In residence

Residence permit paperwork

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. Continue reading “In residence”


Visa application
Visa application

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. Continue reading “Go!”

Ducks in a row

All of our ducks in a row
All of our ducks in a row

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: Continue reading “Ducks in a row”

Health insurance

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. Continue reading “Health insurance”

The chicken or the egg?

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. Continue reading “The chicken or the egg?”