Visits to second home in France: be prepared for visa wait

A Connexion reader shares his experiences of the French visa application process

Although visa processing is said to be quick you could find yourself waiting a long time to be seen
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Whenever The Connexion runs a piece on visas, I read it with interest.

As second-home owners, we naturally wish to spend up to six months at our house, rather than a miserly 90 days.

Your last article on visas made me smile: “All in all, the process takes around 20 minutes. However, waiting times can significantly add to this.”

Read more: Visas to stay in France for six months: Q&As on appointment process

Just as well the caveat about waiting times was added, but even the estimate of 20 minutes presenting one’s dossier is optimistic.

My application for a visa in 2021 saw me spend at least an hour at TLSContact in Wandsworth.

Two days later, I received an email from the French consulate saying that TLS should not have accepted my application, since I would need to apply at the prefecture in Nîmes!

The rules changed in June that year.

In 2022, I applied again and spent 90 minutes at the Wandsworth TLS offices – proceedings were slow as my interviewer was new and had to keep seeking advice from senior colleagues.

But I received my passport with a visa only a week later.

This year, I was at the TLS offices for a full two hours. I was surprised that yet again I had to undergo fingerprinting and retina scans.

However, nine days later I received my new visa, and in a few weeks’ time we are off.

Most TLS employees are perfectly friendly and efficient, though their telephone manner seems to have borrowed much from French bureaucracy: brusque, impatient.

I fervently hope progress is made in removing the requirement for second-home owners to get a visa every year in the same tedious and expensive way.

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