Our French Life
When we embarked on our French Adventure we had consulted a French / Australian lawyer who had told us that as AP was my legal partner and I held an EU passport getting a resident visa for AP was simply a formality that could be dealt with by a quick trip to the Local Mairie (mayors office).
This was wrong in every way possible..
We had been in France about 6 weeks when we ventured down to the Mairies office to do what we thought would be a simple process and began down a year long journey of bureaucracy and a paperwork nightmare and us having to return to Australia. The Mairie sent us to the local prefecture (council office) who told us we would have to make an application to the main prefecture in Perigueux and hour away. We did our research on what we would need and ventured off to the prefecture with a file full of paperwork, still quietly confident all would be OK and we would come away with the visa..again wrong! Instead we met one of the rudest people I have ever encountered and came away with a list of the extra paperwork we needed and an understanding this was not going to be an easy, short or pleasant process.
Essentially what the French authorities want to see is that you can support yourself and that you have health insurance. The tricky bit there is that in France there is no such thing as private health insurance as such and the few companies that do provide it charge a small fortune to take it out. There are a few tricks and loop holes that you can jump through but you need to know what they are and just how to jump through them..
Eventually we found a French woman who had lived in Britain for many years who runs a business helping people re-locate to France. She was able to guide us through the process and attend the meetings at the prefecture, even then it took 3 further visits to the prefecture to get AP’s visa approved.
My biggest tip for anyone relocating to France is find someone who can guide you through the French maze, although be careful there are many people there who will claim to be able to do this and in reality will just take your money so get references.