It’s taken us a while to assemble all of the documents that the French consulate requires to apply for a long stay visitor’s visa and I think we’re now ready. There are 10 offices in the US and while each follows a similar list of requirements (passport, application, fee, etc.) some tell you specifically what must be included on each document and some want more information than others. The Miami consulate website shows a pretty general list without many details. Here’s what they have requested and how we have complied: Read the rest of this entry
We’re back! Nine months ago we were here in northern Florida, looking out at this view you see above when we decided it was time to move. You can read about that decision on our first-ever post that kicked off this blog by reading our blog post This is where it all started.
So, what’s changed? Not very much with this view except now the marsh is light green since it’s currently summer instead of light brown as winter approached last Thanksgiving. For us, the changes revolve around narrowing down our options which were wide open when we first began the blog. For example, we now know that we’re moving to Carcassonne, we’ll be taking a flight with the dog rather than the Queen Mary II, and we’ll be living in a small house rather than an apartment starting in the spring of 2016. If you’ve had the chance to read our earlier posts you’ll know all of the details that got us to this point.
One thing that has changed, however, is the creation of this blog. The initial inspiration came from our friends Tracy & Alan who have their blog about moving from the US to France and the motivation to help others in a similar situation propels us to write. Now we always have the camera with us searching for an interesting photo to include and we talk constantly about what topics might be useful to post. It’s great having a new hobby that doesn’t cost much or take up any room but provides hours of entertainment.
Whenever we go on vacation, instead of staying in a hotel we usually try to rent a house or an apartment since you get more room, a kitchen where you can prepare a few meals, and it’s easier to pretend that you live in the community to see if you might want to make it your home. Since we’re house sitting this week along the intracoastal waterway, it’s confirmed our desire to move here once we sell the house in Georgia. When applying for a visa, you have to use the French consulate that has jurisdiction over your state, which in our case would currently be the Atlanta office. They have to deal with applicants from 6 southeast states; consequently, getting an appointment simply to apply for a visa is very difficult during most of the year. On the other hand, the consulate in Miami is responsible for Florida and some of the Caribbean so appointments appear to be much easier to obtain.
A second advantage of being a Florida resident is that there is a reciprocal agreement between this state and France which allows for an easy exchange of driver’s licenses between the two. A few other states, not including Georgia, have the same agreement avoiding the application process that can involve driving school, a written exam, and possibly a medical evaluation. The price for this can be close to $2000.
Lastly, Florida has no income tax. Although we are certainly not opposed to paying taxes we would be foolish not to take advantage of opportunities offered to us.
When applying for your initial long-stay visa for your first year in France and then to remain staying in the country beyond that, you must prove that you have health insurance for your whole stay. This is one of those items that differs from one consulate to another. One will simply state that you must have health insurance while another will be very specific telling you, for example, that there must be a zero deductible with a minimum $50,000 coverage with expatriation to the US included. Some will even list the names of insurance companies that they will accept.
There are two types of insurance that might satisfy this requirement based on the needs of your consulate. Traditional travel insurance that you would get to cover a canceled vacation, lost luggage, car rental damage waiver, etc. often includes adequate medical coverage including repatriation and can often be bought to cover a trip of 364 days. Read the rest of this entry
Once you make the decision that you’re going to move to France you are then faced with a variety of choices of things that have to take place before you can actually leave. Unfortunately it seems as if they all need to be done at the same time but obviously they have to be done in some kind of order; hence, the chicken or the egg. One biggie is applying for your visa which cannot be done any sooner than 3 months before you leave the US. Since you don’t know if an appointment is going to be available when you are ready to book it, looking about 4 months ahead seems to make sense. So once you get the appointment the mad dash begins to gather everything the consulate wants to process your request.
You need an airline ticket before going to the consulate, but what date do you book that for? Your visa might come through in two days or it might take two weeks or more. Curiously, most consulates tell you that you should NOT buy the ticket ahead of time but only bring in a reservation and then buy the ticket once the visa is granted. We have been unable to find an airline that will let you make the reservation without buying the ticket within 24 hours. Read the rest of this entry