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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all---

My husband and I went to our VISA application appointment last Monday, and I wanted to share the experience to help anyone who may be about to do the same.

First, one really nice thing about the new system, with VFS Global processing the applications, is that you are not assigned a specific location of where to apply, according to where you live. Previously, we could have only applied at the consulate in Miami, but now with VFS, we were able to go to Atlanta, which is closer to us.

Another advantage is the consistency in the application process, as we noted VFS has a list of required items that is specific to the VISA that you have applied for, and they make sure everything on this list has been supplied.

The VISA that we applied for is a Long-Stay VISA, VLS-TS, to establish residency in France as retirees. We have learned, from others on this forum, to be sure, when filling out the online application, to choose "more than 12 months" and not "6-12 months," if you want to stay in France with the ability to renew the Titre de Sejour annually. The final VISA Application printout has the box checked "Other: Visiteur."
As Bev said in another post, the Etablissement de Famille choice is only if you have family there already.

The documents that we needed to provide are as follows:
-Application form --this is printed out from the online application
-ID photograph --only needed 1, the agent cut ours a little to the correct size.
-Passport AND copy of passport page.
*NOTE: You leave your passport with them, so no travel for 2-4 weeks!!
-Letter stating that you do not intend to have a paid professional activity.
-Letter stating your intentions for going to France.
-Proof of accommodation in France--we have a furnished vacation rental for the first 4 months of our stay (Gite, can use Homeaway or Booking.com)
-Proof of enough resources to cover all expenses during trip. We supplied the last 3 months Bank Account statements that show app. 150% of the French minimum wage (SMIC is 1521 euros/month, which is app. $20,760.) We also supplied our 401K statements, as well as our SSI statement, even though we will not be taking Social Security for another 12 years.
-Health Insurance for the full duration of the stay. The insurance must cover the visa's entire validity period (1 year at the most) ((per France-Visas)) We found a French insurance company acs-ami.com and got insurance with 46000 euro coverage + repatriation (required) for 1025 euros/12 months each. We printed the 1st page and the complete policy--the agent just wanted the 1st page declaration with the coverages listed.

Whew! Again, the above list is taken off of our registration receipt for France-Visas, for the requirements for a long-stay visa/Titre de Sejour, to live in France as retirees and NOT working.

The agents at the VFS office were very pleasant and professional. They give you a receipt with a tracking number for the return of your Passport, and you pay them $35 for the UPS next day label. Next you are called into another room to have your biometrics, ie photo and fingerprints.

That's it---after all of the hard work getting documents together and figuring out WHICH documents to get together!!--our file is sent to the Washington DC embassy/consulate for processing. If approved, our passport with VISA will be shipped UPS next day to our home, and someone has to sign for it. We will receive an email from Washington if it is shipped, so we will know when it's coming. Also, we were told that if there are any problems/questions, Washington would contact us directly via email, and that the VFS office has no further contact with them.

While reading about this VISA application, we have found many items that people said were needed. I believe it is highly variable according to WHICH Visa you are seeking. For OUR Long-Stay Visa, we DID NOT need: Driver's License, Birth Certificate, Proof of US address, Apostilled Documents, FBI or police department fingerprints/criminal background check. Some of these documents WILL be needed later in France, so we do have them. (Birth certificate, Marriage License, and Driver's License--all formally translated during a previous trip to France, plus apostilled birth certificates just to be safe!!)

Now we patiently wait......

:fingerscrossed:
 

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Thanks for this. We plan on doing the same in about 2 years time. Why do you need the additional documents for later?
 

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Ultimately, you will need the birth certificates - at the very least to apply for the national health system. But in some cases they will want "recent" certified copies - usually within the last 3 months. But the requirements seem to be constantly changing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for this. We plan on doing the same in about 2 years time. Why do you need the additional documents for later?
I believe that we need the following items for our first prefecture visit in France:
-Birth Certificate with official translation
-Marriage License with official translation
-Driver's License with official translation (Note: some U.S states have a reciprocity agreement whereby you can get a French driver's license during the first year without needing to test for it...Yay Florida!)
-Plus the other documents that you presented to the VFS VISA application.

The 12 months utility bill statements, which I have already copied, not sure how they will be used, but they're to give to the shipping company to prove address before moving to France, so as to not pay duties on our belongings that we will ship.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Visa received!!!

Hip-hip-hooray!!! We received our VISA's today!!!

We had our VISA appointment Monday June 17, we received our VISA's Wed June 26.



Valable pour FRANCE (sauf CTOM)
Type D
Number of entrees MULT
Duree de sejour XXX

Remarques
VISITEUR
CESEDA R311-3 5*

:cheer2::cheer2:
 

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Congratulations-thanks for the insurance information.
Did you apply as a "group" for the two of you? Or did you each need a full set of documents for the visas?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you
! ! What a great feeling.
We made a joint application online, had the same appointment time. You still need to make individual files of documents. We were able to go to the window together, but had to give docs for each file separately.
 
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