Monday, December 10, 2012

Living abroad long-term.....and Legal

Living in a foreign country is not all fun and games. You can't just buy plane ticket, and stay for as long as you want, as I am sure you know.  There are options and all kinds of rules that you must follow in order to do so.  

  • Option 1: Marriage-  Yes marriage is always the number one option that comes to mind.  After a few documents get signed, Voila, instant dual citizenship, (sounds easy enough).   

     I don't know about you, but I wasn't looking to get married so soon.  I mean we haven't even known each other for a year ( at this  present day), I couldn't think about just running off and getting married!  My family hasn't even met this man (in person), and their opinions mean a lot when it comes to the person I would be sharing my life with!  Although it's not as if we never spoke of getting married, I mean I wouldn't just drop my life and move to France for a guy who I just thought was handsome.  I can find plenty of handsome men in America, if that was the case.   I saw marriage "potential" in him and saw something different in him that I never found in anyone else I have dated, and I have done my fair share of dating.  So yes, getting married was a choice but something neither of us were ready to do!  

  • Option 2: Working Visa- A working Visa can allow you to live in France for a year or sometimes longer depending on exactly what kind of work you will be doing in France.  To be eligible for this you must find a job prior to arriving and have them sponsor you.    
      Once you have that you're good to stay in France and live happily ever after.......NOT!  To bad it's nearly impossible to find a company to sponsor you for a full-time working Visa.  If you think there are no jobs in USA, France has an 11% unemployment rate!  That being said, it's not easy to find a company to sponsor you unless you have a skill or talent they need, and are willing to make an investment on you.  Hmmmm special talent or skill.......negative.

  • Option 3: Long-term Student Visa- A student visa allows you to study, and work part-time in France.  First thing you must do is register and obtain an "attestation" from Campus France, once completed make an appointment with your nearest French Embassy.
          Alright now this I can do!  So with Thomas's help we sought out a language school in Paris called Campus Langue.  Once that was done I completed the rest of the requirements and made the appointment.  The soonest appointment available was a month away and unfortunately my nearest French Embassy was in Washington D.C. (about 5 hours from my town in PA).  At least that month gave me time to prepare all of the documents I needed, and there were A LOT!  They had warnings all over the website about not missing any form for your appointment or they will send you home with no visa, and left having to make another appointment!  So I went through my checklist and made sure I had everything, in order, ready to go.  When my appointment came I went down the night before with a friend to stay, and be sure I wouldn't hit traffic.  When I walked in and sat down to wait for my number to be called I felt nervous.  I checked everything a dozen times though and it was all there!  They called my number and I took my folder over to the next man.  He started to go through the checklist.
  1. Passport and copy -"There you go sir"
  2. Campus France attestation  - I handed him my form from Campus Langue, the language school I applied for and second thing on my checklist!
"No, Miss Drake this is not the Campus France form."  I felt the blood rush to my face and I remember thinking "Shit, shit, SSHHHIIITTT!"  What I had thought meant a form from a campus IN France was in fact a form through the Embassy called CAMPUS FRANCE! (Can I blame it on the blonde hair?)  So I am sure he must have saw the panic in my face when I thought he was going to send me on my way, having to make yet another appointment (in another month or two)!   Lucky for me the man must have been having a good day and let me register for the form in next room (I hear they never do that).  Registering for that alone wasn't cheap, but once I completed and paid,  I returned.  He went through the entire checklist and all was smooth from that point on.  He told me they would further view my application, and send me my passport in the mail.  If I was approved for the student Visa I would see the sticker in my passport, and I should expect it in one to three months.

No comments:

Post a Comment