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!

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