Reader question: We are British and have owned a second home in France since 2013. We understand the requirements of the 90/180- day Schengen rule and that we can apply for a long-stay visa for six months or longer if we wish. However, is it possible to visit France for up to the 90 day limit and then apply for the long-stay visa, thus giving a possible nine-month period? Or is the only way to achieve this to apply for an extended visa?
First, the good news is that you can, in the same year, combine time spent in France under the ordinary visitors’ rule of 90 days in any 180-day period and time spent on a long-stay visa. They are treated as separate.
The problem with what you suggest is that after applying online for a visa, you must visit a visa office in person – in London, Edinburgh or Manchester – to take in paperwork.
You hand over your passport and then return to collect it later after processing, with the visa stamp in it, or pay for delivery to your UK home by courier. Visa applications should be made no more than three months before a planned stay and The Connexion was told the process usually takes about two weeks. It is therefore not possible to apply for one without returning to the UK for a certain period.
If you were to do this, however, or if you were to request a long-stay visa of longer than six months, you should bear in mind that you risk being considered to have changed your tax residency to France for that year.