Visa applications are a PAIN!!
Here's a little word of advice if you are planning to apply for a visitor's visa to France: START EARLY! My goodness, this process takes forever. According to the consulate, it can take up to four months to process an application, but it's taken us nearly a month to compile all of the paperwork we need. Here are some of the expenses we've incurred so far:
$20 - for two certificates from the city police department that certify that Colin and I don't have any record of arrests
$40 - for two sets of fingerprints so that Colin and I can request our FBI files (new rule - they used to accept the city police department records, but now they only accept FBI files ... so, the $20 mentioned above was a waste)
$38 - for the FBI to stamp our fingerprint cards with a rubber stamp that says "no record" (I'm assuming neither one of us have a file!!)
$85 - for translations of all of the relevant documentation for our applications (including birth certificates, proof of medical insurance, proof of income, proof of employment, marriage license ... etc) Note that we still have more translations that need to be done (i.e. our non-existent FBI files)
$5 (roughly) - to make three copies of each document, and three copies of each translation (thank goodness for the 3-cent rate I can get at work!!)
$22 - for extra copies of our birth certificates, just in case we need them while our other copies and our passports are en-route to France
So, that's $210 so far, which doesn't include the application fees of $260 (I'm going on memory). AND -- we could still be turned down! We've decided to use a Visa expediting company out of Chicago to get things processed faster, which will be another $66, but I think it will be worth it. (I hope, anyway)
As soon as we get our FBI files back, and we get them translated, we should be able to send them off for processing. Here it is, the middle of June, and we want to leave in September!! Argh. Let's hope that this company comes through ... it's called Perry International, and it checks out with the Better Business Bureau.