Applying For A French Au Pair Visa 101

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Since applying for a French Visa (Au Pair) was one of the most stressful events of my life, I thought I would share some insight, so those of you thinking about doing the same might have an easier time. There are a lot of outdated resources out there that are way less than helpful, because they have you running around getting paperwork that you don’t even need. Here’s an updated list of paperwork you WILL NEED for the French Consulate  (in San Francisco as of August 2014)

Things you NEED to apply for an Au Pair Visa: 

1. Visa Application Form: First things first, make sure you print out and fill out the application form and attach a passport style (color) photo to the top right corner. Make a copy.

2. Your Passport: Sounds like a no brainer, but you will need to bring your passport and a copy of the identification pages when you go to apply. Make a copy.

3. Contract: Make sure you have an approved contract signed by you, the family you’ll be working with, and validated by the local DIRRECTE where you plan on moving (in France). Make a copy.

4. Flight/Travel Plans: You’ll need to have proof of plane ticket purchases, OR written plans of when you’ll be traveling with a signed statement that says you won’t leave the country before you receive your visa. Make a copy. 

5. Letter of acceptance from a French Institution: As an au pair you will be required to be enrolled in language/culture classes while you are working in France. I decided to enroll in a 1 year program at a language institute at the University near where I’m going to be living. Make a copy. 

6. OCII form: Once you actually get to France, you will need to get this form validated within 3 months of getting there. When you apply, make sure to bring it with the top part filled out.

6. Self addressed prepaid express mail envelope: You’ll need this for getting your passport and visa back (unless you decide to go back to the embassy and pick it up). Make sure this is from USPS (not FedEx or UPS) and does NOT have the mailing label stuck on it (this way they can give you your tracking number).

7. Processing Fee: The easiest way to pay this is by Visa, but they also take personal checks. For me this fee was $136.

Things you WON’T NEED: 

Certificat Médical: Some Au Pair websites told me that I would need to get a signed document of health for applying for my visa (within three months of applying) but they never even asked me for this when I was applying, so don’t worry about it (unless you really feel like going to the doctor for a physical).

Extra Passport photos: Other than the photos in the top right corner of your application, you shouldn’t need any other passport photos.

Bank Statements/Guaranteer: This was my ALL TIME stress because some websites stated that I needed to have the total amount of $820 x 12 months I’m living there in my bank account before leaving, OR someone to notarize a statement saying they would be available to provide that amount given the need. NOT NEEDED.

CampusFrance: This is NOT FOR AU PAIRS. And it is a stress and four week waiting + $100 dollar waste of your time. I cannot believe I waited so long for this paperwork, just to find out that it wasn’t needed.

Diploma: Some sites stated that I would need a printed copy of my last diploma (so, University) when applying. NOT NEEDED.

Might want to bring (BUT DON’T NEED) if you’re OCD, like me:

Receipt of Booking: You don’t really have to have this, but I brought mine just in case (for some reason) they tried to say that I hadn’t made an appointment. Proof on paper is generally a good rule of thumb.

Proof Of Residence: I didn’t need this when I was applying because my passport has my Washington State address on it, already. BUT if you’re from a different state originally, and are applying for a visa within the district of where you’re living now, you’ll need to provide proof that you live there. This can include a copy of your drivers license or state ID (refer to consulate website for more examples).

A Pen: Just in case you’re sitting in the waiting area and realize you forgot to fill something out. Which may or may not have happened to me.

For more information visit your Consulate’s webpage (or email them). Here’s the link for mine (San Francisco): CLICK HERE

REMEMBER: This is a list based off my personal experience at the San Francisco French Consulate, consult your local consulate before making an appointment to double check you have everything you need!

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