French Visa Process

I got so many warnings and tips about the visa from various people about the visa process. My dad's friend told me the employees were extremely rude, while past students just told their horror stories about how they got denied the first time they made their appointment. I arrived to the consulate confident because I knew I had every paper that was listed on the website and in the exact order that was on their website. My appointment was at 10:15am, but I arrived at 9:10am. The visa offices are actually on the back of the French consulate building which I didn't know until I arrived. I didn't even wait 10 minutes before I was let in. There was a metal detector and a French security guard who looked pretty intimidating but in reality he was far from intimidating. He asked to see my application, my passport, my driver license before walking in. I spoke to him in French for a bit, and he reassured me that my broken French was good and that it was just going to get better during my stay. Turns out the intimidating security guard was actually a chatter box! After spending about 5 minutes chatting away, he let me in. It looked like a dentist office, I swear! I was expecting offices and having to sit in front of a worker but there were only two booths and a sitting area. I saw people go up to one of the booths, some with all their paper organized while others tried to find the papers they were being asked for.

I was waiting with my best friend when it was finally my turn, I took a deep breath and approached the consulate worker with a smile and she greeted me with a smile. She started asking me for each paper and lucky for her, there were no problems because I had everything in order. She asked to see the original and the copy of each of the documents, then I had my fingerprints, and a picture taken (no smiling FYI). After that she just told me that it'll take 7-10 days to receive my passport with the visa. I also got told that I would also be receiving my OFII form back since I need it when I arrive to Paris, and just like that it was over and I was out the door. I was out before my 10am! The process is quick and very easy if you're prepared and come in with a good attitude. 

Lesson of the day, don't be afraid of the French Consulate. The visa process is very easy if you take the time to have all the documents and the copies organized.

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