Yes, that's correct - visit. My company has authorized starting immigration proceedings with the intent that I will transfer to France (with a promotion) in September or October of this year! This is hardly a fast or easy process for those not familiar with it.
- You have to figure out exactly WHICH French work visa applies to your particular situation (my company uses outside counsel for this process due to the complexity) and then the employer & employee have to agree on a French employment contract that complies with those requirements.
- The French employer submits the correct paperwork and French employment contract to French authorities.
- If they approve your work permit, the documentation is transferred to your local French Consulate in the US and you receive notice to schedule a visa appointment.
- France fingerprints visa applicants, so you must go IN PERSON to the nearest consulate. In my case, that's in San Francisco (which apparently has a shortage of staff and is seriously backed up with a FULL 45 day appointment calendar basically all the time)
- After processing time, your visa will be approved or denied. This processing time varies greatly - from 10 days at the LA consulate to TWENTY ONE days at the SF consulate. In other words, if you live in the area served by SF, the French don't really care if you ever make it to their country (kidding, kidding . . . but not really)
On a personal level, I've started to sort through all of the things I don't use on a day-to-day basis to make a toss/donate/pack decision. Since it's expected to be a 3 to 5 year commitment, I'm trying to avoid storing anything here and I kind of like using this as an opportunity to go minimalist! The pile of stuff I'm getting rid of is already 3 times larger than what I'm planning to pack and keep. I am realizing that I'll have quite a bill to replace all of my electrical items though!
Anyone need a 110V portable air conditioner???