WARNING: The following post contains a lot of bitching...
"One thing you've learned is that you cant just pack your bags and go."
So true Mom, so true. Up until recently planning for my Mega-trip has been relatively easy peasy lemon squeezy, but one little thing seems to be looming over me as of late... One four letter word that separates me from four months in Europe.
Not a credit card, but a pass to the "Schengen Union". This pass is not needed unless you are going to be in the Union for longer than 90 days, but I will be there for 120. If you cannot prove a place where you will be staying (aka if you are "backpacking") then you must obtain a visa from the country that you are entering/exiting. Enter the French Government. Let me just list the issues I've had while just researching HOW to get a French Visa.
1. To apply for a Visa you must apply in person at the Consulate. I live in Alabama. The nearest French Consulate is in Atlanta, which is conveniently two hours away. However, I hold a drivers license from the state of Oklahoma.... and guess what you need to be able to apply for a Visa at the Atlanta Consulate. A drivers license from Alabama/ Georgia / Tennessee. "Where can you apply Les?" Good question, and the answer is: Houston. Texas that is. OH SWEET, its only 10 hours away.
2. "Well just apply on your way to Oklahoma," good thought my friend, but appointments for the visa office are only available every Wednesday from 8 AM to 9 AM. Say WHAAAAAAAAA?
3. Processing time is at a minimum of 2-3 weeks. Sometimes processing takes 2 months. The earliest I'll be able to apply is late December. And unless I want to drive back to Houston I must leave my Passport with the Consulate and wait for them to MAIL it back to me. Sound sketchy? It is.
If you can help me, or have any information regarding Visas....
Email me at LesWarnock@gmail.com.
Until then I'll be pulling my hair out.
Le Tot <= that's french