The Plan

Visa Requirements

I was going to wait to write a post about visa requirements, but I came across a complaint on one of the ex-pat forums.

The Complaint:  The poster complained that his fiance was denied entry to the French consulate because her bag was too big. She had traveled more than 12 hours by bus from her home to visit the consulate.

I took a look at the web page of the consulate that she visited and it clearly states not to bring big bags to the consulate.

Know the visa requirements and the requirements for visiting the embassy/consulate before you travel. Embassies and consulates are considered foreign soil. You have to abide by their rules when you visit.


I live in the southeastern United States so I will visit the French consulate in Atlanta, Georgia when it is time to request my long-stay visa for visitors.

These are the current requirements for residents in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee (as of February 21, 2016). Different French consulates may have different requirements for documentation.

Three months before my departure, I can make an appointment online to present my application and supporting documents for the long-stay visa for visitors. Everything must be translated into French and there must be copies of all documents.

One application form filled out completely and signed by the applicant. I completed an application for practice last week.

Two (2) recent ID pictures (white background, full face, no glasses nor hat, closed mouth taken less than 90 days ago). I am currently a member of AAA so I can get my photos at their office. I think Walgreens and CVS can also take and print out ID pictures.

Original passport or travel document (+ one copy of the identity pages). Your passport must have been issued less than 10 years ago, be valid for at least fifteen months and have at least 2 blank visas pages left. I have an event on my calendar for my passport expiration so I can renew it in a timely manner.

Status in the US – If you are not a US citizen, copy of your green card or visa. This requirement does not apply to me. I am a US citizen.

Letter promising not to engage in any employment in France (signature certified by a public notary). This letter will be easy to produce. I will be retired and I do not plan to work.

Letter of employment in the US stating occupation and earnings. This is where the timeline gets a bit tricky. I can retire as of July 1, 2024. I do not want to move to Paris in August. Depending on family circumstances, I will want to be in the US for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My timeline for moving may change to January 2025.

Proof of means of income – letter from the bank, investment certificates, pension slips, etc. I plan to show my savings and pension direct deposits.

Proof of medical insurance. I will get a medical insurance policy. I am going to wait for a time closer to my departure date. I went through the online process of requesting a quote. I received two phone calls a day for about a week and a daily email until I emailed the person back with my timeline.

Marriage certificate or family register + Birth certificates for children. I do not plan to get married or have a child between now and 2024.

Proof of accommodation in France (title deeds, lease or rental agreement). I plan to rent a furnished apartment in Paris for at least six months.

Processing fee ATTENTION: The Consulate general ONLY accepts cash or money order.

One residence form duly filled out (upper part only). This is the OFII form.

The French consulate in Atlanta also has a security notice about big bags.

I’m just going to put this here again…

Know the visa requirements and the requirements for visiting the embassy/consulate before you travel. Embassies and consulates are considered foreign soil. You have to abide by their rules when you visit.

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