How to extend your visa while in France

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

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Extending TAPIF for a month

The Teaching Assistant Program in France runs for 7 months- from October 1st until April 30th. I had no idea that some assistants have the opportunity to extend their contracts until May 31, allowing another month of work and travel in France!

Prior to leaving on vacation for Christmas, my supervising teacher mentioned that upon our return, I would be asked to submit an application for a monthlong extension of my contract, if I wanted to. I immediately knew that I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to get paid for another month of work in France, and so was sure I would jump.

I didn’t hear anything right away coming back to Oyonnax- but luckily two of my assistant friends had the same idea and they had been told the application had to be submitted ASAP! I quickly rushed to the administration office to inquire and was handed an application with instructions to return it super quickly, as the deadline was approaching! Continue reading

The visa appointment: Part 1

A couple weeks ago I had my scheduled appointment at the French consulate in New York City. I had actually tried very hard to get an earlier appointment, but dates for the first three weeks of August were entirely wiped out from availability while I was at work. One day I was waiting on the month of August to open up on the consulate’s website and the  next day I was forced to take a later appointment and hope for the best. Throughout the month of July I obsessively checked and refreshed the appointment page for the French consulate, only to be shown progressively later appointment dates, which were unacceptable.

However, once it became clear that I would not be able to change my visa appointment date- as it conflicted with my family vacation- I had to resign myself to my fate (haha) and gather the required materials. I was expecting a frustrating ordeal with the consulate, as my experience obtaining a visa for study abroad two years prior had seen folders full of paperwork, unproductive phone calls to Campus France in Washington, DC, and uncooperative school administrators. However, for TAPIF, the visa was process was much simpler. Continue reading

7 ways to prepare for TAPIF early in the summer!

As anyone with familiarity with the TAPIF program can attest, the arrival of your arrête de nomination signifies the moment when full-fledged planning can begin. This pack of documents contains your work contract, identifying which school(s) you will be working at, allowing you to look into housing and make contact with the TAPIF reference located at your school. Unfortunately, work contracts are scheduled to be delivered (by snail mail, usually) anywhere from June, July, and the first week of August. Only a few contracts have arrived for the 2015-2016 participants, and sadly I am not among the lucky ones.

So what do I do now? 

Luckily, there are still lots of ways you can lay the groundwork for your TAPIF adventure! Here are the 7 steps you can take prior to receiving  your arrête de nomination that will make your life in France easier!

1. SAVE MONEY. 

Yes, it’s a paid position. No, you won’t get rich. Continue reading