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French Long Stay Visa for UK Non-Workers – An Update

For those stuck in the 90 out of 180 days Schengen rule and not working in France the solution is the French Long Term Visa. This allows a straight 180 day stay (multiple entry & exits are allowed) as long as you can prove you have a valid passport, proof of funds, somewhere to stay and promise not to work.

Our original post from October 2022 on the application process

You could still have 90 days in a Schengen country before or after this of course and with no system yet in place, the chances of getting caught overstaying are slim (counting dates with passport stamps is not an easy task – but does happen very occasionally, England fans visiting Poland last year for example). Penalties, including being banned from the country, make it not worth the risk but of course with very limited border checks between EU countries it’s up to you to prove your are in (or not in) France.

The new ETIAS European Travel Authorisation System has now been put back yet again until mid-2025 according to the ETIAS Website (in place but not taking applications yet) plus the EU EES (Entry Exit System) is now scheduled to be introduced in Autumn 2024 following a request from France that it be delayed until after the 2024 Paris Olympics.

EES replaces passport stamping and automates border control procedures but also identifies travellers who have no right to enter or who have stayed in European countries using the EES for too long. In addition it makes it easier to detect travellers using fake identities and helps to prevent, detect and investigate terrorist or other serious criminal offences.

In December 2023 a new immigration law was passed by the French parliament with an amendment that would give UK second home owners an automatic right to a long stay visa. In January 2024 this was thrown out as being “unconstitutional” on a technicality that several amendments expanded the scope of the original bill too much. MPs say they will start again but who knows how long this will take, the Long Term Visa looks the way ahead for the moment.

France Long Stay Visa Application – The Process

  • An online form to be completed on the French Government Visa Website
    • Make sure you are applying for the Long Term greater than 90 days Visitor Visa
    • Double check passport number, email address and phone number – they can’t be changed
    • You will need to put a French address where you are staying. State if second home
  • Arrange an appointment at a TLSconnect office in London, Manchester or Edinburgh
    • You’ll need the reference number from submitting the online form to book
    • You pay a €55 service fee on-line (this is not the Visa fee)
    • The further in advance you can book the more available slots – Edinburgh had loads of availability in Feb 2024 compared to October 2022.
  • At the TLS appointment:
    • Documentation is checked
    • If applicable there is a new second home owners form to complete (not available on-line)
    • Passport photos are stapled to a form and signatures taken
    • Photocopies of documents are inspected and put together in a folder with your passport
    • Payment for the visa is taken (contactless) for €99
    • Fingerprints (electronic scanner) are taken and a receipt issued
  • Your passport and application are sent to the French Embassy in London for processing.
  • Your passport is then sent back to the TLS office for collection or via courier for home delivery.

TLSconnect are a third party used to process applications, they also offer enhanced services (at a cost), such as help with filling in the forms for £15 and photo copies at 30p a sheet.

The “Express Courier” service charge is £30 even though they use the Royal Mail Special Delivery by 1pm service (worth £7.35). Also bare in mind that the London Embassy sends out to the TLS Office and then TLS send out, so collection is slightly quicker if you need it fast. 

A premium lounge (probably with no queues) is available for €100 and Saturday appointments for €60.

Note that the decision on your application is by the French Embassy not TLS

Documentation Requirements

A check list is provided once your on-line form is submitted at

  • Passport (issued less than 10 years ago, with 2 blank pages and at least 3 months left before expiry)
  • 2 Passport photos
  • Declaration that you are not going to work and proof of your status eg. retirement / second home owner / 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
  • Photocopies of your passport (plus any previous visa) and EHIC / GHIC needed – these copies will be kept by TLS.


TLSconnect state that the aim is to get your passport back in 15 working days, but it depends on the London Embassy ultimately. Applications in October 2022 took around 14 days, in February 2024 an appointment on Monday had the passport delivered back via courier on the following Tuesday (just over a week).

Appointments in Edinburgh were widely available in Feb 2024 with only 2 weeks notice. An 09:00 appointment is probably best to avoid queues if they overrun during the morning. In October it appeared to be primarily UK applicants sorting out working visas while in February it seemed to be 95% Japanese students applying for “normal” visitor visas!

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