Long Stay Visa in French Polynesia: Part One

We have been approved! We have to head to Vancouver to have our long stay visa stamped in our passports but our application has been approved.

N American cruisers used to get 3 months in French Polynesia, renewable for an additional 3 months for a total of 6 consecutive months. The rules were changed in 2010 so that visitors can only stay 3 months out of every 6 months. This means you have to be out of the country for 3 months in between and effectively means that most US/Canadian cruisers leave after only 3 months. We left for 3 and returned.

To stay more than 3 months you have to apply for a 'visa long sejour' and this application must be made at a French consulate in your country of residence. The application requires a lot of supporting material and is quite an undertaking. The reason for this is that the visa long sejour allows you to get a carte de sejour which is a temporary residence permit much like a green card for the US. There is no such thing as a tourist visa longer than 3 months.

After making an appointment at the consulate and submitting the involved packet (including police checks) and paying a big fee and leaving a postage paid envelope, the consulate checks the packet and then mails it to Papeete. Yep, right back where we came from.

We had done some preliminary checking of procedure while in French Polynesia and had already spoken to the person who would be receiving our application. The consulate warns that the procedure could take up to 4 months (!) to compete.

One month after submission ours was approved! After a quick scramble we changed our plane tickets and are now returning to Estrellita in early March.

Once we arrive in Papeete we still have to stop into the office with our visa long sejour, more photos and more money and get our carte sejour. This carte is renewable annually for a fee. Essentially with the carte sejour we could live in French Polynesia indefinitely. However after 2 years we would have to pay import taxes of 26% of the value of the boat.

This story to be continued after we arrive back in La Polynesie Francaise.

Suddenly our long visit seems short and we enter that stage of a trip where everything becomes a fun packed scramble to the finish line.

8 comments:

  1. Very cool. Sounds exciting. Can you pack some poutine in your bags to bring back to the boat with you? If not that, at least some real maple syrup.

    Mike
    http://www.ZeroToCruising.com

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  2. We are planning on the syrup for certain and we almost bought special poutine gravy mix but really, without the cheese curds it isn't worthwhile.

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  3. Hello, all -

    Just found your blog as I was searching the internet for long stay visas in French Polynesia. How on earth do you go about getting a police report? I'm from Canada, my captain is from the US.

    Also, apparently there is now an 18-month visa? A lot of conflicting info out there. We are currently in Panama, and are heading to Ecuador, where we'll be based for 6 months traveling south America. Plan to head to the French Consulate in either Quito or Guayaquil to begin this process. We went the French Consulate here, but they told us that we need to do it no greater than 3 months prior to our arrival. Which of course, is a bit confusing when you say it could take up to 4 months to get it!

    American friends here applied, and got, their 6 month long stay visa while here in Panama - took about 6 weeks or so.

    Assume it will be all worth the hassle?!

    Heather
    sv Sundancer

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    Replies
    1. Hi Heather,

      We were able to fax info to the police in Sidney and have a friend pick it up so it was ready when we arrived.

      The 18 month visa is not true. The new customs law is 18 months for the person and boat and has only to do with TAXES. The immigration/visa laws for each country still apply with 90 days for Americans and Canadians.

      I didn't know anything about 3 months prior to arrival. Did they say how long it would take?

      We are very, very happy with the hassle now that we have an entire year. Right now everyone else is getting ready to leave the country and we are heading back to the Tuamotus.

      Cheers, Livia

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  4. Hello, we are open to anyone who may know!! We are Americans in Panama looking for a 6 month visa for French Polynesia. How do we do that? The French Consulate? What do we bring? Do we need someone to mail us a police report from home? Where do we start and what do we do? Any advice welcome.

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  5. All of the required supporting documents required are listed on the application which was available online (sorry I don't have the internet quality to search it out). You'll need to apply in California. Our police department took the request by fax so that it could be ready and waiting for us when we arrived when we flew back to apply. You can apply for 6 months...or longer. It's the same form, the same fees, the same supporting documents. We received 1 year *renewable*. Of course, you only have 18 months before your boat would come up for local taxes which are high so 18 months is most people's realistic limit. Feel free to email us: s.v.estrellia@gmail.com

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  6. I read your story online and am now concerned at the long waiting time you
    had. I had understood from the French Consulate website for Vancouver (where
    I am applying) that it was a 3-10 business day wait.

    What is the office you went to in Papeete? The consulate has informed me that
    I do not need to follow the OFII procedure for FP.

    I have been to FP many times and will be living on Huahine. I had only planned one night on Tahiti, but your info will be very useful if I need to make other arrangements.

    Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated as the 15 minute time limit on each interview leaves very little
    time to ask questions.

    Maruru,

    Charlene

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  7. UPDATE: A number of N American boats have successfully applied for and received their long stay visa from the French Embassy in Ecuador so perhaps you do NOT have to fly back to apply:

    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/pacificpuddlejump/conversations/topics/8776

    Livia & Carol

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