2014-2015 TAPIF Timeline

APRIL 2014

April 1: Recieved initial acceptance into Academie of Grenoble

MAY 2014

May 8 : TAPIF information email #1 from Carolyn Collins (program administrator): a basic welcome, introductory email

May 22: TAPIF email #2: contained American Assistant Handbook 2014-2015, plus various administrative reminders

JUNE 2014

June 4: Carolyn Collins sent an email to all the American members of the Academie of Grenoble, so we could start introducing ourselves to one another

June 18: TAPIF email #3: visa appointment reminder, explanations of work contract (arrêté de nomination), advisory to withdraw now or forever hold your peace

June 21: Made my visa appointment for July 18 (even though I hadn’t received my arrêté yet…I don’t necessarily recommend this because if it gets to be your date and you don’t have the arrêté yet, then you could have trouble finding an open appointment at late notice. I hedged my bets and luckily it worked out in the end.)

JULY 2014

Early July: Went to Richmond to get new copy of birth certificate/apostille (Basically, you need a document called an apostille to certify to foreign governments that your birth certificate is official, but in Virginia, a birth certificate more than 12 months old can’t be apostilled. Obviously, I am older than 12 months, so a new copy needed to be obtained. Though both are available by mail, it seemed silly to have them mail me a birth certificate just for me to mail it back for the apostille. So we took a drive down to Richmond to visit family and get it all sorted out in one afternoon. Very civilized.)

*UPDATE: according to the 2015-2016 Assistant Handbook, this step is apparently no longer necessary for Americans. They still suggest, however requesting a new copy of your birth certificate from a site like vitalcheck.com. 

July 7: Received my arrêté de nomination and placement in Chambéry!

That week I set to work emailing the directrice of my school, the IEN (regional inspector) and the conseilleur pédagogique for my circonscription (the supervisor responsible for a small breakdown of the primary assistants in the area). Before arriving, I only heard back from the directrice. DO ask for contact information for the previous assistant, if there was one! Communicating with her was a very valuable connection.

All throughout July: Managed to get in touch via Facebook and email with other assistants in Chambéry and/or currently in DC.

July 18: Visa Appointment! The following information is relevant for those reporting to the consulate in Washington, DC. Verify with your local consulate!

What to bring:
Visa application form
Passport + 1 copy of ID page
Arrêté de nomination + 1 copy
ID photo
Proof of residence
Virginia ID/driver’s license
Prepaid envelope

July 25: CIEP email #1: with a few resources (CIEP handbook) as well as a list of materials to bring with you (optional. Things like family photos, newspapers, etc) These CIEP newsletters were sent each month. They never really contained anything vital, but had some interesting bits of information.

July 31: Bought my plane ticket!


Booked an airbnb to stay in for first week in Chambéry, and soaked up America!!

Around this time, I also talked to my bank to tell them I would be leaving the country and also to request a card with a chip. This is a different, more secure, way of reading your card that is used very widely throughout Europe (as opposed to the swipe system we generally use in the US). It’s not 100% necessary to have a chip card, but it will make your life a lot easier for the first few months before your French accounts are set up. If you are applying for a new credit card anyway, ask if they have one with no foreign transaction fees!


Sept 1: Bought a train ticket from Paris to Chambéry (I did it in advance for the peace of mind, but I probably could have done this on arrival and saved some $$ with my carte jeune)

Sept 13-14: Packed… Note to self: start packing earlier next time…

Sept 15: Plane to Paris!

Sept 18: Arrival in Chambéry (stayed at two separate airbnb apartments for the first two weeks)

Sept 30: Signed lease/moved into my new apartment!

What to bring (ask the landlord BEFORE you go in to sign so you’re not caught off guard):
Proof of salary (my arrêté de nomination worked)
Proof of insurance
Caution (safety deposit – was accepted in cash)
First months rent (also accepted in cash)
Attestation de loyer (part of the CAF paperwork you’ll have to fill out to receive government housing support. It’s much easier to get your landlord to fill this out now than wait until later.)


Oct 1-3: Stage in Grenoble/Autrans

Oct 7: Opened bank account at Caisse d’Epargne (I had to  make an appointment in advance.) You must open your bank account by a certain date – usually mid-October – in order to get an advance on your salary. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until the end of November to be paid.

What to bring:
Proof of housing (lease)
W-9 American tax form (usually they will print this for you and have you sign at the appointment)

Oct 8: Went to MGEN office to submit healthcare paperwork (For secondary assistants, I believe this is generally handled through the secretariat.)

What to bring:
Passport and visa
Birth certificate (in English!)

~Oct 13: Sent OFII paperwork

What to bring:
Démande attestation OFII (the form the consulate gives you with your visa)
Copy of passport and visa
Copy of arrêté
ID photo

Oct 20: Submitted CAF paperwork

What to bring:
Passport and visa
RIB (bank account information)
CAF forms – note that the attached forms are from 2014 and may not be 100% up to date.
Attestation de loyer filled out by landlord (see above)
* They eventually asked for my birth certificate  (I got away with it being in English again) and a paystub

Oct 30: Advance on first paycheck arrived: ~770€

Dates of paychecks:
Nov 24 (810,22€), Dec 18 (788,19€), Jan 26, Feb 23, Mar 25, Apr 28


Nov 4: Received first CAF payment! 182,24€ from the government for free! ❤ socialism!

CAF payments:
Nov 4, Dec 5, Feb 6 (for Jan), Mar 03 (for Feb and Mar), Apr 7, May 5

Nov 21: First OFII medical visit convocation (could not attend – I was told they would simply reschedule me for the next available time, no big deal. )


Dec 8: Received permanent social security number and paperwork for getting my carte vitale

Dec 12: Second OFII medical visit (was able to attend! Be warned: you have to do a chest x-ray while completely nude from the waist up. It is VERY awkward, but over quickly)

What to bring:
ID photo
Proof of housing (lease)

~Dec 20: Sent photo and form to MGEN for my carte vitale


Beginning of January: Received carte vitale!!

Jan 15: Booked my flight home 😦

MARCH 2015

Mid-March: mailed in the application to CIEP for a contract renewal. This application required some information about my current placement, my preferences for location (I could choose to stay in my current school), and a signature/recommendation from the directeur or inspecteur.

APRIL 2015

Apr 3: Sent my 1 month notice to the landlord about moving out. Customarily, you must notify your landlord 3 months in advance, but since we are leaving due to a termination of a CDD (contrat durée determinée) then one month is allowed. As protection, I sent the letter recommandée which means that I got a receipt of its arrival. I googled some form letters, and ended up with this.

Apr 30: While literally at a lunch celebrating my last day at school, I was notified of my placement on the waitlist for a contract renewal. From what I gleaned on social media, the majority of Americans asking for a renewal were immediately waitlisted.

MAY 2015

May 10: État des lieux…This ended up being a lot more complicated than I bargained for. My landlord emailed me about a week or two before my depart to set up a time to do the état des lieux, which is basically where she comes to make sure I haven’t broken anything and can give me back my full safety deposit. I told her that I was leaving very early on the 11th, so could we please do it on the 10th? She wrote me a very curt email that she would agree to the 10th to help me out, but that it’s not technically kosher: if I were renting through an agency I would have to do it on the day that I stated I was leaving and usually during normal business hours…Okay, thanks. There’s a reason I did NOT choose to rent though an agency ma’am.

And I was not the only friend who had issues arranging this either. Certain landlords proposed dates that were either far earlier or far later than the tenants planned to stay. One friend told her landlord she was leaving on the 10th and she said, “Great can we do the état des lieux at 10pm on the 10th?”

It seems the preferred sequence events is: tenant tells landlord she is moving out day X. Tenant actually moves out a few days before. Tenant returns to apartment on day X to meet with landlord… Perfectly plausible if you are moving only a few hours away. Unfortunately, most of you will be moving an entire ocean away, so just be sure to clarify with your landlord WELL IN ADVANCE what he or she expects, especially if you have an early train/plane to catch.

May 11: Moved out 😦 and after a few days in London and what felt like a million hours in airports, arrived safely back in America!

JUNE 2015

Jun 15: Received news of an available position in the academie de Grenoble. For various reasons, I ultimately declined.


Jan 10: Applied for TAPIF round 2?!?!

APRIL 2016

April 1: notification of placement on the waitlist (all 2nd-timers are automatically waitlisted)
April 21: Acceptance to Aix-Marseille, primary level!

MAY 2016

May 15-18: Shortly after my acceptance, I was informed that this time around I would have to submit a federal Identity History Summary, a process which can take 13-15 weeks to complete. So, I had to go to my local sheriff’s office to be fingerprinted ($10), plus submit the Summary request and a payment form ($18) to the FBI.

7 thoughts on “2014-2015 TAPIF Timeline

  1. This timeline is such a great compilation of your TAPIF experience! This is really a helpful resource for me, as a future TAPIF-er. Your blog is wonderful!


    1. Hi Victoria, Thanks!! I’m glad you’re finding it all helpful. If there are any more questions you want answered or anything you’re curious about, let me know!! I’m always looking for writing prompts 🙂 Thanks for reading. Have a great TAPIF year!!


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