Visa... IMHO .... a Problem
As for the Visa; yes it is a big problem. We were lucky in getting a long stay visa in Panama
but made the mistake of only getting it for 6 months. Also in the 6 month stay they did not put 180 days (which is an option but put dates), this ended up causing us a months loss as we arrived in June instead of May. BTW we did put on our application put June 1st would be our expected date of arrival but when it came back from the French it was May 1st and as we were already getting behind in time for the Pacific crossing didn't want to stay and "fix" it should it have been possible.
While here we asked our agent if we could provide the paper work to extend to the Year and she checked with the Minister of whatever and he said No. At the embassy all we had to do was say yes, we want a year and we would have had a year. Our mistake. One I hope to never make again. Get the longest stay one can in any country; you can always leave early. BTW an American on another boat had a 6 month visa and was instructed by the embassy she visited to apply once here; she did and then was granted a one year visa. Go figure.
However 2 boats we know of received a year visa from Panama
(Polynesia indicates that this is not possible outside your home country but they were given a one year anyway) and that required them to be in Tahiti
within 2 months of making a Polynesian landfall. Fortunately for one boater their agent was able to take care of their paperwork in absentia (there were now in Polynesia) and they were able to stay in the Tuamotous longer then the two months.
Getting an extension in Polynesia is only possible if you have a health
issue or major boat issue. We know two boats with boat issues; one boat was given a visa extension of a year; EU owner and South African wife on a South African Passport. The wife was give an extension to a year. The other boat; American, had an engine
issue in the Marquesses and was given a 2 month extension. They thought they had it fixed and on the way to Tahiti
another problem occurred. In Tahiti they were only given another 1 month extension. Don't expect on receiving an extension and don't expect any consistency in their application.
As for our situation loosing a month here we were not happy and asked our agent to check if that was correct. Those with the year extensions had the year from their date of arrival and not from the dates on the Visa. However after checking she found out that indeed ours is from the dates on the passport visa and thus we leave early. There are many beautiful places in the Pacific and since it is so difficult to remain here in French Polynesia
we are going to move on.