Here are the documents you need to have ready before you apply for your visa :
- Original passport
- Copies of the first and last page of your passport
- Letter from the embassy stating you are exempt from paying the visa fees*
- OFII form* (half filled)
- Long sejour form* (filled fully)
- Copy of your proof of accommodation in France – By far the most aggravating part, especially if you have not made much progress in finding a house given that you’re a whole continent away. If you have nothing, you can always make a hotel/air bnb booking for about 2 weeks and show that confirmation as your proof.
- Copy of your arrêté de nomination
- Copy of your air ticket
- Copy of your insurance policy – Your travel/medical insurance has to cover you for a minimum period of 3 months. I strongly suggest you take something for longer because even though in theory you are covered under social security in France starting January, there have been many cases in which assistants never ended up receiving those benefits at all. Also, even if you do get covered, it is strictly only medical so you won’t really get those additional perks of being compensated for loss of baggage/phone, theft of passport, etc. In the end (after much research, contemplation and weighing of pros and cons) I opted for a 180 day insurance policy worth 200,000 USD from Bajaj Allianz that costed about Rs. 7456.
- 2 passport size photos – The visa specifications have to be followed, so any photo won’t do. If you’ve got a photo that measures 3.5 cms x 4.5 cms and has the most unattractive close up of your face (with your ears showing), against a white background – then you have the right ones!
(*these are emailed to you from the Embassy)
The aforementioned are more or less what you are told you need to submit. However, this varies from city to city (depending on the Consulate). In Hyderabad (under the Consulate of Bangalore) I was also asked for a cover letter, my bank statements (last 3 months), my CV, a copy of my degree. Please carry all of these just in case to avoid any sort of delay at the time of submission (I had the most unpleasant experience and spent a very frustrating 5 hours with all of this).
The visa fees are wavered for all assistants, however, you might have to pay VFS charges/handling charges. Again, this depends on which city you live in – some didn’t end up paying anything, whereas in Hyderabad, I paid about Rs. 1945.
My passport (along with my visa – issued ‘France sauf CTOM – type D’) was returned in 8 days.
Guess, I’m really going to France then! Oui!