Fight continues to ease visa process for long visits to France

Campaigners are lobbying lawmakers about simplifications to the process – and are asking supporters to complete two surveys to gather experiences

Visas allow long stays in France
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A group for Britons who spend part of the year in France has launched a new letter-writing campaign asking French MPs and senators for rules on issuing temporary short-stay visas (VLS-Ts) to be simplified.

France Visa Free, which last year supported senator Berthet’s ‘automatic visa’ proposal for Britons who spend part of the year in France, has turned its attention to smaller changes that could perhaps be achieved by other means, such as ministerial decrees or internal circulars.

It comes after the ‘automatic visa’, which aimed at allowing UK second-home owners to visit for up to half of the year with no, or very light paperwork, was censured from France’s new immigration law, as being insufficiently linked to the original proposals of the bill.

Read more: Why France’s second-home visa plan was thrown out at last stage

Again, the goal is for those concerned, many of whom bought properties in France before Brexit under flexible rules, to be able to come for more than three months without heavy formalities.

The current VLS-T process was not set up with the expectation that thousands of Britons might want to apply for such visas annually.

The group suggests:

  • Visa applications should be online only, as opposed to having to take documents to one of three UK French visa centres (it is similar in the US), as is already done for French residency card applications
  • There should be a simplified process for those who applied for the same reason the previous year
  • Visas should be issued as a card, avoiding the need to send passports for the visa sticker to be inserted
  • Photos and fingerprints could be submitted digitally and biometric data could be kept for five to 10 years by TLSContact or the consulate, avoiding the need to resubmit it each year

France Visa Free founder Steven Jolly said: “It could make a big difference. France led the way with digital tech with the Minitel. It beggars belief that it is not possible to get a visa online.”

For MP and senator details, see here and here.

Take part in survey

France Visa Free is encouraging its supporters to complete two surveys about applying for French visas in the UK.

The aim is to find out the type of issues that have been arising in the process, including booking appointments with the French consulate’s contractors TLSContact.

In the past difficulties have regularly been reported using the website of TLSContact and finding available appointment slots.

You can complete the surveys at the following links:

‘End to end’ survey

TLS online system survey

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