Sunday, November 10, 2013

Moving to Paris: Visas

Last month when I shared Moving to Paris: My Story, I had mentioned that there would be some advice and tips to follow for anyone else looking to start their move here also.  I know it has taken me awhile to  post the second part, and I apologize for the 3-week delay, but hopefully that was a good amount of time for you to contemplate whether or not you want to move here.   So let's get started.  

First things first, living in Paris and being a tourist in Paris are two different things. Moving here requires you to be flexible and persistent, even if that means experiencing the runaround or just plain being rejected.  If you are not open to filling out loads of paperwork or researching for relatively simple answers on the internet for hours/weeks; then you may want to think twice about your decision.  I probably learned this the hard way,  but nobody will ever openly give you information, and you may need to ask the same question at least 3-times. Yes, 3-times, before you have the solution you are looking for. Unfortunately, that's just the way French bureaucracy works.  
Of course, I don't say all of this to discourage anyone from following their dreams, but I think having an idea about what you  may face from the beginning is always good to know. 


Americans, unfortunately, cannot just live in France and are required to obtain a visa before they leave home. When I first heard this, I went into a bit of panic mode because I wasn't quite sure of how or where to do this.  So to make this first step a little easier for you, start by making a list and answering these three questions below.  This list is very primitive, but it will get your mind thinking in the right direction.  Obviously, everyone is going to have a different situation in the end, but a little list making never hurts anyone.  

-    How long will I stay there?
-    What will I do when I arrive?
-    Do I need a visa? 

If you plan on staying longer than 90 days, then you should research the different types of long term visas listed below.  If you don't plan on staying longer than 3 months, than you have the right to visit France for business purposes, tourism or to visit family without a visa.  You can consult the Consulate of France in Washington for more information about tourism to France. 

- Student (Most popular and you are allowed to work anywhere from 19-21 hours a week) 
- Au Pair 
- Working (Very difficult to obtain)
- Internship 
- Non Professional (Long Stay Visitor) 
- Competences et Talents

You are not limited to the visas that I mentioned above, and more information can be found here

If you are not American, I recommend you search on the website of your home country’s embassy.  All EU citizens need no special documents and are free to work. 


It's necessary that you find and work with the Consulate of France in or closest to your home state.  This is crucial because they will be responsible for handling your application, and this is where you will go once its time to make an appearance for your visa appointment.  They are located throughout the US in the following states. 

Atlanta | Boston | Chicago |  Houston  | Los Angeles | MiamiNew Orleans | New York |  San Francisco | Washington DC


Once you have looked into what type of visa you will need, begin by assembling a list of all required documents.  You should make sure that you stay extremely organized during this step since the consolute is very unforgiving if you miss or incomplete a document.

QUICK TIP:  Make sure that you have 3 photocopies of your documents in addition to the originals.  The consolute will not make any copies for you!

QUESTIONS?:  All of this information may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but trust me it becomes a little easier once your familiarize yourself with everything.  If you have any other questions about what I've mentioned above, please feel free to contact me!

Considering taking the student route? Please check back soon for Moving to Paris: Studies in France

Please note that I do not work for the French embassy nor am I affiliated with the prefecture in France.  This information is solely based on my own experience and is not limited to the things I have mentioned.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Salon du Chocolat

My Saturday afternoon was spent buried in sweets at the Salon du Chocolat.  This worldwide expo comes to Paris every year and is nothing short of a chocolate lovers dream.  During this super packed event, chocolatiers, confiseurs, patissiers and épiciers are able to display and demonstrate their beautiful creations, and of course offer plenty of tastings for the gourmands.  It's hard to pick my favorite exhibitor, but I really enjoyed watching the pastry chefs of Les Marquis de Ladurée finish their religious cakes with crème au beurre... such great detail goes into making those little things!  A few other exhibitors to be noted were Pierre Hermé, Hugo et Victor and La Route des IndesThis event was definitely an early reminder to me of why I love the holidays!  
If you are interested in more info about the Salon du Chocolat or other locations click here.