I am living in a state of limbo. In a constant state of the unknown; however, it is free of chaos. My departure date from America has yet to be set and I personally do not know what day I will leave Los Angeles to fly to Paris. All I know is that it will be in May.
One of the most frequent and annoying comments I hear every day has been: “You’re still here?” as if the decision to leave should be enough to get me to France and that I have failed at leaving. Some people generally seem happy to know that I will be here for a few more weeks, while several others seems biting, as if I have failed already and they are saying “I told you so. You’ll never go.”
Other people immediately reply to my joyous news with “You’ll be back” or “I hate the French.” As much as there are positive souls cheering me towards my next goal, there are those negative people that try to take the air out of it. As if I am walking around with a large, vibrant blue balloon and they are desperately trying to take a sharp needle to it. But mine won’t pop.
I have been focusing on getting a visa and have an appointment with the LA French consulate on May 11th, which I had to reschedule from the original May 3rd date. I was not able to keep the appointment due to my move out of my Beachwood Canyon home. There was too much to do to successfully accomplish both things. I am pulling together information that covers two types of visas: the Long Term Stay Visa and the Carte Compétences et Talents.
There is a great deal of information on the Internet, which points you in the right direction towards what paperwork is necessary for each visa; however, it has taken a great deal of effort to research it. Although the Carte Compétences et Talents intrigues me, my focus right now is to get everything for the Long Term Stay Visa by my May 11th appointment. These are the things that I have to get for my Long Term Stay Visa:
- Two long stay application forms.
You must use the French one, although there is one in English in order to translate the page.
- Two passport photographs.
- OFII Form (again use the one in French.)
- The attestation d’accueil.
Yesterday, I received my attestation d’accueil from my friend in Paris. My host sent a handwritten proof of a domicile and a copy of her ID. The Paris town hall told her that was what I needed to give to the French Consulate in America.
- Will Not Work Letter.
A handwritten note, dated and signed by me, stating that I will not work while in France.
- Proof of Medical Insurance.
Through calling my insurance company and USAA, I found a traveler’s insurance company – IAMGLOBAL.COM – which is what I will get in order to go to France. I will sign up for it today and while they put me through the system, they will fax/email me a confirmation that shows the Consulate that I have year-long overseas insurance.
- Proof of sufficient funds.
You need particular amount of money to stay in France on this visa. I am not 100% sure what it is, but I believe it is the minimum wage of a local French person, which I think is around 57 Euros. That comes out to 1,140 Euros a month (if you don’t count the weekends,) which is about $1,660 a month. So if you can swing around $2,000 a month, I think you are doing well. We will see. I could be wrong.
- Police Clearance.
In Los Angeles, I need to go to the LAPD’s Records & Identification department downtown and they will write out a Police Clearance form.
- The fee.
There is a very slight sense of hesitation while I get everything together to leave. It does not come from moving from LA or going to Paris. It simply comes from the great unknown. Sounds like a Jack London book about a traveler going out into the world; however, there is no blinding snow, freezing cold or crippling solitude. Perhaps one might liken my travels to those artists who came from America and landed in Paris in the late-10s or early-20s in search of Montparnasse.