Schengen visa from France


Aug 27th, 2003, 08:09 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 10
Schengen visa from France

We plan to spend about 4 1/2 months in France and Italy as tourists. I understand we need to obtain a long-stay visa because we will be there more than 90 days. Since we are flying in & out of Paris, and spending most of our time in France, I thought I'd get a visa from that country. However!

France's process is slow (about 60 days) and expensive (at least $225 for 2 people) and (if I'm reading their website correctly) will require us to appear in Atlanta at their office twice (we live in North Carolina). So I'm thinking of getting the visa from Spain or Italy. Spain looks like the easiest to deal with.

Can anyone with experience with this offer some advice please? I'm tempted to skip it altogether -- we did that in ignorance last time, but I'm afraid they won't let us board the plane with 120 day tickets & no visa. I'm also tempted to fly into London & take a train into France. Do they check Americans passports coming into Paris from the Chunnel? I know they don't from the ferries, but haven't used the Eurostar before.

Sorry for the long-winded message, but could really use some experienced advice! Thanks.
TeaTime is offline  
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Aug 27th, 2003, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 165
Your plan with Spain or Italy won't work if you don't plan to spend most time there.
Best is to just ignore the rule. If someone asks (airline check-in staff, immigration in Paris (highly unlikely)) just tell them that you are planning to spend time in a non-Schengen country (Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, UK, Ireland,.....).
As long as you don't work or break any other law, it is highly unlikely that a citizen of a rich country (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc.) will have any problems with immigration in the Schengen zone.
Sjoerd is offline  
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Aug 30th, 2003, 09:35 AM
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We've decided to fly to London then go to France by train. We'll have the six month British visa stamped into our passports, and ignore the Schengen rules.

When we went by ferry from England to France, and when we went by train/ferry from London to Amsterdam, no one checked our passports, as we were moving about within the EU. Can someone please confirm to me that there's no document check entering France by train from London. We will probably go via Lille to Lyon.

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Aug 30th, 2003, 01:16 PM
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Your proposal is very dangerous indeed.

First, remember you're proposing breaking French law - mainly, it appears, because it's inconvenient for you to obey the law of the country where you're going to be a self-invited guest.

No-one can confirm what will happen on your inbound Eurostar because the French aren't consistent about checking documents on inbound Eurostars, and there's no outbound UK passport control. BUT, if you have a return ticket showing a date 4 months later, UK checkin staff are supposed to refuse you boarding. If you're lucky.

Because the French are meticulous, and consistent, about checking documents on OUTBOUND Eurostars. The reasons are unrelated to your issue: they're to do with what happens to, and who's responsible for, illegal UK immigrants.

So it's a total certainty the French passport people will see you've overstayed your visa. Worse: that you entered without a visa, knowing you were so doing.

And that's an imprisonable offence.

You might get a Gallic shrug. Given the publicity about the US's disgraceful treatment of French people arriving with the wrong visa, and your government's obsession with machine-readable passports, you'll probably be deported. Which might mean your passport will carry a "deported" stamp on it. And the Schengen database (and most other databases) will register you as a deportee. For ever.

Or you might just go to jail. Perhaps just for a day or so while it's sorted out - as the US has recently treated French people with far more trivial passport errors.

Or for the time people normally go to jail when they set out deliberately to flout a country's laws.
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