visitor from U.S. to Paris-paperwork?

Aug 31st, 2007, 11:09 AM
  #1  
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visitor from U.S. to Paris-paperwork?

Hi - I have a friend coming to stay with us for a week next month. He's a US citizen - nothing unusual about his work or residency or anything, but acording to the State Department I have to write some kind of letter of attestation for him to come and he needs to show a medical record. Has anyone heard of this? We've had other US friends come stay with us with absolutely no mention of anything like this - I've never heard of it!
Thanks -
redhedgurrl is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 11:16 AM
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I think there's more to this story, isn't there? I've vacationed in France for a month and didn't ask the State Dept anything, and certainly no one wrote any letter about me as I didn't know anyone. I go to France for one to two weeks about once a year and no one writes attestations for me.

So why did you ask the State Dept about this?

Do you really mean a medical record or do you mean medical insurance? This sounds like something unusual if medical records are needed (like that TB guy flying around the world, trying to avoid authorities). There are people from certain places with endemic diseases that may need to show medical records or inoculations, but if this is a US citizen, that shouldn't be necessary (assuming they are a US resident).
Christina is online now  
Aug 31st, 2007, 11:21 AM
  #3  
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Hi - no, there really is not anything else to this story. I didn't ask the state dept - my friend did. I don't know why - I think he just thought it was the right thing to do so he would make sure to have everything he needed what with security as it is. Oh - yes, my mistake, it was health insurance records he was told to present.
Rena
redhedgurrl is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 11:25 AM
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That is strange... how did they even find out your friend was coming to stay with you? US citizens don't have to apply for visas (yet), so they usually don't know when we're leaving/arriving or where we're staying until the day we fly out.

Is your friend on some kind of health watch list or does he work for the government?
slangevar is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 11:28 AM
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It sounds like maybe he doesn't travel a lot? Aye yi yi... unless your friend had a good reason to contact the State Department (e.g. known health infections, inclusion on the "Don't Fly" list, known terrorist relations, etc.), his call to the state department wasn't very smart. Now he'll HAVE to present that information before he leaves.

Sorry about that... it sounds like you're the victim of a naive friend. Travel is a bit less convenient these days, but it's not that bad.
slangevar is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 11:29 AM
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I thought you just needed a passport?
suze is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 11:47 AM
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Probably not if you alert the US State Department to the fact that you're leaving the country. This is probably some mean joke by some bored guy in the SD.
slangevar is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 12:07 PM
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maybe we all should call the state dept and tell them of our travel plans.
dandj is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 12:25 PM
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redhedgurrl: Something seems very strange here. Are you VERY sure that is the whole story? US citizens visiting France for a week do not require any sort of visa/permision/letter. They just need a valid passport.

So - does he actually LIVE in the States? Does he have a criminal record of some sort? Anything at all weird? And exactly WHY did he call the State dept in the first place??

What did he actually tell/ask the State dept? I think 1) he may have misunderstood what they said, or 2) confused things when he did talk to them by giving incorrect details.
janisj is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 12:34 PM
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Or he just doesn't travel a lot and overreacted. Redhedgurrl, you have my sympthies. By the way, you might want to see if maybe you can get out of all of the paperwork. Maybe those are "recommended" for travellers who call the SD as opposed to required?

dandj - HA! LOL
slangevar is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 01:00 PM
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Just who are you supposed to give this letter to? Leaving the States he will show his passport to airline employees and for identification, and arriving in France he will show it to French immigration officers. So just who would be reading this letter??

How well do you know this friend - could he be pulling your leg? or?? There just has to be some explanation . . . . . .
janisj is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 04:57 PM
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This whole things sounds extremely fishy to me.

If it were a new poster I would assume a troll.

Either there is more to the story (as in friend is not a US citizen or has criminal record or something) or the friend is an idiot (perhaps a little unkind but true).

Who would call the state department to ask for permission to go to France? (Unless they were planning on staying way beyond the time for a tourist visa?)

Do we know this person even gave his name to the state department? Maybe just called and asked questions without giving a name.

If he got them all involved and made a big foo/faa - then his name may now be ON a list. In which case he should make sure he has proof of health insurance that covers him in France.

They don;t want his medical RECORDS - but proof that he is insured and won;t be a drain on the French healthcare system. And since most US insurance won;t cover him there (he needs to check with his specific carrier and plan) and he may have to buy some as part of trip insurance or something.

The letter may be because he said he was going to stay with you. You may have to either vouch that he is staying only a week - OR - that you will be financially responsible for him while he's in France. (Similar to when they ask backpackers or people without hotels to prove they have money to pay for food and lodging before letting them in the country.)
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 1st, 2007, 03:30 AM
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Both the poster and the respondents seem to be getting this WAY out of proportion.

Redheadgirl's friend asked someone in the American Foreign Minstry something. Redheadgirl THINKS the question was about what the French require the friend to have to enter France. Why anyone thinks America's diplomats know the first thing about French law is beyond me - but if that was the question asked, the diplomats were talking through their arses (is that really a news item?), and the advice should just be ignored.

The advice quoted WOULD, though, have been close to an accurate description of what France requires for an American wanting a visa to stay in France for any length of time. So it's just as likely the friend asked the wrong question or wasn't listening to the answer.

And the likelihood redheadgirl's friend is pretty stupid (after all, he hasn't got the gumption to realise the French know about French laws, not Americans) is probably even higher than America's having incompetent diplomats.

Doubtless, lots of people phone America's public servants with inane questions. To assume those public servants would then somehow access computers to put some kind of warning on a (probably anonymous) caller's flight plan is conspiracy theory carried to a truly absurd level of folly.

If you really did have enough underemployed public servants they can waste time blacklisting every idiot in America who asks a stupid question (and that'd be a bloody long list), they'd have long been transferred to your passport issuing department.

THe friend shouod proceed to an airport, get on a plane and forget about all this. Unless he sees those black helicopters shadowing him all day.
flanneruk is offline  
Sep 1st, 2007, 04:40 AM
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I think it's a very simple mixup.

When a French person is sponsoring someone for a visa, whom they also intend to lodge, the person has to present a "certificat d'hébergement" to get the visa. It is a letter saying, "I, the undersigned, am lodging so-and-so and will be fully responsible for all of his financial needs." Visitors from Africa and the poor parts of Asia are big users of certificats d'hébergement.

I would imagine that one or more information-givers have mixed up this 'need a visa' detail with people just going to France who are staying with someone and don't need a visa.

Hypothetically, if the immigration people at CDG really asked each and every person to prove their hotel and/or lodging details, some sort of paper for a private dwelling would indeed be requested. But France is not, say, North Korea, so I don't think they would ever ask this of North American visitors. In any case, I have lodged friends and family dozens of times and none of them went through the State Department.
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Sep 1st, 2007, 04:50 AM
  #15  
Pinchme_iam_dreaming
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We're going to Paris Sept 20 and nobody asked us for a letter to the state department.
 
Sep 1st, 2007, 04:56 AM
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Bet you redhedgurrl's friend called up state and said something along the lines of "hi, I'm going to go live with my friend in France for awhile, what do I need to do?". And they gave the answer, as best they knew it, for a long term stay... not guessing that anyone would make that sort of call over a 1 week tourist visit.
Clifton is offline  
Sep 1st, 2007, 07:55 AM
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Ok - now that this subject has been beaten to a bloody pulp....I'll answer a few questions. No, my friend has no criminal record, I've known him for 20 years, it's not a joke, I'm not a troll, he is a US born citizen, he has travelled quite a bit (so this threw him off totally) and please, let's not call him stupid or an idiot anymore. Maybe he did overreact by calling the state dept. I don't know if he gave his name, but now he said he got it all straightened out and only has to bring his passport so I assume he will tell me when he gets here that he made some simple mistake when he asked about the requirements.
Thank you for your thoughts...
Rena
redhedgurrl is offline  
Sep 1st, 2007, 07:58 AM
  #18  
Pinchme_iam_dreaming
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I just wonder if he called the state department every time he traveled or was it just this visit to Paris?
 
Sep 1st, 2007, 08:04 AM
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I don't know - I'll ask him more about all of this and if it is interesting enough I will post it here. But I consider this to be a done subject...
redhedgurrl is offline  
Sep 1st, 2007, 08:12 AM
  #20  
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