When I was surprised by the revelation that it was possible to extend your TAPIF contract for a month, I was super excited about the chance to spend more time teaching English and getting paid to live in France. There was just one problem: my visa was going to expire.
My temporary work visa would expire on May 19- 11 days before the end of my new contract . Now, as an American I am legally allowed to stay for 90 days without a visa- but I would have to leave the Schengen Zone for 48 hours and re-enter to get my passport stamped as a tourist. Additionally, living as a tourist would pose problems in my ability to get paid, health insurance, and other situations. So I would need to extend my visa.
To do this, I had to struggle- a lot – with the infamous French bureaucracy, but it worked out in the end. I had to go through my local Prefecture, or I guess the American equivalent would be the county office? Its a little different as there are no differences in authority between the region, department, and the country, but the prefecture is the assigned representative of the French government in one of the 101 departements of France. Mine was Ain. Continue reading