Applying for a French Visa - Three Mistakes to Avoid

Applying for a French Visa - Three Mistakes to Avoid

Three mistakes to avoid when applying for a French visa

Not one to let Brexit de-rail his dreams of moving to France, Bryan Goodman-Stephens was pretty confident about how he would apply for a visa and make it happen. He and his wife Evgenia had lived in Spain for a spell before, with their two twin boys, and were keen for another change. What’s more he is a fluent French speaker, so that was a huge benefit – surely?

The couple sold their home in the village of Westdean, near Eastbourne in Sussex, and decided to rent a gite in France whilst they looked for somewhere to buy. “We liked the rolling hills of the Gers region, it’s beautifully rural, and we liked Mirande,” says Bryan, 72, an academic writer of the historic town in the heart of Gascony.

“I went online and applied for a long-stay visa. That needed us to travel up to the visa application centre in London [TLS Contact in Wandsworth]".

“The first mistake we made was the fact that we didn’t have the correct medical insurance,” he says. “We had travel insurance, not the full 12-month medical policy.”

Their proof of French accommodation provided was also rejected – it was a property that they were renting via AirBnB for three months, not a long-term rental agreement.

“The final faux-pas was that the application was in my name only, when it had to be jointly with Evgenia,” he says.

He realises that he needed some expert help to expedite a successful application and he got onto French Connections HCB, a relocation specialist. “We applied, with their help, and it got approved in March 2023,” says Bryan.

“On our second attempt, we had two detailed phone consultations with French Connections HCB in which the whole process was explained, and we received guidance on completing the forms and tips on how to behave at the visa centre. Those calls ensued we sailed through the interview.”

Bryan and his family are happily settling into French life. We are living happily about 4km from Mirande in the countryside. Both boys are at state boarding schools - one in Toulouse and the other in Tarbes.”

French Connections HCB helps people move to France, whether they are having problems doing so, or they wish for a helping hand from the get-go. As with Bryan, they provide guidance on selecting and applying for the appropriate visa for living in France, including navigating the complexities of residency requirements.

They can also help with importing your car, tax and inheritance - planning about your tax obligations and optimising financial outcomes for expats – and buying and managing properties. Relocation services include support for individuals and families moving to France, covering everything from school enrolment for children to setting up utilities and integrating into local communities.

The cost? Their consultation fee starts at €90, and depending on your needs and relocation goals, whilst the 'whole package', which includes a broad range of services, starts from €7,000 per person. Find out more here!


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Liz Rowlinson