Saturday, 27 October 2007

Long Stay Vistors Visa (over 3 months)

The first comment on this blog entry is that it took me some time to research all the requirements.  I found many contradictory statements from various different consulates, the most comprehensive seem to be the New York consulate but even they omitted many specifics.

The following is my abbreviated version of the requirements listed on the NYC and Wellington consulate web site and is based on our actual experience.

Do you need it:

A "Long Stay Visa" is necessary for visitors from non-EU countries who wish to stay in any of the Schengen  Countries for more than 90 days within any 356 day period.

The visa will allow the holder to apply for a residence permit "Carte de Séjour" on arrival. 

Although you may not require a visa to enter France; you are required to apply for a "Carte de Sejour" if you wish to become a resident.  This is defined as being domiciled anywhere within the borders of the Schengen countries for more than 90 Days within any 356 day period. You have to apply for a "Carte de Sejour" within a certain number of days of your arrival.  This will require more forms and will be the subject of a future blog entry.

There seems to be an endless supply of incidences of people overstaying or bending the rules. Remember in France all citzens/ residents are required to carry identification, it is needed for insurance, banking and all sorts of things.  So if you a 20 year old bumming around Europe you may get away with it, just don't get caught because you may want to return one day [like when you turn 40:)] with your family.

Listed Requirement

Our Experience


Try to follow this as best we could.

  • Our medical tests, from the consulate nominated doctor was in English.
  • Marriage licence and like were in English.
  • We translated our purpose of travel, accommodation evidence.
Apply in person, check on specific times that applicants can apply.

Ange and I flew down to Wellington to hand our application in. In was a testing time and is subject to another blog.. here.

Take care with fine print instructions, ignore these at your peril.  The Wellington consulate wanted the exact amount in cash, they meant just that.

Please allow 2 to 3 months in order to obtain the visa

Yes, we should have allowed more time.

We applied on 4th November and it has taken three months.  Although they were approved in late December and there was a computer glitch and we are still waiting.

Passport valid for a year (+ 3 copies)

We took at least 4 copies of each original document.  The consulate took their own copies.  Our boys now have some scrap paper for the plane trip.

4 application forms legibly completed, dated and signed - (Remember to indicate a date of departure)
  1. Take care to fill these out correctly.
  2. You are almost certainly going to (find) have some help in France. A property agent etc.  I think it was important to be able to list a contact person and address.
  3. Fill in a application for each person travelling regardless of age.
Compliant passport-size photographs NZ only required 2
Proof of health insurance valid for the whole duration of your stay, specifically mentioned by the insurer (including emergency return) with coverage valid for at least one year in France (+ 3 copies)

If your insurance cannot write a letter with all of the information cited above, you’ll have to purchase a separate travel insurance for a year

Note: There is a clear distinction drawn between health insurance and travel insurance.  In other words the policies that come "free" with certain credit cards is not appropriate.

We researched a number of options, mostly geared towards North Americans.  This guy seemed quite switched on:

Carlos Perez
Global Insurance

In the end the consulate told us they would accept a travel insurance policy with Southern Cross.  I suspect that this may be a requirement that is vetted locally.

I'm not sure but I think that the key is insurance without limits on repatriation in the event of a medical emergency.

Financial guarantee such as your bank statement showing balances, savings or brokerage account statements (+ 3 copies)

For people wishing to retire in France, proof of sufficient income : pensions, dividens, savings, bank and brokerage account statements (+ 3 copies)

A question that comes up again and again is how much is enough.

I think now the correct answer is you will need to show sufficient funds to provide for your indicated lifestyle. 

For example, if you plan to include a hotel as your residential address then you should have sufficient funds to live their permanently. I think the person checking your application will work out the required minimum allowance based on the information you give them.  

We were also asked to provide proof on the origin of the funds, i.e. to prove the money in the bank account was our money.


Even though we were leaving our jobs to travel to France they ask for proof of income.

For interest: our budget worked out to around E4,000 per month for a family of 5.

Key lessons we learn were:

  1. The documentation we provided (bank statements) were not easy to read.  A letter from a bank manager/ official would have been better.
  2. We should have submitted a short covering letter explaining how we were going to support ourselves, I would include a high level budget.

For the lodging, a rental agreement or property deed (+ 3 copies)

If you’re staying with family or friends:

Copy of their French ID card or French resident card An attestation of lodging from family or friends Copy of utility bill and if they support you during your stay in France: their last three paystubs(+ 3 copies)

We had to sign a tenancy agreement, for which we paid a deposit etc.

The agreement specifically dealt with a varied start date, i.e. No sooner than 1 January and no later than 1 April; for a period of no less than 10 months and no more than 12 months.

This was acceptable. 

Police clearance

The requirements vary country to country. 

In NZ we had to send a request to the Justice Department to forward a clearance directly to the consulate in Wellington. Takes 2 - 3 weeks.
Letter from applicant certifying that she/he will not have any paid activity in France,

(one of the sites I visited mentioned this needed to be notarised - so that's what we did)
We had a lawyer at Angela's work witness and stamp a very official looking declaration form.


For children under 18 accompanying both parents the requirements are limited to :

4 application forms filled out and signed by the parents 5 passport-size photos 3 copies of the child’s passport 3 copies of the child’s birth certificate

For children under 18 accompanying one parent only :

A notarized parental authorization from the parent who is not going to reside in France (+ 3 copies)

All school-age children (4-16?) are required to attend school, you will need special permission to home school.

We were told we needed and we provided a letter from the school (principal) indicating that our kids were be accepted to the local school.

Check list for kids:

  1. Application form + Photo
  2. Passport
  3. Application fee
  4. Birth Certificates
  5. Medical Clearance  (note: check for Vaccinations)
  6. Health Insurance
  7. Letter of enrolment to a local school
  8. Notarised parental authorisation (if required)
The French Consulate reserves the right to ask for more documentation if necessary and to refuse the delivery of a visa.

Our complete check-list of submitted and required documents:   Red = Submitted in French 

  1. Application form + Photo
  2. Passport
  3. Application fee
  4. Cover Letter "Raisons principales du voyage"
  5. Birth Certificate
  6. Marriage Licence
  7. Police Clearance
    (submitted indirectly through Ministry of Justice)
  8. Tenancy Agreement for rental property in France
  9. Medical Clearance
  10. Proof of Health Insurance
  11. Proof of Travel Documents (Flight Itinerary & Tickets)
  12. Proof of Financial Means
    1. Bank Statement (Witnessed by Bank);
    2. Proof of Income;
    3. Source of funds
  13. Notarised declaration that we would not seek employment or work