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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bonjour all, I'm new to the forum but have found it to be extremely helpful as I look toward my move to Paris in 2018.

I have a question about arriving with the long term visitor visa. From what I've seen, when I apply for the visa, the consulate will ask me when I intend to arrive in France. So my question is when I arrive at CDG airport and go through immigration, do I make sure the passport control officials see and/or stamp my visa or passport page with the visa. I'm still not sure if the visa is a document attached to the passport or as stamp on a visa page.

So what would happen if I have a visa with a certain arrival date but I actually arrive earlier? (I'm assuming a later arrival would not be an issue). I'm not talking months earlier but perhaps a week to several days.

Merci,
nancy
 

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There are a couple variations on what "could" happen if you arrive early with the visa. But why tempt fate? When you apply for your visa, you need to give them the earliest possible travel date. The visa (which is something affixed to your passport, whether a document or a stamp) only allows you to enter France. Once arrived, you need to get a residence permit (titre or carte de séjour) and that's what allows you to stay.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Nancy

...I'm still not sure if the visa is a document attached to the passport or as stamp on a visa page.
Your "visa" is permanently affixed to one of the pages of your US Passport by the Consulate. When we applied for the Visa, the Consulate required that we leave our US Passport with them until they'd granted or rejected our request for the Visa.

So what would happen if I have a visa with a certain arrival date but I actually arrive earlier?...
As far as I know, there's no arrival date on one's Visa. There is a date, if memory serves, on which the Visa was granted. During our interview, we were advised to be prepared to go to France within a few weeks of the Visa being granted (3 weeks comes to mind...but I don't really remember for sure). It would be useful to ask the Consulate if there's a required or recommended amount of time to move to France.

If the Consulate still keeps one's US Passport and you wanted to go to France before receiving your Visa, you'd need to request it back in order to travel internationally. If they return it to you before the Visa application is processed, you'd have it in hand, of course. In either case, though, you would have to return to the US to the French Consulate to have the Visa attached to your US Passport.

As a result, it doesn't seem possible you'd arrive in France "early"...you'd simply arrive as a tourist who'd have to return to the US.

If the Consultate still retains one's US Passport while deciding whether to accept or decline one's request, I strongly recommend you ask the Consultate whether requesting your Passport back before they've concluded their deliberations will void your request for a Visa.

Good luck.

Ray
 

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Good point, Ray - the date on the visa is the validity date. If you don't specify anything else, it will be the date the visa is granted. If you have a travel date established, you can ask when you apply for the visa to have that used as the validity date (mostly useful if your travel date is more than a few weeks after the consulate appointment).

The timing for your first "titre de séjour" is based on the validity date of the visa on which you entered. So to the extent that you delay entering France, you just knock time off the first year of your residence permit and will have to start the renewal process that much sooner.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all.

I will be using the consulate in Miami. According to their information, the visa processing can take up to 21 days so they advise to apply early. But not more than 3 mos. in advance of my planned arrival which is noted on the application form.

I plan to apply as early as I can, at least 2 months in advance. It's that catch-22 in that I may not have a permanent place to live at that point but will show I have a short term place of 3 months and I am actively looking.

My question stemmed more from the apartment search situation. For example I tell the consulate that I plan to arrive in France on Nov 1 and my visa shows Nov 1 as the valid date. Then I find an apartment that is ready Oct 15 and I am able to move by then. So can I go early and enter France as a normal visitor regardless of the visa date. I suppose the issue is if the immigration officer flips through my passport and sees the visa valid on Nov 1 and I'm 2 weeks early.

Another scenario would be that I receive my visa for Nov 1 entry, an apartment comes up and I take a quick round trip to Paris to look at the apartment. This would not be a long term entry, but rather a to/from for a very short period.

I'm not planning any of this just trying to understand the process. I don't know whether asking these questions to the consulate would raise any red flags.

Merci.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
RayRay, I just re-read your reply. Hmmm, so maybe there isn't a valid date. I'll contact the consulate and see.

I've had many visas in the past form other countries and yes usually they show an issue date, but then also the valid period (3 months, 1 year, etc.).

The only thing I know for sure is that I have to send in my OFII form within the 1st 3 months.
 

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RayRay, I just re-read your reply. Hmmm, so maybe there isn't a valid date. I'll contact the consulate and see.

I've had many visas in the past form other countries and yes usually they show an issue date, but then also the valid period (3 months, 1 year, etc.).

The only thing I know for sure is that I have to send in my OFII form within the 1st 3 months.
My recommendation would be to send in the form letter you should receive from the Miami Consultate to the OFII as soon as possible after you arrive.

Depending upon where your OFII is, some are a great deal busier than others.

I would say it's better to get an earlier appointment than for the OFII to receive your letter towards the end of the 3 month period and have no appointments to give you during the remainder of your 3 months.

It counts for something that you'd demonstrate that you take your commitments regarding scheduling the OFII appointment seriously.

Best of luck.

Ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just a quick update.

I contacted the consulate in Miami and was informed that the start date for the validity period will be whatever date I indicate as my arrival date in France. The officer also told me that I can move to France anytime after the start date but that will reduce the amount of time and I will have to start the renewal process earlier. For example if I delayed my arrival for a month after the start date, I essentially have an 11 month visa.

Now onto finding good expat medical insurance. My current insurance does cover me for overseas visits and some evacuation but no repatriation.

Merci,
nancy
 

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...I contacted the consulate in Miami and was informed that the start date for the validity period will be whatever date I indicate as my arrival date in France. The officer also told me that I can move to France anytime after the start date but that will reduce the amount of time and I will have to start the renewal process earlier. For example if I delayed my arrival for a month after the start date, I essentially have an 11 month visa.

Now onto finding good expat medical insurance. My current insurance does cover me for overseas visits and some evacuation but no repatriation...
Nancy

Having your first visa be good for 11 months isn't that big a deal in the greater scheme of things, assuming you'll be staying for at least a few years, especially if going a bit later allows you to handle important things like getting your stuff moved, saying goodbye to everyone, etc.

You may want to check GeoBlue Travelers Insurance if you have Blue Cross coverage already. GeoBlue is a modestly priced add-on to your Blue Cross coverage. The only caveats are
  • You must have Blue Cross Insurance (standard, Medicare Supplemental, etc.) in order to qualify for GeoBlue.
  • GeoBlue must be available in your State (it's not available in all states).
Their website is at https://www.geobluetravelinsurance.com/product_overview.cfm. I don't work for Blue Cross or GeoBlue or get anything for suggesting it. We've used it as our insurance because we have our Medicare Supplemental Insurance with Blue Cross and GeoBlue has been a good fit for us.

Best of luck.

Ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Ray, I do have BC/BS for my primary insurance right now. I'll start Medicare later this year and then BC/BS will become my secondary. But from what you said, that should be fine. I just need to check if the GeoBlue is available in Florida.

I love this forum for all the great advice from those who have gone down this path already!!!;)
 

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Wow the Miami consulate is responsive! Yeah, like Bev said, why tempt fate. From what I remember, you tell the consulate when you want to arrive, and that's when they make the visa valid (starting from). If you wanted to go earlier, then, you should have asked for an earlier date...kind of thing. I wouldn't go before the date starts because that might mess with your timeline. You might just have to pay a month of rent without even being there. Lots of leaps of faith and expenses are involved in the expat world lol

(And Ray, not sure what type of visa you got. But definitely there is an issue date and a date of when the visa "starts." They're not one in the same so far in my experiences)
 

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Thanks Ray, I do have BC/BS for my primary insurance right now. I'll start Medicare later this year and then BC/BS will become my secondary. But from what you said, that should be fine. I just need to check if the GeoBlue is available in Florida.

I love this forum for all the great advice from those who have gone down this path already!!!;)
Assuming you know this already, but your Medicare is worthless in France. Medicare will only cover you outside the US if you are within shouting distance of the border in an emergency situation - so Canada and Mexico only. (And even then, only if the closest hospital just happens to be across the border.)

Once you live in France, Medicare is only a "back up" to travel insurance when you're making visits back to the Old Country.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes I am aware of the limits on Medicare.

I've done a few online quotes for expat insurance. Am I misreading what I've found - that the premiums can be as much as $1800/month? If so, yikes!
 

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Yes I am aware of the limits on Medicare.

I've done a few online quotes for expat insurance. Am I misreading what I've found - that the premiums can be as much as $1800/month? If so, yikes!
You may want to take a look at the expat insurance offered by AARO (an association of American expats) https://aaro.org/medical-insurance I usually suggest this only because it's a group policy and they are pretty open about publishing their rates sheet online so that you can compare it with whatever other policies you're considering.

The AARO policy is constructed for US expats - and apparently is intended to be used with Medicare for those who may want to return to the US for certain types of treatment. It will at least give you a basis of comparison.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Bev, I did look at that site.

After further review, my regular BCBS provides great coverage and some evacuation. What's not covered is repatriation. I did find a separate evacuation/repatriation policy with Medjet Assist that is $665/year. It's seems crazy to buy a full medical policy when I have one that is great but just lacking that one coverage. So now I just need to verify with BCBS that my coverage is at least $50,000 which I'm sure it is as it doesn't state any limits, and check with the consulate if it's OK to have 2 policies to meet their insurance requirements.
 

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I used IMG which is cheap but covers the requirements. Not sure how comprehensive it is for real-life needs, but it works as far as the letter we need to show the consulate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I looked at IMG but I guess what I'm resisting is that I already pay for and have fabulous insurance that fully covers me overseas except for the repatriation. So I hate to pay for more medical coverage. If I have to I will but I'm hoping as long as I show I have all the coverage they require, they will accept that. I didn't see anything that said it had to be on one policy but I'll check on Monday with the contact at the consulate.
 

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I suppose the only thing to check on the BCBS policy is that it will cover you in France. (Not sure how these things work any more, but I have heard that some US insurers actually do have lists of doctors and hospitals that are "in network" for their coverage in foreign countries.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Bev I did check and there's a huge network in Paris and all throughout France.

Soleil, let's hope I'm not pushing my luck with the consulate. They should be responsive when one is trying to clarify the requirements. One trick I learned is to quote what's on the website and then ask my clarification question. That way they know I've read all their material. I'll let everyone know what I find out about the insurance.
 
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