I would like to travel to France before the starting date of my long sejour visa. I thought it will be no problem since I can travel to the Schengen only with my passport without asking any permission for three months as tourist, but now I was told I have to enter France exactly the date that my long sejour visa says. Is it true?

I have read this post but I am not sure I found the answer.

Note: I have been calling the French consulate in my country since last Thursday but no one is answering the phone. I suppose they are in holidays, but my flight is very soon so I have to know what to do as soon as possible.

  • What passport do you have? and are you going to stay for more than a year? in other words will you need the residence permit (carte de séjour)? – Nean Der Thal Dec 24 '12 at 21:53
  • I have a passport that allows me to visit France for no more than 3 months in a row. Now, the consulate has gave me a visa for one year, since I am staying for about 3 years. That visa starts January 7th, the question is if I am able to enter before that date as a tourist. – Rafael Angarita Dec 24 '12 at 22:06
  • Knowing your nationality may help in better answers. – Nean Der Thal Dec 24 '12 at 22:30
  • It does not. It is valid for one year and it says: type of visa: D, duration of stay: XXX days; however, I do think I have to ask the carte de séjour. Thank you very much for your help. – Rafael Angarita Dec 24 '12 at 23:12

Reading all over the internet suggests that you go to the UK and re-enter again with your long sejour visa. In addition to that the official website of the French Ministry of Interior says:

• A valid visa corresponding to the reason for and duration of the intended stay (except for visa waivers);

and in the required documents upon arrival section (Family or Private Visit):

Proof of Accommodations (accommodations affidavit validated by the mayor of the municipality where the host resides) Exemptions: - Humanitarian trip or forming part of a cultural exchange (the accommodations affidavit may be replaced by an affidavit from the host organization or by an invitation if the organization is accredited) – affidavit exemption by the consular authority (if the stay is justified by an urgent medical reason or by the funeral of a relative)

It looks like you will have a different process of entry for the long stay visas and entering with Schengen visa does not cover that, therefore you will have two options, either postpone your arrival in France, or go early and then go to the UK and re-enter again.

  • Not necessarily the UK, depending on where you are in France it could be much more convenient to re-enter from any of the surrounding countries, all of which are in the Schengen area. A short drive to drive to Spain/Italy would be a lot better from the South for instance – George M Jan 8 at 19:49

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