The Practical Things for TAPIF: Getting a visa

NOT this kind of Visa

Getting a French visa is so difficult.

THIS type of visa

Now on to more practical matters in the world of getting a language assistant visa. How do you get one and what should you expect?

Book your appointment online. Do this in early summer, getting an appointment in late July or early August so you’ll have time to get the arrêté de nomination and deal with problems if they arise.

What you’ll need to take:

  1. Booking reciept
  2. Passport + 1 copy
  3. OFII form
  4. Visa application
  5. Arrêté de nomination + 1 copy

VERY IMPORTANT copies MUST be in black and white.

They MAY ask for

  1. Mail as a proof of residency
  2. Extra copies of your passport and arrêté de nomination
  3. Your flight itinerary if you have one
  4. Your first born child (Ok, not really, but they can ask you for more than they list on their website)

If you studied abroad, this will probably sound very familiar. Go to the address on 74th street E listed on your booking receipt. This is the visa section’s address. Map for the consular visa section- You hand your passport and booking receipt to the guard and show that your phone is turned off. Only you are allowed inside. Once inside, you will be given a number. You sit down and wait for them to call your number and then proceed to window 1. You hand all the forms in here. They are particular about the copies being black and white, or at least were two years ago for my student visa. Have plenty of extra copies. They may ask for a piece of mail as proof of residency in the consulate’s jurisdiction. Once they have all the paperwork, you will be handed a piece of paper. There will be two hand drawn x’s on it. Sign by both of them. Both of them! Don’t make my mistake. If you’re asked to pay, don’t. Modern language teaching assistants don’t have to pay for the visa. You’ll be told to go sit back down. The next time they will call you by name. Listen closely as it may be hard to hear if people are talking and your name may be Frenchified. Personally, I love my name when pronounced Frenchily (or un-Frenchily, just not with a New Jersey accent. No offense), just have an idea of what that may sound like. This time they take your photo and fingerprints and maybe speak to you in French (yay!). You will tell them when you’re leaving for France and when you’re coming back. They can make the visa valid for one month after your arrival date. They tell you a date to come back for your visa and OFII form between 9-10AM. That’s it. You’re free! So go hang out in Central Park, which is practically across the street. If you like museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is only a few blocks down. It’s a really awesome museum, one of my favorites. The time you’ll wait inside the consulate depends on the day. It could be 30 minutes or 2 hours. There’s no saying. Fridays seem busier. If you did everything right, you should be able to pick up the visa about one week from the appointment. Barring technical or other problems, that is, which is why you go before September rolls around.


About Quiche Lauren

A blog by an English teaching assistant in Nîmes (Académie de Montpellier) through the TAPIF program.
This entry was posted in Practical Things, TAPIF, Visa and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Practical Things for TAPIF: Getting a visa

  1. Anne Elder says:

    Hi Lauren!

    Why is it important for the documents to be in black and white? I honestly can’t remember from my student visa, and have an appointment tomorrow to get my assistant visa, but all my copies are in color!



    • Hi Anne! Their rule may have changed as this was a problem for me when I was applying for a visa at the NY consulate about three years ago and I made sure my copies were black and white this time. However, my understanding was that they need to be black and white to prove they’re copies. I’m writing it off as “don’t try to reason with French bureaucracy.” They did let me copy my color copies (reluctantly) three years ago. I would make sure you had black and white copies if possible, but don’t freak out if not.

      • Anne Elder says:

        Thanks so much for your quick reply! I made makeshift b&w copies (my printer would only do 8.5×11, not A4), which seemed to suffice. I brought along my original and color copies, which I could show them when they wanted to see what was cut off by the paper size change. They did definitely prefer the b&w copies, so it is a good thing I came across this just in time! 🙂

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