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Discussion Starter #1
Dear Fellow Ex-pats,

I hope everyone is starting off the New Year well and no one was hit by the "gastro" epidemic we all seemed to get in Loire Atlantique :p

I have a quick question about insurance. My mom is going to be applying for a long-stay visa to come live with us in France. I remember reading, but now can not seem to find anywhere, the fact that if you are applying for a 1-year visa, you only need health insurance for the first 3 months. Has anyone recently had experience with this? Is this accurate?

Thanks in advance for any replies!
 

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Dear Fellow Ex-pats,

I hope everyone is starting off the New Year well and no one was hit by the "gastro" epidemic we all seemed to get in Loire Atlantique :p

I have a quick question about insurance. My mom is going to be applying for a long-stay visa to come live with us in France. I remember reading, but now can not seem to find anywhere, the fact that if you are applying for a 1-year visa, you only need health insurance for the first 3 months. Has anyone recently had experience with this? Is this accurate?

Thanks in advance for any replies!
You say that your mom is applying for a visa to come and live with you, then you mention a 1 year visa; the 1 year visa is not renewable and she would need to return to her home country. The visa de long séjour plus d'un an is the one that can be extended from within France.

3 months health insurance would likely be insufficient if your mom is planning to join the French health system, simply because the application process takes time and cannot be commenced until she has been resident here for 3 months, though in any case many people are reporting that they have been required to demonstrate 12 months health insurance cover.
 

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When my wife and I applied for long-stay visas last July, the French consulate web site said we needed three months of insurance. So we got a three-month policy that met all the other stipulations (e.g., repatriation).

We had no sooner turned in our visa package for review, than we got an email from the consulate saying that our health insurance needed to cover our entire stay. So we flailed about for a day or two cancelling the three-month policy and finding a company with a reasonable one-year policy.

So there's that. But...

As soon as my wife and I got our OFII physical exams, we cancelled the one-year policy and received a prorated refund (about nine months' worth of premiums).

So there's that, too.

I realize that doesn't really answer your question, but it is a data point you can take into account.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi EverHopeful,

Thanks so much for the quick response! So, on the "Long-Stay Visa Application" form, item 27 is "Intended duration of stay on the territory of France" and the choices are "between 3 and 6 months", "From 6 months to one year", "More than 1 year". So I assume if my mom checks off "From 6 months to one year", they will give her a 1-year visa, but she will have to go back to America to get a new visa once her 1-year visa is up. However, if she check "More than one year", they are going to assume she wants a visa "valant titre de sejour" which will allow her to renew her visa here, which would certainly be more convenient.

In either case, it seems that getting a health insurance policy for one year is the safest bet.

I know you don't work at a French embassy, but is the "1 an + visa" much harder to get? Is the "1 year" a "safer bet"?

Thanks again for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi rwjones,

Thanks for replying! Out of curiosity, did you guys get long-stay visas for a certain period (e.g., 1 year) after which you will have to return to the US to get a new one or did you guys opt for the 1 year+ which is renewable in France?

Thank you for sharing your experience. Last time my mom applied, she got a call from the embassy because they weren't sure what she wanted, so it seems like it is better to err on the side of too much insurance than not enough, but those policies do get expensive. On the other hand, if we are able to cancel and get a pro-rated refund, that would be something to think about. For this trip, my mom got coverage with April International (Magellan) which she found pretty good. If you wouldn't mind sharing, which company did you guys wind up going with?
 

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...did you guys get long-stay visas for a certain period (e.g., 1 year) after which you will have to return to the US to get a new one or did you guys opt for the 1 year+ which is renewable in France?

... which company did you guys wind up going with?
The first time we got a visa, we accidentally got a one-year visa that required returning to the U.S. at the end. After we returned to the U.S., we got the proper visa, which is a 1-year + and renewable in France.

We used a company called Insubuy, which is located in Texas. They were extremely helpful in getting us a policy quickly, and then in allowing us to cancel once we had our OFII physicals.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, rwjones! This is all very helpful for me and I am sure will be helpful for other people in the future if they have questions about this. If you remember, were the requirement for a 1-year+ visa much more stringent than just a regular 1-year visa or is it pretty much the same list of requirements? As far as funds go, did you have to show much more for the 1-year+ visa, for example?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you, rwjones! This is all very helpful for me and I am sure will be helpful for other people in the future if they have questions about this. If you remember, were the requirement for a 1-year+ visa much more stringent than just a regular 1-year visa or is it pretty much the same list of requirements? As far as funds go, did you have to show much more for the 1-year+ visa, for example?

Thanks in advance!
 

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If you remember, were the requirement for a 1-year+ visa much more stringent than just a regular 1-year visa or is it pretty much the same list of requirements? As far as funds go, did you have to show much more for the 1-year+ visa, for example?
My wife and I are retirees, so we could only show what our retirement income was. It didn't change much from the first time to the second time. And honestly, from talking to all the retirees we've met who are living here in Paris, it doesn't take a whole lot of income to pass whatever bar they have.

Other than that, the second time was actually a bit easier because they did not require an FBI background check (which they did the first time around). As I recall, that was the only big difference.

The other difference was in process. The first time we went directly to the consulate; the second time we used the consulate's contractor, VFS Global. And this actually made it a bit easier, also, because we had the option of driving to the VFS office and getting our visas rather than waiting for them to arrive in the mail.
 

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...Other than that, the second time was actually a bit easier because they did not require an FBI background check (which they did the first time around). As I recall, that was the only big difference. ...
Over time, we received 3 "long-Term" visas, and then 1 >1 year VLS-TS. At no time were we ever asked for a police or FBI report. However, it is important to bear in mind that administrative things in France are not the same as in the US. Americans expect clear concise sets of rules to which people can be held. That is not the case here. You may find requirements that go beyond what is stated, and yet other requirements may be completely ignored. Bottom line, YMMV. Just listen and do what you need to do to make things work. Note, this is not just for visas, etc. It is France!
...is the "1 an + visa" much harder to get? Is the "1 year" a "safer bet"?...
Again, as noted above YMMV. But, normally application process for the two "visas" is pretty much the same. The major differences will be after your Mother arrives, with the VLS-TS she will need to have a meeting with the OFII.

BTW, you don't mention the basis for your presence in France. Unless you are French, you must have had to go through some sort of process like this yourself and be somewhat aware of how France works.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@rwjones, my mom is in the same boat as you guys, both being retired and going through VFS. She is planning on showing them social sec, bank statement, 401k accounts just to be on the safe side. I hope we will be spared the fun adventure of having to get a background check from the FBI! Fun fact which I just found out: you have to go to one of 30 post offices in the US which is able to take fingerprints to send the FBI.

@berkinet, that is reassuring and I hope that no one will ask for us a background check. I needed a clean criminal record for something or other and I would up getting it from New York State, which they accepted. To be fair, in France, it is relatively easy to get a copy of your background check; I need to do it for work and you just log onto the website, fill out the info, and wait for a few days. The French don't appreciate that in the US, there is city, county, state, and federal law enforcement and that dealing with all these is not necessarily easy.

I have recently become French myself and my wife is French so I have been through that particular bureaucratic ringer :p
 

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You mentioned up thread that she is looking to come to France to live with you. You could provide a letter to her stating that she will be staying with you (since she'll need to show she has accommodation) and if you're planning on covering or contributing to her expenses, you should indicate that in your letter. The fact that she has family here will count big time in her favor - even for a "visitor visa."
 

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Fun fact which I just found out: you have to go to one of 30 post offices in the US which is able to take fingerprints to send the FBI.
I am pretty sure they've done away with the FBI background check requirement. But if it turns out your mom needs it, let me know. I can give you a relatively quick and easy way of getting it done.

As Bev said, though, since your mom has family here, that ought to count for quite a bit in terms of getting a visa.
 

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@Peasant, thanks for the tip, I was not even aware of the existence of those dedicated men and women.

@Bevdeforges, just got done at the local mairie today :p We got her a letter just like for the last visa. Here's hoping that everyone is right and that it does count for something, especially since I got my citizenship, my wife is French and she has a cute grandson to help take care of :)

@rwjones, thanks for the offer!
 

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Hello
Similar to rwjones-we applied in August 2019 at VFS in LA and got our visas for our 1+year (very important to check this box!!!) request in 9 days. We also have pensions and it did not require a FBI fingerprint check anymore.
It did require "0 deductible" health insurance for the whole year. We also used Insubuy.
We have not received our OFII letter yet with appointment date- were told it wont show up for 3 months per the OFII office in Montpellier.

I'm sure your mom won't have any problem. It was much simpler than all the time we spent worrying about!
 

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@rwjones, thanks for the tip on Insubuy! They gave us a pretty good quote and I think we may go with them.

@pvigneault, we are on the other coast and going to the New York VFS office. We have an appointment for mid-January and while all this rigmarole is a bit crazy, but I will say that VFS and the embassy seem to work fast, so fingers crossed, here's hoping!
 
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