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Jumping Through Visa Hoops

by Daley

 

I mentioned in early April, I was accepted to TAPIF!

I haven’t written anything about it since, so I thought I would give a few updates surrounding TAPIF and my visa paperwork.

The official work contract does not start until October 1st, but, as time goes on I am discovering there is a lot of preparation that goes into it.

There are a few official documents that are needed both for TAPIF and my spousal visa, one of them being an official copy of my birth certificate. I also needed to complete a FBI Identity History Summary request—which takes 13 to 15 weeks to get back to you. I’m not sure which is more frustrating—the wait time for all of these official documents or the expenses that go into them.

But one of the documents that is stressing me out the most is our marriage transcription! While TAPIF gives you the documents you need to apply for a visa as a teaching assistant, I will be applying for a visa of a spouse of a French national instead. The assistant visa is not renewable and your legal work hours are quite limited—and seeing as I now am the spouse of a French national, it makes the most sense!

BUT OH MY GOD THIS VISA IS A PAIN IN THE BUTT.

In order to apply for the visa of a spouse of a French national, one needs to request a marriage transcription—unless you were married in France. However, if you were not married in France, your marriage must first be transcribed by the French consulate closest to where your marriage took place. One of the documents needed for the request is a “Copie intégrale de moins de trois mois de l’acte de naissance du conjoint français à demander auprès de la mairie du lieu de naissance en France ou auprès du Service Central d’Etat Civil à Nantes (www.acte-naissance.fr)”

Parlez-vous français, anyone?

Basically, what this means is your French honey must request a copy of his or her record of birth through their French préfecture. (I think!?)

Jean Philippe originally requested this document months ago—and it never came! I had read on blogs and heard by word of mouth that French documents get lost in the mail or just get lost quite often, but I didn’t really believe it until I experienced it! So, Jean Philippe requested the document again and it came to us this time within about a week and a half. It was the last piece we were waiting on so I was finally able to mail out the marriage transcription request. I’ve been researching online and supposedly the marriage transcription takes as long as month! Not only does that worry me but getting an appointment at the French Consulate seems nearly impossible right now. Some countries have more relaxed visa procedures, but for any French visa you must show up to the French consulate closest to you, in person. And you need to have a scheduled appointment to do so! Every time I check the webpage I get a “we are at full capacity right now, please try again later” *sob*

I really am learning about all of these visa requirements as I go along—something I wish I had researched further a few months ago. I originally thought I would have all of my documents in order by the time I would leave for Australia (which is June 22!)—but that is definitely not going to happen. Even if I do get the marriage transcription back to me before I leave for Australia, the visa processing time takes up to three weeks! And I need my visa if I leave the country since they keep your passport while the visa is processing ;(

So, I had to book another ticket booked for the US from late July to late August. The added expense was a bummer, but on the bright side I’ll be able to spend some time with my family before I leave for a long time. The fact that I don’t really know when I’ll be back in the US makes me a little nervous—but I’m also incredibly excited. I cannot wait to see Australia for the very first time and I am constantly missing France. I saw “A Midnight in Paris” last night (for the millionth time) and was close to the point of tears seeing the beautiful shots of French architecture and alley ways.

I guess that’s it for now! Sorry–I know this post was a bit scattered, but so is my brain at the moment…heh. I’ll be posting a lot more about TAPIF and moving to France as things come up, so if you have any requests or questions, be sure to let me know!

xoxo

Daley

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12 comments

Theresa May 30, 2016 - 9:23 am

Hi Daley! I’m loving your blog posts! Finally someone shares my pain of trying to get a visa! :'( I know this is a little off topic but I was wondering if you could kindly do a blog post about the top tips for getting married young and the special lessons you’ve learned along the way? Me and my boyfriend are thinking of getting engaged soon but are afraid of other people talking smack and thinking its too soon :S It would be really appreciated if we had some top tips! Thank you 🙂 From Theresa xo

Reply
Daley May 30, 2016 - 6:02 pm

Hey Theresa! Good to hear from you! First of all, congratulations to you and your boyfriend! As for a blog post, that’s a great idea 🙂 If it’s alright with you, I may just format the blog post as an answer to your question. Let me know if that’s okay! xoxo Daley

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Theresa May 30, 2016 - 6:51 pm

Hi Daley! Good to hear from you too! Thank you so much! 🙂 Oh my gosh that would literally be the coolest thing ever! Thank you very much! 🙂 From Theresa xoxo

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Cindy June 14, 2016 - 5:18 am

I was accepted to TAPIF this year as well and I’ve been checking the San Francisco consulate website fairly regularly since being accepted and I also keep getting the “we are at full capacity right now, please try again later” message. It’s good to know that there are other people out there who feel your pain. Also, waiting to hear back from the FBI Identity History Summary process is also freaking me out a bit! I keep thinking that I might have filled it out incorrectly or something because I haven’t heard anything from them yet either. Best of luck with the rest of your preparations. I get the feeling we’ll be needing a lot of patience. Haha 🙂

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Daley June 14, 2016 - 1:51 pm

Keep checking! The same thing was happening to me but I realized they release appointments at certain times of the day–for me it was around 3pm-5pm each day.
I agree–patience will be important.
I’m so worried about the work contract! It seems documents get lost so easily :O

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Erika June 20, 2016 - 3:31 am

Hi Daley!
My name is Erika and I am engaged to a wonderful French man too!! I met him during a weekend trip to Paris when I was teaching English in Spain from 2013-2015. I was recently accepted to TAPIF off the waitlist and so excited to go back to Europe and join him this Fall. We were working so hard to bring him here on the K1 fiancé visa and now it seems that we will have to abandon all our efforts since I’m going there lol

Anyways, I was wondering if you knew if it’s possible for someone married to a french man (In France, not the USA) to do the TAPIF program? Or if I should just apply for the visa as a teaching assistant and postpone our wedding? I know you were married in the US first so it’s different, but if you know anything I would appreciate it! Thank you!

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Daley June 21, 2016 - 5:42 pm

Hi Erika!
Congratulations!

I’m really not too sure about the specifics for visas. I would check out your consulate’s website, but I do think (though I’m not positive) you would get more rights with a long stay visa to get married to a French citizen than the teaching assistant visa. The teaching assistant visa has very limited work hours and is not renewable.

I’ll link the San Francisco Consulate’s info, since that’s my local consulate:
http://www.consulfrance-sanfrancisco.org/spip.php?article2696

I’ve spoken with the TAPIF coordinator and they know I am now married to a French citizen and will be getting that visa instead, and it hasn’t been a problem. You just can’t be a dual citizen and participate in TAPIF (but getting citizenship through marriage takes about 4 to 5 years anyway!)

I don’t think there’s any need to postpone your wedding–but getting married in France you will need to jump through a few hoops as well. Just keep in mind if you plan on getting a long stay visa after your teaching assistant visa, you will need to return to the US. So, getting a spousal visa or visa to marry a French citizen may be your best bet.

I would just recommend doing as much research as you can before you plan anything! I’m still learning so much about all the different paperwork and processes as I go along, and my husband and I would have been better off if we had done more research beforehand!

Sorry I don’t know too much about visas, but if you have any other questions I will do my best to help!

Daley

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Erika June 22, 2016 - 3:13 am

Hi Daley!
Actually, this helps A LOT! Thank you so much for your response. I feel better knowing that the TAPIF coordinator knows that you will be there on a spousal visa and that it was ok! I will contact them and continue my research. I truly appreciate it!. I wish you all the best and I love your website!
Best,
Erika

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Erika June 22, 2016 - 2:46 pm

Hi Daley,
Sorry for another question – you married your french fiance in the states, right? Did you guys use the K1 Fiance Visa to get married here? and did he stay in the US or go back? Sorry for all the questions – it’s just so hard to find the answers.
Thanks!
Erika

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Daley June 22, 2016 - 2:57 pm

Hi Erika,
Please don’t apologize!
Yes, I married my husband in the states–San Francisco City Hall to be specific.
He actually has both American and French citizenship, so that may have made things easier. Though I’m not sure if your fiancé would need the actual visa just to get married–the only paperwork that was required on our behalf when getting married were government issued photo IDs. I guess you would need the visa if your fiancé is planning on staying or working in the US though.
Jean Philippe actually had to leave for Australia the day after our wedding! But for studies–no visa reasons.
We did a city hall elopement with just us two and plan on doing a bigger wedding next year where family and friends can be a part of it.
We married back in April and almost two months later I received everything I need for the visa–so the process does take a while!
xoxo
Daley

Daley June 22, 2016 - 3:04 pm

by the way–
I’ve used this website a couple of times, there may be some people on here who know more about the visa process than I do!
http://www.expatforum.com/

Erika June 23, 2016 - 5:55 pm

Hi Daley,
Oh that’s awesome that he has American and French citizenship! Love your story, very happy for you. Good luck with everything and thanks again for all the great info. I didn’t know about that website!
Best,
Erika

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