Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tips on Paperwork

After you find your amazing family using my previous post, you will have to start the dreaded French paperwork.  Your family will have to give this paperwork to DIRECCTE (the French employment office) along with some of their own.  When looking websites “explaining” this process you’ll be like:

I found the instructions on to be less than helpful, and don’t even try emailing them to ask questions – they know nothing! Anyway have no fear, because I've done all the dirty work, and I don’t want anyone else to throw things across their room in frustration like I did.
  1. Go to your doctor, and have them fill out your medical form.  I used this one provided by aupairworld. It may take a few days for your doctor to fill this out and give it back to you, so that’s why I recommend doing it first.  Also, you cannot have your doctor fill out this form more than three months before you leave for France, so don’t start too early.
  2. Get your diploma translated as well as your medical form from your doctor.  If you have graduated from college, get that diploma translated as well as your high school diploma.  I used because they only charge $27, and they translate it in within 24 hours.  Don’t bother getting it notarized and mailed to you.  It’s a waste of an extra $20 per document, and it takes forever.
  3. Make a copy of your passport. Because I had to scan all of the documents that I sent to the translator, I also printed them out, and sent them to the family - just in case.
  4. Whenever you receive your contract (my family emailed it to me), print out copies, and sign them.  Also read over your contract carefully!
  5. Write a letter of motivation in French.  This does not need to be perfect, so don’t stress yourself out about it.  I wrote about how I love French culture and literature and how I wanted to improve my French.  I also said that I wanted to eventually use French when I have a full-time job.  You get the gist.
  6. The DIRECCTE website does not state that you need these documents, but they requested them when my family went to drop off my paperwork.  You will need a French CV (I used these templates from as well as a letter from the French school where you will be attending.  I had to pay a deposit ($320), and then they emailed me the confirmation letter that day.  Also, there is a myth out there that your family will have to enroll you in school, and then they will take the deposit out of your first check.  I was able to do everything myself online, so in my experience, this is not true.  However, the process might differ by school.
  7. Mail all of the documents.  I used a USPS flat rate envelope and got expedited shipping, and my family received it in three business days.  However, it cost me $43 dollars.  I think it was worth it because I am trying to move there in a month and a half but if you have a little more time, you can send the documents a bit cheaper.

As you can see, even getting the paperwork isn't cheap.  All said and done, I spent $504 between translating the documents and getting them notarized, shipping them, and paying for the deposit for school. However, I did sign up for two trimesters at school and I wasted $60 getting those documents notarized.