Sciences of travel

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Compètences et Talents – Living in France

For those who are interested in pursuing a career/life in France, the Pres. Sarkosy has recently instated (2008) a new visa aimed at streamlining foreign entrepreneurs who wish to work in France. Since there is very little on the subject except for a well detailed French Embassy site in Washington DC, I thought it would be helpful to include here all of the necessary paperwork needed in the French US-based consulates. Keep in mind that the criteria is tough, since the French are looking for serious business – they will not accept any application that seems weakly prepared. The list should include the following items:

a) Visa Application for long séjour: 2 copies
b) Multi-page project description: if you write it in French its better. They only ask for 1 page, but you’d be smart to write several detailed pages (mine was 7). Include the following:
–     How project will benefit France and include where in the project there is a strong component of multicultural sharing.
–     Goals of Project: What is it specifically you intend to do? What are the benefits for everyone involved?
–     Business Plan: if you’re an independent contractor, its good to have a translated business plan.
–     Estimated Income: very ball-park, but put in how much you are expecting to earn over the first three years.
c) Birth Certificate (original, photocopies and translation)
d) CV (in French)
e) Diplomas: for this visa you need an M.A. I’m sure they will make some exceptions, but I haven’t heard of any yet. If you don’t have an M.A., they will probably not consider you for the visa.
f) Tax returns for any given tax year as well as any bank and investment info (they want to see you have cash).
g) Customer Testimonials and references: if you’re in sales, give a list of customer references as well as professional references.
h) Articles: if there are any write-ups about you in any newspaper, magazine doing what you do then add it along.
i) Any sample work that can be incorporated is a great help as well (i.e.: if you’re in design add some of your portfolio).
j) Criminal Record Check – this is fundamental
k) 4 official pictures
l) approx: 150$ application fee

A big thanks to Erin who went through the whole grueling process before me, so that I was able to fly my application by without any trouble. My application was for an entrepreneurial endeavor – there are also possibilities for people who are employed with French companies to apply for the same visa, but a few more documents need to be put into the application (such as the cerfa document, etc.).

I put all of these documents in order of importance (project description and business plan first, birth certificate second, etc.) into a three-ring binder which had tabs along the side, so the consulate could easily find whichever document it was looking for. Then of course the outside of the binder was labeled as well with my name, the date, my passport number and the type of visa I was applying for.

Seems like too much? Maybe, but at my consulate I was told that I was the second person to get the visa. Plus, the organization of the paperwork (and maybe giving all the documents necessary) prevented me from having to go back to the Consulate every week to bring them one more piece of paper. I got the visa in 1 month so I must have done something right.

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