Has anyone been refused a Visa recently?

I’m 63, retired early in 2020 on a LG pension which falls a little short of SMIC, but I have a lot of savings and if I moved to France in 2024, would only have two years to wait until my state pension takes me to the limit of the lower tax band so I would be counted as quite a wealthy pensioner…

I have finally started emptying my hovel in the UK - and in order to sell it I will have to make myself homeless - though I have hopes that family will rent me a room at a reasonable price so I’m not actually eating into my savings…

My understanding is that I then have to pay for private health insurance and somehow get a rental sorted in the area of Brittany where I want to live and then apply for my visa … which if it is refused turns my move to France into a 3 month holiday …

I’m hoping to contact an old university colleague to see if I can get one of my French native and resident ex-colleagues to act as guarantor for a rental - but that’s a stretch…

And then once there, it takes 3 months before I should be confident to actually buy a house ?
And even then there’s no guarantee that my residency will be guaranteed ?

What I don’t want to do is end up owning a holiday home in France and being homeless in the UK.

It seemed so much less scary before 2016 …

Things may have changed a lot but when we had to compulsorily have a Carte de Séjour to live here legally back early 90’s and before, savings were NOT taken into account, only monthly regular income. The reasoning was that savings are not stable and can disappear overnight literally as many folks will know especially if you are not earning or have a regular income. I would seriously check this out before doing anything at all, you don’t want to fall at the last hurdle and the authorities can get very picky now with us brits if they wish to.

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My LG pension at 1.14:1 is 18,726, SMIC is 20,996.
All I’m liable for is social charges once I’m signed into CPAM - which I think on the SMIC amount to about the same as private insurance … so is that shortfall in cotisations is considered an issue ?
A shame there’s no option to stay with private insurance … around 2K ?
After 2 years I would get my S1 along with my state pension …

I can’t answer those questions as I have worked and paid into the french system for years and do not come under the UK/S1 health cover as ameli covers me for both standard and complimentaire insurances. I just wanted to mention the thing about savings so you are aware it might not be taken into account. That SMIC total seems a bit high to me to be honest but we only ever had dealings with that by paying our employees the SMIC many years ago now. One of the more upto date members will probably confirm your actual needs.

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Obviously some good information on this site but also a website that maybe useful for information on various types of visas and how best to obtain them.

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The SMIC Brut is €2000 + but nett comes out at €1660 according to the gouv.fr info and might be what they look at.

" Au 1er mai 2023, le Smic va atteindre 1 747,20 euros bruts par mois, soit 1 383,08 euros nets pour 35 heures hebdomadaires. Il s’agit d’une hausse de 2,22 %, comme le précise un arrêté paru au Journal officiel le 27 avril 2023. Service-Public.fr vous informe sur ces changements."

Just shows how so called official sites can differ.

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For my Carte de Séjour (admittedly an EU family members one) in 2021 I had (and continue to have) zero income. The Prefecture lady looked at the bank statement which helpfully contained the proceeds from selling our modest Essex house…and laughed. I asked her if the absence of income was a problem for the CdS, and she just smiled, waved her hand dismissively, and we moved on…


When it came to the WARP cards for Brexit, other assets were definitely taken into account then when income was low. Again, this is a different situation from @verdoux 's but demonstrates current attitudes perhaps? I wonder whether it’s worth talking to the French Embassy in London as I think they would be the ones processing your Visa?

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I’ve finally contacted my ex-colleague - at the very least if he still counts me as a friend he might give me a French language MOT - he’s fully bilingual and VERY serious about the language…
But two more years in the UK would drive me nuts …

You can rent or hotel/airbnb etc until you have visa confirmed. These are acceptable addresses for the application.

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Please let us know how you get on with your enquiries at the French Embassy… :+1: :crossed_fingers:

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Isn’t that going to be incredibly expensive ?
It’s a holiday area (Presqu’ile de Crozon)

I was giving you advice as to what is allowed for the visa application.

It is likely if you use AirBnB you can cancel the reservation once your visa has been approved (don’t tell anyone I told you to do it though).

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You are right, it was much less stressful before 2016. But still completely doable.

If you are planning to come here as an (early) retired person, with no plans to work, you will probably find the visa agent quite flexible. If you are close to SMIC already, and make a big thing of getting the State Pension in two years and having a modest lifestyle there is a good chance this will be acceptable.

But of course still a risk.

What is judged more strictly are younger people who have savings plus an optimisitic business plan that may well not deliver for years (if ever). So they eat through their savings and end up being a burden on the French State.

Finding a rental could be hard with no track record, and as you say holiday rental can be expensive. Except if you plan to do this in the off season months you can get a good deal for a three month rental - and haggle a bit! Also look at house sits - some are for a long time - and I think they are ok too.

What people seem to do is come over here on a 90 day visa waiver in order to find where they want to be and to source a rental. Then get the visa. I would really recommend you look to rent for a year unless you have done a lot of research about where you want to be.

And estate agents are unlikely to touch you, so you need to search for direct rentals, often from anglophones.

These first bits are the trickiest, and then it gets easier.

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That’s a good point. We struggled getting estate agents to show us properties when we were in the UK and planning our relocation. They were upfront about it and explained that their landlords all took out insurance against tenants not paying rent, and that the insurance companies therefore demanded copies of tenants’ avis d’imposition which, as we were living in the UK and working for UK companies, we couldn’t provide.

In the end, we managed to find a handful of landlords who were prepared to take a risk based solely on seeing payslips and would forego that part of their insurance.

Don’t be put off if you face similar challenges. They’re annoying but not insurmountable… and it’s worthwhile in the end.

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That’s the easiest bit - I reckon after thinking about it for over 10 years I have found the perfect place for me - geographically and socially- in a 5 mile radius -and it’s a peninsula so only a question of choosing the house … I’m signed up to the local facebook groups and have one friend already :slight_smile:
I worked with French people at the university for 20 years and my French is at the right level for immersion …

I’m still holding out hope that one of my ex-colleagues will take pity on me and help me out … not least for the chance to force me to formally study French grammar :slight_smile:
Several of them are Bretons, but clearly anywhere in France would be fine to get myself established…

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No-one in the Facebook group can help? Or recommend you to the Marie or someone with property to rent? Search also for local gîtes to see if you can do a 90 day deal (more than that is not allowed).

I was looking at buying a house for a future gîte how does this work with the 120 day rule? I don’t want to get in trouble in the future.