No Visa for my Son

I'm not into bashing; so someone please tell me how this makes sense?

My 16-year-old son was denied a Visa today by the French Consulate in Washington, D.C. We tried to apply for both a family visa or student visa so he would come live with me this year and go to school here. He spent last year with his father in the US. The answer was no and that we should apply for regroupement famille. I already checked into that. I haven't been here the required 18 months (I married a French national last year and had no problem getting my Visa), and the family regroupment takes 6-10 months to process. I burst into tears last week when the nice lady at the Office of Justice told me that.

Then she called OFII for me and they were the ones who said to apply for student visa.

So why didn't he get a student Visa? He was told that he can not apply for a student visa because his mother lives in France. So, a minor can get a student visa and live with a stranger for a year, but my son can't get a student visa to come to school in France and live with his mother. How odd is that?

The Office of French Immigration and Integration says get a student visa. The French Consulate who gives visas says no.

Now what?

Yea and verily as he did say it shall come to pass, so it did come to pass, and there was a very great wailing and knashing of teeth as the merchants and inn keepers had no custom when the time should be of geat plenty, And there was a very great famine in the land of Albion, and yet the scribes and pharisees were still content with their ancient practices
I have sent this to my MP and suggest others do likewise. Having been rudely fobbed off by the functionaries of the infamous UKBA I was unsurpised to see this latest posting from BBC News today. It's clear that the hopeless system is costing the UK dear. The Olympics visitors who have been PUT OFF by the paperwork must indeed be legion.

I totally agree.

France is totally behind the times in many ways. Our doctor does not have a computer!!

If we want to pay into our bank, Credit Agricole in Caen, we have to put the cheque into the post.

The USA is so afraid of terrorism that the Patriot Act barely allows anyone to breathe or think without official authorization from the "right thinking" governemnt.

I am sure that terrorism is behing half of all these rules and regulations, the rest you can put down to, as you say, being behind the times or cock-ups.

What this means is that eoples'lives are being impinged upon and unnecessary hardship and emotional costs are being put on totally innocent people who just want to get on with their lives.

So, the issue is that they will treat you in France, but they won't pay for you to be treated outside the country when they can't offer the best treatment. Hmm. That's a new twist.

No the French. The Department for International Relations of the Caisse Maladie in Chalon-sur-Saone in 71.

This is going off-topic, but related. When are the politicians (all countries) going to wake up and realize that we are moving to a more globalized society. People travel across borders more, communicate across borders. I completely understand the need for policies so that some countries are not bearing the financial burdens of others. But rather than adapting to globalization, countries are becoming more rigid in their policies for cross-border relations.

For example, I worked for a US company while living in France. They had no office here, so I eventually had to leave the company because they couldn't work out the legalities of me working remotely in another country without a local bureau. I understood this. I did not complain; but I also thought it is very "behind the times." People live all over the world, but with today's communication capabilities, they could work from anywhere, as in my type of work. And this is a shame, because it meant I could be gainfully employed in France without taking the job of a French person (which is a real issue here for foreigners trying to get work). But that's not the issue to which I'm speaking. Globalization. Work without borders is becoming so much more common, yet there are so many difficulties to overcome.

Toni, I don't think that I would have got much help from David Cameron!!

You'll feel a lot better when he gets here.

Good luck.

Jane, are you saying the UK denied you the paperwork?

Toni, I have had lobular breast cancer and have ALD on my Carte Vitale. Despite this I was denied the necessary paperwork to have a special type of scan which I had always had in UK and could not find here in France.

This was because I was a UK pensioner living in France. Not a valid reason for refusal and this case is still ongoing.


Unfortunately, President Obama and I are not on a first-name basis. (Sorry, a little light-heartedness needed today). I talked to the US embassy in Marseille, and while very sympathetic, they could not offer any help.

It's ok. Today I'm feeling better about it. I'm buying a ticket for my son to come on his passport. As soon as he gets here, we'll start wading through the administration.

I just miss him so much right now. I was just devastated when every effort seemed road-blocked this week.

How would this have worked if you had booked a holiday through a travel company and not then actually taken up the accommodation etc?

Watch this space Finn, I have heard from an official in the UK that France is about to get bounced by the EU for the amount of infractions it allows in its administration.

I am not too sure of this will make any difference, but perhaps they might just begin to take more care before they hand out decisions before really making sure of their facts.

I appreciate all of the information and empathy.

As I said in my original post. I am not into French bashing, although I was feeling quite emotional because of the situation this week, obviously.

Having said that, I would like to add that France appears to be quite humane in its policies when it comes to persons with serious illnesses, and I applaud them for that. From everything I have read and heard (no personal experience), a person with a serious illness will be granted a visa to seek medical attention that they cannot receive in their own country (I wonder if that also means they cannot afford it in their own country?). Also, in France, permanent residents with serious illnesses receive 100% care, as opposed to the usual 70% reimbursement.

This issue comes to mind because my daughter (19) has type 1 diabetes. Her care is very expensive, even with very good insurance in the States. I have often worried what is going to happen when she is on her own (not on her father's insurance). If she doesn't get a job with really good insurance, what will she do? She's had type 1 since she was 8 years old, and I've constantly worried about her future. Once when my ex-husband was out of work, we couldn't get insurance for her. Oh, we could, but it was at the rate of nearly $1,000 per month, without good coverage.

And so, I just want to tip the tables here and say that French policies, while frustrating for us (and even the French find them frustrating, so it's not just us), are sometimes more humane than in many other countries.

I totally agree with his comment. I have had a problem with the International Relations Department of the Caisse Maladie. I took it to my ex MEP, who happens to be Sir Graham Watson, the Leader of the Liberal Group in the european Parliament.

Both the Dept of Health in the UK and the Advice Line for the EU said exactly the same thing, I was entitled to go to UK for treatment, but when I asked the CPAM to review their first decision they then said that the CLEISSE agreed with them and I was not allowed to go for treatment in the UK because I am a UK pensioner living in France.

A Commissioner has now agreed with Sir Graham and this is now waiting to be dealt with in the upper echelons of the EU.

Do you or anyone you know have any contacts within Government in the USA? In cases like this it often helps if you can get someoe to intervene on your behalf.

Good luck, because this a travesty.

Jo Anne,

I would like the email of your lawyer. If we run into anymore issues, I may need his services.


The law for Schengen states is 90 days in and then obligatory 90 days out. Keep that in mind for your kids. However, if they just come for a few weeks at a time I don't think anyone is really counting.

Also, if your teens are minors, they can't be forced to leave the country after 90 days. My son has also never had any problems traveling alone as a minor. I am assuming because he is minor, the security doesn't question him too much, except to ask where he's going and why.

You are right Brian! I wrote to Cameron pointing this out and whilst I eventually got a one line fobber I have never had a substantive rationale. Letters to MEPs went unanswered. My letter to the British Consul in Paris went unanswered. Politicians are terrified of any immigration but it's the soft targets which get the attentions of the UKBA. Weekly the UKBA or UKBF are exposed for some problem or other. In fact quite a bit of the UKBA work has been subcontracted to an American firm who have a weird vested interest in refusals. The whole process has become dysfunctional and one dreads a family visit to the UK. In fact that will raise a hurdle in the development of my three year old British subject's knowledge of her mother country. We would be inclined to visit more if it were not such a discouraging and loathsome process, and clearly we don't really want to go without her mother.

Many years ago I crossed a frontier without my passport and when I had to return they would not let me in without it(under threat of a rifle!). Very rashly I crossed the border elsewhere by climbing up a building and got away with it (I was with a friend). Date? 1962. Location? Back from Poland into Russia at Brest Litovsk station surrounded by belching steam trains. Very Len Deighton and not made up. It simply couldn't be!

David, I have a Philippina colleague, Agnes Camacho, who, according to pictures and comments on Facebook, is in the UK at present. She works for Save the Children Fund in Manila but SCF now being a joint operation of all country offices instead of UK, Sweden, Germany, USA, Australia, etc, she does not have an employer in London, Stockholm or... but wherever there is an SCF. She goes back and forth and Agnes gets visas for each trip from consulates or embassies. Only the UK has ever refused her on occasion on suspicion she may stay, despite her being second highest SCF representative in her country. On other occasions she is out of the embassy in half an hour with her visa.

About five/six years ago I took the Hoek to Harwich ferry and picked up a young American hitch hiker just before the ferry terminal. I naturally did not ask to see his visa, why would I? We arrived in Harwich, got in the car, got to passport control and I kind of waved mine so he did the same and we were waved through. It was the first time ever my passport had never been taken and inspected. Anyway, a few hundred metres away he did a 'phew' and ran his forearm over his brow and told me he didn't have a visa and had hoped he would at least be detained and would then somehow get one. He just wanted to do a couple of weeks tourism on his way home. But he went through unhindered. With such contradictory behaviour and the illicit traffic in migrants what is the point in what they are doing to your wife?

Yes Finn you are right but not Iranian- Philippines and no terrorism involved! Most people from there are RC! Yes regarding official translators too! I paid 100 euros plus for a simple letter I did myself in 5 mins.

I think I would go to the American Embassy in Paris and meet with an attorney. I can’t imagine your frustration. I was at my wits end over my little ordeal. When I was standing at the window watching the lady processing my paperwork, she kept pulling out a book 3 inches thick that she kept flipping thru to look up something. Then, another employee took my passport and walked away with it and kept examining with some special light. He brought another gentleman over who also inspected it. I finally told my husband I wanted my passport back, I am Heading back to the US where my teens are who are in college. After spending 8 hours at this place I was done.

Is there a possibility your son can stay with you for 11 weeks return to the states for a week and return for another 11 weeks?