Latest news, snow, pics, gossip and information from the locals in La Tania – latania.co.uk
All the latest news from around the 3 Valleys from the La Tania locals. A real blog since 2006, not just endless re-posts for search engine optimisaton! Photos, gossip, snow reports, what's on and all the latest on the Apres Ski scene... Now fully optimised for iPhone, Touch and Android Mobiles - just go to latania.co.uk/blog and view on your phone. Our other past blogs & favourites here
Applying for a French Long Term “Visitor” Visa – For stays longer than 90 days this ski season
The issues of UK nationals working a Ski Season in France have been well documented although savvy companies who went through the process of applying for work permits for UK passport holders (and then the employee obtains a visa based on the work permit) last season appear to be finding it easier and slicker this year.
What is not so widely documented is the French Long Term “Visitor” Visa for those that are not working.
Currently, UK Passport Holders can only stay in France (or any Schengen Country) for 90 days in any 180 day rolling time-frame period. It takes a while to get your head around this “rolling period” and for the vast majority of people it’s not an issue, but if you spent Jan/Feb/Mar skiing in France, Switzerland and Italy (for example) you couldn’t then spend a month in Spain or Greece (or a stag weekend in Prague) until 1st July.
So if you came out skiing for the season at the start of December you would have to head elsewhere before the wonderful month of March skiing. There are various Schengen Visa Calculators online to help you work this out – normally it’s a lot more complicated than the above examples.
The Schengen Countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. So spending time in Croatia, Bulgaria, Andora, Cyprus and Ireland (for example) doesn’t count towards your 90 days – and technically Monaco or San Marino but who knows how that works…
The French Long Stay “Visitor” Visa Solution
For those who have saved up to do a season, are retired, second home owners or taking a sabbatical (basically not working or taking part in any professional activity) the answer is a Long Stay “Visitor” Visa. So no right to work / residency or having to declare all of your worldly wealth to the French Tax Authorities either.
- An online form to be completed on the French Government Visa Website.
- Pay online. Best browser to use on the website is Microsoft Edge in our experience.
- Arrange an appointment at a TLSconnect office in London, Manchester or Edinburgh.
- Documentation checked and fingerprints taken at the TLS appointment.
- Your passport and application sent to the French Embassy in London for processing.
- Your passport is then sent back to the TLS office for collection or for courier delivery.
TLSconnect are a third party used to process applications, they also offer enhanced services (at a cost), such as a special VIP lounge or help with filling in the forms. The “Express Courier” service charge is £18 even though they just use the Royal Mail Special Delivery by 1pm service (cost is £6.85 and with the strikes at the moment there is no guarantee of service and no refund for their failure either) – Also bare in mind that the London Embassy sends out to the TLS Office and then TLS send out, so collection is quicker if you need it fast.
Not that the decision on your application is by the French Embassy not TLS.
- Passport (issued less than 10 years ago, with 2 blank ages and 3 months validation after the visa expiry)
- 2 Passport photos
- Declaration that you are not going to work and / or proof of your status eg. retirement / second home / funds available etc. (write & sign a letter with the details)
- 3 months of Bank Statements / Other proof of finances
- Proof of accommodation / rental agreement / homeowner etc.
- Travel health insurance – valid EHIC or GHIC
TLSconnect state that the aim is to get your passport back in 15 working days, but it depends on the London Embassy ultimately. We know of a couple of applications in October 2022 that took 10 working days.
Appointments were widely available back in September for the Edinburgh Office and took around 40 minutes including the finger prints.
And if you don’t….
Overstaying could get you banned from France, fined or more – although not much evidence that this is happening anywhere in Europe with the 90/180 day rule at present. Currently scanned passports aren’t shared with all Schengen countries (scans are for watch lists, validity etc) and no auto calculations of 90 days take place – a border official would have to look at all your passport stamps and work things out…
However the much delayed EU ETIAS visa waiver system is finally to come into operation in November 2023 some 7 years after it’s approval by the EU (unless it gets put back yet again). The system is similar to the US ESTA system with more or less instant approval and this will surely make overstaying immediately identifiable. All UK Passport holders will need to apply for an ETIAS at a cost of €7 for the 3 year waiver.