Visas for ‘l’Autre Vie’ in France
Has it really been three years?
A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me. Around this time in the year 2009, my husband and I made the big call to hand in our resignation notices and make a huge leap of faith to embark on a new adventure.
Given we are both Australian, a move to France wasn’t quite as simple as jumping on a plane and being welcomed with open arms by customs and immigration officials. That’s right; visas and paperwork were at the top of the list.
With the realisation that we were closing in on our third year in Bordeaux wine country, came the reality of the situation. Our visas are due to expire. Cue dark and dramatic music, and a minor panic attack. Well, maybe nothing that serious.
This was never something that had really worried us, given three years felt like such a long time away (how time flies!). We were also told when we were issued with our originals, that we could renew them without much hassle. But you just never know.
Luckily for us, not long before we considered our new adventure, the French Government introduced a new class of visa, under the label ‘Compétences et Talents’. You might be asking: so you had to be competent and talented at what? Well, the idea of this concept was to consider foreigners for longer term entry into the country, who were going to bring an interesting project to the French people and economy.
With the two of us having an analytical background, and my professional role at the time being in business development, putting together a detailed business plan for our ‘project’ was right up our alley. Who knows if we went into overkill, but all I know is that it worked.
After months of pre-planning, research, and going from hot to cold to hot again on the whole idea, we managed to get an interview with just the right person at the French Consulate. He was seriously intrigued by our decision.
“You mean you want to leave your jobs in New York and move to France to run a guesthouse in the countryside?”
Leaving a wad of paperwork behind to support our move, from bank statements, and health insurance, to the precious and detailed business plan, we were told to come back in a week and pick up our visas.
Could it really be that simple? If it wasn’t so early in the morning, and we didn’t have to be back at the office, the champagne would have been flowing. Instead, the best I could do was dance around my husband down Fifth Avenue screaming, “We’re moving to France!”
Three years on, the paperwork doesn’t seem so daunting, with a mostly self explanatory check-list of things to include for the renewal process.
You might ask how we measured up to our business plan. We’re behind schedule of course, but surely that’s natural, right…? Maybe not, but the business is up and running and we can tick all of the boxes which is the main thing.
For anyone thinking about a move to France, I would say don’t be put off by the stigma attached to French bureaucracy and red tape. A little bit of research can go a long way, and hopefully you’ll find the solution you’re looking for.
1. Being creative with fruit from our trees, Vanessa Parr
2. A favourite past time, Vanessa Parr
3. Indulging in local specialties, Vanessa Parr
4. Our favourite place to sit, Vanessa Parr