Tying up the loose ends before moving to France


images-3With our departure date only a month and four days away, it’s time to go to Chicago to get (another) long-stay visa that will allow me to live and work in France for a year.  During the first year, I plan to apply for French citizenship.  This time last year I went to Chicago for the same exact visa.  Turns out I didn’t need it after all, but I said it last year, and I’ll say it again.  French bureaucracy  may have a reputation for making official procedures as difficult as possible, but the people who work at the French Consulate in Chicago are really, really helpful.  I do think that it helps that I write all of my emails to them in French.  Perhaps if I were writing them in English I wouldn’t make such a good impression, and they may be less willing to take the time to help me.  They literally located all of the documents I will need for my visa.  I just have to show up with my passport, a few photos, and an envelope for them to send my passport with the visa inside back to me.

This time last year, we had big plans to move to France.  We were hoping to sell our house quickly and move to France during the summer.  As it turns out, our house didn’t sell until October, so back in August we made the decision to spend another year in St. Louis.  Life doesn’t always work out the way we would have hoped, but in retrospect, having this extra year to get our affairs in order has been very advantageous for us.  It’s given us more time to think about what the next step will be, and I’m not just talking about where we will live.

For example, I’ve been spending a LOT of time trying to get my online language school website up and running, and hopefully it will take off during the first year.  I’m also working a lot on a second blog, Learn French With Jennifer and recording French language videos for my YouTube channel.  This is so much fun, it’s truly exhilarating!  I never knew how great it would feel to create something of my own.  Have any of you created Internet based businesses?  I’d love to hear about it if you have, because I only have one and a half more weeks left of working as a high school French teacher.  I also need to come up with a name for my French & English language school, so feel free to share if you have any ideas🙂

13 thoughts on “Tying up the loose ends before moving to France”

  1. Good luck there! It sucks you have to fly all the way back to Chicago and do this renewal. Will you still have your French teacher position for another year?

    1. Thank you! And it’s not so bad actually, because right now we are still in St. Louis, so Chicago isn’t that far away. I will not have the same position as French teacher next year because we’re moving🙂

      1. We will be in the south, in Béziers. It’s near Montpellier. But my husband is from Paris and his mom and sister still live there, so we’ll probably visit them often.

      2. We leave Paris in July to go down South. Our visa will expire in February next year, and we plan on extending it. It’s not a permanent thing to live abroad, but we’d like to stay a little bit longer if we can get another place in Nice after our lease is up in January. We’re kind of taking it one step at a time. All we know is we’re not ready to go back to the states!

  2. Though it has been five and a half years, I do remember the excitement.
    I worked with the French Consulate in San Francisco and they were exceptional and it wasn’t because of my language skills. You are fortunate to be able to obtain citizenship. After more than five years, I am still classified as a visitor. Getting that status to change is monumental.
    You were wise to get the visa as from what I am told and what I have seen online, you must have it before you arrive so that hasn’t changed since I came here.
    I wish you all the best in your journey.

    1. I remember learning all of the details about the visa last year, but I’ll have to refresh my memory. I know I need it before arriving in France, but I’m not sure what I have to do once I’m there. Thanks for the well wishes🙂

  3. We showed up in France (2004) and then worked backwards! Got my visa there, but there was no problem. Just persistence at the Prefecture. As I understand it, getting your citizenship is pretty easy (compared to getting it here in the US! and cheaper–much cheaper!) in France, and it will be much easier traveling if the whole family has the “same” passports. Good luck, and just remember to be very NICE to the people at the prefecture during this process. It goes a long way. I witnessed 2 events where the cops pulled people out of there who were arguing with the clerks, and I felt like their applications probably found their way to the trash after that! If you think of a totally weird question that you can’t find an answer to, I am married to a French guy, lived there for 5 years, and am working on moving back, I LOVE France, and I would love to help out if you have questions.🙂 Bon Courage!

    1. As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I’ll remember that when I go to the prefecture🙂 In reply to a different comment you made, I just asked you if you are living in France now, so I’ve found the answer! Or I think I have…. You’re married to a French guy, you lived in France for five years, you’re back in the US now, but looking to get back to France? How exciting!! Where are you wanting to live when you go back?

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