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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am an American trying to move to France in 2010. My goal is to stay about a year and write a book. That being said, I will not be seeking employment in France, but will be able to prove I am financially stable for 1 year. I have talked to different people about visas, and so far no one has really been able to give me a good answer.

I am trying to figure out a few things:
1. If I come to France on a travel visa, can I extend my visa after 90 days by traveling outside France, or outside the Schengen countries? Would a weekend in London give me another 90 days in France?

2. Realistically, what are my chances of getting a long-term visa?

3. If I enrolled in classes and got a student visa, what are cheap universities I could enroll in? I've looked at a few but they're all quite expensive.

Apologies if these questions have already been addressed. I'm new to this!

Many Thanks!
 

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I am an American trying to move to France in 2010. My goal is to stay about a year and write a book. That being said, I will not be seeking employment in France, but will be able to prove I am financially stable for 1 year. I have talked to different people about visas, and so far no one has really been able to give me a good answer.

I am trying to figure out a few things:
1. If I come to France on a travel visa, can I extend my visa after 90 days by traveling outside France, or outside the Schengen countries? Would a weekend in London give me another 90 days in France?

No you can't. After 90 days, you have to leave Schengen and stay away for 90 days before you can return.

2. Realistically, what are my chances of getting a long-term visa?

You can apply for a long-term tourist visa. You need to prove a number of things, such as financial viability, health insurance, booked accommodation in France for the whole period, and often health certificate and police clearance. Expect a lot of red tape and a long processing time, as your application is decided by civil servants in France.

3. If I enrolled in classes and got a student visa, what are cheap universities I could enroll in? I've looked at a few but they're all quite expensive.

I don't know, but you need to have paid six months to a year's fees in advance. Plus enough money to support yourself without working. While you are allowed to do limited amount of paid work, any money you hope to earn can't be used to show your viability.

Apologies if these questions have already been addressed. I'm new to this!

Many Thanks!
If your French is excellent and you are suitably qualified, you can try to enrol at a French university, whose fees are reasonable compared to a language college. Failing that, applying for a long-term non-working visa is your best bet, but expect a lot of scrutiny, as the presumptions are that people of working age trying to live in France long-term are going to work illegally or engage in clandestine self-employment. You also need to have a good reason for wanting to live in France, with verification. If you intend to write a book, you will have to give details, and explain why it has to be done in France.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your insight.

Back to my first question... If i'm just coming to France, and only getting a travel visa for France, is that still considered a Schengen Visa? And are they really strict, where if I left for a weekend after 90 days and tried to come back in, they wouldn't let me?

Thanks agian
 

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Thanks for your insight.

Back to my first question... If i'm just coming to France, and only getting a travel visa for France, is that still considered a Schengen Visa? And are they really strict, where if I left for a weekend after 90 days and tried to come back in, they wouldn't let me?

Thanks agian
If you are an American citizen, you don't need to get a visa in advance. Just your passport and you are allowed in for 90 days. After 90 days, you must leave the whole of Schengen area for 90 days before coming back. Whether they strictly enforce the rule is up to them, but if you return too soon, you are committing an offence and can be detained and sent back home at your expense. I suggest you don't break the law of the country you'll be visiting, just as you expect visitors to your country to do the same.
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum. To help with your specific questions:

1. No. Absolutely not. The so-called "Schengen visa" is the 90 day tourist visa that applies to the entire Schengen area. For US citizens, you don't need to apply for a visa - just turn up and you have 90 days. But that's a total of 90 days in a six month period of time. If you spend the full 90 days in France (or any other Schengen country), you can't "reset" with just a weekend in London.

2. Getting a long-stay visa without work privileges will be tough. If you're planning on researching a book, you'll do much better if you have a contract with a publisher, or at the very least, some history of having published before on some subject vaguely related to what you're planning on researching. For a first time author, getting a visa to research a book is going to be a real stretch (though nothing is impossible).

3. Foreign students are the cash cows of the educational system. Student visas are issued to those willing and able to pay their tuition fees in full. A cheap school runs the risk of not being able to get you a visa. (France isn't the only country that does things this way. Just ask anyone trying to get a student visa for the US.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I'm French and my husband is Australian.
Last year (2011) we needed to spend just over 3 months in France to be sure to spend Xmas all together. My husband was on a tourist Visa (no need of special visa for Australians).
We went to the prefecture to ask for a solution to stay over 90 days. A nice woman officer recommended us to have a week end in London... My husband visited London for 3days/2nights.
Everything was fine.
The time limit of 90days for 6months... is only for citizen who needs Shengen visa !
 

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I'm French and my husband is Australian.
Last year (2011) we needed to spend just over 3 months in France to be sure to spend Xmas all together. My husband was on a tourist Visa (no need of special visa for Australians).
We went to the prefecture to ask for a solution to stay over 90 days. A nice woman officer recommended us to have a week end in London... My husband visited London for 3days/2nights.
Everything was fine.
The time limit of 90days for 6months... is only for citizen who needs Shengen visa !
Your husband was just lucky.

Often officials at the préfecture don't know about rules that don't concern them (as they don't enforce Schengen rules) and what they told you was wrong - those who don't need specific Schengen visa like Australians, Americans, Canadians, Japanese etc can only stay 90-in-180 days in Schengen, with no extension allowed.

French immigration officials were perhaps too busy to check your husband's travel record when he came back.

I have also seen UK Border Agency staff at the border denying entry to UK to those who have overstayed their Schengen limit. While your husband was still within the 90-day limit when he went to London, had the UK re-introduced exit control, his illegality would have been spotted. While UK isn't part of Schengen and it's not its business to enforce Schengen rules, the reasoning is that a traveller who flouts another country or area's immigration rule cannot be trusted not to do the same in UK.
 

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I'm French and my husband is Australian.
Last year (2011) we needed to spend just over 3 months in France to be sure to spend Xmas all together. My husband was on a tourist Visa (no need of special visa for Australians).
We went to the prefecture to ask for a solution to stay over 90 days. A nice woman officer recommended us to have a week end in London... My husband visited London for 3days/2nights.
Everything was fine.
The time limit of 90days for 6months... is only for citizen who needs Shengen visa !
As Joppa says, your husband was just lucky. The prefectures and even the consulates have been known to give out patently wrong information when they a) have no idea what the rules actually are or b) are looking to get on with what they were doing and simply get rid of the person they don't want to deal with. (I spent nearly 2 years as an illegal alien here in France thanks to wrong information given me by the consulate.)

That said, France has never been terribly stringent about checking tourist visas (incidentally, the "stamp in the passport" 90 day visas are Schengen visas). As long as you don't need to "prove" that you are legally in France it probably doesn't really matter whether you've overstayed or not.

But, the minute you need to show your right to remain in France (apply for a carte de séjour, answer for a traffic offense, etc.) they will start checking your entrance and exit stamps and that's when things can get hairy.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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French visa rules

Hi I was given a multiple entry French visa for 2 months as am a UK resident permit holder.My plans has changed and won't be going to France anymore.Can I travel to Austria instead to see a plan who just put bed.I would still apply for French visa when my visa expires as I wanna take my kids Paris to see tower on their birthday.Thanks
 

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I don't believe that specific country visas are interchangeable within Schengen. If you have a long-stay visa for a Schengen country, you can visit other Schengen countries for up to 90 days. But short stay visas are only valid for the country for which they were obtained. To visit Austria, you need to get a visa for Austria.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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