Visa visit to Prefecture

I am from US and got a long stay visitors visa for one year from the French embassy in the States, but now I have to apply again at the Prefecture in La Rochelle. I have a list of documents I need to bring, but I don't speak French very well and am not sure how important it is for me to take someone who speaks well, as I was planning on going without an interpreter. Any suggestions out there to insure a successful visit? Thanks.

Thanks again! So how important is the letter explaining why I want to stay in France? Some reasons better than others? It wasn't on the list I got but might be wise for me to have one just in case!

Glad to help you. The answer will vary by Prefecture in my opinion. I go to the Prefecture in Mont de Marsan who gave me a checklist of things to bring. For a long-term visa you will generally need the same documents as for a one year visa except they may ask for tax documents for several years past. You need to be a resident for five years before applying for a LTV (long-term visa, 10 years) and no criminal events in your past. Here's the list of stuff but be aware another Prefecture may ask for more or less things. You need (1) carte de séjour, (2) divorced? bring copy of final decree, (3) four photos couleur (passport format is very important and go to a place who knows the format rules, (4) passport and photocopy of it, (5) retired? bring social security documentation and copy of your SS card, (5) attestation carte vitale (get this at local security social office, (6) papers documenting stocks, bonds, savings, checking accounts. If you do not have a problem with disclosure, bring federal internal revenue tax filings for past five years (could be an option), (7) dossier contrat accueil et integration (did you go to a presentation? then you know what this is, (8) letter demand expliquant la situation (letter explaining why you want to stay in france…I must thank a friend, Catharine Higginson (thanks) for the help, (9) bring copies of carte visiteur.

Try to speak French no matter how bad that sounds.

I usually went to Google Translate to confirm how to write short, simple sentences that I wanted to know. You can hear the pronunciation on Google Translate, also.

You will also need to purchase timbres before they will continue the process (about 110 euros, check before you go to the prefecture and carry cash…or a french credit card (CB) to simplify process.

Note that you do not have to give all the things mentioned above. Call ahead six months before you go to the prefecture and get a list of things needed (or a better idea, make your own checklist in french and visit the prefecture's office six months before your RDV). good luck

Thanks Mike for the advice! I have found someone to go with me, but your index card tip is great...I've found that my attempts to communicate only in French makes people very happy, and pretty helpful too, so I'm happy to do that as much as possible. Tell me, what qualifies a person for a 10 year long term visa? If that's not being too nosey...If it is, don't answer :-) I think I have all the documents they have asked for, but am not sure if I can get traveler's medical insurance which I can get year to year or if it has to be 'medical' insurance. Would you by any chance know the answer to that? and again, thanks so much for your help.

I am a US citizen and have a long-term visa (10 years). Visited Prefecture many times usually with someone who spoke French although I always tried to answer questions myself. You may find someone at the Prefecture who is very helpful and speaks some English (although they usually don't let you know initially). Short answer: Take someone. Also, take index cards with French=English words you will need to use, for example, drivers license, birth certificate, address, village, date you arrived in France, etc. At lease know how to say the answer in a complete sentence in French. They will love you.

Hi Marie-Antoinette,

If you are an EU citizen, that makes your husband in a different status and the rules are different. I'm not married, it makes a big difference. I do have a long stay visa that I applied for in the US but have to extend it now. But it may be worth a try to ask the mairie for help. Thanks.

Cynthia my husband a US citizen also had the Visa in his US passport, he only had to go to the mairie of our village and the mayor called the Prefecture in La Rochelle and they sent to the mairie of our village the form to be filled out when it arrived the mayor called us and gave us an appointment to come to the mairie and the mayor filled out the form herself and mailed it to La Rochelle and several weeks later called us in again and gave my husband his titre de séjour.

Is this a renewal of your one year ? Because the visa my husband had was for 3 months originally.

Hi Cynthia,

I will be renewing my long stay visitors visa in La Rochelle soon (April 2017). I was wondering how the process was for you? They mentioned only one document needed to be translated into French. Is that what you encountered?

Thanks in advance,