What are the papers needed for France long stay visa? Is there any exhaustive list? Do you need all or some papers in French or need to be translated from English?
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Our family just recently got our long-stay visas from the consulate in Los Angeles. If you look at the websites for any of the consulates in the United States, they have very detailed lists of what is needed for the long-stay visa — and most of the stuff is very consistent. Some consulates require slightly different things (e.g. global insurance coverage details may vary from one consulate to another; or a police/FBI background check may be required by one consulate and not another).
Your best bet is to look at the consular site that covers where you have your residence (as that is where you’ll need to apply) to build out a list of documents. Follow the instructions exactly as stated, have photocopies of everything, paperclip the copies to the originals. If applying for multiple family members, have a full and separate dossier for each person.
We had translations prepared for all of our documents, per the advice of a relocation specialist we were working with. However, our consulate in Los Angeles returned the translations to us, saying that they only need those for applicants for stays in the overseas departments and collectivities. (They said that it’s possible that OFII will need the translations once we have our appointment with them after arrival in France, though, so we’ve kept ahold of the translations).
If you are applying for a long-stay TOURIST visa, the instructions will ask that you include a letter explaining why you want a long-stay tourist visa, as well as a letter saying you will not seek work in France. These need to be two separate letters. And you will need to provide 2-3 months of bank statements showing you have sufficient funds to cover your stay in France without needed to work. (There is no specific measure for “sufficient” funds; this may vary depending on a given consular officer’s judgment).
It’s a lot of paperwork. For our family of three, the pile of documents and copies was over 2 inches (5 cm).
Assuming you mean you (and spouse) will be on a tourist long-stay visa while your child will be a student: This is our situation. Each of you will have to prepare separate visa applications (though the child's application will need a letter of acceptance from a school instead of the "promise not to work" letters that you and your spouse will need; and your child will not need to show "sufficient" funds, since only the parents are responsible for that).
Also, please note that you will almost certainly need to have THREE separate visa appointments at the consulate; most of the consulates don't do "group" bookings and require 1 appointment per individual visa requested.
Is a relocation specialist necessary? No, but it's helpful. Ours helped us lease an apartment as we were getting all the visa paperwork sorted; yyou generally will be asked to present a signed rental agreement when you're applying for the visa, but some landlords are reluctant to lease to someone who doesn't yet have a visa!