Those Pesky Visa Documents Explained!
So, I said it before and I will say it again. The documents are the biggest pain in the ass about your visa application. Hands down. In my last post I added the list of what you are required to have at the appointment in the consulate.

You might not be asked to show some of the papers – for my appointment I went in with everything ready and they asked for about four papers and nothing else. That is not me saying “don’t bring this, this, this, and this”, no bring everything because you never know what they will ask you to present.

What you must have to apply for a Visa at the French Consulate-

  • Your Passport & Copy of Passport – No where on the website did I see “Bring a copy of passport”, it completely blind-sided me when the Visa guy behind the desk asked for that and a copy of my driver’s license. So, just FYI bring one of each.
  • Your License & Copy of License – Same story, just bring them or you’re waiting longer than you expected.
  • Short Stay / Long Stay Schengen Application – This document is a must have when showing up for your appointment, after all it is the entire reason you are there. Don’t forget it at home otherwise you will have to reschedule your appointment and fill it out correctly according to the instructions.
  • Financial Guarantee #1- Another must have. Have your sponsor, most likely your parent, fill this out and have it notarized it is one of the first things they ask you present at the booth. No notarization, means a no-go. All the paper is is a pledge saying that they will support you financially during your stay.
  • Financial Guarantee #2 – Yes, there are two, separate forms to guarantee you will be supported through your stay. All it is is the amount your parents plan to allow you per month (min. 820 euros) and their signature in front of a notary public.
  • Payment authorization form- It is exactly what it says it is, an authorization of payment. Credit Card only is accepted and it must be signed by the cardholder. Don’t forget – $66 for a student Visa.
  • OFII Form – The OFII form is extremely important. Only fill out the top half for your appointment and then the Visa people will do their magic and hand it back to you at the end of your appointment. DO NOT LOSE IT. When you arrive in France it is your responsibility to send the form into the “territorial authorities” (it explains on the back where to send it based on your location. You must do this within the two months that you first arrive but I strongly suggest you send it ASAP. Once the form is sent in and processed you are allowed to leave France and return as well as apply for a job if so desired.
  • Acceptance Letter from the Institution- I’m not completely clear what they are asking for as far as this letter. I brought my acceptance letter from campusfrance and was told that this was not what they wanted but it is what I was told to bring by my counselor. In the end they accepted it.
  • Copy of Birth Certificate Translated to French – I was never asked for it but bring it anyway, most institutions require this when you arrive.
  • Proof of Residence – Never asked once for this but have it just in case. For students living in Campus housing you will need confirmation from the head of housing. Those of us who are leasing apartments need the certificate of lodging for the landlord, proof of residence of landlord (a bill with address that is less than three months old works), and a copy of their passport.
  • 3 PHOTOS OF IDENTITY of the face, nothing on the head, format 3.5 x 4.5 cm, recent and resembling the applicant. I got mine done at CVS for ten bucks, my only tip is not to smile otherwise they have to retake it at the consulate.
  • Proof of Medical Insurance – A letter from your insurance company is required. This letter has to mention that you will be covered in Europe for any medical, evacuation and repatriation expenses during your whole stay. The medical expenses have to be covered for at least $40,000 or 30,000 euros. Please note that a photocopy of your insurance card will not be sufficient enough to meet the  requirements. You have to contact your insurance company to get this letter. If your insurance company does not provide such a letter/coverage,  purchase an international insurance prior to your appointment at the visa section and do not forget to bring the letter. On the site they offer a list of providers whose offers meet the requirements. I just used USAA, except for the repatriation part – that one gets tricky.

 There you have it. Everything you need for your appointment and then some. Before your appointment put everything into a neat folder for easy access at the consulate!

Bonne Chance!

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