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I am faced with a conundrum. I have recently received my convention d'accueil (or "Welcome document") from the research lab I will be working with betwee 5/14-5/15.

I am to take this convention d'accueil to my local French consulate general to apply for a long term visa for researchers, scientists and teacher.

The visa form, although not difficult at all to fill out, has a question (item 25 on this form) that asks What will be your address in France during your stay?

I have asked my research lab about this but I haven't received an answer yet. Given my current work schedule, I have a small window of opportunity next week for my visa appointment and I may be unable to receive information in time from my future lab. Not pinning the blame on anyone and to be proactive, I would like to know how to solve this conundrum.

What should this address be since I don't have permanent accommodation figured out yet. I assume people don't just book apartments without seeing them. Should it be a temporary hotel accommodation address (+confirmation) or can I put in there "in process of finding in xxx area in xx arrondissement"?

If it is at all relevant, I am an Indian citizen in the USA on an F1 visa/OPT teaching as a visiting professor at a public university.

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If the form asks for an address, you should fill in an address. It's possible that your application would be accepted without it, but as a rule, when the bureaucracy asks, it expects an answer. Temporary housing is ok; for example, the Jordan embassy states that

You must fill in the address where you will reside as soon as you enter France for the first three months of your stay. We accept temporary addresses (university residence, a friend's house, a hotel, etc.) but this address should be sufficiently stable to allow OFII to contact you.

The French consulate in Jeddah states

Evidence of an address in France: a hotel reservation for the first 10 days (at least) of your stay.

There are two requirements that are in practice often contradictory: it must be the first place where you stay (such as a hotel while looking for a more stable place), and mail may be sent to it. On the other hand, there is no law that you must actually reside there, since there is no law forbidding you to change your residence at any time; at most, you may have to notify some administration if you move.

Most research institutions are used to having foreign visitors, so if you get any advice from them, go by it.

If you're going to the Paris area the institution you're visiting can help you book some medium-term housing in advance, I advise you to take it, even sight unseen. Medium-term housing (more than a few days, but not for several years) can be difficult to find. Furthermore, for a visiting professor, I recommend housing in Paris itself as opposed to the suburbs: you'll need to do most formalities at the sous-préfecture or préfecture, and from what I've heard the administration in Paris is more staffed and generally more welcoming than in the suburbs.

  • Thank you for your detailed answer. I actually just recvd an answer from my lab. They suggest using the address of the lab as stated in my convention d'accueil (address du domicile prevu en France). Any thoughts on that. I'll ask them again what is preferable. – dearN Mar 17 '14 at 15:21
  • @drN If the administration accepts, that's the best option: it's a stable address where you'll be able to receive mail. However, it's against the rules (domicile = residence), so it could be rejected. I don't know how likely it is to matter. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Mar 17 '14 at 15:33
  • Thank you for your perspective. The reply I got from my lab is so: "it should be fine if you put the address of oour lab the same I put on the hosting agreement I sent you) or the address of the hostel you will stay at upon your arrival. The authorities understand that this is always a temporary address and that it takes time to find accommodation when you move in another country." Given this bit of info, I have proceeded to make temporary 2 day accommodations in a local hotel which I will use on my visa form. – dearN Mar 17 '14 at 16:00

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