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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm a U.S. citizen recently married to a French national. We plan to settle in France. I have all of the documents I need for my spouse visa appointment in Chicago, but wanted to find out if I need to buy travel insurance and a plane ticket before my appointment. Thanks in advance for any info.
 

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Refresh my memory - did you get married in France and then return to the US? If so, the key document is your livret de famille, and a copy of both sides of your husband's carte d'identité. Check the consulate website to be sure, but I don't believe you'll need a flight ticket nor insurance. If your husband is already established in France, it's assumed that you're eligible for insurance through him.

If you do have either flight tickets or a reservation, it wouldn't hurt to take them with you to the appointment. That way you'll have proof of your intended entry date (they can date your visa as of your travel date so that you get the maximum out of the first year). As far as insurance goes, if you have no other insurance (i.e. hubby is returning to France without a job lined up) you might want to get a short-term travel policy for your own safety until you get set up. But I don't believe the consulate will ask you to provide any proof of insurance for a spouse visa.

If you got married in the US, you'll need to have your livret de famille and that can take a while to get through the consulate. But IIRC, that isn't your case.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just wanted to let everyone know that I received my spouse visa. Even though I know it is virtually automatic, I was still a little nervous about it. I?ll give a summary of the visit to the French consulate in Chicago, just to take some of the mystery away for other people who might be applying there.

I was surprised by how simple it was. I?d envisioned the consulate as a big, tall building with lots of offices. I?d imagined myself waiting in a long line of applicants, with each applicant being taken into a separate office to be interviewed?maybe even having their French abilities assessed.

It turned out that the consulate was on one floor of a shopping mall! Lol. And I didn?t have to go into a staff person?s private office. It was actually more like going up to to talk to a bank teller. There were 2 consulate workers at a counter behind glass, just a few applicants in the waiting room, and you just walked up to the counter when your name was called.

The consulate staff asked me for copies of my documents (which I promptly dropped on the floor?oops), shuffled and stamped my papers, took my picture, and then it was done. The ?interview? took about 5 minutes. Then it took just 4 days to receive the visa in the mail.

This is just the French consulate in Chicago, though. It might be different at other consulates.

*Chicago consulate staff were kind of stern, but not rude.
 

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Good for you! Glad to hear it was very simple. I may be going through this soon, so good to know how it went and you got your visa back quickly. We emailed our consulate here and they said 7-10 days but that may just be a standard response.

What you would describe I would say is about normal for a consulate. I've been to US consulates in Belgium and Mexico as well as French consulates in Belgium and Los Angeles and the Belgian consulate in Los Angeles. Honestly other than varying by size they are all identical in nature, most transactions are handled at a bank teller like window. Though the French consulate in Belgium we meet with someone in a nice office, though I think only because our situation was a bit complicated and took a while. The US consulate in Mexico was interesting, being US Citizens we go to skip the entry line and they hustled us off into a completely separate almost vacant area very quickly where they took care of what we needed.

I'm thinking of starting a guide book of consulates around the world... what do you think? :)
 

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...This is just the French consulate in Chicago, though. It might be different at other consulates...
We went to the San Francisco consulate several times (before getting the CdS) and our experience was similar. After our third or fourth visa, they recognized us each year and we're actually quite nice

BTW, each year I would download all the documents and print out two copies, and each year they gave us back one set. I finally asked why we had to bring two copies, since both were printouts anyway. They said we were supposed to bring originals, and a copy, and then just leave the copies. But, they also said they knew that nobody had originals anymore so we could just bring one set of printouts from then on. BTW, the same approach works just fine at the prefecture when renewing our CdS now.
 

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I am stressing out like no tomorrow. I should not. I applied from Bangladesh french embassy last tuesday. Hopefully they are as fast as the American one.
Fingers crossed
 
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