Connexion readers continue to report a lack of available appointments at the UK’s French visa centres, which is preventing some from carrying out their travel plans.
One reader, Tom*, told us earlier on Monday (June 20) that the next available slot in the London TLS Contact application handling centre was on September 8, “some 81 days from [now]. It seems rather ridiculous!”
“A friend tells me that Manchester is similar,” with the wait being “around three months”.
“TLS Contact recommends submitting [an application] within 20 working days” of your proposed departure date and “you aren’t actually supposed to submit one until it’s within 89 days.”
“We did 40 working days, but this still is nowhere near enough.”
At this rate, Tom added, “they may get to the point when there are literally no appointments within this 89-day window!”
It is now “too late” for Tom to get a visa in time for his plans, which will have to be rethought.
Barbara Hayes and her husband also tried to apply for a visa at the London TLS Contact branch, so that they could spend a longer period of time at their second home in Ardèche.
“Now retired, we planned to spend six months of each year in each home,” she said. “Last year we managed to get a long-stay visa lasting for a year.
“The dealings with TLS were a nightmare then, but nothing [compared to] what we met when we tried to renew the visas.
“When we had filled in the necessary form we applied for an appointment. This was at the end of May and the first appointment we could get was on July 8.
“As we have to wait a further two weeks to get our passports back, this meant that it would be nearly the end of July before we could go to France, over a month after we had planned.
“As this meant we would miss a large part of the holiday planned there by our daughter and grandchildren, we have given up trying to get a visa and plan to leave next week!
“When we needed advice, TLS were a nightmare. They do not answer the helpline phone for days on end. They promise to phone you back ‘within hours’ but you hear nothing in spite of their assurance that your call is important to them.
“When finally you manage to get through you speak to someone with very bad English who appears to know less than you do about your problem.
“If you send them an email setting out your problem, as they ask, again they take days to reply with an email which thanks you but does not answer the question.
“We plan to renew the battle when we return to England after the summer, when we will have more time, but are not very confident that we will have more success where advice is concerned.
“We understand that people who have two homes do not come top of the list for people’s sympathy, but we exist and no one seems to have taken our problem into consideration.
“Second-home owners as a category appear on no lists of those eligible for visas, despite the fact we pay French taxes on our homes, employ French nationals, builders, etc. and spend money in French shops and restaurants (at least in the Ardèche we do!).
The Connexion has repeatedly contacted TLS Contact for further information on the reasons behind the appointment backlog, but we have not received a reply.