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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello people of the France expat forum,

As you may have already gathered, I am new to the expatforum. I have been collecting my documents for a long stay visa to France as well as reading and re-reading a great deal of online information for several weeks. I live on the east coast of Canada and therefore must go to the French consulate in Montreal which processes visas for four provinces and one territory. I was hoping to apply and leave for France to live with my boyfriend (French born) at the end of July. However, they don't show any openings for appointments until some time in September (it doesn't actually say when). I did find out tonight though, that they update the site for cancellations at midnight French time. Some openings for August 7th appeared and then quickly filled up in a matter of seconds while the newly installed mandatory Firefox froze on my laptop.

My questions:

Does anyone else have computer problems only trying to book an appointment for an interview? I tried installing Internet Explorer but it didn't seem to work. I still haven't been able to figure out if I have Adobe 5.

Also, does anyone know if you need a long stay visa to stay in France past 90 days if you don't need a carte de séjour for awhile? I would imagine that you still do, however whenever I try to look this up, the only responses are for people wanting a CDS. My boyfriend and I are older (50 & 60) and he is telling me to come anyway and to stay past the 90 days and I am telling him no, that otherwise that I would be an illegal. He says that I'm wrong, I say that he is wrong.

And finally, whether I go for three months and return to apply or wait/can get a tourist visa for a year, we would probably do a PACS when I arrive. The French consulates in Canada do not recognize a PACS as a reason for a visa. My options are tourist or 'other', though I would explain in my letter that we were planning on getting PACSed (or that I had a PACS after being PACSed). Has anyone applied for a tourist visa, then explained that they were going to do a PACS with their partner and who received the visa on that basis? - that the PACS worked in their favour? My boyfriend has been telling me for weeks to just come and then that we would 'figure it out', however I don't think that that is the best plan. I have told him that he has to look at me as real foreigner vs a European.

Thank you very much to anyone who may read this and respond. I have very much enjoyed reading many of your questions and responses.

Tracey

PS - Sorry for any spelling mistakes. My laptop is set to all French and I can no longer get it to spell check English.
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum. Hm, sounds familiar - boyfriend says "just come and we'll figure it out." Let me tell you from experience, it's not a good idea.

First of all, for anything other than a spouse visa, you won't be able to get a visa appointment on short notice (like just a month) as you have been trying to do. Add to that, we're in the midst of the summer holiday season and the consulates are short-staffed as it is (which is why there aren't any appointments until September other than cancellations).

What you could do is to book yourself an appointment for whenever you can get it - let's say September - and then go over on a regular tourist visa, with plans to return a couple of days before your appointment. That would at least give you a chance to look into the requirements for PACSing - though I think you may do better if you wait until you're on some sort of a long-stay visa before you actually get PACSd. Plus, you shouldn't give up your Canadian residency until you have long-stay visa in hand. The process can take some time (especially during or just after the vacation season) and is not a "sure thing" like a spouse visa would be. Give some thought to the question they ask about why you want to come to France. Saying that you're coming to get PACSd may not be the way to go - some consulates don't like to use the visitor visa as a "fiancé visa" whether for marriage or PACSing.

The key things with the visitor visa will be that you have adequate financial resources for your stay (i.e. your first year in France) and that you have the necessary private health insurance. (Although you can enroll in the French system once you establish residence with 3 months in the country, the process takes some time and you'd be better off to have some sort of private coverage in the meantime.) Don't let your boyfriend tell you that you'll be covered once you get PACSd, because there are delays and glitches in that process. Having your own private cover to start with will give you a margin for error. (And the settling in process in France always seems to take longer than anyone thinks it should.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Bev.

So if I understand correctly, you are suggesting that I go for the 90 days and then book my appointment for when I return if I don't want to delay my trip. I gather that with a long stay visa in hand you do not have to wait an additional 90 days to return to France / Schengen Region?

My boyfriend is the one who is suggesting PACS and marriage, as I'm not to keen to do it simply for a visa. I wasn't planning to give up my residency in the sense that I'm not renewing the lease where I live but am keeping my condo that I rent out. It also sounds like a tourist visa is the best way to go. Would you suggest that I even mention that I have a boyfriend in France?

I would have the financial resources for my stay (but would want to eventually work legally) and I have already purchased the private health insurance - it was necessary at my consulate to have every document in hand before booking an appointment, though I imagine that I will have to update some documents now (not just the banking info). So, I would be covering myself, it was simply that my boyfriend would be supporting me financially in the sense that I would be living for free at his house and he didn't seem to think that I would need a long stay visa if I had the finances and health coverage but I figured that he was wrong from all of my research. We agreed that I would live at his house for free for the year, so I would be filling out his information on the long stay form as supporting me while in France, plus my own finances. I even wondered if it would work in my favour that he lives in the country with the nearest village of less than a 100 people. In Canada, they desparately want possible newcomers to settle in the underpopulated areas.

You have given me great advice Bev and things to think about.

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond!
Tracey
 

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Don't confuse a "tourist" visa with a "visitor" visa. A tourist visa is the 90 day "Schengen visa" you get when you come to France as a tourist (the stamp in your passport). A "visitor" visa is a long-stay visa (i.e. more than 90 days) you have to apply for at the consulate.

What I'm suggesting, if you can swing it, is to make an appointment at the consulate for September or whenever you can get one. Then, jump on a plane and go visit your bf as a tourist on a 90 day Schengen stamp in the passport. Return to Canada for your consulate appointment.

Assuming you get the long-stay visa, you'll be able to return right away to France, as the time you've spent in the Schengen zone is only relevant for a Schengen tourist visa. After a few months of living in France you'll have a better idea what you want to do about getting PACSd or married or whatever - and that will affect how you apply at the end of your year as a "visitor" to either change status or renew your titre de séjour. You won't be able to work while on the visitor visa. But changing status at the end of the year should be fairly simple once you're established and have the requisite amount of "co-habitation" to show after getting PACSd or married. Or, if you decide you can't cope with France (don't laugh - it happens) you go back home and revert to Plan B, whatever that is.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry, I was interchanging the lingo. I went last year as a tourist for 90 days and then he came here to spend time with me. I've read the stories where the love wasn't strong enough to survive life in France or where people left the love and stayed in France for themselves! From what I experienced, the people are exceptionally welcoming and friendly as I have made great friendships and it is a great place to live. But I have yet to dig deep into the French government and all the steps and checks of their laws and regulations which does seem quite daunting from the little that I have seen and from my French friends. Nor spend the winter in the middle of nowhere on a farm. I'm fairly fluent but I had a lot of trouble just figuring out when to write in high formal French vs normal formal French.

Thanks again for your help Bev.
Tracey
 
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