excuse me, how do I get to the Embassy?

So just last week I finally made my appointment with the Embassy!  For all aspiring Au Pair’s out there, there are a lot of hoops to go through before making the last step and getting your VISA! If you go through an agency, I am sure they take care of all this. I however did not. I went through the family directly and we were both new to this process, making my head want to spin-off at times. The family should register you for a school (although it is not always the case they will pay for the schooling). They also need to go to the ministrie du travail and get working papers signed.  These documents must be signed by you and them and must be ORIGINAL (sent through postal mail). Make sure you have copy of these when going to Embassy, which brings me to the next part. Once you have those papers set up an Embassy appointment. I think early in day is less crowded ( I only waited an hour and when I left it was starting to fill up). Make sure you have the original school docs, the travail doc, the 2 applications found on the Embassy website, and two extra passport photos.  Also bring copy of your license to prove your residency (they take the actual license when you walk through the gates before getting to the office). You’re applying for the D VISA and so bring the right amount of money too.

I was full of questions before getting to Embassy (so feel free to email me if you have any).  I also asked a lot when I was getting to the place!! I was lucky to have a sister put me up for the night before my appointment in DC. So that morning after dreaming I had missed the appointment (anxiety anyone?) I got up and started my adventure of public transportation. I got on a metro in Arlington which took me to Rosslyn. From here I asked a few people to show me to the D Bus which the Embassy website said took me right there. yeah….this didnt exist. So I was advised to get on the Georgetown University shuttle (FREE!!!).  I asked the girl in front of me if the shuttle took people to the Hospital (I knew that the Embassy was across from there).  Lucky for me, she was a nursing student and I basically followed her pink shirt off the bus and in the correct direction.  Then I was lost. Just couldn’t find that damn French building. So I asked an old man walking his puppy (seemed he was cultured and would know where an Embassy might be). HE DID, and I finally found the building. Of course getting in was a process as well. Sidewalk ended so I had to cross the street. Then I proceeded to walk through the gates that let cars in…was this normal? I have no idea but the French lady was happy to let me walk through the large gates and into the Embassy, that’s all that mattered.

So I was in! Later that day I mastered the metro system and met friends for lunch and dinner (always need to make the most of my road trips).  Two days later (much faster than I was told) my VISA arrived in my pre-addressed FedEx package.  Now its Monday, a week later, and I am leaving for France, with two suitcases, one backpack, and one Ver Bradley duffel bag (I have NO idea what I should bring).

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