Thursday, 8 March 2007

Visa Disaster Averted!

Late last year, I finally sorted out that I did not require a visa to enter France, or so I thought. As the wife of an EU citizen, I have a statutory right to live anywhere in the EU that David lives. It took me a while to get a straight answer about this as the visa section of the French Consulate in Sydney does not take phone calls and despite their announcement to the contrary, they dont answer emails either, or certainly not any of mine. Eventually I located a friendly staffer of the Brisbane Honourary French Consul who assured me no visa was required.

On my to-do list was a big note to re-check this closer to our departure. Last night I pulled up their website to start checking before calling them today and noticed some changes - not what I wanted to see. So first thing today I had David call my friendly staffer. He was told that not only should I "probably" have a visa but that it should be an italian one as he is an italian citizen. Hmmm? A bit more hold time and he finally gets through to someone in the Italian Consulate who confirms it should be a french visa and we should contact the Consulate in Sydney. What? The people who are absolutely uncontactable? Who wont even talk to you unless you've already lodged an application? The problem is that the only type of application that even seemed remotely relevant on their website (which contains ALL the relevant information, they assure us) is a long stay visa application - which is a complicated apllication and requires documents we dont even have and which as the wife of an EU citizen I shouldnt have to provide. The EU has even issued a thingy saying that countries cant make the visa process too hard for spouses, if they do require visas.

So I suggest David rings Sydney - this was funny. He rang at 1pm and got a message stating they were open between 2pm and 5pm. Then he confidently rings them at 2pm only to get a message stating that they closed at 1pm! By the end of all this I was in a state. I packed the kids up and went to the Brisbane office, bolding stating to David that if I couldnt solve an issue like this in Brisbane in english then how the hell would I do anything like it in Annecy in french. Fortunately I was met by our friendly staffer (the same one who set this all in motion this morning by giving us not quite right information). She agreed to email Sydney there and then to sort out what I needed (even she wasnt able to ring them directly - who are these people? God?). And at the end of it all, I left the office with a relatively official looking email, signed and stamped and most importantly, stating that I DO NOT require a visa. Phew!

1 comment:

Space Mom said...

Good news! How frustrating that Syndey counsolet must be!