Va Va Visa !

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Since receiving the acceptance letter from TAPIF in April 2014, I’ve dreamed about this day: receiving la carte de longue séjour, or long-stay visa. Things have been “non-stop” since I’ve been back in the states. I returned on August 27, took a trip to Chi-town for the réunion, or appointment, at the French consulate on August 28, and started working at BR on August 29. That weekend was Labor Day, so, naturally, I labored the entire time. In retail, there’s no such thing as taking a pause from laboring for “Labor Day.” But, I won’t be stuck in retail for much longer because I’m going to be returning home (aka to the south of France) next Tuesday! After 10 years of service, my contract with BR will finally come to an end. It’s a bittersweet ending, but I look forward to what lies ahead: Teaching English in France (and being with mon chéri).

On August 28, I missed my 8:00am train to the city, so, I was forced to drive in. It was a beautiful, breezy, sunny morning, so, I didn’t mind. Little did I know at the time, it would be the only beautiful day out of the 3 weeks I’ve been in the states. Though, it was a well deserved beauty.

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I arrived early at the consulate in order to meet up with one of my long-time SAFFL (Study Abroad Friends for Life) friends.


We met in front of the consulate and had a nice 20 minute chat before I went inside. We thought that he would be able to join me in the visa room; however, the procedures have changed since 2012. Now, only people with appointments are allowed to go to floor 37. This was a bit of a disappointment; however, it worked out perfectly as the réunion lasted about 15 minutes. Afterwords, we had lunch, followed by a trip to the People’s Republic of China consulate so that he could pick up his touriste visa. Needless to say, it was day filled with going to/from consulats.

What the TAPIF candidate needs to bring to the réunion at the consulate in Chicago*:

  • 1 completed visa pour un longue séjour application: Visa Application in French
  • 1 OFII form – only the top half needs to be filled out: OFII Form 
  • The Arrêté de nomination (work contract) stamped by the French ministry of labor
  • 1 copy of the  Arrêté de nomination
  • Your passeport (they keep your passeport and put the visa on one of the pages)
  • 1 copy of the identity pages in your passeport  
  •  A self-addressed prepaid EXPRESS MAIL envelope from the US POST OFFICE ONLY (NO FEDEX / UPS / AIRBORNE EXPRESS accepted)

*Although most of the required documents are the same at every consulate, there might be certain consulates that require other types of materials. Be sure to read the consulate general’s website for your jurisdiction before going to your appointment. Here is a link to the TAPIF requirements at the Consulate General of France in Chicago.

I also brought my flight information and my lodging information (attestation and EDF, or electricity bill); however, these were not needed. Another unnecessary thing are bank statements. There was some confusion about whether or not this would be required; however, the employee who helped me with the visa informed me that it is not required for those with a work contract.

I was told that I would receive my visa in two weeks; however, I received it a week later. 🙂 ♦