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Hi everyone,

I'm an Australian with a French girlfriend of one year that has recently moved back to France (Rennes).

I will be going to france in July with the intention of staying a year (or more) if possible. My question is what visa should i be applying for?

As an Australian i can apply for a working holiday visa which allows me to stay for a year.. I would definitely like to get some kind of work but my main purpose is to be with my girlfriend. Would this be acceptable to say when applying?

Or should i be applying for a long stay visa? or perhaps PAC's?

Any info is really appreciated !!
 

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Which visa to apply for depends entirely on your situation and your intentions. You can apply for a working holiday visa - however, at the end of that visa's term, you will be expected to return back home. Check some of the other threads here in the forum, because we've had reports that folks on those working holiday visas have had difficulty securing employment in specific locations or at a level that suited their needs. The visa is intended for those wishing to see France and do short-term type employment, often in the tourist industry.

For a long-stay visa with working privileges (other than the WHV) you would need to first secure a job in France and then have your employer start the visa process for you. It's not an easy (or cheap) process for the employer, so that one depends on what qualifications you hold and whether or not you can convince a French employer that hiring you would be better than hiring a local or other EU citizen who already has working rights in France.

You won't be able to PACS until you've lived together with your girlfriend for a while - usually for 6 months or a year - and being PACS'd isn't a guaranteed visa, though it's usually adequate provided everything else checks out. The trick is finding a way to spend the necessary 6 to 12 months in France (legally) to prove the co-habitation part. (And at that point, getting married would offer a very nearly guaranteed spouse visa.)

What many do (and what some consulates actually recommend) is to apply for a long-stay visit visa for one year. You can't work, but you can decide whether or not you're ready for the big plunge - i.e. marriage. If you get married while you're in France on a visitor visa, you can then change your status to a spouse visa without having to return home (some, if not all, prefectures require you to have been living together for six months before they'll make the change in status).

As far as I know, those are about your only options, but perhaps some of the other folks here on the forum know of other possibilities.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Just to add to what Bev has said, a PACs is not a visa but a civil partnership.
If you get PACsed, you will be able to get a residency permit with working rights provided you've been PACsed for 1 year - or maybe you just have to co-habit for 1 year and also be PACsed, I'm not exactly sure. Basically a long stay visa is valid for one year, during which you don't apply for a residency permit (you just have a validated visa), but at the end of that year (of the visa's validity) and each year after you apply for a residency permit to continue to stay in the country.

As Bev said it's different with a working holiday visa because you have no choice but to leave at the end.

If I were in your position I'd probably go for the working holiday visa and get PACsed, then see where things go from there, who knows - maybe marriage might be an option?
I wish you all the best - myself I'm an Australian married to a French boy. If the whole long-distance relationship is driving you insane, I can relate. I stayed in France with him for two months, then we were apart for 5, he came over here on a working holiday visa and we got married last year.
 
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