Our Trip to the French Consulate

Last week our whole family made a trip up to Chicago for our Visa appointment at the French Consulate. For some background, if anyone wants to stay in France longer than three months, a Visa in addition to a Passport, is required. The Visa we applied for is a Visitor Visa, which we will have to renew annually until we are granted a five-year Visitor Visa, which is the golden ticket from what we’ve heard.

Our appointment was on Thursday morning, and I’m pretty sure that our nerves were strung high in anticipation! The French Consulate’s website lists 16 separate requirements for a single Visa application. Some requirements are pretty standard, such as filling out the Visa application form and providing copies of Passports. However, there are other requirements that are a little more involved. These include providing proof of health insurance with very specific coverage requirements, providing proof of income, and school enrollment confirmations for our girls. Needless to say, I was pretty sure we were going to show up to our appointment at the Consulate only to find that I had left out some crucial form for our application.

As we approached the Consulate building, we were so nervous! When we walked in to the lobby, we were given visitor badges and then took the elevator to the appropriate floor. I’m not sure what I expected a consulate location to look like, but the specific room we went to reminded me a lot of a doctor’s waiting room. We signed in at the window and waited for about 10 minutes for our names to be called. Once called, we went up to the window and worked with a very kind French woman who casually went through all of our documents, took our picture, and recorded our fingerprints. Because she is over 6, Elizabeth had to get her picture and fingerprints recorded as well, but Hannah and Maddie didn’t have to do that part.

The whole process took less than 30 minutes, and then we were on our way to explore Chicago for a few hours. We were told that we should find out if our Visas have been approved in a month, give or take a week. So now we’re just praying and waiting that everything is approved and processed smoothly.

Since we couldn’t take pictures in the French Consulate, I’m including some pictures of our time in Chicago. We took advantage of the Windy City to visit the Shedd Aquarium, drive by Wrigley Field, and enjoy some Giordano’s deep dish pizza!