“A journey of a thousand miles starts with one single step” – Chinese Proverb
Last week, I visited the French Embassy to obtain a visa so that I could go on my exchange to France. The end of that process signified the start of my journey. As always, here are some tips if you’re going to apply for a French Visa 🙂
Fill out the form correctly
This one might sound like a no-brainer until you forget the name of your birth town and write down the wrong one. This totally didn’t happen to me though. Ahem Ahem. Anyways, the application is actually fairly long with a lot of details to be scribed and if you don’t fill it out correctly, they can refuse to give you a visa, so make sure you pay attention to every detail and then press submit. Also, don’t forget to print the form out and take it with you to your appointment.
Book an appointment
After submitting the application you’ll be asked to book an appointment so that you can go in for an interview. Don’t forget to book this a few weeks before your departure date so that you leave some time for your visa to actually arrive. Also, weekends are not available for the appointment so you might have to take a day off work/ school to attend this affair. Finally, if you don’t live in Wellington, book your plane tickets. The cheapest option would be flying through Jet Star on a Wednesday/ Thursday when you can get your ticket for $34 although the price does reflect the flight quality too. To sum up my experience, I saved $60 on my ticket but I got a text at 4 am saying my flight was first canceled. At 4 am, the three brain cells that were awake in my brain got annihilated from the shock. After calming down, I finally got booked on the next flight out of Auckland. You would think that it ends there but it doesn’t! After re-booking, my new flight was delayed by 3 hours! No complimentary peanuts either 😦
The important thing is to always leave room for these contingencies and book an appointment late in the day, especially if you’re flying into Wellington on the same day as the appointment.
Visit the embassy for an ‘interview’
To be completely frank, this isn’t an actual interview. They ask you why you’re going, you hand in your paper, they take your fingerprints, take your photo and then you pay the visa money and leave. It’s pretty simple. Anywho, the address for the embassy is 20 Ballance Street, Wellington and is a 15/20 minute car ride from the airport. I noticed that if you’re not from Wellington/ have the Metalink bus card, Ubering for two people is cheaper than catching the bus.
Buy a postage bag
This is something that they don’t tell you before you come in for the interview. You may ask, why is this such a big deal? It’s one tiny thing. Well, I’ll tell you why. When my dad and I first arrived at the embassy, we were told that we were too early and that we should come back later. Shocker. We hadn’t thought about this scenario, so we trudged through the streets of Wellington, looking for things to do to take up our time for about an hour and then returned back. At this point my legs had turned into jelly, I was out of breath, nervous and an all-around mess. However miraculously, the interviewer told me that I would receive a visa by next week. YAY. Then she uttered those words I’ll never forget. “You need to go down and buy a postage bag.” I frantically flipped through the checklist that they had given me. No mention of a postage bag at all. I stared at her in utter disbelief. I had literally spent the last hour lapping the civic like 9 times, I had passed the Post Shop about 50 times and now I need to go down there again, buy a bag (which costs like $10!) and then come all the way back up!! I was fired up. Absolutely furious. I was a fierce warrior and nobody could stop me. I said “Of course, no problem at all!! Thanks! I hope you have a wonderful day <3” Yeah, it was pretty anti-climatic. I guess my point is, don’t forget to take a postage bag with you if you have the time to get one beforehand.
This was a pretty short blog, but I hope you enjoyed 🙂 Don’t forget to like and follow so that you never miss out on a blog by me. Stay tuned for the next blog where I’ll update you about my host family and where I’m going to be staying in France.