When I recently wrote about the 90 day rule, I forgot to mention that if I was a Frenchman wishing to visit the UK for 6 months, I would need to have a valid passport, an active Email address, and either a debit or credit card to pay a small fee to extend the 90 day rule to 180. One would apply online, the visa would be delivered within 72 hrs, and sent to the applicant's Email address. What could be simpler?
However, if an Englishman wishes to spend a similar 6 months in France, the process is very different.
Firstly it cannot be done online. One needs to make a long trip to the Embassy/Consulate in London, where lengthy forms would need to be filled, 2 ID photos provided, fingerprints taken, and just about every other inconvenience imaginable forced upon us. That's if you find the place open, or the right person just happens to be there. Having lived in France for the past 50 years, I can assure you that if a French bureaucrat can make your life difficult; he/she WILL. And woe betide you if one of the documents isn't exactly what they want; and that's not just for Brits. You go back to stage one, and start all over again.
I mentioned here recently that there is a move afoot in both France and Spain to relax the present rules a bit, but maybe if they don't, the UK should mirror the French rules, and insist on a 90 day rule for all Europeans; with the same sort of complicated rigmarole if they wish to stay any longer. May I suggest a specially installed visa office on the remote Scottish isle of O'Lang-sein; which would HAVE to be attended on two successive Saturdays.
What's good for the European Goose, must surely be good for the British Gander.