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Can I get help with French visa application? Which type do I need?

We look at the resources available to applicants and how to know which visa to apply for

We look at the resources available to help visa applicants with the process Pic: Song_about_summer / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Is there a company or service which helps fill in the form for the visa so I can stay more than 90 days in a year in France. Or if not can you tell me what the name of the visa is? I am British. 

British citizens have only needed a visa in order to spend longer than 90 days in every 180 in France since Brexit took effect in January 2021, and so official online information about the process may not yet cover the full range of circumstances and queries. 

There do exist firms able to help British citizens with French visa applications, which can be found by searching ‘Help with French visa applications’ or similar. We know of, for example, Your Franceformation, a French-based service with a number of years experience helping non-EU citizens with their plans to move to France, including visa applications.

Various businesses also help English-speakers with admin tasks of different kinds related to moving to and living in France, often informally referred to as ‘hand-holding’ services. One place to check is the Directory section of The Connexion newspaper.

If you have used one of these services to help with moving to France, we would like to hear from you. Please tell us about the experience by emailing news@connexionfrance.com

The Connexion will also be publishing a help guide on the issue of visas and residency cards towards the end of this month, tailored to our readership. It will be available in digital format, via our website.

In the UK those dealing with visas include officials at the French consulate in London, and processing services run by contractors TLS-Contact. Part of the process will involve visiting one of their centres to hand in documents.

The TLS-Contact visa-handling centres in London, Manchester and Edinburgh can be contacted for queries by calling +44 20 3040 0460 between 08:30 and 16:30, Monday to Friday. 

Their websites also have information on the process, as does that main French visas application site france-visas.gouv.fr.

Some readers have reported difficulties getting through to the TLS-contact helpline on the phone, so you may need to be persistent and/or try at different times of the day. It is also possible, if necessary, to contact the French consulate by emailing visas.londres-fslt@diplomatie.gouv.fr.

Which visa? 

French visa applications all start with an online process at france-visas.gouv.fr.

You cannot apply more than three months before your planned date and are asked to allow around a month for processing. To allow for possible delays we would suggest starting the process as early as possible.

The type of visa you need depends on your situation. As a general rule, however, you describe your plans and the consular officials decide which visa is appropriate for you, rather than applying for a specific type.

However, there are two main categories concerned for the typical Connexion reader.

Those hoping to spend more time in a second home, but not to move permanently to France, will need a visa de long séjour temporaire (temporary long-stay visa), which is normally valid for between four and six months. 

Read more: Explainer: Long-stay French visas serving as residence permits

If you hold one of these visas, you can make an extended visit to France without having to apply for a residence permit or validate the visa after arrival in France.

However, if you are intending to settle in France, in most cases you will need a visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour (VLS-TS). 

This enables people to live in the country for up to 12 months, and the right to stay can be extended by applying in the country for a residency card four to two months before your visa expires.

This type of visa can be granted to people arriving in France for different reasons, from work to study to extended private visits.

You must validate your VLS-TS on a website within three months of arriving in France, and if you fail to do so your presence will no longer be legal. 

Read more: Under what circumstances do you need to validate a French visa?

If you are not sure of the type of visa that you need, you can complete a short questionnaire on the French consulate’s France-Visas website, which should answer your question. 

The website will also present you with information on the supporting documents you need and the amount you will need to pay. 

From there, you can begin to fill in your application form.

You will need to enter details such as your name, address, date and place of birth, occupation and previous extended stays in France. 

Related articles 

French visas: no rise in income levels for Britons, says official

Can I return to UK after French visa then come back for short stay?

How do we move from a visa to having a French carte de séjour?

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The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
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