For the previous two weeks, I have been refreshing the French Embassy's visa appointment page constantly - with no luck!

My plans for a vacation in Paris are being cut short because the French Embassy refuses to speak to people in person, has no one answering the phone regarding visa inquiries and has a website which refuses to make appointments.

I have tried the website during different hours of the day and night; I have asked my husband to go to the Embassy and speak to them and they turned him back saying he had to make an appointment , and we have called the Embassy over and over again, with no luck.

To get a visa to France, you need to book an appointment online. To book an appointment online, you need to access the website. And when you access the website, you are not able to book an appointment online. I wonder if anyone at the French Embassy has ever tried their website to see how infuriating booking an appointment is.

I have tried accessing it on Safari, on Firefox and on Chrome. Do I now have to install Internet Explorer to access it?

Here are their instructions:

To use this procedure, it is recommended that you have the following configuration :

- Internet Explorer 6 (Windows) and higher versions with Service Pack 2
or Firefox 1 and higher versions
or Mozilla 1.7.8 and higher versions
- you should also have Adobe Acrobat Reader 5 or higher to print your appointment receipt.
If not, you can download the software on the Adobe Acrobat Reader website

- you need to enable your computer to open pop-ups by changing your browser settings.


I was under the impression that I was able to follow instructions, since that it how we as Bahrainis are programmed, but apparently the French have managed to teach me a new lesson this month.

What annoys me more than those roadblocks which we face when we Bahrainis attempt to apply for Schengen visas is knowing the ease with with any European just has to flash his passport at our borders for the gates of heaven to open for them.

Last year, during the Icelandic volcano, I was stuck in Berlin. I had a four-day visa, and when it expired, I had to go to the police at the airport every single day to get a paper in my passport stamped - because my visa had run out!


7 comments:

Katherine said...

Surely, there must be someone at the embassy who could (1) answer the phone (2) be somewhat welcoming (ie not very rude) and tell you how to set up an appointment (3) remembers you from your GDN days...

... oh and sorry for calling you Shirley.

Amira said...

Thanks Katherine. The visa is for my better half - who has called and called - and even gone to the Embassy only to be waved back to the mad website!

And unfortunately, I did have to wave the magic GDN wand to finally get him an appointment. It was only after the GDN contacted them, that someone who was extremely nice and friendly called back and set it all up.

The question is: what do people without magic wands do?

Cerebralwaste said...

SBG

FRANCE???? WTF AMRIA!!! Try this for a vacation.... You are most welcome here and I will personaly show you and the good Dr. all around our fair city. Now how can you beat that?? Pffff France... Pffff

Jean-Marc Liotier said...

On behalf of the French people I want to apologize for the regressive visa policy of our current government. Last month I wrote an invitation form that I deposited at the town hall along with a dozen different pieces of administrative proofs of my income, marital status, home ownership, birth, nationality, electricity bill and so on... It was for a friend's mother who wanted to come visit her from Cameroon for a couple of months so that she could see her newborn grandchild. The demand was turned down - as usual with no explanation whatsoever. And this was a best case : rather old person with a good situation in the third country, invited by someone with solid credentials and a good salary... So you can imagine how it is for other people. A shame really - no wonder the best people no longer want to come to France. All that is done in order for the conservatives to gather a few votes on the right fringe - at a terrible social cost for the separated families and friends.

SJ said...

And here I was also in Berlin and missed a chance to meet you in person! Alas. My heart is with you and yours at the moment and I hope you can turn your thoughts back to vacation soon with the immediate crisis resolved.

Fay said...

I feel your pain. I'm trying to apply now and I'm finding it impossible. I have my American Visa, I'm one day away from changing my trip to Vegas instead of Paris.

This is ridiculous. I'm not sure if they're being arrogant, or are just completely lazy and incompetent.

Either way, if they don't want Arab tourists, don't pretend like you're accepting applications.

Kavi K said...

hi amira, did you get your appointment yet?
If not, you need to log on between 1.30pm & 2.00pm. There is a window of half an hour to book your appointment for the next day. It took me 3 days to figure this out when getting visa's for my children who are Bahraini (I am French). Its absurd that they do not state that on the website(even though they assured me it is posted when i complained) and when i went to the embassy in person, they gave me the wrong times!! Very frustrating and you know the French, sometimes not the most polite....
good luck!

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