To live in France full-time for our initial year here, our first step was obtaining a visa from the French consulate in Miami. Once we arrived in Carcassonne we then had to make an appointment with the Immigration Office in Montpellier for a medical checkup that would qualify us to stay here legally for the duration of that one-year visa. Three months before that expired we visited our local Préfecture (think, Federal Building, in US terms) to arrange for a time to drop off copies of our financial statements, utility bills and a few other documents to prove that we actually lived here and had the resources to support ourselves. A one-year carte de séjour (residency card) has annually been the result. We’ve been repeating that process each winter since our arrival in February 2016 and you can read about that in our blog post Fort-unate that includes a link to the post from the prior year. This week we obtained our newest carte de séjour with only a few minor changes from the previous experiences. Read the rest of this entry
Although we tend to use March 1 as the starting date for our new life in France, the government here considers February 20 the date since that’s when our initial visa began. Americans can enter the country for up to 90 days on their airline ticket alone, but for those of us who didn’t buy a round-trip flight, you have to do a bit more work. During that initial grace period you must schedule a medical appointment with the immigration office who will then stamp your visa as valid for an additional 9 months. At the end of your first year you can trade in the visa for a residency card that must then be renewed annually using essentially the same documentation required to come here in the first place. Basically you must prove that you won’t be a burden to the taxpayers in that you have sufficient income, health insurance, housing, etc. to take care of yourself. This week we again succeeded in doing that so we have brand new residency cards. Read the rest of this entry
Nearly 30 years ago, a political candidate who later became president of the United States, included in a campaign speech his desire for a “kinder, and gentler nation”. He was referring, in part, in his own words “to protect our environment, to safeguard our national heritage for future generations”. When I first heard that phrase I thought he was referring to cultivating a sense of civility that had existed when I was growing up but seemed to have disappeared. In moving to France we appear to have rediscovered both his vision and mine. Read the rest of this entry
We’re back for round two. If you are a US citizen living in France, you must first obtain a visa that you then convert to a one-year residency card upon arrival in your new home country. For each of those next several years that you live here, you have to apply for an annual renewal of the card. After five continuous years here you can request a 10-year card or citizenship, neither of which requires you to give up American citizenship, for which, by the way, Uncle Sam would want to collect 2,350 dollars. But that’s years down the road. Today’s news is that this week we picked up our renewed carte de séjour (residence permit) valid for the next 12 months. Read the rest of this entry
By now you have read In residence and got the cold hard facts of the visit to the OFII immigration office. There was a lot of fun going on during this visit that made the time fly by.
Each and every person that we encountered was doing their very best to make each person feel at ease with the process. Casual banter about where you were from and how they had been there, too. “Good to see you back again” to someone who must have had a problem with the first visit. This is not your typical government operation of any government that I’m familiar with. Read the rest of this entry
It’s official, we’re legal residents of France for a year, at least, as of yesterday afternoon! The process all began back in January of this year when we went to the French consulate in Miami to request a visa. Americans can stay here for up to 90 days in any 6-month period with only a passport but for any longer than that you need a visa that’s valid for a year. But wait, even with that document issued in the US you still have to request a titre de sejour (residence permit) once you arrive.Then the wait begins. Read the rest of this entry
Coming up with the name for today’s post was rather fun for a couple of reasons. The first was the choice of titles since it has to do with getting a visa. Since the French consulate in Miami accepts credit cards to pay the 99 euro fee, it could have been “Visa for Visa”. A takeoff on the expression “easy-peasy” since this whole process went very smoothly once we got to the consulate brought to mind “Visa(y)-peasy”. And of course the original French vis-à-vis that we’ve adopted into English meaning, among many things, “face to face”, would have certainly worked since we had to apply in person at their office that looks out onto Biscayne Bay. Instead I chose this one word that at first glance might not seem to have anything to do with today’s topic, but that’s the other reason why naming it was fun. Read the rest of this entry