My visa expired towards the end of November. For months, I’d been dreaming up schemes that would help me to stay. The option that held the most appeal, but would be by far the hardest to get, was to try again for the Competences et Talents visa. There are a few different ways to get this visa. I decided to try as an artist.
In order to prove I am a talented and competent artist, I have to come up with a project, prove that I have the skills, ability, resources and reputation to get the project done, and prove that it has significant appeal for both France and my home country.
I barely slept for weeks, trying to get everything ready for my visit with the Prefecture in November. My final dossier was 61 pages in French. This does not include the numerous personal documents I needed to bring with me, as well.
A French friend of mine came with me to my Prefecture visit, just in case I needed help translating. We got there early and headed inside. For reference, we were at the Prefecture on Ile de la Cite in the center of Paris.
We sat for a while. I was incredibly nervous, excited, expectant, and ready to be horribly disappointed.
After about two hours, I was called up. When we sat down, I told the woman that I would like to apply for the Competences et Talents visa.
She: You have to apply for this visa two months before your visa expires and yours expires in two weeks.
Me: Yes, I know, but I made this appointment over four months ago and this was the earliest available appointment.
She: *French shrug.*