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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone - longtime lurker but now ... a hopeful soon-to-be-expat!

I went to the consulate today to get specific details about a Long Stay Visitor Visa. And now I have some questions for you.

I'm a freelance artist and I have work and contracts that will support me through next year BUT my bank accounts are very low right now. In order to increase confidence I am getting a letter of financial support from my family AND also one from my long time French boyfriend who I will be staying with. He is also hosting me and I will not have rent to pay during this stay. This savings issue is my main concern at the moment. They are at an all time low. I can provide bank statements and tax records showing the somewhat feast/famine nature of freelance work BUT I am a bit nervous that this alone will make me a bad candidate.

From what I've been reading - you can't really over-do it when it comes to documentation. Would lists of awards I've received bolster my application in regards to showing I am not a hobbyist but a true professional?

If anyone has a similar background I would love to have your tips on what you felt made a strong application.

Also : the Woman at the Consulate said English letters would be fine - but I was wondering if having everything in French as well would encourage them.

Thanks for your time!
 

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Ultimately, it may come down to your real "reasons" for wanting to go to France. Some of the consulates will still issue a visitor visa in lieu of a "fiancé" visa (which doesn't exist for France), if you admit that you're joining your boy- or girl-friend with the intention of getting married while in France, which will mean you can get a spouse visa/residence permit and your problems are over.

Technically speaking, you are not allowed to work while on a visitor visa, so you need to be able to provide evidence of financial resources sufficient to get you through the period you intend to stay in France. It's not uncommon for the consulates to "allow" someone to continue to work freelance or via telecommuting while on a visitor visa, however, it's usually done in cases where the person will definitely be returning back home at the end of the year. In that case, you'd probably want to provide some evidence of your need to return.

If you're going over as a "professional" to further your career, then yes, include evidence of the awards you've won, etc. - however in that case, you'd be going for a "talent" visa, which implies that you'll be continuing your work while in France and maybe even establishing your freelance operation in France (which means registering with all the appropriate social insurance offices) and paying into the cotisation system.

I'd say that you need to be clear in your reasons for wanting to go to France, as well as for how long, and do your best to document yourself according to your reasons.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Bev!

Ah I was hoping for your help as I've learned a lot from your responses in other threads.

My "real" reasons are quite mixed. I've been dating a French man for two years now and I'm sick of the distance and increasingly broke from the travel. I don't know that we are getting married and I hate to somehow promise that on an application.

The other thing is I've been trying to learn more about French comics. Which is my field in America - comics. My goal aside from living with my boyfriend is to learn more about the history of french comics and become fluent in French for the purpose of translating comics between our two countries.

I have book deals and contracts in America (but the work can be done from any location) and ...a career? Is that enough to prove I have ties to return home? I feel like this is murky as Art and Comics are a bit...borderless. You can create them from anywhere. I wanted to demonstrate I am a professional in my field but it's hard to say HOW that is specifically a reason for me to return.

I am applying for the Long Stay Visitor Visa as the Chicago Consulate told me the "talent" one doesn't exist anymore. The Talent Visa was my original thought as it allowed me to propose a project (learning about French comics, fluency). My application letter is already a page and half explaining my professional merit but would it be better served if I described the specific goal of becoming a translator for comics?

Is it simpler with my low savings and need of support letters to say I am going there with the intention of getting married? It's not the option I would choose but I am really about crafting my strongest application. We're open to the idea but would rather it happen...more organically and less nudged along by this.

Thanks a lot for your reply!

l
 

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It's tough to advise about the "marriage option" because it seems that more and more of the consulates are refusing to issue visitor/fiancé visas, and in any event, they may require some "proof" that you have marriage plans. (Ideally, something like having booked the mairie for the event.)

Honesty probably is the best way to go. I'd pull together a statement about your project (not too elaborate - makes you look "desperate") and if you have any commissions from your customers that are going to aid you with the finances while you're in France, bring evidence of those to have available should you need them. A statement from your boyfriend that he is willing to support you during your stay is fine, too. And you may want to state that you don't feel ready for marriage yet - just to let them know that you're not trying to pull a fast one.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Bev-

I'll take your advice and be really clear (and much briefer) in my application letter. I have projects publishing in the USA in late 2018 so I will state that as my reason I will return and not overstay.

Sorry to ask for so much guidance - but in your opinion, it's good to state I will be staying with my boyfriend and he will support me, but that we are not ready for marriage yet. Do i mention this plainly? He will host me but we have no intention of marrying any time soon.

And I'll changing the description of my 'project' to simply learn more about French comics. It's not possible to become fluent in French in a year. And unless I can prove I'm taking classes maybe the whole "i would like to translate comics" is a bit much.

I'm sure I will have more questions, but truly - thanks for all the help!

l
 

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If you're relying on financial back-up from your boyfriend, and given that you'll be staying with him, I think you probably should address the question head on. (Frankly, if you say you're "staying with" a male friend on a rent-free basis, they're going to assume he's your boyfriend.)

It's a somewhat touchy situation, and honestly there are no guarantees. The consulates are given a pretty wide range of "discretion" in visa matters, so you want to be direct and strictly honest in your dealings with them - without giving them too much information unless they ask for it. But like they say about the various lotteries, "you gotta play to win."
Cheers,
Bev
 
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