Full time through winter in search of new life (4 Viewers)

Feb 16, 2013
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Couldn't Bea do all the buying and selling and stuff and be the "owner" and then being her husband surely they can't stop you living there with her.
Not a suggestion or anything, just asking.
 
OP
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Apr 24, 2018
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Hoops and hurdles not easy - you still sure it’s what you wasn’t?

On a normal note seen any sites worth exploring further?

have a good crossing back here it’s windy wet but here in Cornwall mild really.

Carol
Well Carol, It would definitely have been much easier a few years back, but yeah we are both sure. We have seen a couple of sites we quite liked so far, one in Dordogne which was basically an English country pub and campsite and a big old combined municipal campsite, restaurant and village du vacance in Correze with a lake but we aren’t rushing, there are more being advertised every week now it’s the end of the season. I really like the Loire valley as it seems to have a good balance of weather, cultural attractions (chateau), non remoteness and plenty of foreign visitors who holiday or are just passing, and stuff isn’t too expensive. Bea likes it as it isnt too far from her bagpipe playing Breton celtic warrior clan family here in the far west. We’d be interested in southern Brittany or Normandy (where it is warmer and rains a bit less than the North of Brittany) but all the half-decent sites are in the ‘littoral’ (close to the coast) and are therefore extremely expensive.
 
Jan 24, 2014
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Well good time to be looking Will you be in UK for long? Cornwall is milder to spend time in if you have time to waste whilst doing those chores back here. Have a place to stop if you need one.
Carol

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OP
OP
D
Apr 24, 2018
843
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France
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Since 1992
Well good time to be looking Will you be in UK for long? Cornwall is milder to spend time in if you have time to waste whilst doing those chores back here. Have a place to stop if you need one.
Carol
That’s very kind. I hail from the Lakes, so that’s where we head to. 4 whole day appointments in the far fingertip of the country over 4 weeks is essentially yet another month lost as we can’t really view anything or do anything much else during that time, so may as well take a break in the UK during the interlude.

I don’t think there can have ever been a more wretched time to be a Brit, we are now reduced to the status of an impoverished African or Asian economic migrant as far as the rest of the continent is concerned.

Still, at least the UK “took back control” of its own immigration issue, ne c’est-pas? ;)
 
Last edited:
Aug 18, 2014
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After a 700km run from deepest Correze I completed my first ‘formation civile’ session last week in Brest and have to do the second tomorrow in the same place. Jeez coming from the south to the tip of Brittany in mid September really felt like swapping summer for winter while skipping Autumn. Brest is a miserable place, rebuilt in concrete after being thoroughly flattened during WW2, and it seems to rain all the time. coming from NW England I felt quite at home.

Turns out it’s 4 x 8hr sessions me and all the other ‘immigrants’ to the EU have to do for our 2nd year visa. The first day I learned it is illegal to drive with no license or insurance, and that I can’t beat my wife or circumcise any daughters, and much else in the same vein. I did learn stuff though, namely that there’s a huge number of quangos in France, it seems like there’s an organisation to support with practically anything. I also saw more proof that their beaurocracy is fiendishly complex, endlessly changed and usually doesn’t work properly, but then we knew that already.

While up here and with me having access to Beas dads garage we took the opportunity to treat the old girl to her 4th oil and filter change inside a year and fix our Dunlop rear air assisters as the lower brackets (they fit into the hubs) had become so badly deformed they made the air springs fail through misalignment. I had to decommission both rears a couple of thousand km ago as a result. To fix, I chopped them up, used Beas dad’s hydraulic press to bend back to shape and rewelded them, so we now have the rear air suspension again, even if the air springs are still leaking. I just top up with the compressor every couple of hours, feeling very pleased I put in the ‘full’ system with gauges, compressor and reservoir. It has come in very useful, with my little tee-in also used for pumping up push bike, motorbike and van tyres regularly.

Ferry ticket for blighty booked for Friday, so we will swing by Marcle leisure while in UK and pick up a couple of new air springs. 3rd session back here in Brest in mid October, then we are all told the final session and the language assessment will be in a surprise location.
After reading that my wife said why don't they look for a site in Spain?
 
Jan 24, 2014
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My daughter has just arrived in Croatia for a week in an Airbnb and said exactly that after travelling on their air conditioned bus for an hour for €2!! She said third world.
Carol

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OP
OP
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Apr 24, 2018
843
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France
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Since 1992
Well, here we are almost exactly one year after selling up in UK and commencing the search.

For the last month and a half, all energies have been focussed on trying to make sure I can actually stay in the European Union, my 1yr visa runs out in January. We are advised that to guarantee processing before expiry I should apply for an extension between two and four months before it expires, so I have until mid November to submit the application.

A hard condition of visa renewal is that I honour the terms of the immigrant contract, signed after my processing health and mental checks and language assessment back in May. I failed the language test and was assigned 200hrs of French lessons, which by arguement I persuaded them to reduced to 100hrs. I have to pass a test at the end of it. I also had to do four seperate days of civil lessons in Brest.

So we gave up looking to get through this. I did the first lesson in mid September after driving up from Correze, then the second a week later, we went back to UK for a week (had a great run out on the bikes through the trough of Bowland in Lancs on the only sunny day until my mates 1974 Trident snapped its primary drive belt..).

We came back via Portsmouth-St Malo again a couple of weeks back and I did the 3rd day in Brest. While the first two were about not having more than one wife, not circumcising female children, not beating the wife, needing a licence and insurance to drive etc, the 3rd was on government and history.

Interesting the alternative French perspective on stuff like the Romans and Normans, Joan of Arc and the 100yrs war, the extent and influence of their empire in the Americas and the 1st and 2nd world wars, especially the D-day landings. There was me thinking all this time that Brits and commonwealth soldiers made up the majority of the invasion force…

Anyhow, I now have just one more day to do next month, and again have to travel to the far fingertip of the country, Brest. We were going to submit my application but we were informed bluntly that I will not get a visa renewal. And If I overstay beyond January I will risk arrest (if Gendarme checked for anything) and even deportation.

Brave new world.

It’s because I haven’t done the formal language lessons. So we made an appointment at a training centre to explain the…..permanently-travelling-not-in-one place-long-enough-not-going-to-be-a-burden-on-the state-married-to-Frenchie-plan-to-become-fluent-in-own-time-why-you think-I-moving-to-France…..situation….

No. Computer says no. You must like all immigrants from outside EU have the lessons and get a piece of paper to say you have not only had them but ideally passed the test to get A1 standard. I offered to take the test immediately as I know I can pass it now. I have of course been practising with my French wife Bea, and of course living in the country, albeit in a camper van.

Blunt answer. No. You must do what is in the contract for the visa renewal. There is no short cut, no way round it. It’s the rules.

Bloody hell - French Bureaucracy again.

Interestingly - the staff at the training centre said the Brits post Brexit were being very well treated by OFII, almost given a free pass, I should count myself very very lucky.

I asked why. Reality check time. You can be made to take 100, 200, 400 or 600 hours of lessons BEFORE they will let you take the required A1 language test. A1 level is just to get a 1-yr visa extension. You then need to get through A2 and then B1 for the 10yr residence or to work in any capacity, which can be many thousands of hours and much more rigorous testing. The staff of the language training centre (not the government department decision makers, OFII), told me of many Algerians who speak fluent French but are made to take 600hrs before even being allowed to take the A1. It seems they use the system to make things harder for those whom they deem undesirable. This came directly from the instructors at the training centre. Apparently the Brits are still considered and treated as friends by the EU and even the French. Someone should call the Daily Mail… :)

It seems it’s always been this hard (in continental EU) for outsiders to get visas and work permits etc. Very strict rules to protect EU borders and labour market. It seems it was only ever the Brits who made things easy. No language requirement (‘multiculturalism’), easy routes into work, huge black market for labour. I guess that’s why so many camp at Calais waiting for their chance. Maybe we should have implemented some of these strict rules ourselves, before electing to have them applied to us. The stupidity of know what, as ever, continues to blow my mind.

Anyway, us Brits, despite being more rubbish at languages than pretty much anyone else in this world save the Americans (cue laughing), are routinely given just 100 or 200 hours. It seems to depend on our education level, I was able to show I had higher education, apparently why I was able to get it down to 100hrs, the absolute minimum for A1, and a visa extension.

So, with 3 weeks before I should submit a visa renewal, they said my situation was becoming serious. They offered to fit me in to existing lessons to do an intensive 2 week course to get me to 40hours.

Apparently, if they think I’m good enough, and at their discretion, I can take the test at the half way point, so for me, that’s a possibility of 50 hours. The only slight problem is that the training centre closes for 2 weeks on November 1.

So I start school tomorrow. 4-6 hours a day for 2 weeks monday-Friday, 40hrs schedules, the max they could squeeze for me. I will now work on a way to try to somehow get to 50hrs and the A1 test passed before mid November, and also complete the final day of civil courses in Brest, which is about French culture. I have to read a book by Dumas or something…

So here we are. All gone backwards, and I now have to work a bit just to stay in the country :)

Things could be worse. I met a retired Brit/South African in the training centre. He and his wife realised stuff even later than me, they have been assigned 200hrs each, has he done 60hr and is clearly not getting near the required standard for A1, his visa expires before christmas and he has already bought in the country…
 
Last edited:
Sep 2, 2016
589
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Since 2015
Oops, busy few weeks ahead. Do you have to pay for the lessons? If it’s the state that pays then surely they would have an interest in keeping costs down? On the other hand, if it is you that pays then there is a whole industry that is being kept very busy…

Good luck and keep smiling. Many years ago some Australians bought a bar in a picturesque village near us. Despite years of trying and jumping through so many hoops, they just never managed to get the work permits they needed to open. Years later, the person dealing with them had retired/moved on and the new person who took over their dossier said there was no reason they should have been refused, would they like to reapply. By that time they were too disheartened and said no.
But it’s generally believed that the husband rubbed that first official up the wrong way early on and so they were never going to succeed with him. So do keep smiling, especially with those officials 👍

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OP
OP
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Apr 24, 2018
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2001 Hymer B544
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Since 1992
Well, for us Brits it seems the lessons are state funded at least for the A1 stage, I’m not sure about other nationalities, or what happens for A2 and B1. Yes you would expect cost to create motivation, though I don’t see much evidence that this is the case. The state - the Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) officials decide on the lessons, decide when a test can be had, and control/invigilate the testing. The training centres/organisations appear to be some sort of semi independent quangos (sort of PPP) and directly interface with and invoice OFII.
 
Apr 17, 2016
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White One..
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3 years….
Only works one way I’m afraid. None of them will ever be able to work in France, but it’s easy once in UK.
Sounds about right☹️☹️

Hopefully you can get sorted soon and carry on the quest for a campsite.

I think that whenever you read about anyone setting up in France the bureaucracy is the biggest hurdle🤔🤔

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Jan 24, 2014
586
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Sold 😟
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1990-2023
I think you have completely put me off living there. I know I will never pass the exams now, my brain doesn’t seem to have space to remember new words

Incidentally, why did you choose Brest? Could you not have done it somewhere down where you were likely to be?

Best of luck with your two weeks crash course, and I hope they let you do it early.

Carol.
 
Sep 21, 2016
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since 2007
I think you have completely put me off living there. I know I will never pass the exams now, my brain doesn’t seem to have space to remember new words

Incidentally, why did you choose Brest? Could you not have done it somewhere down where you were likely to be?

Best of luck with your two weeks crash course, and I hope they let you do it early.

Carol.
It's put me off too but I guess that's the point.
 
Oct 28, 2019
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I think you have completely put me off living there. I know I will never pass the exams now, my brain doesn’t seem to have space to remember new words

Carol.
But dawsey is looking to gain residency and a work permit is he not? Is it a different process for folk wishing to retire and live in France? Just curious as to the differences in the processes.

Good luck though dawsey. Good to get an update.
 
Apr 25, 2014
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Wow Dawsey. Good luck anyway. I'm sure you'll make it.
Maybe we should send this to Suella Braverman.

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OP
OP
D
Apr 24, 2018
843
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Since 1992
But dawsey is looking to gain residency and a work permit is he not? Is it a different process for folk wishing to retire and live in France? Just curious as to the differences in the processes.

Good luck though dawsey. Good to get an update.

Well, in the case of France at least, the process is the same for anyone wanting to live here from outside EU, working age or not. You must learn the language. B1 for work and/or residence (which means a 10yr long stay visa) There were no agreements and no PB arrangements made for anything other than a 3 month holiday visa.

I’m sure agreements will be made in future with the likes of France, Spain, Italy for retirees etc, in the same way some countries are looking at ‘digital nomad’ schemes, but it’s going to take a good few years.
 
Dec 24, 2014
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I may have drawn the wrong conclusion about the language difficulties and bureaucratic delays etc. that you detail in your post but if you had gone ahead and purchased that camp site wouldn't you have been in a bit of pickle wrt living there and running a business?
 
Last edited:
OP
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I may have drawn the wrong conclusion about the language difficulties and bureaucratic delays etc. that you detail in your post but if you had gone ahead and purchased that camp site wouldn't you have been in a bit of pickle wrt living there and running a business?
In a word - yes. The assumption from all concerned would have been that I would do the hours I was supposed to do. I probably would have found it out in the same way, but could have done the hours in the local town.

My assumption all along has been that I could just self learn in my own time, as it’s obvious to anyone that I would need to if I wanted to run a business over here. I knew I would need to do a test at some point, but A1 level is pretty simple and basic. I barely failed the test the last time (I think I might have wound up the test guy a bit). What I didn’t believe was that they would force me to do the proscribed 100hrs, and that I needed the test pass for the visa renewal once the x went on the form. It’s inferred not overtly stated, just like much of the rules and paperwork associated with French bureaucracy.

So, as of tomorrow I join my new class of syrians, afghans, unkranians, thai brides and african migrants. That’s what we brits are now to the rest of europe, its what we have done to ourselves, our kids and grandkids.
 
Jan 24, 2014
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In a word - yes. The assumption from all concerned would have been that I would do the hours I was supposed to do. I probably would have found it out in the same way, but could have done the hours in the local town.

My assumption all along has been that I could just self learn in my own time, as it’s obvious to anyone that I would need to if I wanted to run a business over here. I knew I would need to do a test at some point, but A1 level is pretty simple and basic. I barely failed the test the last time (I think I might have wound up the test guy a bit). What I didn’t believe was that they would force me to do the proscribed 100hrs, and that I needed the test pass for the visa renewal once the x went on the form. It’s inferred not overtly stated, just like much of the rules and paperwork associated with French bureaucracy.

So, as of tomorrow I join my new class of syrians, afghans, unkranians, thai brides and african migrants. That’s what we brits are now to the rest of europe, its what we have done to ourselves, our kids and grandkids.
I don’t blame them, I blame OUR Government for not getting all these things done on the basis we already have. But on top of that they have not implemented the same for anyone coming here! Especially with all these refugees/immigrants then perhaps they wouldn’t come so easily.

Carol

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Minxy

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Good luck with your back to school program.
Don't forget your packed lunch, polish your shoes, take a clean handkerchief and an apple for teacher 👍
And also make sure my name tags are in my PE kit… :)
Just don't go pulling any pony tails ... nowadays they're likely to be wigs or extensions and will come off in your hand! :LOL:
 

Northernraider

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Well, here we are almost exactly one year after selling up in UK and commencing the search.

For the last month and a half, all energies have been focussed on trying to make sure I can actually stay in the European Union, my 1yr visa runs out in January. We are advised that to guarantee processing before expiry I should apply for an extension between two and four months before it expires, so I have until mid November to submit the application.

A hard condition of visa renewal is that I honour the terms of the immigrant contract, signed after my processing health and mental checks and language assessment back in May. I failed the language test and was assigned 200hrs of French lessons, which by arguement I persuaded them to reduced to 100hrs. I have to pass a test at the end of it. I also had to do four seperate days of civil lessons in Brest.

So we gave up looking to get through this. I did the first lesson in mid September after driving up from Correze, then the second a week later, we went back to UK for a week (had a great run out on the bikes through the trough of Bowland in Lancs on the only sunny day until my mates 1974 Trident snapped its primary drive belt..).

We came back via Portsmouth-St Malo again a couple of weeks back and I did the 3rd day in Brest. While the first two were about not having more than one wife, not circumcising female children, not beating the wife, needing a licence and insurance to drive etc, the 3rd was on government and history.

Interesting the alternative French perspective on stuff like the Romans and Normans, Joan of Arc and the 100yrs war, the extent and influence of their empire in the Americas and the 1st and 2nd world wars, especially the D-day landings. There was me thinking all this time that Brits and commonwealth soldiers made up the majority of the invasion force…

Anyhow, I now have just one more day to do next month, and again have to travel to the far fingertip of the country, Brest. We were going to submit my application but we were informed bluntly that I will not get a visa renewal. And If I overstay beyond January I will risk arrest (if Gendarme checked for anything) and even deportation.

Brave new world.

It’s because I haven’t done the formal language lessons. So we made an appointment at a training centre to explain the…..permanently-travelling-not-in-one place-long-enough-not-going-to-be-a-burden-on-the state-married-to-Frenchie-plan-to-become-fluent-in-own-time-why-you think-I-moving-to-France…..situation….

No. Computer says no. You must like all immigrants from outside EU have the lessons and get a piece of paper to say you have not only had them but ideally passed the test to get A1 standard. I offered to take the test immediately as I know I can pass it now. I have of course been practising with my French wife Bea, and of course living in the country, albeit in a camper van.

Blunt answer. No. You must do what is in the contract for the visa renewal. There is no short cut, no way round it. It’s the rules.

Bloody hell - French Bureaucracy again.

Interestingly - the staff at the training centre said the Brits post Brexit were being very well treated by OFII, almost given a free pass, I should count myself very very lucky.

I asked why. Reality check time. You can be made to take 100, 200, 400 or 600 hours of lessons BEFORE they will let you take the required A1 language test. A1 level is just to get a 1-yr visa extension. You then need to get through A2 and then B1 for the 10yr residence or to work in any capacity, which can be many thousands of hours and much more rigorous testing. The staff of the language training centre (not the government department decision makers, OFII), told me of many Algerians who speak fluent French but are made to take 600hrs before even being allowed to take the A1. It seems they use the system to make things harder for those whom they deem undesirable. This came directly from the instructors at the training centre. Apparently the Brits are still considered and treated as friends by the EU and even the French. Someone should call the Daily Mail… :)

It seems it’s always been this hard (in continental EU) for outsiders to get visas and work permits etc. Very strict rules to protect EU borders and labour market. It seems it was only ever the Brits who made things easy. No language requirement (‘multiculturalism’), easy routes into work, huge black market for labour. I guess that’s why so many camp at Calais waiting for their chance. Maybe we should have implemented some of these strict rules ourselves, before electing to have them applied to us. The stupidity of know what, as ever, continues to blow my mind.

Anyway, us Brits, despite being more rubbish at languages than pretty much anyone else in this world save the Americans (cue laughing), are routinely given just 100 or 200 hours. It seems to depend on our education level, I was able to show I had higher education, apparently why I was able to get it down to 100hrs, the absolute minimum for A1, and a visa extension.

So, with 3 weeks before I should submit a visa renewal, they said my situation was becoming serious. They offered to fit me in to existing lessons to do an intensive 2 week course to get me to 40hours.

Apparently, if they think I’m good enough, and at their discretion, I can take the test at the half way point, so for me, that’s a possibility of 50 hours. The only slight problem is that the training centre closes for 2 weeks on November 1.

So I start school tomorrow. 4-6 hours a day for 2 weeks monday-Friday, 40hrs schedules, the max they could squeeze for me. I will now work on a way to try to somehow get to 50hrs and the A1 test passed before mid November, and also complete the final day of civil courses in Brest, which is about French culture. I have to read a book by Dumas or something…

So here we are. All gone backwards, and I now have to work a bit just to stay in the country :)

Things could be worse. I met a retired Brit/South African in the training centre. He and his wife realised stuff even later than me, they have been assigned 200hrs each, has he done 60hr and is clearly not getting near the required standard for A1, his visa expires before christmas and he has already bought in the country…
All that and you still want to stay in France? I have to say a week or so is enough for me in France...then it's au revoir
 
Feb 19, 2018
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In a word - yes. The assumption from all concerned would have been that I would do the hours I was supposed to do. I probably would have found it out in the same way, but could have done the hours in the local town.

My assumption all along has been that I could just self learn in my own time, as it’s obvious to anyone that I would need to if I wanted to run a business over here. I knew I would need to do a test at some point, but A1 level is pretty simple and basic. I barely failed the test the last time (I think I might have wound up the test guy a bit). What I didn’t believe was that they would force me to do the proscribed 100hrs, and that I needed the test pass for the visa renewal once the x went on the form. It’s inferred not overtly stated, just like much of the rules and paperwork associated with French bureaucracy.

So, as of tomorrow I join my new class of syrians, afghans, unkranians, thai brides and african migrants. That’s what we brits are now to the rest of europe, its what we have done to ourselves, our kids and grandkids.
Never a good idea to 'wind up' anyone in authority, in France or anywhere else.
One usually need more from them than they do from you!
🤔

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