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Saturday, October 4, 2014

The French Visa

Château de la Pellonière de Le Pin-la-Garenne

The painted photo above has nothing to do with this post, but I thought I should give you at least one pretty image in such a depressing post!  Also, these images of life around our French house keep me inspired to keep on "keepin' on" in what is proving to be the hardest task I ever undertook: namely

Moving to France!

I have been packing for the entire summer, giving away so many of our things and editing what we will take with us.  I still have too much.  But that story is for another day.  Today I will just share with you what we are going through to get our French Visa, which will permit us to stay in France for a year.  We are, however, only staying for 7 months on this trip, as we have not sold the farm yet, so we will return here next spring and spend the summer.

This past Wednesday we drove the 2.5 hour drive to the train in Wassaic and took the 2 hour ride into NYC to meet with the Visa department of the French Consulat.  I thought I was so organized.  I have been gathering paperwork for the past few months, had memorized the requirements page of the Visa website, had done drills on taking the paperwork from our envelopes, so as to not take any additional time in our interview, mapped the route and time from the train to the location [ which is not at the 5th Avenue address, but around the corner at Numero 10 74th Street]and googled reviews of the experience by other applicants. I was ready.

 And I had my scarf tied "just so".


Although Deano passed muster, I failed to pass the test, and my Visa was denied.

This section below is what I wrote on my Facebook page, and it may help any of you who are planning the move to be better prepared.

"Update on French Visa: First, thank you to ALL who have shown concern and helped me to laugh through this process!! As of now I am still without Visa, but I am slowly hoping to rectify my situation. ( "Rectify". That is what Dean calls one of my favorite TV shows known as "Justify". I find it a painful word and it reminds me that I have a colonoscopy next week the day before we load our container…but, I digress…]

so, to RECTIFY my situation, I am simply throwing money at it. For instance, on the French Consulat website they state that I need a "passport with at least 2 blank pages left for visa purposes". Now here is why I am not in Mensa: I did not understand that it must say "visa" at the top of the passport pages. I just counted all the free pages I had in my passport [3] and checked that off my list of 17 other things I need for this visa. But when the man checked my passport he showed me that "a lazy US Passport controller" had mistakenly stamped one of my two contiguous visa pages on my last entry to the US in Newark last April, thereby rendering that page useless for a visa stamp!!! I also did not realize that the last two pages in your passport are just…there. Anyway, this resulted in a $40 taxi ride from way uptown to way downtown to the US Passport office where I spent a fascinating several hours getting a new passport ( at a mere $170).But we did get to go out to have my photo taken at a convenience store, by a man who never took Photography1, and we had time for some relaxing liquid refreshment. I must say that the people there were very kind, and the lady expedited my request so that I would not have to go back today. I think the big sad glaucoma eyes helped.

The other problem was with my insurance . I had several documents from my insurance company stating that I was covered by Blue Cross in France for any and all medical needs. BBA teachers, you know we have an excellent plan, and I have spent many a fun phone call with Dawn in Montpelier crafting a cover letter stating how all my medical needs will be paid for in France. However, I have since discovered that what my insurance does NOT cover is "repatriation". That is, if I die in France, they will not pay for my body to be sent back to the USA. And France won't pay to bury or cremate me. Good grief!! I have always told Dean that when I pass, dig a hole and plant me dans le jardin. ( Emmanuel,{ our French gardener} make a note to leave a space for me in the garden.] But, not good enough for a visa. So today I have purchased a travel plan for $833 which states the 3 magic words, Hospitalization, Evacuation and Repatriation. If only they would state on the requirements page of the French Consulat website that your insurance coverage must SAY THOSE 3 WORDS…  And yes, I did see those three words at the bottom of the appointment page, which Dean printed out and added to our dossier…and I never looked at except to confirm the time!

All I have left to do now is make yet another trip to NYC next Friday, be there by 9 a.m.,[ 5:00 a.m. train from Wassaic] show them my new passport, my new insurance and hopefully I will get the same sweet French woman who spent so much time with me yesterday. Or maybe she'll plan to be sick that day…

So please don't blame the French. It was not their fault. Just mine."

We shall return next Friday, down to NYC on the 5:10 commuter train, and throw ourselves on their mercy one more time.You can always follow our adventures on my Facebook page

Wish us Bonne Courage!

the cat from Shrek!

S'il vous plaît, madame du Consulat...

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