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

A diplomatic source says recent claims of a change in the amount needed for retirees are not correct

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Income levels required for non-working couples in the UK to obtain a visa to come to France long-term have not increased despite unofficial reports to the contrary.

Several unofficial websites and social media forums about France recently reported a toughening of income tests being applied by French consular officials in the UK.

They state that a previously relaxed policy towards means tests for retiree/early-retiree couples has been replaced by a new stricter interpretation of the rules and they now need to show combined resources equivalent to at least €2,000/month; higher than amounts that were typically asked for in the past.

This was said to relate to long-stay ‘visitor’ visas, which can be either temporary, usually for up to six months, or valant titre de séjour which allow a stay for up to a year and can be prolonged by applying for a residency card.

The Connexion has however been told that this is not the case.

A French diplomatic source, asked about the alleged change in policy, said: “This information is not correct. The official information concerning the proof of resources to be attached to an application for a long-stay ‘visitor’ visa is available on the website

“Absolutely no mention is made of the elements of remuneration that you mention. Users are invited to use these official sources when completing their procedures.”

What does the official French visas website say?

The official visas website does not, as far as we can see, mention any specific level of means.

It says officials will be looking for proof of financial means ‘sufficient for the duration of the stay’, which would typically be for example up to six-months’ worth in the case of a temporary stay, or for at least a year in the case of a move to France (and to stay longer you would have to show again that you have ongoing means of support).

Examples given include the last three payslips, three last bank statements, or a prepaid credit card with a receipt showing it has been charged up.

The website’s ‘viza wizard’ also states that a British person applying for a long-stay visitor visa to move to France should typically show the last three bank statements for current and/or savings accounts as evidence of enough funds for the duration of the stay.

If your partner supports you, you should supply their bank statements and your marriage certificate, it says.

What is the usual policy?

We have learned in the past that a single person is usually asked for around the net French minimum wage (‘Smic’), currently €1,329, and that couples are not asked for twice as much, but may be asked for a few hundred euros extra per month.

Most forms of income can be considered including pensions, and savings can also be taken into account, as can home ownership, which usually allows for flexibility (a slightly lower amount is usually permissible in this case).

More detail is given on the government’s official service-public website with regard to the carte de séjour, which is needed to prolong a ‘visitor’ visa beyond a year.

It says the minimum amount for a single person is evidence of having the net monthly Smic coming in for at least a year; accommodation arrangements are taken into account, and, if necessary, officials will consider the support of other people (notably financially-solvent family members) willing to stand as guarantors.

It does not clarify the amount required for couples.

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