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French Polynesia Tightens Rules on Visa Extensions

By webmaster last modified Aug 19, 2002 12:50 AM

Published: 2002-08-19 00:50:56
Topics: Cruising Information
Countries: French Polynesia

Any cruiser arriving in French Polynesia has to go thru one of 2 authorities to clear immigration: the gendarmes or the PAF (police de l'air et des frontieres ).

Any EU citizen gets an automatic 3 months stay without visa. If he/she wants to stay longer, he/she has to ask the DRCL (Immigration Office) in Papeete (within the first two months of his arrival otherwise his request will not be considered!) for a permis de sejour. The length of this permis de sejour will vary depending of the reasons evoked, the financial status of the person and other facts left at the discretion of the DRCL. Better to give valid reasons to extend your stay and show proof that you won't be a burden in French Polynesia. A background check through Interpol is probably going to be done too.

Any non-EU citizen, upon showing a passport valid for at least another 6 months and signs of respectability and financial security will be given between 1 and 3 months by the gendarmes or PAF at their discretion. A bond will have to be posted for any stay over one month. Those 3 months are NOT going to be extended by the DRCL or by those two authorities mentioned above. In past years, many visas were extended but not anymore! If any non-EU citizen would like to spend MORE than 3 months in French Polynesia, he/she has to contact the French consulate IN HIS COUNTRY OF ORIGIN - BEFORE arriving in French Polynesia - and apply for a extended visa. The length of that visa will again depend of the reasons evoked for the longer stay.

Leaving your boat in French Polynesia and flying to visit another country (Easter Island for example) or return home will get you another chance to get between 1 and 3 months from the gendarmes or PAF. But you cannot do so every 3 months or less as it would be an obvious way to bypass the law!

Note that the above information does not have ANYTHING to do with custom duties on your boat if it stays more than 12 months in any 24 months period!

Many cruisers complain a lot about official rules concerning immigration and customs here in French Polynesia and I agree that things could be much more relaxed but if you compare the rules and the fees here with many other cruising destinations, you have to admit that things here are NOT that bad!

Luc Callebaut