France Second-Home Owners: Here’s How to Apply for a Temporary Long-Stay Visa

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France Second-Home Owners: Here’s How to Apply for a Temporary Long-Stay Visa

For second-home owners in France or those looking to buy French property after Brexit, one of the biggest concerns post-Brexit is the changes regarding travelling to France. British travellers can now only travel to France for up to 90 days within any 180 day period*, and those hoping to stay longer than 90 days will need to apply for a long-stay visa.

What Kind of Visa Do You Need?

Second-home owners resident in the UK or other non-EU countries will need a long-stay visa to stay in France for longer than 90 days. For those who intend to visit France only and not become resident, the easiest option is to apply for a visa de long séjour temporaire visiteur or VLS-T Visiteur. This visa is the temporary version of a long-stay visa – the difference being that it is not possible to renew the visa or apply for a residency card (carte de séjour).

The temporary long-stay visa is valid for up to a year, although it is typically issued for stays of between four to six months (remember, if you plan to spend longer than six months in France, it is likely that you will be classed as living in France for tax purposes). If you plan to split your time between France and your country of residence, you’ll need to apply for a new visa each year.

This visa does not allow you to work or study while you are in France.

Long-Stay Visa Requirements in France

Long-stay visa applications are considered on an individual basis, and you must prove that you have sufficient funds and healthcare coverage for the duration of your stay. But what does this mean in practice?

The French Embassy in the UK states the following requirements:

Sufficient funds

Sufficient funds required for a single person are around €1,300 monthly net, over a year. You must show that you have sufficient funds for the entire 12-month validity of your visa (even if you only intend to stay for six months), either through proof of regular income or by depositing the entire amount (around €15,600) in a bank account.

These funds can be from personal income, savings, annuities or pensions, or other valid income sources. You can also be financially sponsored by a spouse, partner, or family member.

Healthcare

You must have health insurance for the full duration of the visa’s validity period. The good news for British citizens is that the EHIC card (which remain valid for British citizens until the renewal date IF you already had one prior to Brexit) or the Global Health Insurance Card (the UK’s new version of the European Health Insurance Card) is accepted for this kind of visa. For Americans or other non-EU citizens, private travel health insurance is required, with a minimum cover of €30,000 to cover urgent medical care and repatriation costs.

What Documents Do You Need to Provide for a Temporary Long-Stay Visa?

The required documents you will need for your Temporary Long-Stay Visa application are as follows:

  • Your passport (this must be less than 10 years old, with a validity of at least 3 months longer than the visa expiry date you are applying for).
  • 2 x ID photographs (following passport-style regulations)
  • Proof of residence in the country you are applying if you are not a citizen
  • Proof of your socio-economic situation (retired, employed, self-employed, etc.)
  • An attestation stating the purpose for your stay (for example, that you are a second-home owner wishing to visit or carry out maintenance on your holiday home) and that you will not exercise any professional activity in France
  • Proof of your travel health insurance
  • Proof of your French residence, rental agreement, or intended place of residence
  • Proof of sufficient funds (for example, 3 months of bank statements with your full name and address, those of your spouse/partner along with your marriage certificate, or savings account with the full amount).

How to Apply for Your Long-Stay Visa in France

You can apply for your long-stay visa in France via the France Visas Online Portal.

This process can be done online, after which you will need to make an appointment at your local embassy or visa centre—UK residents can visit the French Embassy in the UK to find your nearest embassy. You will need to print out the receipt of your application and bring it, along with all required documents, to the meeting. When your visa is ready, you will go back to the embassy to pick it up or you can arrange to have it returned to you by courier (fees apply). During the final meeting, you will also have a biometric iris scan and fingerprints taken (these are retained for five years by the French Consulate).

You can start the application process within three months of your intended arrival date in France.

How Much is a French Long-Stay Visa?

Typically, a long-stay visa costs €99, which is payable at your visa application interview. There is also a non-refundable visa application processing fee payable at the time of your online application. This fee varies depending on your country of application, but in the UK it is £26 payable to TLSContact, while in the US it’s $38.20 to VLS Global. Additional credit card transaction fees may also apply.

There is also a non-refundable visa application processing fee payable at the time of your online application. This fee varies depending on your country of application, but for example, in the UK it is around £26 payable to TLSContact, while in the US it’s $38.20 through VLS Global. Additional credit card transaction fees may also apply.

Additional fees apply if you opt to have your passport and visa returned to you by courier (in the UK, expect this to cost around £16).

Tips for Applying for Your Long-Stay Visa

Some tried and tested tips from our readers:

  • When applying online you MUST remember to print out (or save to your computer) the completed Application and Registration Receipt (available at the end of the application process). If you try to print these out later, they will be ‘draft’ copies and not accepted when you go in for your in-person meeting.
  • Print-outs of bank statements are accepted, but you must find at least one with your address at the top and this can be tricky if you only have online statements. An old statement showing the address, accompanied by recent statements showing your balance may be accepted.

*Remember that COVID-19 regulations are still in place in both France and the UK. Be sure to check the latest rules before travelling: see our articles on travel between France and the UK and France’s traffic light system.

Have you applied for a long-stay visa in France? Get in touch and let us know your experience.

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Comments

  • Roslyn Hope
    2023-01-06 02:13:09
    Roslyn Hope
    I took out a temporary long stay visa for France on 28/02/22, for 6 months as I have a second home in France and wanted more flexibility in when I could come and go within the overall six month in twelve month limit. My understanding of this visa was that I could come and go up to six months between last February and this coming February. In all, I will have spent 151 days in France, well within the maximum per annum. It was pointed out by French passport control on 2nd November, on returning to the UK, that my visa had expired on 28/08/22. They let me through without any comment except 'c'est parfait', which I now wonder was ironic. Further research now at home indicates that this was because the visa was for a period of continuous six months. This would mean that I had overstayed my visa by 62 days! I did not fully realise this until I was applying to take out a visa for 2023, where I was informed that I had to wait six months after the expiry date. I am now very worried about my situation in returning to France as I have read there are severe penalties for overstaying one's visa, and don't know where to get advice. I don't want to turn up at security at an airport and be denied entry. I have tried talking to the TLS contact company who deal with visas for the French government, but they didn't seem to understand what I was talking about. Any advice would be gratefully received.

    REPLY

    • Zoë Smith
      2023-01-10 21:18:57
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Roslyn, A temporary long-stay visa is valid for six months from the start of the visa. While you can come and go as often as you like within the visa period, once it expires you will be subject to the 90/180 day rule. You may return to France immediately after your visa has run out, using your 90 day allowance, but you must leave the country at the end of the six-month visa period to avoid overstaying your visa. You can read more about that here: Reader Question of the Month: Does My Long-Stay Visa Count Towards My 90 Days?

      Unfortunately, it sounds like you didn't do this and did indeed overstay your visa. It is unlikely for a first-time offence that you will be refused entry to France (providing you are still within the 90/180 day allowance), but you may be issued a one-off fine and have your passport stamped as 'overstayed'. To be honest, I'm not sure if this will affect your next application for a temporary long-stay visa - it may not be an issue this one time but if it is, hopefully you will be able to explain that this was an honest mistake. Best of luck and do let us know how you get on when you do re-apply. Zoe

      REPLY

  •  Martin
    2022-12-30 12:19:51
    Martin
    Hi I plan on buying a second home in France but can me my partner and three children spend school term time in France and spend the rest of our time in the UK meaning we wouldn't be in France for more than 8 weeks at a time . I do holiday clubs in the UK so I would like to return for 12 to 16 weeks a year is this possible without a visa .

    REPLY

    • Zoë Smith
      2023-01-03 07:45:36
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Martin, If I've understood correctly, you are planning to live in your French home and put your children in a French school? In this case, your primary residence would likely be France and so yes, you would need the relevant visa and/or residency card. Read our article The Road to Permanent Residency in France: A Step by Step Overview for more on how to become resident in France. Best of luck! Zoe

      REPLY

  •  Mark
    2022-12-13 11:10:45
    Mark
    Hi I am from the UK but live in Singapore. I am in the process of buying a property in France. I plan to visit France for no longer than six months to work on the house so I want to apply for a temporary long stay visa. It says on this site that a travel insurance policy will suffice. Can anybody recommend any companies that deals with this type of visa? I can't get a Schengen insurance policy as I am not applying for a Schengen visa. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    REPLY

    • Phillip
      2022-12-14 05:53:21
      Phillip
      Hello Zoe, I'm hoping you might be able to answer my question as well. I'm an American living in Singapore and I just bought a home in France. I am not French and have no French relatives so I'm trying to figure out the best visiting option. If I select visitor and the main purpose is a visit, it requires you to have a sponsor. Do you know if there another option that doesn't require a sponsor since I already have a place in France? I've searched everywhere on the France Visa website and when you ask for an appointment to talk to someone they won't meet with you until you have completed the on-line application. Any help is greatly appreciated. Phillip

      REPLY

      • Zoë Smith
        2022-12-20 16:20:09
        Zoë Smith
        Hi Phillip, As far as I am aware, you do not need a sponsor to apply for a long-stay visitor visa and I'm not aware of anyone needing this. You do need a permanent address, but being as you have just bought a home in France that requirement is covered. If you're unsure how to apply, our article Applying For Your French Long-Stay Visa: Step by Step will talk you through it. Best of luck! Zoe

        REPLY

    • Zoë Smith
      2022-12-13 15:25:02
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Mark, For a temporary long-stay visa, a GHIC is typically sufficient - however, it is still recommended that you take out travel insurance to cover your trip. Best regards, Zoe

      REPLY

      •  Mark
        2022-12-14 07:15:03
        Mark
        Hi Zoe, thanks for your reply. Although I am from the UK, I can't apply for GHIC or EHIC as I don't live in the UK, I live in Singapore at the moment. I Can only apply for this if I reside there. Also, I have to apply for the visa where I am living :(

        REPLY

        • Zoë Smith
          2022-12-14 09:28:17
          Zoë Smith
          Hi Mark, In that case, a standard travel health insurance that covers the duration of the visa should suffice for a temporary long-stay visa. Note that for a 1-year long-stay visa you must have full private medical insurance, but this isn't the case for a temporary (6-month) visa. Best regards, Zoe

          REPLY

          •  Mark
            2022-12-14 11:51:28
            Mark
            Hi Zoe, thanks for the quick response. That's a great help. Thank you

            REPLY

  •  Bobguide
    2022-06-15 06:42:10
    Bobguide
    Your post contains a lot of details and I want to thank you for sharing as it has helped me a lot.

    REPLY

  •  Nicky Mumford
    2021-10-06 09:31:00
    Nicky Mumford
    This is useful but raises a number of questions! I presume this Visa is for a situation where you would like to stay for 4-6 consecutive months as we can already stay for up to 6 months under the 90/180 rule if you split your visits between Schengen & UK. For someone with a VLS-T Visiteur can you confirm if the following situations are correct: - you return to UK on last day of your 6 month stay but can then travel to another Schengen country within the following few weeks under the 90/180 rule. If not can you explain how this VLS-T Visa impacts the 90/180 allowance - you could leave France on the last day of your 6 month stay and travel directly (not via UK) to another Schengen country staying for up to 90 days - Having had this visa and staying for 6 months I assume that you wouldn't be able to return to France within 1 year of the date of your first visit as this would put you over 6 months and class you as living in France

    REPLY

  • frank pope
    2021-09-24 08:30:31
    frank pope
    Hi, I am a second home owner in France (Olonzac 34210) but of course have not been able to visit since November 2019. We (wife and I, both retired and self funded) are hoping to return to France early next year and would like to stay longer than the 3 months permitted. Can you recommend a service/agency to help us apply for a long stay visitors visa, I believe it can be done in Beziers? Many thanks Frank

    REPLY