing that they are now handing out long stay visas to people who do not have a specific purpose for their stay in France (like marriage, studies etc). I had always thought that it was an essential pre-requisite.
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
18,642 Posts
Hi,

Could you tell us what kind of long term visa they have given you? It is quite intriguing that they are now handing out long stay visas to people who do not have a specific purpose for their stay in France (like marriage, studies etc). I had always thought that it was an essential pre-requisite.
You need to be aware that the process can vary greatly from consulate to consulate, and even more so between consulates in different countries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Hi,

Could you tell us what kind of long term visa they have given you? It is quite intriguing that they are now handing out long stay visas to people who do not have a specific purpose for their stay in France (like marriage, studies etc). I had always thought that it was an essential pre-requisite.
Hi. My visa is called "long-stay". It's good for a year, I cannot work (had no intention too), had to provide proof that I have the income to live there for the year (pension and bank account records), proof of residence there (signed contract with my landlord), and acceptable medical insurance .... and I can apply for renewal 3 months before it expires. I plan on staying 2 years, perhaps longer. Maybe because I'm retired is why they accepted my reason? I really have no idea. :noidea:
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,434 Posts
Sounds like the standard "visitor visa" they normally issue to retirees. Key thing is that you have a pension or other reliable source of income.
Cheers,
Bev
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top