I decided to update my blog, and your good selves about the progress of our plans for this year. This is my first post this year but I hope it is the first of many!
We have been fighting our way through the hoops involved in obtaining a 6 month french visa before we return to Piedaleau. We decided ages ago that we would need / want more than the 90 days allowed following the ‘dogs breakfast’ that was Brexit.
It ain’t easy and has caused much cussing and fretting and much hunting of pieces of paper in the Fennell / Risdon household! Anyone who hasn’t tried this process would hardly believe it! French bureaucracy at its best!
Step 1 – complete the French Gouvernement on line registration form & receive reg number ensuring you are applying / eligible to apply for the right visa.
Step 2 – complete the TLS (company used to collate visa applications for various governments) on line application form which requires the reg number from the above in order to register with TLS.
Step 3 – collate all the details required for your application – must be arranged in a certain order but this isn’t immediately clear. We had decided to get new photos done beforehand to ensure we met the french stipulations (different to British passport requirements) – just as well we did as we were asked when our photos had been taken – ‘last week’ we were able to reply! (I had ones from my passport but that was 6 years ago & would have had to redo photos there).
Step 4 – book an appt at one of the TLS sites (Edinburgh, London or Manchester). Your registration only relates to one site – no overview of appts across the sites – so if you want to change venue you have to cancel original TLS registration & start again to register at the preferred site so that you can look to see if you can do any better than with first!!!!
Any further changing of appts is dicey! – you might lose the one you already have ….. and the screen showing available appts is not easy to read!
Step 5 – after several weeks wait, attend interview with all the docs in the correct order plus anything else you have been emailed about at the last minute. And undergo the biometric tests there too.
Step 6 – await the outcome after the whole lot has been transferred to French consulate. Takes 10 – 15 working days ‘on average’ we were told. Oh! and,of course, your passport has been sent with all the docs so you can’t go anywhere until you have result and your passport has been returned to you (by courier, at an extra cost).
We went to Manchester – we were going to go to London and stay with my sister but no appts were available for about 6 weeks ahead by which time Frankie and Greg were away in Aus! But you only find that out after doing all the registration and form filling malarky ie at the end of the online process. We managed to get one about 10 days earlier by going to Manchester, after much faffing about to change venue registration.
TLS do provide a tel number to call for help – our experience was not good – first time we rang the person was impossible to undertsand; second time we were told that they could only give us / read the info available on the website! Email enquiries (eg how can I cancel reg at London to change to manchester) take several days to reply. So basically not helpful……
We arrived at the appointed hour in Manchester and it took over 2 hours to complete the process. Friends waited over 2.5 hours to even start their interview in London!
Oh and they charge quite a lot for this whole rigmarole! Around £300 for the pair of us.
All in all not good for the blood pressure!
Now we wait some more…… and begin to pull everything together we need to take with us so that as soon as we get the OK (fingers crossed) we will be off!