Old Mar 23rd, 2000, 07:24 AM
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I am going to France for over 90 days and found out too late to get a Visa that one is required. I called the French consulate. I was told then that it was definitely too late. However, I was also told that if I left France for certain countries, i.e. Switzerland or England, that I would not need the Visa. I understood this to mean that I had left and reentered France. Of course, I need to have my passport stampted on exit and entry for proof. I also understood that the period of time was not that important, that it could be relatively short - a day - to qualify. I am just looking for confirmation that this is all true, in particular the time required to be out of France. This seems to be a very simple solution. Switzerland is a great way to get around the problem! Thanks
Old Mar 23rd, 2000, 09:13 AM
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Bob: France may not like that, hoping across the border and back just to avoid the 90 days straight in country. You would have to stay a few days in Switzerland, Germany, whatever to avoid any problems, I would think.

Last November, my company sent me to Brazil with about five days notice. They have strict requirements about going there (Brazil) for work purposes and the visa isn't easy to get. We used Express Visa in New York and they had my visa the day that I left. Their fax number is 202-337-8312. They may be able to help.

Good luck!
Old Mar 23rd, 2000, 09:33 AM
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Bob and Lee,

I don't think that it's about "liking" what you do. And it isn't really even France; it's the EU. The US and and the EU have a treaty (agreement?) that says that visas are not necessary for stays of less than 90 days. Visas for working are a separate matter.

If you leave the EU (go into Switzerland), even for one minute, and have your passport stamped when you ENTER the EU (walk back into France), you have the necessary documentation you need. I don't know when and where you would get stopped on the issue of how long you are in the EU, but you will be able to answer truthfully "How long have you been in the EU?" by citing the number of days since you ENTERED.

This is not based on my personal experience, but I am pretty sure that it is the basis of the "law" governing the length of your stay.

Personally, I would do this: sometime in your first SIXTY days in France, go to Switzerland. After you return to France (whether you're gone 0ne minute or several days), go see someone in a US Embassy location, at, say, day 70 (i.e., well before the 90th day since your original departure from the US). And ask if you need what if any assistance, they can provide (if you need any at all).

Best wishes,

Old Mar 23rd, 2000, 12:25 PM
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The official rule is that you are allowed to stay in the Schengen area (France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Italy, Greece) max. 90 days in any 180-day period. So going to Switzerland for a few days won't do the trick, offically.
However, in practice nobody cares. As long as you have sufficient money you can stay in continental Europe "forever". If you enter the Schengen area from Switzerland or Britain, more often than not your passport is not even stamped, so nobody knows when you entered the country anyway. Don't worry and enjoy your time in France.
Old Mar 23rd, 2000, 03:12 PM
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You could actually have a bit of a problem getting a passport stamp between france and switzerland. No one stopped us going into switzerland and when we returned to france later than night, no one at all was even on duty. Drove right through.

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