Let Go of the Fear. Move to France
There’s an awful lot of misinformation out there about who can enter France and who can’t. That’s because the situation is changing all the time and the websites intended to inform are not kept up-to-date.
I had a consultation with a client yesterday afternoon, reclining on his living room sofa in Milwaukee, frustrated to no end because he’d “been told numerous times by different sources—one being the French Consulate in DC—that [he] can’t enter France with a long-stay Visitor Visa (April 2020-April 2021).”
The first words out of my mouth were, “That’s not true.” Can’t imagine why such information was given him, but I know for a fact that not only can you enter France if you have resident status, but so can the immediate family members of someone who holds the visa!
He also told me that he needed to have his Visa renewed in Chicago, where he received it.
“I’ll get on a plane ASAP If I’m allowed in and can renew in Paris,” he wrote.
I questioned what kind of visa he had—as there are temporary visas given to people who may have asked for a visa for less than one year, mistakingly, which must be renewed at the place it was issued. All other one-year visitor visas are renewed in France.
I sent this client to one of our immigration attorneys for confirmation. I also encouraged him to call Air France and try to book a ticket—I believe they are the best airline to fly into France under the circumstances and no one knows better whether he can board the plane or not. I have also had reports of how organized they are, how the planes are virtually empty, and how pleasant is the staff. (I’m a devotee of the airline for all those reasons, even under normal circumstances. Remember back in May of 2019 when I had an entire cabin to myself on the Airbus A380, a mere 70 seats and just little ol’ me? (See adrianleeds.com/parler-paris/parler-paris-nouvellettre/parler-paris-past-issues/ if you don’t believe me.)
Within 24 hours, I got an email from my client bubbling over with enthusiasm:
“Dear Ms Leeds, YES!!!! Looking at arriving on October 14th given that I can get the elusive 72-hour Covid-19 test in the U.S. Don’t get me started. LOL. Thank you so much. My life has improved 10-fold from this morning. Sincerely…”
Every day I hear stories from people who have had confusing information, who want to come to France, thinking they can’t get in because “Americans are banned from entering.” That’s one of the broad strokes statements that is filled with untruths. You have to dig a little deeper and be sure you’re finding the most current information. It’s not all in one place and it’s definitely not all correct.
Look at what the official Department of State U.S. Embassy & Consulates in France website says:
“Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? No. Broad restrictions on non-essential travel from many countries outside the European Union, including the United States, remain in place.”
If you read no further, then you miss the most important part:
“The French government has defined essential travel as entry by French citizens, RESIDENTS OF FRANCE, all foreign (including United States citizen) students (with appropriate visa or residence permit), and spouses and children of French citizens. In rare cases, the French government will consider allowing travel in humanitarian situations and reportedly in cases of business activity important to the French economy.”
RESIDENTS OF FRANCE does not mean “citizens of France.” Someone who holds a visitor visa or carte de resident is a RESIDENT OF FRANCE. You are fully entitled to enter and won’t be stopped at the border or refused a ticket to fly. And guess what, your spouse and children can enter, too, even if they don’t hold the visa!
Yes, a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) is required for entry carried out less than 72 hours before the flight or you risk not being allowed to board your flight to France.
The site goes on to say that U.S. citizens are required to quarantine upon arrival. False. If you tested negative and were able to enter the country, then what’s the point of the quarantine? Sure, they’re trying to frighten you into thinking this is what you should be doing, and that it’s your duty. If you feel you should, then by all means quarantine yourself, but government officials are not following you around or checking up on you to ensure you are!
Meanwhile, everyone else is out, having a life while wearing a mask, doing what they can to prevent the spread of the virus, but not punishing themselves and their lives in the process. Commercial flights are operating. Public transportation in France is operating. Restrictions are being put in place where there are “red zones” and we’re all watching the ebb and flow of the number of Covid-19 cases with concern. We don’t want sickness nor death and we don’t want to be the cause of it, but there must be a balance between protecting life and actually living it, always with the level of risk in consideration, to your own life as well as others’.
The good news is, too, that even though the reception of residence-permit applicants in consulates and prefectures has been suspended (but not fully), the following documents, which would have expired between March 16 and June 15, 2020, has been extended by six months:
• long-stay visas;
• residence permits, whatever their nature, with the exception of special residence permits issued to foreign diplomatic and consular staff;
• provisional residence permits;
• residence permit application receipts.
“Thus, any holder of a residence permit, receipt, temporary residence permit or long-stay visa that expires between March 16 and June 15, 2020 is legally resident for six additional months after the expiration date appearing on their residence document and may enter the Schengen area to return to France for an additional six months after the expiration date appearing on their residence document. The right to work as well as all social rights are extended under the same conditions.”
And here’s the best news of all…
“France’s diplomatic and consular posts are once again issuing visas, so it is now possible to apply online via the France-Visas portal.”
Don’t wait. If you have a visa, then by all means, come. If you need to get a visa, by all means make your appointment, get your visa and come. Life in France goes on and your new life in France can begin. It’s up to you to let go of the fear and start to live again…really live!
On a personal note from my philosophical self, I learned a long time ago how to live without fear. In front of my desk on the wall for many years was a photo of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, DC with these words engraved on it: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I took it to heart. Then later, I became a devotee of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and learned from him: “Fear seems to have many causes. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, and so on, but ultimately all fear is the ego’s fear of death, of annihilation. To the ego, death is always just around the corner. In this mind-identified state, fear of death affects every aspect of your life.”
I do not fear the virus. I do not fear death. The idea never enters my head for a moment. Every single thing I do in life is based on a calculated risk knowing or assessing the odds. Think of it this way: you know if you put your hand in a flame you will get burned, and for this reason you don’t fear fire, nor do you get burned. What we all fear is the unknown—the thoughts in our head that have no basis in fact. Don’t let those thoughts prevent you from really living your life…in France, if that’s where you’d rather be. (Photo: Fear is a Virus, attributed to: unh.edu/unhtoday/)
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(her own airline!)
P.S. If you want to move to France, then don’t let your unfounded fears deter you. Let us help you make the move. For more information about consulting with us and getting our immigration attorneys’ advice, please contact us at [email protected]!