Difficulty with Schengen visa.

Oct 18th, 2010, 12:42 PM
  #1  
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Difficulty with Schengen visa.

My wife is from Asia and is a legal US resident (but not yet a US citizen) so she has to get a Schengen visa to visit France. Our first stop is London, so I had to send her passport to the UK consulate for a separate UK visa. That was a fairly simple procedure; they just required proof that I had some money, a job and some property. Two weeks later she has her UK visa.

Then we went to the French consulate with the papers I used to get a UK visa. But they said I also had to have an itinerary, hotel reservations and health insurance. So we went and gathered these documents, but when we came back, they now they say I need airplane tickets, prepaid hotels and purchase yet more health insurance. Also my company won't write a letter saying I'll still have a job when I return from vacation.

It just all got to be too much. I gave up. Now our vacation will just be UK and Ireland. You would think that the European countries would make things a little easier for US residents.
halapeno is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 01:49 PM
  #2  
 
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Why? And why should they? The ease of use for you is a benefit of citizenship. The difficulty for her is because she is not a US citizen and seeks to go to France, just as a French resident who is not a French citizen would have difficulty traveling to the US if he was not from a certain list of countries.
BigRuss is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 01:53 PM
  #3  
 
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You likely won't get too much sympathy from folks who have to jump through hoops to visit the US (and not just those w/ the equivalent of Green Cards -- but citizens)
janisj is online now  
Oct 18th, 2010, 01:58 PM
  #4  
 
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Personally I think the immigration and visa restrictions are a tragedy and hope to live to see them disappear. The French in particular seem to be in dark moment. Have a lovely vacation. You certainly have my sympathies -- as a resident of Europe and an American citizen who loves to travel and can remember when times were much better.
zeppole is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 02:05 PM
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Now our vacation will just be UK and Ireland. You would think that the European countries would make things a little easier for US residents. >>

well, fortunately, the UK and Ireland have. [made things easier, that is]. but seriously I understand your frustration - it does seem a bit daft for the French to treat your wife with such suspicion, when we all know that it's the US that everyone is trying to get into, not out of!

go and have a great time in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland - surely enough there to keep you busy?
annhig is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 02:25 PM
  #6  
 
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it does seem a bit daft for the French to treat your wife with such suspicion, when we all know that it's the US that everyone is trying to get into, not out of!

There is a considerable illegal immigration to France from China and probably Vietnam. You should visit the various Chinese neighborhoods in Paris, as lively as any in the States.
Michael is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 07:22 PM
  #7  
 
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The visa requirements for France are VERY involved, if you are trying to do anything particularly out of the norm. We're planning a long-term stay (11 months) next year and can't apply for a long-stay visa until 3 months before we are to leave, plus even as US citizens with a home in the States and sufficient income to live elsewhere, we'll need to purchase additional health insurance covering the year we'll be abroad. And apparently all our documentation needs to be translated into French.

I can only imagine the difficulty your wife faces as a non EU or US citizen. We're also making alternative plans in the event the long-stay visa request is turned down!
uhoh_busted is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 11:55 PM
  #8  
 
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The current government believes that it needs to please the National Front to stay in power. French citizens born of French parents out of France (such as myself) have been faced with all sorts of extra requirements to renew national identity cards or passports. Normally, to get a new national identity card, all you have to do is show the old one. Not so for foreign-born French citizens! Your identity card is worthless and you have to prove all over again that you are really French each time.

The courts finally struck all of this down as being discriminatory, but not all civil servants are cooperative. Interesting to note that it was only when political personalities found themselves in an administrative quagmire that something was finally done -- Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was born in Germany, Ségolène Royal was born in Senegal, Bertrand Delanoë (the mayor of Paris) was born in Tunisia. As long as it was just ordinary people who were complaining, it was of no importance whatsoever.

So if even French citizens have trouble getting their papers, we don't have time for much sympathy for people who need visas.
kerouac is online now  
Oct 19th, 2010, 12:19 AM
  #9  
 
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The rules on Schengen visas are teh same no matter which country you apply to. There is now only one Schengen visa which covers all of Schenegn - no longer the need to for one from the country you first visit with multiple countries, or even from the country you are planning to visit I believe.

the reason for the extra insurance in both cases is so that you do not have to make a call on French social security for health care. Even other Europeans moving to France for an extended period have to have extra insurance.
Perfectly fair.

Getting a visa for the US if you are not a citizen of a VWS country is a nightmare.
Even as a member of a VWS country getting to the US is increasingly difficult, thanks to the ESTA scheme - a visa by any other name.
hetismij is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 12:47 AM
  #10  
 
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Some interesting views
1) Glad the Brits supplied access
2) you need to see how hard it is to get into the US as a tourist before you can fairly comment on the French. And don't mention the Canadians or the Isrealis!
3) The idea that everyone wants to get into the states is frankly bizarre and is the main reason I joined this web site. The truth is far more complicated (but I don't need to "flanner" you all).
4) You also have to understand that France is on high alert for a terrorist attack and is coming up to a period of internal strife
bilboburgler is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 01:58 AM
  #11  
tod
 
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halapeno - As a South African I have to go through all the rigors that you experienced everytime I apply for a Schengen visa from the French Consulate.
This 'difficulty' is being delt with in various ways to get around it.
Please note also, for us we only have 2 channels that can be approached - one consulate is in Johannesburg and the other in Cape Town. I live nearly 500km from the first and am only allowed to apply there, (Cape Town is 1,000km away).
This now involves travelling time, travel costs,hotel expenses etc.
To get around this people are applying to easier and closer consulates like Spain, Portugal & Germany. The requirements are the same but in some instances your Travel Agent is permitted to submit the documents together with plane tickets, health insurance and a full hotel itinerary, letters from the banks together with 3 months bank statements (so they cn see every penny that has come in and out of your account).
It is difficult, but for me a pain that I can endure and then forget all about once those aircraft wheels touch down on the tarmac!
tod is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 02:33 AM
  #12  
 
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"our vacation will just be UK and Ireland."

Has she got an Irish visa? Practically every (actually, I THINK every) country whose citizens need a UK visa need a SEPARATE visa from the Irish Republic, if that's where they intend visiting. Though it's easy to enter the Republic illegally from the North, the main roads are subject to random checks - and passports are inspected at all the Republic ports and airports.

As for "You would think that the European countries would make things a little easier for US residents":

When your inhospitable country stops fingerprinting and photographing visitors, stops charging visitors an entry fee, starts offering visitors the standard of free emergency healthcare European countries do, and refunds visitors the taxes on merchandise your shopkeepers deceitfully keep hidden - you might have some grounds for whining.

And when your xenophobic country's vast spaces allow one one-hundredth the number of foreigners unlimited rights to enter, live, work and draw social security benefits France does - then uninformed whining about filing in a few forms might ne understandable.

Till then, you might worry about the beam in your nation's graceless eye before prattling on about the mote in France's.
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 09:06 AM
  #13  
 
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I got a French visa once and it was easy, but that was a long time ago.

Frankly, the description of what you needed doesn't sound so onerous to me, so I guess I don't have a lot of sympathy. Why would you even go for a visa without your itinerary and documents like airplane tickets or copies of reservations, even I wouldn't do that without even knowing I should bring them. Seems like common sense to me.

Why should being a "US resident" make things so easy, even your employer won't write a letter for you which I find incredible. Mind certainly would. Being a US resident isn't the same as being a citizen at all.
Christina is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 10:22 AM
  #14  
 
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When I was a student in the early 60s, I stayed in France for 15 months. I applied for a visa before leaving the States, and the only thing I had for those 15 months was a piece of paper stating that I had applied for a visa.
Michael is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 10:59 AM
  #15  
 
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I used to be a frequent traveler, visiting UK and France at least 3-4 times a year from turkey, for both busness and pleasure.

We have had a large number of family trips to Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Germany and Switzerland in the last 25 years.

I used to get a 5 year visa for UK and a 2 year Schengen from France.

i had a multiple entry indefinite US visa.

Currently i have a ten year US visa which hardly needs any documentation to renew, a shorter term UK visa which took four days to get with a minimum number of documentation and no headache.

However, last June, my daughter, married recently to an American lawyer with a good job and a high salary, followed an itinerary i drew for them on her honeymoon, flying to Barcelona from Istanbul, renting a car, driving into Langue Doc to stay in two chateaus for 2 and 3 days each, and coming back to roses in spain, to Barcelona then and flying back to chicago.

She needed a Schengen because she is not yet an American citizen.
Although she had a bank statement, a letter of employment from her husband's employer, travel insurance and the plane tickets and the reservations at the chateaus and back in Spain, the French refused her application initially, asking her for her father's bank statement and title deeds plus a paper airline ticket (not electronic) into and out of France.

We had to pay a travel agent to get a fake ticket!!!!!!

And she is a modern gal (see wedding picture on my profile) naturally blondish hair and blue eyes.

I had refused to visit germany for a similar situation about ten years ago and now, i say, let the French have their strikes and looting, for all i care. But they will not have my money.

Halapeno, just come to Turkey. we are friendly, not zenophobic, (in spite of the huge numbers of refugees first saddam and then the United States sent to our country from Iraq and the tens of thousands from the dictatorship of Iran and the tens of thousands of illegal aliens escaping from the poverty our neighboring countries of Armenia, Georgia and Moldovia.
otherchelebi is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 12:06 PM
  #16  
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I am well aware of the complexities getting legal residency visas. After all, I had to get my wife a green card. But this post has nothing to do with immigration, this is just a tourist visa. Any person that legally resides in US, Canada, UK etc. really doesn't have much incentive to come to France on a tourist visa so they can overstay and take a job from a French citizen. It just doesn't make sense.

And this is definitely catch-22. Before you can have a visa, you must spend 1000's of dollars on airplane tickets and prepaid hotel reservations. But if for some reason they decide not to issue a visa ... you've spent a lot of money for nothing.

Additionally, I've been working for the same company for 31 years. Large corporations will write a letter of employment but will not state that "he has a job upon return". The company says that is same as writing a job guarantee which they cannot do. On top of all that, I work for a French company.

I showed a bank statement with a $50K balance to the UK consulate and that was enough to assure them that I didn't want to abandon my wife in London. But that didn't satisfy the French for economic support and health insurance. They still wanted me to buy extra insurance and somehow demonstrate that I would be economically responsible for my wife. My understanding is that other Schengen countries aren't so demanding when issuing a tourist visa, but I wasn't planning on traveling to Italy or Spain.

I've been to France a half-dozen times, so it really doesn't matter to me if I go there or not. My wife is the one that gets left out. We'll just have to satisfied with UK and N.Ireland.
halapeno is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 12:30 PM
  #17  
 
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I agree that there are too many restrictions on tourists.

Then again, just about every fraudulent arrival shows up with a tourist visa. Go figure.
kerouac is online now  
Oct 19th, 2010, 12:37 PM
  #18  
 
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"But this post has nothing to do with immigration"

But that is precisely what it is about. Visas and passport control are immigration issues.
janisj is online now  
Oct 19th, 2010, 01:45 PM
  #19  
 
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Any person that legally resides in US, Canada, UK etc. really doesn't have much incentive to come to France on a tourist visa so they can overstay and take a job from a French citizen. It just doesn't make sense.

I've known a few who did for various personal reasons.
Michael is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 08:18 PM
  #20  
 
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We live in dangerous times and I don't blame any government for erring on the side of caution. I may get irritated at having my bags searched or waiting in long security lines but what is the alternative? To stay home and never visit any other nation.

Hopefully some day things will improve, and I hope it will be while I'm still able to travel.
bluzmama is offline  

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