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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found it helpful to read accounts from others of their trips to obtain their visas, so I thought I would share mine.

Less than 2 hours after my DH's plane from Paris landed on Wed, we were on the road to Chicago. We had appointments starting at 9am on Thursday and at about 8:10 am, I discovered that I had left our loose photos at home. While DH panicked, I scrambled and with the help of the Walgreen's across the street from the Consulate, we had our photos in hand with ten minutes to spare.

You must have your printed appointment sheet in order to obtain your visitor's pass for the consulate. Security is enforced in the building. My youngest went through the turnstile immediately following and adult and set off an alarm. It wasn't a problem since she's only 6 and this was witnessed by a security guard. I just want to pass this on so people know you can't just pop in unannounced.

The consulate has a separate section just for visas. We sat and waited til our name was called (you don't check in at all). The person processing everything sits behind what looks like bullet proof glass. You talk through the window and slide things through a little opening at the bottom.

There isn't anything to do while you wait and in hindsight I should have brought something for the children to do while we waited. We were there probably over half an hour for the 5 of us.

After handing in our paperwork and self-addressed express envelope, DH asked nicely - in French - if we could return later that day to pick up the visas. No. Could we return tomorrow? No. She said something about Saturday and after a while we came to understand that they would be mailed on Saturday. Ok. But then after a while she called DH back to the window and informed him that the children's visas might take up to two weeks. So DH asked if he could pick up just his visa. She told him to call later that day.

The only problem was with the biometric fingerprint reader. It couldn't read my younger kids' fingerprints. The woman mumbled something about it being a problem and gave up. The kids were also too short to get their picture taken, so we really did need those loose photos.

We walked back to our hotel and did some shopping. (Note to those footing the bill themselves - hotel rooms in downtown Chicago are relatively inexpensive in the winter. We had an oversized room to accomodate 5 that was only 1/2 block off the Magnificent Mile for only $99) Shortly before 3, DH called the consulate and much to our surprise, he was told he could come pick up the entire family's visas. He practically sprinted out the door of the hotel dragging kids behind who were tired of the cold and begging to take a cab. Within the hour we were on the road home.

Overall, things went smoothly. It's hard to believe that in about 2 weeks I will be living in France. Yikes!
 

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Hello again... i will be going to the Chicago consulate, and am preparing my file now. Any advice? I gather that your family went for a company and not to begin a business. How long does it normally take once the file is in?

S.
 

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Congratulations. Thanks for letting me know how it went. I have my appointment with the French Consulate in San Francisco on July 20. I will post my experience. Much joie de vivre to you all in France!!!
 

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Hello again... i will be going to the Chicago consulate, and am preparing my file now. Any advice? I gather that your family went for a company and not to begin a business. How long does it normally take once the file is in?

S.
We moved because my husband's employer transferred him to France. It took moooonths for us to get our visa because they (employer) made a big mistake on the initial submission. About the time we thought we would get to make our visa appointment, we found out about the error and had to start over again. DH had accepted the job offer in July, first paperwork was submitted some time around September. We had planned a move just after Christmas holidays, but ended up not being able to go until Feb. 28th.

Are you applying for the competencies & talents visa, or some other type of visa? It seems the process for each visa type is different, and I assume the timing of each will be different as well.
 
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