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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The French have approved a compulsory visa requirement for non-EU citizens - a French language test that takes place at the time of the application for certain types of long-stay visa (and not once you've arrived in France). It's already being imposed in Turkey (surprise, surprise), Canada, the Ukraine, Senegal and certain North African countries (surprise surprise again).

I haven't worked out if it applies just for 'family reunion' (regroupement familial) long stay visas, or for spousal visas as well. I'm pretty sure only the former (for the time being), but you never know.

I have been told that this is imminent at the French Embassy in Thailand, although there is nothing about it yet on their website in Bangkok. I have seen discussion on other forums where this test is already taking place - Ukraine etc.

If anyone comes across more info on this subject, please let us know. I can't find an official French source on the web as yet.

Apparently failing the test means the visa is withheld until the applicant undergoes a course in French, reapplies for the visa and resits the test. Although it seems that the initial test failure means that you have to attend (regularly) and fully complete a specified French course in the country concerned, but that you don't actually have to pass it :rolleyes:.

It's all a pretty blatant anti-immigration move by Sarkozy (he first raised this possibility during presidential campaigning in 2007) - especially given the countries where it was first imposed. At the very least it delays family reunions, and for some the cost of the course would be prohibitive. Especially if they live in the middle of nowhere and the course takes place only in a couple of cities.

I read somewhere that this is the sort of level involved. Hardly difficult, but then again, I'm not sure I would like to have to sit the same level of tests in Mandarin Chinese, or Japanese, or Arabic, were I heading in the other direction and these countries decided to retaliate by imposing similar tests!

That said, France isn't the only country doing this - the Netherlands have something similar (even more stringent I think), and doesn't the US as well? I wonder, if the recession drags on despite the soundbite optimism, and unemployment increases, whether we shall see more - and stricter - measures along these lines. I see the US and China are at loggerheads over trading issues already... punitive duties on Chinese tyre imports, Chinese retaliation against 'dumped' US chickens and vehicles. A sign of things to come?
 

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Our good 'ld Blighty only imposes language and life in Britain test on those who want to settle permanently (indefinite leave to enter/remain), and those undergoing naturalisation. It can be taken in English, Scottish Gallic or Welsh, and involves multiple-choice questions on such topics as Scottish devolution and how to open a bank account.
 

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The French have approved a compulsory visa requirement for non-EU citizens - a French language test that takes place at the time of the application for certain types of long-stay visa (and not once you've arrived in France). It's already being imposed in Turkey (surprise, surprise), Canada, the Ukraine, Senegal and certain North African countries (surprise surprise again).

I haven't worked out if it applies just for 'family reunion' (regroupement familial) long stay visas, or for spousal visas as well. I'm pretty sure only the former (for the time being), but you never know.

I have been told that this is imminent at the French Embassy in Thailand, although there is nothing about it yet on their website in Bangkok. I have seen discussion on other forums where this test is already taking place - Ukraine etc.

If anyone comes across more info on this subject, please let us know. I can't find an official French source on the web as yet.

Apparently failing the test means the visa is withheld until the applicant undergoes a course in French, reapplies for the visa and resits the test. Although it seems that the initial test failure means that you have to attend (regularly) and fully complete a specified French course in the country concerned, but that you don't actually have to pass it :rolleyes:.

It's all a pretty blatant anti-immigration move by Sarkozy (he first raised this possibility during presidential campaigning in 2007) - especially given the countries where it was first imposed. At the very least it delays family reunions, and for some the cost of the course would be prohibitive. Especially if they live in the middle of nowhere and the course takes place only in a couple of cities.

I read somewhere that this is the sort of level involved. Hardly difficult, but then again, I'm not sure I would like to have to sit the same level of tests in Mandarin Chinese, or Japanese, or Arabic, were I heading in the other direction and these countries decided to retaliate by imposing similar tests!

That said, France isn't the only country doing this - the Netherlands have something similar (even more stringent I think), and doesn't the US as well? I wonder, if the recession drags on despite the soundbite optimism, and unemployment increases, whether we shall see more - and stricter - measures along these lines. I see the US and China are at loggerheads over trading issues already... punitive duties on Chinese tyre imports, Chinese retaliation against 'dumped' US chickens and vehicles. A sign of things to come?
Frogblogger,

I will be at the French Consulate next week to apply for my visa and I'll let you know what happens.. I have taken many years of french but unfortunately, I am not very good at language skills. I can probably write/read it better than listening/speaking. I'm not opposed to requiring continuing courses in language once you enter the country (I have already planned on that). However, if it is a requirement that you pass a test before entering, then I may have a problem. Perhaps my supporting documentation that I have taken many years of french will help.
As a Californian, I wish that we would institute some type of requirement that would mandate at least a very basic ability to communicate in english as we have a lot of immigrants who resist assimilating into the country making things more difficult than necessary.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Our good 'ld Blighty only imposes language and life in Britain test on those who want to settle permanently (indefinite leave to enter/remain), and those undergoing naturalisation. It can be taken in English, Scottish Gallic or Welsh, and involves multiple-choice questions on such topics as Scottish devolution and how to open a bank account.
Say the would-be immigrant intends moving to Basildon, s/he can choose to take the test in Welsh or Gallic? Doesn't seem quite logical to me, if they're supposed to be demonstrating their ability in the language spoken around them in their new home! :D

Anyway, just how many non-EU immigrants are going to opt to take the test in Gallic or Welsh in the first place, given the virtual non-existence of knowledge of these languages anywhere else but in some parts of the countries concerned? Pretty close to zero I reckon, so that's another bit of taxpayers' money down the drain. Sometimes being PC can be taken too far...
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Frogblogger,

I will be at the French Consulate next week to apply for my visa and I'll let you know what happens.. I have taken many years of french but unfortunately, I am not very good at language skills. I can probably write/read it better than listening/speaking. I'm not opposed to requiring continuing courses in language once you enter the country (I have already planned on that). However, if it is a requirement that you pass a test before entering, then I may have a problem. Perhaps my supporting documentation that I have taken many years of french will help.
As a Californian, I wish that we would institute some type of requirement that would mandate at least a very basic ability to communicate in english as we have a lot of immigrants who resist assimilating into the country making things more difficult than necessary.
You should be ok, unless you are applying for a 'family reunion' long stay visa. I'm virtually certain now that it doesn't apply to non-EU nationals rejoining their French spouses (or indeed any other type of long stay visa).

Would be interested to know when they intend introducing this measure at the French consulates in the States though, seeing as it is already in place in Canada, if you have time to ask.
 

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Say the would-be immigrant intends moving to Anyway, just how many non-EU immigrants are going to opt to take the test in Gallic or Welsh in the first place, given the virtual non-existence of knowledge of these languages anywhere else but in some parts of the countries concerned? Pretty close to zero I reckon, so that's another bit of taxpayers' money down the drain. Sometimes being PC can be taken too far...
I think within UK tests in Gallic or Welsh can only be taken in the countries where those languages are spoken - tests are online using computer screen (like driving theory test). But if you are taking tests abroad, usually at British consulates or private agencies contracted to them, only English test is available online and other languages are only in paper form.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Back to the French long-stay visa tests debacle in Bangkok.

Seems I was too optimistic about it only being for broader family reunion cases - it definitely applies to non-EU wives and husbands as well. I met with the French Consul in Chiang Mai this morning, and after a lengthy three-way discussion with the authorities in Bangkok, this is the current situation in Thailand.

- these measures are due to come into effect at the start of October at Bangkok.
- the French Consul in Chiang Mai knew nothing about the imminent application of the new rules until I told him.
- there is nothing about it on the French Embassy's website, and there won't be until October 1st when visa services are due to get final clarification of the new rules.
- as far as head of visa services in Bangkok understands it, the language test definitely applies both to family reunion long-stay visa requests, and to spousal visa requests.
- however it my case, living in France but of British nationality, his current interpretation of the rules is that my wife will not have to take the test.
- nonetheless, he will only be sure on October 1st, ie six days before my wife has her visa application appointment at the Embassy. Rather a tall order, learning French in six days to the required level.
- they do not know at this point what language ability will be required, as it has yet to be decided which will be the appropriate language course (DELF or DILF) for those who fail the test.

Basically at the Consulates and the Embassy, all those involved, ie visa services and Consuls, don't really know what the final rules will be.

All this less than a fortnight before the new rules are supposed to be implemented.

Crazy... but very French. A plethora of rules and regulations, the French love their fonctionnaires and red tape, but as usual one hand doesn't have a clue what the other one is doing.

This isn't just Bangkok/Thailand, this is due to come in as a general measure wherever long-stay visas are applied for, anywhere in the world.
 

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Back to the French long-stay visa tests debacle in Bangkok.

- however it my case, living in France but of British nationality, his current interpretation of the rules is that my wife will not have to take the test.
- nonetheless, he will only be sure on October 1st, ie six days before my wife has her visa application appointment at the Embassy. Rather a tall order, learning French in six days to the required level.


Pete,
in your case, can't your wife take British nationality (being married to a Brit) and slide "under the radar" as it were into France on the basis of that ?

Hils
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hils, from Wikipedia...

For those married to a British citizen the applicant must:

* hold indefinite leave to remain in the UK (or an equivalent such as Right of Abode or Irish citizenship)
* have lived legally in the UK for three years
* been outside of the UK no more than 90 days during the one-year period prior to filing the application.
* show sufficient knowledge of life in the UK, either by passing the Life in the United Kingdom test or by attending combined English language and citizenship classes. Proof of this must be supplied with one's application for naturalization. Those aged 65 or over may be able to claim exemption.
* meet specified English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic language competence standards. Those who pass the Life in the UK test are deemed to meet English language requirements.
So that's out I'm afraid, seeing as I haven't set foot in the UK for ten years and have no intention of doing so in the foreseeable future!
 

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They've been threatening a genuine "test" of French ability for some time now, but I think it's mainly for family reunification and possibly spouses of French nationals from outside the EU. And, as you say, mostly aimed at "non-Western" countries and cultures.

To a large extent, the interview for a visa at the consulate (now required, for example, at the French consulates in the US) serves as a test of the applicant's French. The best way to get around it is to simply conduct your business at the consulate in French (broken but understandable will do).

And this, too, shall pass. They get all "enthused" about these regulations when they are new, but then enforcement kind of fades over time. Actually the contract d'integration (or whatever it's called) isn't a half bad idea, but recently I've heard of folks who got through the whole carte de séjour or registration with the OFII process and were never asked to sign any contract, nor were they told anything about the culture or language classes.

I have also long suspected the thing about merely having to sit through the language classes, too. Seems to be the case with lots of training things in France.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oh, Peter, what have you done? When I used Wiki as a reference someone gave me a right telling-off!:rolleyes:

Mind you, he made it clear that he was a World Authority on Everything and we should do nothing but be overwhelmed by his presence.......
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
:D Wikipedia does have its faults! But that quote looked like a copy/paste from something official to me... although I know, I should double-check my sources!
 

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Hils, from Wikipedia...



So that's out I'm afraid, seeing as I haven't set foot in the UK for ten years and have no intention of doing so in the foreseeable future!
I think you can bypass the new French language test for your wife. You are a British national exercising EU treaty rights to live and work in France. In that case you have an absolute right to be accompanied by your non-EU spouse, by applying for an EEA Family Permit. As you are not a French national, EU regulations take precedence over French law. Family Permit will be issued promptly and is free. If you were to take your wife to UK to live, she would be subject to UK immigration rules, including, where applicable, Life in Britain Test. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not sure about that Joppa, because I've just looked at an EEA family permit application form, and it seems to target someone actually intending to go the UK (which we don't). I've no address in the UK, it's an age since I left, I make no tax or NI insurance contributions there.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That would sound logical Joppa... if there were any such animal mentioned on the otherwise comprehensive visa section of the Bangkok French Embassy's website (or indeed any other official French website I've come across so far)! The plot thickens, I shall endeavour to find out more... thanks :)
 

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That said, France isn't the only country doing this - the Netherlands have something similar (even more stringent I think), and doesn't the US as well?
I'm fairly positive the US has no such requirements, given that only a handful of states even have an official language policy and there is no federal official language. When i was going thru the US immigration system with my wife, most services/forms were available in numerous languages, but this was a decade ago.
 

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The US doesn't have a language or culture test for visa purposes, but it does for citizenship. They have recently standardized the test a bit (it used to be informally given, as I understand it, now it's a written test) but you can find many of the questions for it online, and it looks rather like a trivia test. Lots of dates and little "factoid" stuff that is easy to grade on (i.e. it's right or it's wrong) but most native born Americans would have trouble passing it. The language requirement is waived for immigrants over a certain age who want to take citizenship - may be 75 or so.

In France you have to demonstrate your knowledge of the French language to get French nationality - but usually this means simply conduct a couple of interviews in French with the officials. You are also supposed to demonstrate your level of integration into the society - and again, informal stuff like belonging to associations, holding down a job and speaking French seem to do the trick.

I know the Dutch tests are pretty stringent, but I was under the impression those, too, were for taking nationality rather than simply immigration - though that may have changed in the last 10 years or so.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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UK has a language-cum-knowledge test called Life in Britain test, conducted online, for those applying for naturalisation and for settlement visa (indefinite leave to remain/enter, like the US Green Card). While no speaking is involved, the test in only available in English (or Scottish Gallic or Welsh for relevant areas). Alternatively ,you can take and pass an approved course that combines learning English and getting to know basic facts about UK.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
<<<The language requirement is waived for immigrants over a certain age who want to take citizenship - may be 75 or so.>>>

Only if accompanied to the test by all four grandparents.:eyebrows:
 
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