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Sailing & Applying for French Polynesia Visas

They Took Our Passports!? Sailing & French Polynesia Visas

Last we left you, we traveled to the French Embassy in Quito to relinquish our passports and apply for our Long Stay French Polynesia Visas.

What did you think about Jason’s art work?  It was a touch Jackson Pollock which might do well in a blind auction.  And yes, if you watched all the way to the end, you got the spoiler alert!  But more on that later. 😉

Sailing & Applying for French Polynesia Visas

Here’s a quick recap of the details we covered in the video plus all those extra tips I promised.

As citizens of the USA we would be granted a 90 day visa upon arrival.  Which may sound like a lot but it’s not.  The sailing journey to French Polynesia is a 4,000 nautical mile sail that will take us between 20 and 30 days to get there.

There are 118 islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 1,200 miles in the South Pacific Ocean.  We’re going to need more than 90 days to do it any justice.

Which is where those Long Stay Visas come in.

EU peeps are exempt from a visa and can stick around for well…I think as long as they want (but don’t quote me on that).  For the rest of us, we need a visa. Depending on the country you are from, and which French Embassy you will be applying at, the requirements and time frame can vary a ton (also rules and regulations change all the time).  Oddly enough, we read the USA embassies are the most difficult requiring all applications to be submitted in French and English along with a police report.  My #1 tip: Contact the French Embassy you plan to apply at and ask for the current application form and requirements!  Even from Panama to Ecuador the requirements were slightly different.  Don’t assume anything, even if you read it on your favorite blog. 🙂

Here is a list of everything we submitted. We had two copies of everything as requested by the embassy.  We were told by those before us the more organized we could be, and the more supporting info we supplied, the better our chances were for being approved.

  • Cover Letter stating why we wanted a 1 year visa (nothing fancy, super basic).
    • Click Here To See Cover Letter
      February 8, 2018
      To: Embassy of the French Republic
      From: Jason Wynn, USA Passport No: ___________
      Subject: Long Stay Visa Application

      Dear Sir/Madam,

      I am applying for a Long Stay Visa to French Polynesia and thank you for considering my application. My intention is to travel to the French Polynesia Islands from April 15, 2018 to June 1, 2019. I am a citizen of the United States of America currently sailing around the world with my wife. We left the USA July 2017 and am in the country of Ecuador now. I intend to sail from Ecuador in March 2018 with arrival in Marquesas, French Polynesia April 2018. I have attached a sail plan for your review.

      The main purpose of my travel is tourism. As a sailor, French Polynesia is a dream destination with many islands and atolls to explore. I am excited to see the magnificent sights throughout the Islands both above and below water. What I am most looking forward to is experiencing the island foods and learning about the local culture and way of life.

      I am employed by my company, Two Wynn Inc, in Carrollton, Texas, USA. My wife and I started the company in 2010. I work via the internet and will remain employed and earning an income from my USA based job while traveling. I do not intend to seek employment in French Polynesia. My trip is for pleasure.

      Please find the following documents to support my visa application:
      1. Visa application form, duly dated and signed with attached passport pictures.
      2. Passport, showing my travel experience
      3. Proof of Health Care
      4. Sail Plan for my route through French Polynesia.
      5. Bank statements as proof of my income.

      I trust you will find everything is in order. For any questions or clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime. Thank you in advance for a favorable reply to my application and I very much look forward to visiting French Polynesia.

      Sincerely,
      Jason Wynn Carrollton, Texas, USA
      Email: _____________
      Phone: _____________

  • Application – My #2 Tip: Make sure to request longer than you intend to stay (always better to have more time and not use it, than not to have enough). The application asks for expected date of arrival.  We guessed at our arrival date, but built in buffer room for earlier/later arrival should our plans change.  We are required to arrive within 90 days of the date we list on the application, but no earlier than requested.
  • 2 “Passport” size photos (they have specific size, style, hair/glasses/hat restrictions, even lighting rules that you must comply with).  So make sure you are very specific when you have your photos taken and printed.
  • Original Passports
  • Copy of Passports including all visa stamps (We also printed an extra copy of the photo page and the Ecuador Entry stamp/Visa to keep in our wallet.  This proved to be a brilliant idea as we ended up needing this info multiple times while our passport was on ‘holiday’).
  • 6 months of bank statements to prove you have money in the bank.
  • A letter stating we would not seek employment during our visit (nothing fancy, super basic).
    • Click Here To See No Employment Letter
      February 8, 2018
      To: Embassy of the French Republic
      From: Jason Wynn, USA Passport No: ___________
      Subject: Long Stay Visa Application

      Dear Sir/Madam,

      I am applying for a Long Stay Visa to French Polynesia and thank you for considering my application. My intention is to travel to the French Polynesia Islands from April 15, 2018 to June 1, 2019.

      I am a citizen of the United States of America.The main purpose of my travel is tourism. I am employed by my company, Two Wynn Inc, in Carrollton, Texas, USA. My wife and I started the company in 2010. I work via the internet and will remain employed and earning an income from my USA based job while traveling. I will not seek employment in French Polynesia.

      Sincerely,

      Jason Wynn Carrollton, Texas, USA
      Email: _____________
      Phone: _____________

  • Proof of Health Insurance – My #3 Tip: It has to be valid for the entire year you require the visa.  We read your long stay visa will end when your health insurance expires.
  • Copies of Yellow Fever Vaccine (because we had been in Panama which is listed as a risk)
  • Vessel documentation
  • Proof of Vessel Insurance
  • Crew List
  • Sail Plan that includes the islands you wish to visit and a vague timeframe.  We just made something up, it doesn’t have to be perfect, they just want to know you’re moving through the islands.

We filled out the online request for an appointment.  We instantly received email confirmation with time and date.  We arrived at the embassy and well, you know the rest.

Fast forward…The French Embassy in Ecuador took 6 weeks to hear back on the status of our passports and long stay visa.  At that, I sent weekly emails starting at week 4 to get a response.  They never did call us by WhatsApp like they said they would.  So, who knows how long it would have taken to know our passports were back otherwise.  My #4 Tip: make sure to follow up, nicely but firmly, and again don’t assume anything.

Ok, about that spoiler alert…we were approved and are currently sailing towards French Polynesia!  We’re posting real time updates via our iridium go connection on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

This is just the first step.  We still have more work to do when we arrive in French Polynesia.  But we can’t tell you about that until we get there and experience it ourselves.  Stay tuned!

Photo Gear

Thank You!

Sharing our lives and what we learn along the way is possible because of viewers like you. A gigantic shout out to our Patreons! If you enjoyed this video, check out our Say Thanks page. It lists out some of the ways you can help keep these videos flowing. Best part is, most won’t cost you a penny but they make a BIG difference to us. Thank You!

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (37)

  • Catou

    HI!
    Only poeple with a french passport can stay the time they want in FP. It is an oversea territory. EU peeps are NOT exempt from a visa.

    Bon vent !
    Catou

    reply
  • Barry Echols

    Congratulations Wynns, according to your Garmin tracker you made the best 24 hour run so far: From 0641EDT Mon April 30 to 0641EDT Tues May 1st you made 168 nautical miles.

    reply
  • Patrick Burneson

    The paperwork is amazing. Have fun and thanks for sharing. Sail safe.

    reply
  • Jeff

    Get two passports, get two passports, get two passports…

    Visa management, most especially when dealing with a country that may not have friendly relationships with a country that you already have a visa glued into your book is a PITA.

    The first time I had to send away my passport for a visa was unsettling. Now I recognize that it’s a normal course of business.

    reply
  • Captain Billy

    Just a quick help with English grammar………………Yes yes….I know…. You’re Americans.
    “We’ve gotten a ton of questions about it and legitimately so.”

    We’ve received a ton of questions ……etc…….

    reply
  • mary vancompernolle

    Enjoyed the video! You must be close to 1/3 of the way by now.

    Wishing you safe travels calm sea with just the right amount of wind. I think I have been on your sleep schedule as you travel.

    reply
  • That was fun! Having French citizenship along with my US I know the amount of paper they require ??
    Safe travels you two lovebirds ??
    xox Karin

    reply
  • Scott

    Wondering how the map at the bottom of the page, which usually shows real-time location, will update. Maybe at next landfall?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      Hi Scott. I’ve noticed that the AIS isn’t updating but I’m not 100% sure why. I know that AIS is a satellite system and its primary use is tracking commercial ships. So I don’t know if most of the satellites stay in orbits over major shipping lanes or if there are “repeaters” along coastlines that feed info to the satellites? But my guess is that they are simply out of range and in a few weeks they’ll suddenly appear in FP.

      reply
  • Brenda Jones-Schneeberg

    Bon voyage. Who is curious minion?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      Hi Brenda, Curious Minion here! I have worked for the Wynns for several years but am usually more “behind the scenes” helping out with the website, answering super simple questions here on the blog, making sure the video goes live when it’s supposed to – that kind of thing. With this first long crossing I am “holding down the fort” and keeping the Wynns updated via their satellite connection (which lets us send short text e-mails but not much else). I guess this is my “15 minutes of fame” – ha ha!

      reply
  • Sarah B

    Awesome! So happy for the spoiler alert! Hope the journey is going well!

    reply
  • Jeffrey P Schueller

    What health insurance company did you choose?

    reply
  • Roger B

    You have a plan, determination, the intelligence, a goal, and therefore, you will achieve your goal. Happy sailing and waiting for your arrival to share with us. Thank you for your video.

    reply
  • Nancy Fernandez

    Glad to hear you’re on your way to FP but the anxiety; waiting to hear more. ? Be safe and happy sailing. ⛵?

    reply
  • Nate

    Great video. I actually watched the video on YT BEFORE coming to your blog. What was the guide that you were using in the video?

    reply
  • Andrea

    Hi Nikki, I was just curious to know if your long wait in Ecuador means that your videos will be closer to real time now? So excited for your next Sailing videos!

    reply
  • Denise

    I was wondering if French Polynesia has any restrictions for your cats? I don’t think France has restrictions when you travel from Canada to France, but does French Polynesia?
    I’ve head that many countries in the South Pacific have foreign pets quarantined for months.
    Love your Sunday videos 🙂

    reply
    • Sherri Grunden

      I’m guessing the cats are back home in Texas. I think they have to be in the US 6 mos, then a 30 day quarantine (probably in Hawaii) then they can be flown in to Tahiti. Don’t quote me; I don’t know this for fact. I was just curious too so I Googled the requirements.

      reply
  • Thank you for the great info on obtaining a visa in French Polynesia. I hope your long sail is fantastic. If you get a chance, can you let me know if you were able to check into Ecuador without your passports or with only a copy of your passports? I look forward to seeing your adventures in French Polynesia.

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      From this blog post:
      We also printed an extra copy of the photo page and the Ecuador Entry stamp/Visa to keep in our wallet. This proved to be a brilliant idea as we ended up needing this info multiple times while our passport was on ‘holiday’.

      reply
  • Larry Turouske

    Wearing a Panama hat, eating Ecuadorean dark chocolate, and on the way to the Galapagos?? 🙂

    reply
  • Steve

    The Egyptians took ours for a period of time 24 hours while they looked up our date of leaving the country. The Tongans didn’t, We were doing a bare boat charter. The visa always goes inside the passport but it is weird that they kept your passports. What would have happened if you landed somewhere else besides French Polynesia like Easter Island?

    reply
  • Great video guys! I hope you are doing well and safely on your way.

    reply
  • Ann Chapman

    Will you be making a stop at the Galapagos Islands?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      They wanted to go to the Galapagos but getting the FP visas took longer than expected, and before they could go to the Galapagos they would have had to have the boat hull professionally cleaned. By the time they did that and spent time in the Galapagos, they would be losing the weather window to sail to FP comfortably. There’s always next time around I guess!

      reply
  • Brenda

    Congrats! Did you need to do anything for the cats?

    reply
  • Dennis Watson

    My wife and I had to send our passports for visas to Brazil and Russia when we went. Kind of nerve racking because we were never sure we would see them again. Had to send them to the Brazilian embassy twice because we missed a small detail. Have a great time.

    reply
  • Steve Morrison

    Curious to hear more about what paperwork Singa and Cleo required. I assume your decision to skip the Galapagos was in part because of them. Have you run into other pet owner challenges as you’ve planned your South Pacific adventure. All the best.

    SV TouRai

    reply
  • Tom

    What happened to your third mate…did you kill off her character? Need more information!

    reply
    • Samantha Wiggens

      Yeah, I’m worried. Was she arrested, swept overboard? Is this a scam where you lure unsuspecting labor aboard, only to rob them and pitch them over the side? Sick humor. I would sail with you guys anytime. I probably just overlooked her information while enjoying the beauty of your photography and film.

      reply
      • Curious Minion

        Kate was only sailing with the Wynns until her husband finished up his job of training new crew (more of an explanation on that in this post: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/sailing-out-of-panama). Rufus and Kate have just moved on to their next adventure.

        reply
        • Tom

          But she never even said goodby. 🙁

          reply
          • Curious Minion

            Don’t be sad – I’ll bet you there’s footage somewhere of Kate’s goodbye and we may all get to see it before long. Hopefully Jason is editing his fingers off on this long passage! I do know that things were a bit crazy in Ecuador, trying to get the boat ready to sail, provisioning for the crossing, Jason flew to Texas – so I’m sure we’ll all learn more soon. The good news is, you can still keep up with Kate on her blog abrandnewlife.co.za/ or on her Instagram account. instagram.com/a.brand.new.life/

    • Curious Minion

      Kate was only sailing with the Wynns until her husband finished up his job of training new crew (more of an explanation on that in this post: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/sailing-out-of-panama). Rufus and Kate have just moved on to their next adventure.

      reply
  • Steve Morrison

    Thanks Nikki and Jason. We are a family of 4 finishing our first year as liveaboards and plan to go through the canal and into the South Pacific Spring 2019. We enjoy watching you all as a family and look forward to following your crossing and adventures upon arrival. All the best to you!

    Steve, Kjersten, Tougy and Nurai (plus Dave the girl dog)
    SV TouRai

    reply

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