Anyone familiar with French consulate/s in Canada?

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Anyone familiar with French consulate/s in Canada?


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Old 14th May 2009, 01:06 AM
 
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Default Anyone familiar with French consulate/s in Canada?

Hi there,

I posted a while back about our family coming to France for 4.5 months during my husband's sabbatical leave from a Canadian university. We have found a place to rent (to a Canadian-French couple, as a matter of fact), and they are helping to set the kids up in the village school.

I have been researching long-term stay visas and wrote the consulate in Vancouver but have not heard back. I have pasted my questions in below (I wrote the first part of the email in rusty French -- no need for you to see that
***

1. Since we are staying for 4.5 months, is it possible to apply for a temporary long term stay visa (from what I can tell, that is the same application as the regular long term stay visa but we would not need to apply for the carte de sejour once we arrive. Is that correct?)

2. Can we apply through the mail? Is there an office in Calgary or Edmonton where we can apply? Or will we need to apply in Vancouver?

3. If we need to apply in Vancouver, will all of us need to come for an appointment, or only my husband?

4. Our children will be 7, 4, and 4 when we apply. Because our twin girls are young, would we only need to pay for our son and ourselves ($164.45 X 3)?

5. The earliest we can apply is July 15 (with hopes of leaving Jan. 15). Is that correct?

6. My husband, my son and I are all U.S. citizens with permanent resident status in Canada. We applied for citizenship last summer but I do not know if that process will be complete before we go. We should still apply through Canada, though, right? Our daughters were born in Canada, so there should be no problem there.
******

Can anyone help with any of those questions?

And here is a final one. England allows visitors to stay for six months without a visa. If we enter through England, stay there a few weeks on either end of our trip, travel to France, can we try to stay the 4.5 months without a temporary long-term stay visa, knowing that they could make us leave France after three months?

I am thinking that the cost of flying five of us to Vancouver at least once and possibly several times (if that is in fact required, which I can't tell from the website) from where we live to get the visa would be more than eating a six weeks of rent if France made us leave after three months. Any advice?

Thanks for your help as we sort all of this out.

LoisL

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Old 14th May 2009, 11:51 AM
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Hi (again). As you have already found out, the French consulates don't normally answer private questions either by mail or e-mail. It might be possible to get some further information by phone, but first you need to study the information on the Vancouver consulate's website: Visa section, home

To take your questions in order:

1. You still need a visa and chances are the form will be the same as for a longer stay. But to some extent it will depend on "why" you want to stay in France for longer than 90 days, but less than 6 months (study, work or stay without working). The good news is that (according to a few folks through here lately) the consulate can probably process the visa right there and won't have to send it to Paris for processing (as they would have to do if it were for a period of longer than 6 months). I would not bet on your not having to apply for a carte de séjour on your arrival. The practice definitely varies by local préfecture. To play it safe, I'd go in and apply, explaining that you're only staying for 4.5 months and see what they tell you to do. Chances are your final carte won't actually be issued by the time you're heading back home, but at least you'll have the récippissée (receipt) which works almost as well as the card itself while you're living there.

2. You have to apply through the consulate that handles your place of residence. On the first page of the site above, there is a link to click on to find what their territory is. (Click on the word "district" in red) If you're not within their territory, there should be some further link to find which consulate you must apply to. I would be amazed to hear that they will handle a visa application by mail - but check the website to see how they want you to do it.

3. Again, check the website of the consulate that handles applications for your residence. Chances are you will have to go to the consulate at some point, but they may waive the interview for a visa covering less than 6 months.

4. Check the website. I'm not sure that there is a reduced rate for children, but you should expect to have to pay a processing fee per person. (And the twins count as two persons.)

5. Not sure, but you don't want to apply too far in advance. The instructions for the Vancouver consulate include indicating (on a post-it, no less) your intended departure date for France. If your application is too early they'll probably tell you so.

6. You apply through the consulate that covers the area in which you are currently resident. You may want to check with the consulate as to whether they will want the police record from Canada or from the US. (And hope they say "Canada" - the US one is much trickier and expensive to get.)

England may allow you to stay for 6 months with no visa but that won't have any effect on your French stay. (The UK is not part of Schengen.) Chances are you could probably get away with just "overstaying" your 90-day Schengen visitors visa by 6 weeks but it will definitely complicate your life (especially if you expect to put your kids in French schools while you're there).

The French aren't nearly as hyper about controlling immigration as the Americans or the Canadians, and to be honest, as long as you're "of northern European stock" (to phrase it as nicely as possible) you probably won't have any problems, visa or no... but if you run into any kind of problem (hospital emergency, traffic accident, etc.), having all the paperwork in order will be worth all the trouble it is to jump through the hoops. (Besides, dealing with mindless bureaucracy is definitely part of "the real French experience" - even the locals have stories to tell!)
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 14th May 2009, 01:11 PM
 
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Hi Bev,

Thanks for your quick and amazingly kind and helpful reply.

I had scoured their website before writing (which is where I found a part that doesn't mention cost for kids under 5, which I couldn't quite believe, and that there is this shorter term long-term stay visa (which again, I couldn't quite believe and it wasn't discussed a lot), and that the earliest to apply is six months in advance.

I am normally a "play by the rules" person and don't even mind the paperwork (the application for permanent residence that we did here was+40 pages!) ... but when you mentioned in an earlier email that we might have to go to the consulate several times, and I saw the consulate for our region is in Vancouver, and the cost of that trip for the five of us would be starting at $1200 (after first driving to the big city three hours from here...) I kind of freaked out (especially if we had to make multiple trip). I did find a listing online for Consulate of France in Calgary (nearest big city) and hoped that maybe we could go up there... but found no info about that on the "real" (Vancouver) website. Sigh.

Maybe I will try to call. Thanks again for your help -- both for my questions specifically and all of the people who come here for advice!!

Lisa

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Old 14th May 2009, 02:43 PM
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After looking a bit more carefully at the website, I think it's clear that you can send all the forms, documents, photos and assorted other paperwork in by post. What's not clear is whether they consider the children to be filing their own applications or whether they are considered part of the parents' visa. That might be a legit question to try and get answered by phone.

I definitely hear you about the "play by the rules" thing - but that won't get you too far in France, I'm sorry to say. (Believe me, I've learned that the hard way! ) For a visa covering less than 6 months, the local officials have the power to waive quite a bit of the formality (or so I'm told), so what you need to do is to follow along by the rules as published, and then see what happens.

When they contact you about the interview, you can see just how many of the family they really expect to show up. And, for a short "long-stay" visa like you are going for, there's a reasonable possibility they might waive the requirement altogether if all the other paperwork is in order. (Don't ask them for this specifically, just mention nicely that you've got three children and do they need to come in for the interview or not.)

There is a real art to dealing with fonctionnaires - and I'm convinced that applying for a visa is the first of a series of "tests" they put you through to make sure you learn that art.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 21st May 2009, 11:18 AM
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Default French Consulates in Canada

Hi Lois,
We are applying for a long stay visa so our experience may not be helpful but here it is. We live in Toronto where there is a consulate. We followed all the directions on the web site, collected an inch of documents, made an appointment using their web site for about 4 months before we want to leave--having noted the line in the web site that it could take 3 months "or longer". When we arrived they sent us away, saying that the system won't process anything until 3 months before and that likely it could be done in a day!!! The Interview of Personal Appearance (as it is so quaintly called in Toronto) was really talking to a clerk who sits behind bullet proof glass with a microphone. We also had several questions answered by using their email system for messages. Perhaps you might have some luck logging onto to consulate of france in Toronto?
As well, while we were in the office we noticed that the cost of the visa has dropped I guess because of the slowly falling Euro. I think it was $147.00
Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
After looking a bit more carefully at the website, I think it's clear that you can send all the forms, documents, photos and assorted other paperwork in by post. What's not clear is whether they consider the children to be filing their own applications or whether they are considered part of the parents' visa. That might be a legit question to try and get answered by phone.

I definitely hear you about the "play by the rules" thing - but that won't get you too far in France, I'm sorry to say. (Believe me, I've learned that the hard way! ) For a visa covering less than 6 months, the local officials have the power to waive quite a bit of the formality (or so I'm told), so what you need to do is to follow along by the rules as published, and then see what happens.

When they contact you about the interview, you can see just how many of the family they really expect to show up. And, for a short "long-stay" visa like you are going for, there's a reasonable possibility they might waive the requirement altogether if all the other paperwork is in order. (Don't ask them for this specifically, just mention nicely that you've got three children and do they need to come in for the interview or not.)

There is a real art to dealing with fonctionnaires - and I'm convinced that applying for a visa is the first of a series of "tests" they put you through to make sure you learn that art.
Cheers,
Bev

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