TAPIF Tip: How to Stay in France (Legally) After TAPIF

Many assistants want to try to stay in France after their visa expires. Although France is notorious for its red tape, it can be done legally. However, I will not deny it is difficult to do if you do not plan ahead. Below, I have several options for people who are looking for another way to live or work in France once completing TAPIF.

1. Re-Apply for TAPIF– As of 2015, the CIEP now gives English assistants the chance to renew their assistant contracts for a second year. If you didn’t or you couldn’t renew, you can also sit a year out and re-apply for TAPIF from the United States. It is also possible to find an assistant job in a private school (basically, the school sponsors your visa separately and the contract does not follow the same regulations.)

2. Lecteur/Lectrice or Maître de Langue- If you are looking for a different way to support yourself financially and live in France, the lecteur visa is the way to go. The visa process is similar to the assistant visa, it is sponsored and paid for by the university you will work for, the contract is one year long and is renewable once, you teach about 14 hours per week, you are paid all twelve months of the year, and the salary is  higher at about 1227€ net per month of a Lecteur/lectrice and 1500€ for a Maître de Langue. However, these positions are few and far between and you must search and apply for them yourself.Most positions are not even posted until March or April or May, when most people have begun to leave France. Additionally, most positions really want you to have a year of post-graduate studies for a lecteur position, and a full Master’s Degree for the Maître de Langue position (this is where I encountered the most setbacks; having no Master’s Credits meant that some universities didn’t even give my application a second glance. Because of my lack of a Master’s Degree, I used my teaching certificate from the state of Wisconsin to count as my post-graduate studies. I didn’t even bother applying for Maître de Langue positions and just stuck with Lectrice ones.) In order to be successful when searching for a Lecteur/Lectrice position, you need to translate your resume into a French CV–both the language and the style. You also need to have a kick-butt lettre de motivation, or cover letter, written in French, of course. This process alone took me over a month. I used Google search to find several lectrice positions, but the vast majority came from my friend Jennie at ielanguages.com, whom is so great at finding and updating available Lectrice/Maître de langue positions for the upcoming year. I also networked with friends and acquaintances, (and ultimately, that’s how I found and obtained my position.) I sent out about fifteen different applications all around France (successful lecteur job-searching means that you need to be willing to move), but only heard back from a few. Interviews were even more scarce, and in the end I was offered and accepted a position. Overall, this route is the easiest way to go in terms of living in France long-term, but you’re really on your own, and there’s no TAPIF support system or Natalie Cox. For a more thorough explanation my application process, check out my post here.

3. American-French Chamber of Commerce Training Visa- Since 1992, the FACC training program helps Americans between the ages of 18-35 secure work in France with French companies for up to 18 months. In order to qualify for this visa, you must be currently enrolled in a university or already possess a university degree. It is up to you to secure employment in France, and then contact the FACC for visa sponsorship application materials (completed by you and your host company). Basically, the FACC will pay for and sponsor your visa, so the company doesn’t have to. This may make them much more open and likely to hire foreigners, as it is long, complicated, and expensive for them to do so otherwise. Your contract must include a 35-hour work week and be a CDD, or Contrat à Durée Déterminée, meaning that there is an expiration date to your contract and therefore time in France. Visit the official website for more information. It is a great way to work in France for an extended period of time, and you should follow the instructions explained above in regards to a strong CV and cover letter in French to ensure higher success.

4. Au Pair Visa- If you like kids, you can look into becoming an au pair. With the au pair visa, your room and board is covered, you attend French classes at a university, and you are provided with a weekly stipend (and sometimes a car!) Au Pair experiences, like TAPIF ones, are also luck of the draw. A lot depends on you and your family. The best two websites I know of for finding legit families are greataupair.com and aupairworld.net. My friend Brita is a huge resource for aspiring au pairs:

“On the greataupair.com site, you have the choice of a paid/free membership. Most families have a paid membership, so it’s okay if you choose the free one. However, you can find families faster and learn more about them more quickly if you have a paid membership. Families start looking for new au pairs as early as January, but most don’t start until March or even later. If you have a profile and are actively contacting families by March, you probably won’t need a paid account. Contracts generally run between 10 months and a year. The school year is the first week of September through the first week of July. Some families will want you to come a few weeks before school starts to get acclimated; others will want you to work for part of the summer after school ends. My contract was just for the school year. I flew in the day before school started, worked through the last day of school, and went home the next week. Paperwork can be a bit complicated, and some families will be unscrupulous and not want to do the visa process. Do NOT accept a position with a family that wants you to come on just the visitor’s visa (since Americans can come to France for 90 days without an actual visa). There is a visa just for au pairs, and you need to have that so you’ll be signed up for la Securité Sociale. Legally, the family only has to pay you 60 euros a week plus contribute 20 euros a week to your French classes; provide you with a travel pass or a car so you can get to your classes; give you one full day off per week; not have you work more than 30 hours a week; give you one week paid vacation for every six months of work; room & board; not supposed to do housework aside from dishes or cleaning up after the kids. But, most families offer more than that, and you should be able to negotiate with them a bit. Asking for 100 euros a week is perfectly reasonable, asking them to pay for half your French classes, and getting weekends off.”

5. Student Visa- If you want to study in France, you should apply for a student visa. These are the easiest visas to obtain. I know several assistants who have pursued Master’s Degrees in France, and compared to the tuition rates in the United States, getting a degree in France is a no brainer. I recommend checking out Campus France for more details on how to get started. Best of all, on a student visa, you can still work up to 20 hours a week and support yourself. Upon completing your Master’s Degree, you can apply for the APS visa, which gives recent foreign graduates a year to stay in France to find sponsored work after completing their studies.

6. Summer Camps- In France, Americans can come and work at various summer camps (usually on a tourist visa!) The two I know of are American Village and Little Big Land.

7. Company-sponsored Work Visa- Technically speaking, you can look for a job in France with a company willing to sponsor and pay for your visa without any sort of program. This is what happened to me– I was able to find sponsored employment in France at an international school. I still cannot believe that I was able to do this, but I know it was due to my teaching degree and experience that I was offered the job (I also did a ton of networking.) Although easier said than done, it can be done! Another way to do this would be  via an inter-company transfer (i.e.: to have your American company transfer you into a French branch overseas.)

8. 3-month Tourist Visa- If you just want to live in France for part of the year and not work, come on a tourist visa. Legally, Americans can spend up to 180 days per year on a tourist visa in the Schengen Zone, but only 90 days at a time, meaning you need to leave and come back. It’s a temporary solution, but the easiest if you have the means to do so.

9. Marriage or PACSed- If you have a French partner, marriage and PACS may be options for you. Being legally joined to a French partner means you have the right to apply for un Titre de Long Séjour visa or a vie privée et familiale visa, which usually gives you the right to work. My friend Jennie, who was PACSed, has a TON of information on her blog.

Do you have any other suggestions or ways you’ve managed to stay in France?

Bisous,

Dana

33 thoughts on “TAPIF Tip: How to Stay in France (Legally) After TAPIF

  1. Hi Dana!

    You mentioned that you are certified to teach in Wisconsin but that you never received post-grad education. I’m just curious on what path you took to get that state certification.

    1. Hi Peter! I have a Bachelor’s Degree in French and ESL education as an undergraduate degree; with my bachelor’s I was able to get state certified. It took me 4.5 years.

  2. Hi! Do you have any information about working as an assistant in a private school? I’m on my second year of TAPIF but I’d love to keep going!

    1. I’d say that you need to start reaching out and researching schools in your area or schools in France which interest youB you can also get some inform about the FACC Visa to get you going and sponsored. I know of one school in the north but it’s shady AF and I won’t recommend anyone to work there anymore.
      You could also try for lectrice jobs !

  3. Hi Dana!

    I am currently looking into staying as a lectrice de langue here in France. I was wondering if you had to leave France and come back from the USA to get your visa renewed (when you first became a lectrice) to do that or where you able to stay in France while your visa was being taken care of. It would be cheaper for me to stay in France than have to leave and come back. I’m just trying to get things in order. Thank you!

    1. Hi! Normally you have to leave France to reapply for a lectrice visa after being an assistant (in many cases, the assistant visa runs out, making you a tourist, and you can’t apply for a visa as a tourist from France, you have to go home to do it.) 🙂 Hope that helps!

  4. Hey Dana! This is all great information, thank you! I am currently doing TAPIF and want to stay in France to pursue a Masters degree, but I’m really having trouble understanding the application process (if there is really one, unless it depends on the university). Do you know any best ways to approach this? I heard that since I’m already living in France I don’t have to apply through Campus France, but I still can’t find a clear answer. Thanks!

    1. Hey Colette! Unfortunately I haven’t taken the student route quite yet … But I know that if you’re in France you have until March to apply, but you do need to apply with campus France and return to the USA to get a new visa (or wherever you’re from.) hope that helps!

  5. Hi Dana ! Your blog has been super helpful. I’m finishing up TAPIF and was thinking of going to London super fast (ie a few days) and coming back as a tourist for just a month. I read the comments above about this being possible, but I’ve also read information saying that it’s not.

    For example – over on this blog (The last few sentences of #2) –
    http://www.blog.parisunraveled.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-get-an-assistant-visa-to-do-tapif/

    What are your thoughts ? Do you know where I could find official websites stating I could leave the Zone for a couple days (and not 90) and come back to France ? I can’t seem to find anything and I’m getting really worried !

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Hey! Thanks for the kind words! You can totally do that (I did!) it’s not a problem. It would only be after your 3 month tourist visa is up that you’d need to leave for 90 days 🙂

  6. Hi Dana! Thank you this is very helpful – I was accepted into the TAPIF program for 2015-2016, and was wondering a little more about tourist visa after the program. So if our visas end at the start of May, if we leave the Schengen zone in late April, we can just re-enter on a tourist visa (to travel)? Do we have to ask for a tourist visa to replace our assistant visas? Does this mean that our time on the assistant visa does not count for the 90 of 180 days in the Schengen Zone? (so we could stay through the end of July?) Thank you!

    1. Hi Alex!

      Yep, basically if you leave the Schengen Zone for the UK, Turkey, Morocco, etc. and then come back after your TAPIF visa expires, your status will reset and you will re-enter automatically on a tourist visa (the tourist visa is just the simple stamp you get in your passport when you enter the country). You can then stay up to 90 days without leaving again as it resets your status 🙂

  7. Hi Dana,

    Thank you for your great site. I’m a TAPIF applicant and I find this site very useful.

    I have a question. If I start the program in the fall of this year, can I spend some time this summer in the Schengen zone before going to the states (I teach in Morocco and I would like to visit the Schengen zone in July or August for a month or two)?

    Any advice is welcomed.

    Thanks,
    Israel

    1. Hi! Thank you very much for your kind words! Yes, I believe you can come to Europe as a tourist, leave, and come back with a visa. As a tourist you can spend up to 90 days at a time in Europe.

      Hope that helps!

      Dana

  8. Hi Dana!
    Thanks for all the great info on here.

    I’m Canadian and applied for TAPIF 2015-2016. My partner is Irish and a qualified teacher, so he will be searching for work upon arrival (September 2015). I’m planning on going to Ireland in August and then to France after that. Do you think it would be possible to “start” my visa a month early? Also, we had really hoped to spend more than 7 months in France…
    If I do get accepted to the program, how would I go about getting a student visa instead of an assistant visa? Will I still be allowed to work as an assistant?
    Thanks for your help 🙂

    1. Hi ! Thanks for reading!

      When I did TAPIF I actually had a visa that started on September 1, because that’s when I came to France (the people at the embassy asked me when I was arriving.) However my visa ended May 2nd , but I didn’t specify to them when I was leaving, and it seems really random for everyone. You could try to ask them to give you a valid visa for an extended period of time. Otherwise what I did (and what many do) is leave the Schengen Zone before your visa expires and then re-enter as a tourist… you’ll have the right to stay 90 extra days. I went to Morocco at the end of April and flew into Rome a few days later, and reset my status, essentially.

      I don’t know too much about student visas but it sounds like in order to become a student after being an assistant, you usually have to go home… I had to go home to get my new lectrice visa this summer (But that was my plan regardless.)

      It IS possible to do both studies and the assistantship but it is luck of the draw, being placed at a school near a uni who is willing to accommodate your schedule with your class one, etc… it can be done but it’s difficult. There is a blog called “Paris Unravelled” which explains it better. under a student visa you are allowed to work 20 hours a week or something so it’s really not too much of a problem.

      There is a facebook group called, “Assistants Considering Master’s Degrees in France” and people on there could maybe better answer these questions.

      Hope this helps!

      Dana

      1. Yes , that is super helpful! I was worried that I wouldn’t be let back in with a tourist visa , but I guess that makes sense because my ling stay visa would be expired.
        One more question .. How likely is it that I could have the rapid visa process wrapped up by August ? I realize this may be a difficult question to answer because it varies so much , but do you know anyone who did a bit of travelling before October ? I was planning to meet my partner’s family in Ireland before heading to France .
        Thanks again for your help 🙂

      2. yeah, you’d just need to be sure to leave the Schengen Zone, so anywhere you’d get an exit and entrance stamp such as the UK, Ireland, Morocco, Turkey, etc… and then return.

        I actually traveled before October. As I said i arrived September 2nd and hung out in Northern France, before coming to Toulon in Mid-September.

        Good Luck!

  9. Hi there Dana – TAPIF-er applicant here, but I’ve got a detailed question about staying in Europe after the program ends- could you shoot me an email when you get a chance? Thanks!!
    -M

  10. Hi Dana,

    Do you know anyone who was sponsored by the FACC? It seems a little bit too good to be true!

    Thanks for your help in advance!
    Catherine

    1. Hi Catherine!

      I actually applied for and had several interviews for a job as a study abroad coordinator in Paris with Stanford university, and they were going to use the FACC visa to sponsor the chosen person (alas, I wasn’t, but tant pis!) so, yeah, it’s totally possible, but many just don’t know about it !

    1. Aw yeah I’m sure you will!! I did a lot of individual research in order to find. Way to stay! Look forward to reading more of your contributuons!

  11. If anyone has any questions about au pairing in France, feel free to ask me. I was an au pair during the 2009-2010 school year, and then I did TAPIF in 2010-2011. It is a position that can be a great opportunity, but many au pairs often end up working illegally or end up with abusive families. Learn about the legal rights for au pairs before jumping into a job!

      1. Feel free! One of these days I’ll organize all the info I have into something a bit more detailed, but if anyone’s looking now, they need the tips I shared with you and your friend.

  12. Hi Dana, your blog is phenomenally useful. I’m browsing on my phone at 3 am and can’t wait to look at it again on my laptop. You’ve got good links and helpful TAPIF info, so thanks! I’m leaving in a month to Bordeaux, where I studied abroad, so I’m pretty excited. Thanks for the posts and resources. Congrats on your new position!

    1. Hi Nika! Thanks so much for reading and for your kind comment!! I tried to make a comprehensive blog and website for future TAPIFers!

      I’ve never been to Bordeaux, but hopefully I’ll make it there one day! Have fun! It will be a great experience!

  13. Just a note about PACS. You need one year of living together for them to give you a “vie privee” visa like with marriage. And even then, some Prefectures are getting stricter and stricter on their requirements. I know several people who were told “No” even with over a year of living together.

    You can also wait a year and reapply to be an assistant 🙂

    There are also some private schools who hire language assistants (there’s one near Valenciennes!). It’s outside of TAPIF so they can hire you whenever. It’s just for a year though.

    1. I saw all of those details about PACS on Jennie’s site- how complicated !

      I was going to add “be an assistant again” but you can no longer do it two years in a row- you have to sit out a year and reapply- and then you are put on the wait list- but still have a decent chance of being accepted. The program is much more competitive.

      1. Yep, I know. That’s why I said “wait a year and reapply” but that’s usually not an option for most people. If you’re going to go home and look for a job, etc., you’re not going to drop it after a year… unless it’s not a good job. That said, people can still consider it.

      2. Oh my gosh duh, I just missed that you wrote that (too early over here!) I thought of doing it actually, but I found the lectrice position. But I totally would have we could still do 2 consecutive years. Never say never , tho!

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