France is taking measures to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. It has already restricted its borders, in solidarity with the EU states. The country is also helping those in the country on a visitor visa or other temporary visas. These are particularly those who are unable to return to home countries due to flight cancellations.
The measures taken by the French government to curb COVID-19 were detailed in a televised address by French President Emanuel Macron. He emphasized the gravity of the crisis by calling the preventive efforts a “health war”.
Being equivocal with the EU states committee, France has sealed off its borders. The country has imposed restrictions on cross-border travel. It has also announced the automatic extension of visas and residency cards. This applies to those who arrived in France but are now stranded due to travel restrictions, including canceled flights.
The Préfecture de Police deals with matters of residency for those living in Paris. Their work also applies to local préfecturesin France. They too deal with residency applications.
As per the statement of the French Préfecture de Police, the automatic extension is applicable to:
- Titres de séjour
- Long stay visas
- Requests for asylum
- Receipts for requests for a carte de séjour
The extension is applicable only to those who are already in France holding these visas. However, the extension is not applicable to Britons living in France. This is because those people have to undergo a different process to get such an extension. This exception is presently owing to Brexit. The procedure for Britons includes applications submitted online through a special website. This special website is slated to go live not before July 2020.
The Préfecture de Police made a statement about the validity of residence permits that are in circulation currently. They have been extended by 3 months from March 16, 2020. This will secure the presence of legally residing foreigners in France. The message was released through a tweet.
As a measure to combat the COVID-19 crisis, France has already announced a suspension of the issue of all visas. This will be implemented in all French embassies and consulates across the globe until further notice.
The suspension of visas has affected all types of visas. These include:
- Long-stay visas to France
- Short-stay Schengen visas
- Visas to overseas territories
It also applies to those visa applications on which appointments have already been scheduled. This will increase the wait for migration overseas to France for even those who have covered certain stages in the visa process.
French President Macron was the first of the EU Member State leaders to confirm a shared decision of the states about COVID-19. He had confirmed that the EU states had together decided to suspend travel between non-European and European countries for at least a month.
Macron also announced that all French citizens would have to stay at home for 2 weeks. This will be as part of a self-isolation exercise to quarantine voluntarily. The aim is to prevent the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also added that those found breaking this order will be punished.
The second round of local elections, which was to be held on March 22, would be postponed.
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