Acceptance e-mails were sent out starting Tuesday, April 6, for Americans. This year the embassy is requiring that you reply in order to accept or decline your position, before April 18. If you do not reply at all, your position will be given to someone on the waiting list, so don't forget to do it!
For Americans, acceptance e-mails are supposed to be sent out during the first week of April, so check your e-mail soon.
Enjoy your spring vacations and have a Happy Easter!
Zone A: April 10-25
Zone B: April 3-18
Zone C: April 17 - May 2
Don't forget that Easter Monday, April 5, is a jour férié.
I hope everyone in the Vendée, Charente-Maritime and other places hit hard by the strong winds and rain are ok. Throughout Europe, the storm left a death toll of 62; 51 of which were in France. Sarkozy has declared it a national disaster and pledged 3 million euros in aid to rebuild certain areas and the aging seawalls that gave way.
There has been some confusion about the re-entering France or the Schengen Zone with the assistant visa. In the past, a carte de séjour or visa de retour was necessary in order to leave the Zone and come back in. However, the assistant visa is a multiple entry visa so that is all you need in order to travel!
The latest e-mail from Carolyn Collins at the embassy in D.C. clears this up:
Many of you responded to my last e-mail with questions about the rules for leaving France over winter break, and after looking into the situation some more, I would like to clarify and correct the information contained in my last message. This information does not apply to those of you who have already had your visas validated by the OFII, or for those of you who were able to get the "visa de retour" from your local Préfecture.
A number of you went to your local Préfecture after my e-mail to get the "visa de retour" and were told by the officials there that you no longer need to get this special stamp in your passport since the new visa rules allow assistants to enter France more than once. I checked with my contact at the visa service here in DC and he confirmed that this information about the new visa rules is correct. The assistant visa should be good for multiple entries into France and will remain valid for the entire length of your stay, thereby eliminating the need to get a "visa de retour". Having your visa validated by the OFII is apparently only an issue if you want to use the visa like a "carte de séjour" (to get the CAF, etc.) and should not affect your travel in and out of the country, so I apologize for any confusion and stress my last e-mail may have caused!
In short, your current assistant visa should allow you to travel over winter break without a problem, even if the OFII hasn't officially validated your visa yet. If you are still worried and want to be extra cautious when you travel, you can always bring along copies of your "arrêté de nomination" and/or any paperwork the OFII has sent you to show that you are legally employed in France and have taken the necessary steps to begin your registration with the OFII in the rare case where the border authorities ask questions.
The Christmas vacation begins soon for all zones (samedi 19 décembre 2009 - lundi 4 janvier 2010), so take advantage of your time off to travel. Here's the remaining vacation schedule for this school year:
Zone A: Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Rennes, Toulouse
Winter vacation: samedi 13 février 2010 - lundi 1er mars 2010
Spring vacation: samedi 10 avril 2010 - lundi 26 avril 2010
Zone B: Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Besançon, Dijon, Lille, Limoges, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Poitiers, Reims, Rouen, Strasbourg
Winter vacation: samedi 6 février 2010 - lundi 22 février 2010
Spring vacation: samedi 3 avril 2010 - lundi 19 avril 2010
Zone C: Bordeaux, Creteil, Paris, Versailles
Winter vacation: samedi 20 février 2010 - lundi 8 mars 2010
Spring vacation: samedi 17 avril 2010 - lundi 3 mai 2010
Remember that vacation begins after class on Saturday (if you have Saturday classes) and la rentrée is the Monday morning indicated. If you are teaching in a DOM-TOM, you will need to check your académie's website for their academic calendar.
And don't forget the jours fériés:
April 5th: Lundi de Pâques (this is already included in spring vacation for Zone B)
May 1st: Fête du Travail
May 8th: Victoire 1945
May 13th: Jeudi de l'Ascension
May 24th: Lundi de Pentecôte
Just a reminder that most of you still have time to apply for the 2010-2011 school year!
The American deadline is January 15, 2010.
The Canadian deadline is March 1st, 2010.
The Australian deadline is TOMORROW, December 11, 2009.
The New Zealand deadline is January 31, 2010.
The Irish deadline is February 10, 2010.
The Indian deadline is December 15, 2009.
England and Wales have already closed the application process for the 2010-11 school year. However, it is still possible to apply by paper application if you are a citizen of Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The first of the teaching assistant applications is now available, for Australian citizens. The application deadline is December 11, 2009 and there are 80 positions available. Go to the France in Australia site for more information. Also note that if any Australians applied last year and were accepted into the program, but then ultimately decided to not do the assistantship, they are disqualified from applying this year.
Most other countries will make their applications available in October, so keep checking the official websites. The US program has already announced the due date for applications as January 15, 2010. I will post links to other applications and due dates when they are announced.
If you are having trouble posting messages on the forums, there suddenly seems to be a bug with using accented characters, including the euro symbol. If you use these characters, you will get an error message that says:
Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 8388608 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 1245184 bytes) in /home/lee/public_html/assistants/forums/includes/utf/data/utf_compatibility_decomp.php on line 2
You just need to replace all accented characters with regular characters and you should be able to post. I'm not quite sure what is causing this problem or why it is just now happening.
As I mentioned earlier, the rules for the long-stay visa for France have changed as of June 1st, 2009. In addition to what has normally been required to apply for a long-stay visa, you must now also include the OFII residence form so that it can be stamped by the consulate. You can download it here: OFII residence form
Information on the new rules and what you need to do after arrival in France can be found on the forum: First residence permit in France
For the Australian and New Zealander assistants, the French embassies in both countries are now issuing biometric visas that require a photograph and all ten fingerprints to be taken. Therefore, personal appearance will be required at the embassies in Sydney and Wellington to obtain a visa for France and mail-in applications are no longer allowed. In Australia, you must make an appointment through the embassy's website, and in New Zealand, you must call the embassy.
*The embassy in Sydney will be closed July 15-17 for engineering work.
Language assistants and students in France will no longer be required to obtain a carte de séjour from the préfecture, as they have had to do in the past.
After the medical visit, you will receive a vignette to be placed in your passport. This will serve as a replacement for the carte de séjour, and you will still be eligible for CAF with this vignette.
The vignette *may* be valid for an entire year instead of just the duration of the assistant contract. Some details are still unknown and a little vague, but this change is to simplify the process for everyone involved. I'll post more information when it's available.