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Visits to second home in France: be prepared for visa wait

A Connexion reader shares his experiences of the French visa application process

Although visa processing is said to be quick you could find yourself waiting a long time to be seen Pic: Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock

Whenever The Connexion runs a piece on visas, I read it with interest. 

As second-home owners, we naturally wish to spend up to six months at our house, rather than a miserly 90 days. 

Your last article on visas made me smile: “All in all, the process takes around 20 minutes. However, waiting times can significantly add to this.” 

Read more: Visas to stay in France for six months: Q&As on appointment process

Just as well the caveat about waiting times was added, but even the estimate of 20 minutes presenting one’s dossier is optimistic. 

My application for a visa in 2021 saw me spend at least an hour at TLSContact in Wandsworth. 

Two days later, I received an email from the French consulate saying that TLS should not have accepted my application, since I would need to apply at the prefecture in Nîmes! 

The rules changed in June that year. 

In 2022, I applied again and spent 90 minutes at the Wandsworth TLS offices – proceedings were slow as my interviewer was new and had to keep seeking advice from senior colleagues. 

But I received my passport with a visa only a week later. 

This year, I was at the TLS offices for a full two hours. I was surprised that yet again I had to undergo fingerprinting and retina scans. 

However, nine days later I received my new visa, and in a few weeks’ time we are off. 

Most TLS employees are perfectly friendly and efficient, though their telephone manner seems to have borrowed much from French bureaucracy: brusque, impatient. 

I fervently hope progress is made in removing the requirement for second-home owners to get a visa every year in the same tedious and expensive way.

Related articles

Give second home owners in France a special visa, says senator

What are moves to change 90-day visitor rule in France for Britons?

Explainer: Make sense of six-month visas for France

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