Immigration

The French spouse visa: Everything you need to know!

You have been dating your French partner for some time now and you are planning to move to France? In bi-national relationships, expatriation and marriage are often the only way to continue making plans together in the long term.

You may already be married to your French partner but never moved to France… if you are planning to get married to relocate to France to join your French other-half, you may be wondering what your options are and how to apply for a French spouse visa.

I will detail for you the main options to request a French spouse visa whether you are already married or planning to marry your French lover.

CAUTION: This article doesn’t apply to Algerian nationals married to a French citizen as Algerians. Algerian nationals depend on a special bilateral agreement; therefore the rules stated below do not apply. All the visas and residence permits for all other non-EU nationalities fall under the CESEDA (Code de l’Entrée et du Séjour des Étrangers et du Droit d’Asile).

marrying in France
Photo credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia

Request a long-stay French spouse visa

If you are a non-EU citizen already married to your French other half and are planning to spend more than 90 days and maybe settle in France, you should request a long-stay visa (Visa Long Séjour, commonly called VLS). The request should be done at the French consulate of your current country of residence. This can be your home country, but also the country where you currently hold a valid residence permit.

The VLS is the first visa you should request to settle in France.

What is a Long Stay Visa (or VLS)?

The long stay visa (VLS) is also called Visa type D. As you are married to a French citizen, you should request the Marriage Long Stay Visa, called Visa de Long Séjour (VLS) valant Titre de Séjour (TS) “Vie Privée et Familiale” also called “pour époux de Français”.

The visa D authorises you to enter France and remain for more than 3 months and up to one year maximum.

Yes, a VLS-TS, you might be wondering what it means… The TS stands for Titre de Séjour (Residence Permit), this means that while your visa (VLS-TS) is valid, you do not need to request a residence permit to remain in France. Your French spouse visa stands for a long stay visa and as a residence permit. The VLS-TS Vie Privée et Familiale allows you to work in France without any restriction.

How to request a French spouse visa?

First, you need to create an online account on France-Visas to fill in the visa request form and check the required documents that vary from one nationality to another. So, it is essential you check the specific documents required for your nationality with the French consulate or France Visas depending on your country of residence.

Some common documents requested for this French spouse visa are the full copy of your French marriage certificate, either made by the French administration (depending on where you got married) or translated and legalised or apostilled (if applicable depending on your nationality). Also, your partner will have to provide supporting documents to prove his or her French nationality, for example, a birth certificate.

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You will make an appointment with the French Consulate of your country of residence on the France-Visas platform.

You will need to go in person to the appointment with all the requested documents and the request form fully completed and signed. Your biometric data will be collected if this is your first visa request to France.

GOOD TO KNOW

    • You can make your visa request at the soonest 3 months before your planned travel date
    • The consulate advises not to book any flight before your visa is approved
    • It can take between 3 weeks to 3 months to receive the French spouse visa depending on the consulates or France visa offices.
    • You can follow the progress of your visa request on your France-Visas account.
Note that the PACS (the French civil partnership) doesn't give an automatic right to a visa to come to France, the way the wedding does. It will be taken into account but it doesn't guarantee the visa (or residence permit) approval.
expat in france
Photo creidit: Lauren Richmond

What to do when you arrive in France with your French spouse visa?

The VLS-TS Vie Privée et Familiale exempts you from requesting a residence permit the first year in France, but you absolutely need to register with OFII (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration) and validate your visa online within the first 3 months following your arrival in France.

You will need to provide the information:

    • your visa information
    • your date of entry in France
    • your address of residence in France
    • your credit/debit card to pay the residence permit delivery tax (250€ for spouses of French citizen)

A receipt will be provided, you will need to provide this document as the tax proof of payment. Make sure you save this document. It will be requested to collect your residence permit.

You will also be called in for an appointment with OFII to sign a Contract of Integration (CIR) and also to attend a medical appointment.

CAUTION: If you do not validate your visa within the 3-month time frame, you will no longer be staying legally in France.

What to do when your VLS-TS is about to expire?

How to avoid having to request another French spouse visa?

It has now been almost one year that you live in France with your French partner and your VLS-TS will expire in the next 2 months.

To remain in France, you need to request a residence permit “Vie privée et familiale”.  There is no need to return to your home country.

During the first year residing in France and within the two months preceding the visa expiry date, you need to request a pluriannual residence permit at your local Prefecture. The pluriannual permit is valid for 2 years.

Once you submit your residence permit request at the Prefecture, and only if your file is complete, you will be provided with a receipt (called récépissé). The récépissé authorises you to remain in France for the dates indicated on the document, usually 4 months, sometimes 6 for the initial request.

For most residence permit requests, the recépissé does not authorise to work, however, the Vie Privée et Familiale permit request does, unless stated otherwise on the récepissé.

 

CAUTION: The recépissé for a first residence permit request (opposed to a residence permit renewal récepissé), doesn’t authorise to travel outside France. If you leave the country, this document will not allow you to get back in and depending on your nationality you will need to request a visa.

The “Vie Privée et Familiale” long stay visa sometimes called the French spouse visa comes under the Code of the entry and residence regulation and asylum right (Code de l’entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d’asile – Ceseda).

  • Personal records:
    • passport (pages with the personal data and the entry stamp) ;
    • birth certificate with filiation ;
    • a marriage certificate and birth certificate with filiation of your children if applicable (original documents + French translations by a sworn translator by a French court of Appeal).
  • Proof of residence (less than 3 months old) stating the spouse name:
    • If you are a tenant:
      – an energy bill such as electricity, gas, water, and landline phone, Internet in your name. CAREFUL: the mobile phone bill is usually not accepted.
      – Lease or rental contract (less than 3 months old), successive rental payment receipts,
    • If you are staying at a hotel or a residence: proof of residence + receipt for the previous month rent.
    • If you are being hosted (in the case that your name is not on the rental contract): a hand-written certificate of residence signed by your host + your host last energy bill + a copy of your host’s proof of identity.
  • 3 ID photos respecting the Prefecture requirements, format 35 mm x 45 mm
  • Proof of the residence permit tax payment (to be given when collecting the permit). See more information below.
  • Your OFII CIR attestation (Contrat d’Intégration Républicain)
  • Your OFII medical certificate (to provide when collecting your residence permit)
  • A sworn statement certifying you do not live in polygamy (if you are from a country where polygamy is legal)
  • A marriage certificate (original documents + French translations by a sworn translator by a French court of Appeal)
  • Proof of French nationality of your partner: valid French National ID card or a certificate of French nationality of less than 6 months.
  • A community of living: one sworn statement signed by both partners certifying that you live together with proving documents covering one-year duration (such as rental contract under both names, energy bills under both names, joint bank account details…)
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NOTE: If the community of living has been interrupted due to violence all possible proofs should be provided (filling of a complaint, partner’s conviction for violence, testimonies, medical attestations…). Other reasons for interruption of the community of living are usually not accepted to request the “Vie Privée et Familiale” residence permit.

marriage in France
Photo Credit: Norbu Gyachung

Situation #2: You are going to marry your French partner

Congratulations!

You are getting married, but before settling durably in France, you will have to go through some lengthy red tape. Getting married in France or abroad will impact the type of administrative process and trips.

So better taking everything into account before booking a venue.

You are planning to get married in France with your French partner

Option 1: Coming to France with a short-stay visa (3 months tourist visa)

I won’t hide it, this option will imply more administrative processes, travels and expenses, depending on your nationality. But sometimes, personal life and dreams are a priority!

It is totally legal to come to France with a tourist visa to get married. There is no specific marriage visa in France.

The recommended option will be to go back to your home country before your 90 days tourist visa expires to request a VLT-TS Vie Privée et Familiale at the French consulate to be able to come back to France with the relevant visa.

There is another route, some people choose to take but it is not recommended as it implies that you will remain for a minimum of 3 months without the legal right to live in France. You can request a Vie Privée et Familiale residence permit in France after 6 months of living in France with your French partner. To be able to do this, you need to meet the 3 cumulative following conditions as per Art. L-211-2-1 of the CESEDA:

1. Your marriage should have taken place in France

This shouldn’t be a problem as it was your initial plan and maybe your dream. This required quite a bit of anticipation and preparation. Make sure you contact the City hall a few months before, I recommend 6 months, if you can, not to get delayed as there is paperwork that will take time to receive.

Leave this to your French partner worry about it 😉 The process is detailed here in French.

Depending on your nationality, there can be extra documents to provide. You should reach out to the French consulate or the French city hall to have the relevant information applying to your situation.

2. Prove your legal entry in France

As soon as you arrive at the French airport, you should request a “déclaration d’entrée sur le territoire français” as you didn’t automatically go through customs. You can either do it at the customs desk at the airport or at the Police station within the first 3 days following your arrival.

You must have a stamp proving your entry in France and if applicable a short stay type C visa (some nationalities are exempted from a tourist visa, please check with the French consulate of your country of residence). If your flight is direct into France, your passport will be stamped in France.

However, if you had a connecting flight and your first entry into the Schengen zone is another country than France, you will not be stamped in France as required for your coming administrative process.

3. Prove 6 months of a prior community of living

Type of documents that can be provided to prove community of living (it is essential the documents are under both names):

    • French tax notice
    • Energy bills (electricity, gas, internet)
    • Rental contract or title of the property
    • Insurance certificate
    • Pictures of the couple together
    • Emails, SMS, What’s app, any type of communication that prove that you were living together in France
    • Testimonies of relatives, friends… this is a non-exhaustive list.

If you decided anyhow to take this route, you will need to pay an extra 200€ via fiscal stamp for the regularisation of your status (50€ to be paid at the moment of the request (non-refundable) and the rest when collecting the residence permit.

If you plan to come to France with another long term visa, such as the EU Blue Card, depending on your possibilities and professional options. You will therefore be able to stay in France after the wedding and then ask for a change of status to Vie Privée et Familiale.

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As with every change of status, it can be done within 2 months before the visa expiry. Some people choose to request a Visitor long-stay visa if no other long term visa meet their possibilities.

Be aware that the visitor visa does not allow you to work (opposed to the Vie Privée et Familiale one) and you also need to prove that you will be able to afford to live in France without income.

Option 2: You are in France under another residence permit

In that case, you can also request a Vie Privée et Familiale residence permit if you meet the 3 above stated conditions.

Within two months before the expiry of the current permit, you need to request a change of status (Changement de status as they call it at the Préfecture).

This means requesting another type a residence permit instead of requesting a renewal of your current permit. You can follow the process explained in the first section.

French flag
Photo credit: Anthony Choren

You are planning to get married outside of France with your French partner

This solution will allow you to request directly a VLS-TS to the French consulate of your country of residence and follow the process as explained in Option #1 and will avoid you to request a short stay visa (depending on your nationality as some nationalities are exempted).

This can make you save both time and money! For this, you have 2 possibilities:

Getting married via the French administration (Embassy or French consulate)

Getting married at the French consulate or the French Embassy (depending on the countries) means that your marriage will automatically be recognised in France.

A French marriage certificate and a Livret de Famille will be provided to you and you will be able to use these documents to request the Vie Privée et Familiale VLS-TS as explained in the first section of this article.

CAUTION: Some French Embassies or Consulate are not authorised to perform marriages, for example, this is the case of the French Embassy of Taiwan.

Please check with the French Embassy of your country if they can perform it and the requested documentation that can vary from one country to another before making your plans.

Some documents specifically requested when getting married abroad can be quite long to receive as this is the case of the Certificat de capacité à mariage required for your French partner. This certificate can take 2-3 months to receive so get ready as early as you can.

Getting married with the local administration

You made the choice to marry at home, or in a third country, in both cases, you are getting married outside France in front of the local civil registrar. In order for the marriage certificate to be recognized in France, the registrary must be transcripted by the French consulate where the marriage took place. To know the relevant process, contact directly the consulate as it can differ from one country to another.

Once your marriage certificate has been transcripted, you will be provided with a French marriage certificate and a Livret de Famille. You will therefore be able to submit a Vie privée et Familiale visa request as explained in the first section.

In short

Well done!

You’ve gone through this lengthy process! You will need to request a renewal for the first 3 years before being able to request a 10-year residence permit as a French citizen spouse if you meet the requirements.

You may also be able to request French nationality after 4 years of marriage, sometimes 5 but this would be a topic for another article. Let me know if you will be interested in an article about the 10-year residence card in the below comments.

French Spouse Visa FAQ

Can I live in France if my spouse is French?

Yes, you can live in France after requesting a French Spouse visa (called Vie Privée et Familiale) from the French Consulate of your current country of residence. Once arrived in France, you will need to validate your French Spouse Visa into a residence permit.

Can I work with a French Spouse Visa?

Yes, the French Spouse Visa (called Vie Privée et Familiale) allows you to work without requesting a work authorisation from the DIRECCTE (the local division of the French Ministry of Labour). However, if you come to France with a Visitor's visa, you will not be authorised to work in France.

How long does it take for a French spouse visa to process?

It can take between 3 weeks to 3 months to receive the French spouse visa depending on the consulates or France visa offices. You can follow the progress of your visa request on your France-Visas account.

Can I stay in France if I get married?

Yes. If you can come to France under another visa, you will be able to change your status at your local Prefecture. There is also the possibility to come to France on a tourist visa to get married. There is no specific marriage visa for France.

What are the conditions to apply for a French spouse permit directly in France?

You can request a French spouse visa called Vie Privée et Familiale residence permit in France after 6 months of living in France with your French partner. You need to meet the 3 cumulative following conditions: prove that the marriage took place in France, your legal entry in France and 6 months of community of living in France with your French spouse.

106 Comments

  • Andrew Jones

    Hello,
    My wife is French and I am of British nationality, we were married in the UK back in May this year and have recently moved to France permenantly to live in our new home and to run a business, before we left the UK we tried continuously to make contact with our local consulate in Cardiff on how to proceed with a spouse visa for myself but had no reply either by emails or phone due to corvid restrictions its been hard to day the least, my issue is this I am now trying to sort out a French spouse visa with the French consulate of London while living in our home here in France, can this process be done online while I am living here and then attend an apointment when called to go to London for the visa or will I have to leave the country after the 90 day period of being here? we have no connections now with the UK or anywhere to live with this being our perminant residency now, any help appreciated as it is now getting a bit stressful.

    Thanks Andy.

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Andrew,
      I imagine this situation can be stressful when you don’t have the relevant information.
      So if I understood correctly you entered France with a tourist visa (the entry stamp in your passport). In that case, you will have 2 options:

      1- Return to the UK before the end of the 90-day period of your visa to request the Vie Privee et Familiale visa as explained in the post
      2- Request a regularisation at the local French Prefecture (demande de regularisation) to get directly a resident permit vie privee et familiale (eventhough you didn’t enter France with the corresponding Vie Privee et Familiale visa)

      This regularisation process works most of the time for the spouse of French national. The main reason it is usually refused is when you don’t meet the criteria explained in the post and when there is a doubt on the legitimacy of the marriage.

      There is no possibility to request an entry visa remotely as you mention in your question.

      I hope this helps you. All the best to you!

  • paul johnson

    Hi,

    My French wife and I of 25 years wish to move to France, I want to try to get French citizenship, I intend to take the French language test and apply from here in London, I have two questions,

    1) I’m fairly certain its possible to apply for French Citizenship from here in the UK, Am I correct?

    2) Although my wife registerd at the French consulate in London and made sure our kids got French Passports, she never registerd our marriage in France, this being a requirement for French Naturalisation. Do you know how long we have to wait after registering our marriage in France before I can apply for French citizenship?

    Thank you

    Paul
    (Brexit Refugee)

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Paul,
      I’m afraid this is a complex topic to respond to here.
      The exemption of the criteria of residence in France to apply to the French nationality is very specific. I advise you to consult an immigration lawyer since it will be a long and complex process.
      Your first step should be to contact the French consulate and also I’d recommend an immigration lawyer to help at least at the start of the process.
      All the best to you,

  • Dini Lestari

    Hello, Thanks for the very insightful article. I just have one question because you’re saying that we can get married in France using a tourist visa, but my local Visa agent said I have to use a Fiance visa to get married. And to obtain a fiance visa, I have to get a “Certificat de publication des bans et de non-opposition a marriage”, issued by the City Hall where the marriage will be celebrated first. If I apply for a tourist visa instead of a fiance visa, the embassy will reject my visa proposal. And this adds lots of problems for me right now because the Mairie said that it will take months for the embassy to do my marriage interview for me to get the Certificat de publication des bans….

    Even the Mairie staff said that I should go there with a tourist visa first, I’m so confused about the situation.

    Do you know anything about fiance visas?

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Dini,
      There is no specific marriage or fiancé visa for France.
      You can come to France on a tourist visa to get married. The certification des bans is not linked to the visa process but to the marriage process. Everyone (even French to French marriage) have to get a “Certificat de publication des bans et de non-opposition a marriage” and it should be published at least 10 days before the marriage. Depending on the City hall it can take some time, so you will want to tackle this as soon as you arrive with your tourist visa.
      Also as explained in the post, you will need to have 6 months of community of living to request the French spouse residence permit.
      All the best to you.

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Augustine,
      Non officialized relationships, whether hetero or homo, don’t give the right to a spouse visa.
      Also as explained in the post, a Civil partnership (possible for gay couples in France) doesn’t give an automatic right to a visa to come to France, the way the wedding does. It will be taken into account but it doesn’t guarantee the visa (or residence permit) approval.
      All the best to you!

  • Janice Lorraine

    Hello,

    I’m American married to a dual citizen French/American, we plan to retire in France next year. I understand I need to file for a type D visa and register once we move. However, I am confused about if I can travel to another country the first year we live in France. What are the benifits as a spouse of a French citizen living in France?
    Also, we are trying to find information and requirements for a French citizen moving back to France after 34 years in the USA. Thank you so much for all the information you have shared it has been helpful.

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Janice,
      I’m not sure what you mean by “register once you move”, do you mean to request the visa before you move?
      Your French visa (and then residence permit) will authorise you to travel as a tourist to the other Sheghen countries for a maximum duration of 90 days in a duration of 180 days. There are no specificities for the spouse of French citizens regarding travel to other EU countries.
      What information do you need for your French repatriating spouse?
      The main challenge might be to reactivate his right to French healthcare. He needs to know that his social security number is still valid – it never expires – but may not have rights attached to it (unless he contributed to the CFE). He will need to go to the CPAM office to reactivate it.
      All the best,

  • Sandra

    Hello, thank you so much for the article. It’s very helpful!

    I have a question. Can I get married to my fiancee in France when I have a Schengen tourist visa from another country (for example, Italy)? If we can, once we get married in France, can I also take the regularisation route to get the residence permit?

    Thank you!

  • Marry

    I got married in France and I live here without a valid visa now ,you have stated 3 requirements needed for regularisation of my process.
    I came from a Schengen visa from another country so I don’t have a stamp for France so what should I do now? Is there any loophole to fill that requirement?
    Also what happens if you get caught?

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Mary,
      You need to request for regularisation at the Prefecture to get a Vie Privée et Familiale residence permit as the spouse of a French citizen. You need the full dossier as explained in the post and you can also get the document list from your Prefecture’s website.
      The Prefecture will have extra scrutiny on your request and will want to make your marriage id legit, so make sure you prepare a thorough dossier not to trigger any more bells.
      Then, this is the easiest regularisation to do since it is considered a right to get the French spouse visa/permit from the moment it is clear the relationship is legit.
      Good luck to you!

  • Calypso Jaladeau

    Hello! My American partner is here in France visiting and we are considering getting married. Do you know what the current processing times are for obtaining the Vie Privée et Familiale for when she returns to the United States and goes to the French embassy?

    Thank you very much for this helpful information.

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello,
      It is hard to answer since it depends on the consulate (or the visa centre) and also the time of the year. It can go from one week to one month for the Vie Privée et Familiale. But this is really an estimate.
      All the best to both of you.

  • Haidee Albano

    Hi , been here in France for almost 10 years, married to a French citizen, I just want to know what are the possible requirements to apply for French nationality so that I can apply for French passport. , by the way I’m from Philippines. Thanks and have a good day

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello,
      Yes, you can apply for French naturalisation after 3 or 4 of marriage with a French citizen depending on where the marriage took place. It is a very long process, so better to anticipate. If you need assistance, you may want to consider contacting an immigration lawyer. All the best to you.

  • Rai

    This is so detailed!!! Love it! So I’m British and my fiancé is French. My French isn’t great although it’s enough to have very little conversations with people (emphasising on little). I wanted to know if they will be very strict with the residency card? I’m aware that they test your French in order to receive the residency card. Would you be able to explain a little bit more about this process? As well as the process of what happens after getting the residency card, I think if I remember correctly you can request for the 5 year residency card? Sorry if you’ve mentioned this before but I couldn’t find a lot of info online and was wondering if you knew the process and would be so kind to explain it here x

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Rai,
      This is OK not to be fluent in French.
      As part of your first OFII appointment, you will have a French language assessment test.
      If your French assessment test shows that you need French classes, your will be scheduled free compulsory French classes.

      FYI – 47,3 % of the people received A1 French classes in 2018 with OFII. Depending on the results of your language test, you will be given 50h, 100h or up to 200h of French classes according to your level. Classes usually take place on Saturdays.

      After the completion of every training, you will be provided with an attestation. All your attestations will be necessary to renew your residence permit when your visa (VLS-TS) expires.

      Then, yes you should have an A2 French level to get the 10-year residence card. But you can apply for this 10-year card after 3-4 years after marriage depending on where the marriage took place.

      All the best to you

  • Nanki

    Bonjour Mademoiselle Guiga,

    I have a bit of a unique situation. My husband (French) and I (Indian) live in the USA. My husband has a job in California. I applied for a visa prive et famille VLS-TS at the French consulate in San Francisco. I already have it till March 15, 2022. I entered France to visit my in-laws and I validated my visa upon entry as I believe that was necessary. I now realise I may be called by the OFII for the integration courses. However, I will be leaving soon to join my husband back in the USA as we are expats. Do you know what may happen if I don’t attend or respond to the integration courses ? Eventually we will be returning to France but not this year, and so I donot want to apply right now for a carte de sejour. I believe the integration courses are necessary to be completed only when you want to apply for a carte de sejour?

    Would I be allowed to reapply for another spouse visa from the San Francisco French mission (as long as we are legal residents there)?

    I of course tried to explain the situation on the phone to the OFII however, no clear answer. Would be grateful for some advice if possible.

    Thanks a lot!

    Nanki

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Nanki,
      If you don’t receive the attestation from OFII certifying that you completed the integration courses, your visa won’t be renewed or more correctly explained you won’t have a permit after your first visa (VLS-TS).
      In that case, you will need to request again a visa vie privée et familiale visa to come back to France. I do not see why it would be a problem. Compared to the other visas, the French spouse visa is a “right” as long as there is no doubt that the couple is legit.
      All the best to you

  • Pierre

    Hello,

    My turkish wife has a spouse visa “vie privée et familiale” which is due for its first renewal in November.

    We know this visa allows her to work in France, however we were wondering if that right to work also extends to other EU countries (ex: for remote jobs).

    Now that it gets easier to travel to other countries with covid vaccines, we are also wondering if she is allowed to travel to other EU countries with her spouse visa.

    Looking forward to reading you.

    Pierre

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Pierre,
      The vie privée et familiale visa allows your spouse to work in France or from France. So, yes she can work for a foreign employer (anywhere in the world really), but based in France.
      However, this visa will not authorise her to work in another EU country. She is limited to 3 months during a period of 180 days.
      Then, this is just for the immigration aspect, you will also need to see the tax implications with a tax advisor.
      I hope this helps.

  • Mick LeBlond

    Thank you so much for this insightful article!

    Do you know if this visa allows us to stay in our countries past the 90 day mark for other EU countries.

    If my French husband (I’m American) has to be in Greece for 6 months, does this visa apply to the EU Schengen space or just France? greece is really hard for Americans if you’re already in Europe.

    Thank you
    Mick

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Mick,
      No, a French visa will not allow you to stay more than 90-days in another EU country in a 6 months period.
      You will need to request the relevant visa from the Greek consulate in France to be able to stay for 6 months there.
      Best,

  • Suze Labois

    This is so helpful, I’ve avoided taking steps to get French residency as finding the correct pathway has been impossible. Would you be kind enough to clarify what I need to do as I’ve had my 90 days and am having to return to UK , we have a house in France and my French husband can stay longer .
    We have been married ( UK registry office) for 20 years, live in UK where my husband has settled status and at the moment want to continue as UK residents ,pay taxes there and have access to NHS etc.
    We would like to be able to spend at least continuous 5 months in France.
    So, I think the procedure will be to register our UK marriage in France , I apply for long stay Visa , and then try to get this Spouse Visa ….is that correct ?
    At the same time I don’t want my husband to loose his settled status in UK which he may do if we stay in France longer than 6 months .

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello,
      Thank you for your message.
      A long-stay visa gives the right to reside in France. If you stay under nine-month per year in France you may lose residency (from an immigration point of view), and for sure you cannot have a long-stay visa and then a resident permit to stay under six months a year.
      I can see three options:
      – request a multi-entry visa but the cumulated duration in France cannot exceed 90 days over a 180 day period. (the multi-entry visa can be valid from 6 months to 5 years)
      – request a long-stay visa for each stay in France
      – this option is for the long-term: request dual nationality as a spouse of a French citizen
      Good luck,

  • Bethany Taylor

    Hi

    Thank you so much for this article it is really helpful. It is so hard to find information onlien unique to each specific situation. I have been with my French national and resident partner for 4.5 years. We are not currently married but intend to get married next year. I want to move to france this year what visa shall I apply for. We are not ready to marry straight away just to have the visa benefit. I plan to live together with him and work in france for a non french company. I have seen information online stating that special consideration can be given to non married couples but evidence must be provided. I would be grateful if you could shed some further light on my sitatuation and what type of long term visa i should apply for visiter, family reunion or joing a spouse.

    Many thanks

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Bethany,
      If you are not married yet and plan to move to France to work (even remotely for a foreign company), you need to request the relevant work visa. I have done a separate blog post on this topic: https://expat-in-france.com/french-work-visa/
      Then, let’s say you marry next year, will then be able to request a change of status from your work visa to the Vie Privée et Familiale that grants much more freedom to work for any company without requesting a work authorisation and change employer when you want.
      Also, the special consideration you are mentioning is for people that are PACsed (the French civil partnership). You could get the Vie Privée et familiale if you are PACsed but there is no guarantee it will be granted (as I explain in this post under the Good to know section)
      Good luck with your project!

    • Sneha Manwani

      Hello
      My partner is staying in france and working more than 10 years he is indian and i am too we r thinking to get married by January i just want to know is his presence will be required if i ll visit embassy to apply spouse visa? Or my n his documents are enough??

  • Nef San

    Not sure if this helps anyone but i am American and my wife is French citizen. We made an appointment for long stay visa at the VFS office. We received the visa back in a 1 and 1/2 weeks. We delayed our flights thinking it would take a long time but it legit took less than two weeks. We are married and have our livret de famille . So maybe thats why it was easier.

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hi Nef,
      Thank you for sharing your experience!
      Indeed, the visa Vie Privée et Familiale can be quick to receive. Every consulate has its own timelines.
      Have a good arrival in France!

  • Jeb Harrison

    Hi Mademoiselle Guiga,

    I am writing a novel in which the French husband of an American woman dies in a car accident in Cazaubon, where they have lived for five years. Assuming the widow had followed all the rules you outline above, will she be able to continue to live in France? Thanks!

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Jeb,
      It sounds like a novel full of twists and turns!
      If the spouse already holds a French permit, the disease of her husband will not prevent the permit renewal. Common “cessation of life community” would prevent this renewal with 2 exceptions (Art. L. 313-12):
      – Death of the French spouse
      – The foreigner is the victim of conjugal violence by her/his spouse
      I hope this helps. Good luck with the writing! Let me know when it is published! I’d love to read it!
      Best,

    • Taufique Ahmad

      Bonjour Mademoiselle Guiga !

      Thanks for such an informative article. I still have one doubt. Me from India and my French partner are getting PACS soon. I have a plan to register a company in France and do business there. (Although it is possible to register a company in France even I don’t live in India) Just wondering will I be allowed to do business in France on a Spouse Visa or I need to apply for a Business visa? Thanks in advance.

      • Mademoiselle Guiga

        Hello Taufique,
        Yes, you can run a company in France under a French spouse visa.
        It gives actually more freedom than any other entrepreneur visas since you can have several types of status and income not necessarily linked to your company project.
        For example, if you are a photographer, under an entrepreneur visa you are not authorized to bill for English classes under a micro-entrepreneur status as a side hustle.
        The French spouse visa gives you the same liberty as a French citizen.
        I hope this helps.

  • Deniz

    Hello! Thanks for the great article! I still have a question though: I am Turkish and I’m married to my French spouse in Germany (registered at the French embassy) but now I am in Hong Kong to write my thesis and I’m planning to get my VLS-TS from the consulate in HK.
    The visa wizard says that I’d need to show a HK visa that will be valid after my return, which doesn’t make sense, because I’m getting the visa to move to France. I sent an email to the consulate but they reply with an automated email telling me to check the website.
    Do you have an idea how it works in this case? Is it just an automatic detail they forgot to delete on the VLS-TS requirements page or do I really need a visa from somewhere I will not come back to (HK) in any case?

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Deniz,
      Thank you for your comment.
      No this is not an automatic detail that needs to be fixed.
      You can request your French VLS-TS from the French consulate in HK, only if you are currently legally residing in HK under a valid HK resident permit. So for example you wouldn’t be able to request it if you were in HK under a tourist visa. You need to hold a long-stay visa/permit in HK to request the French entry visa for France from HK.
      If you don’t, you will need to request it from the French consulate of the country where you currently have the right to reside.
      I hope this clarifies.

  • N Sanchez

    I applied for a spouse visa. Can they deny my applcaiton due to criminal charges (nothing too serious). Saw some places that they dont even check and spouse visas are pretty straight forward unless your like on a no fly list or something like that.

  • Hakan

    Hello,

    Me and my wife are Turkish citizen, I recently got a job offer from France with 12 months fixed-term contract.
    We recently found out that its almost impossible for my wife to come to France with me. She either have to wait for me to stay in France for 18 months or has to be offered a job and get a work permit like me.

    Is there anything else you would recommend so that we both could go to France together?

    Thanks

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Hakan,
      Congratulation on your job offer!
      Well, it depends on which work visa you are applying for. You will find more information on this blog post.
      https://expat-in-france.com/french-work-visa/
      If you request a visa that authorised your spouse to come along (as explained in the post), it is essential that you include your wife to your visa request, and that she request a dependent visa AT THE SAME TIME as you. Otherwise, the family reunion visa will apply. I have also done a post about it. It is not a process I recommend if your wife can come with you.
      https://expat-in-france.com/france-family-reunion-visa/
      All the best to you,

  • Abdel

    Hi

    I know it may be a funny question , but curious to know if someone here had the same situation or if there is an answer, my girl friend is in France and I am in another country, we dated each other but we haven’t met yet,she wants to marry me , Can I get married to her at the embassy of my country if she gave her consent for marriage and send all documents to the embassy , so I can get Visa D before travelling to her ? Thanks

  • ET

    Hi! Would you happen to know for the case of dual nationality holders, how to change the nationality on a residency card obtained from marrying a French national? (If you were to renounce one of the two nationalities, but it’s the one that was used for the residency card.)

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello ET,
      Unfortunately, I’ve never encountered that situation before. But you can still make the change at the moment you renew your current permit (if this is a one-year permit). However, it is worth getting another piece of advice on this, I don’t want to mislead you.

  • Agnes

    This is such a helpful article! Thank you very much for putting this up!

    Say, for example, I got married in France on a tourist visa and stayed there for a maximum of 90 days… Can I enter France as soon as I get my long-stay visa approved? Or do I have to wait for another 90 days per the 90/180 rule? It sucks if we have to be away from each other for three months after getting married 🙁

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Agnes,
      Thank you for your feedback.
      The long-stay visa cancels the 90/180-day rule. So as soon as you get back home (or country where you reside with a valid residence permit), you can submit the application for the Visa Vie privée et Familiale, with no waiting period.
      I hope this helps.

  • Pari Sambasivan

    Q: If my French partner and I get married abroad (French marrying Canadian) is it necessary to register or declare the marriage status in France? Neither of us stay or work in France; as we live and work abroad. Intent to Declare as in, identify or state voluntarily when renewing French passport or travelling to France or French overseas territories on holiday etc. Is it required?

    • Rayne

      hello!this article help me a lot but I’m still confused with my situation on where I should gonna start my visa application . I got married to a french citizine in US through online marriage and he is currently in France while me is in the Philippines . what i should gonna do with this case , can I just directly apply for a spouse visa or it should be register first in francel ?please help me , thank you .

      • Mademoiselle Guiga

        Hello,
        I’m not sure what documents you are provided when doing an online marriage. If you have all the appropriate documents (cross-reference the list provided here with the France-visa list), you still should request the visa vie privée et familiale from the French consulate in your current country of residence (Philipines).
        All the best,

  • damien Parus

    Hello My Name is Damien,

    I am a french citizen in a USA for 12 years and working on getting my US citizen as well, i just got a job offer for next summer in France and we are planning on moving the whole family there.
    the situation is: my 2 kids and i are french citizen but not my wife, what do we need to do for her to come in france? we are married for more than 6 years now but didn’t do the frensh citizen ship for her in the US due to the cost and the difficulty to get it. Other point, my wife already have a job that will let her move anywhere in the world, does this chnage anything on the type of visa she will need to get.

    Thanks

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Damien,
      Your spouse will need to apply for a French spouse visa (Visa Vie Privee et Familiale).
      Since you are married, not other work visas can be requested. The French spouse visa is easier than all the other visas and it authorises to work without restrictions.
      Follow the information under situation one to request the visa from the French consulate in the USA.
      All the best for this life change!

    • ABIGAIL

      Hello, can you please give me advice on my situation please? I was an asylum in france and recently my asylum request rejected. But I entered france legally with 3 months tourist visa. Now I’ve been in france almost 3 years. My boyfriend propose me a marriage récently too, but we both wonder if we still can get married because I right now I stay in france illegally. My boyfriend is french nationality. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you in advance

      • Mademoiselle Guiga

        Hello Abigail,
        Thank you for reaching out.
        I’m not familiar with the specific asylum status and the possible consequence of residing illegally for so long when requesting a regularisation as a French spouse. I would tend to say that getting married is your best shot of getting a regularisation at the local Prefecture. However, considering the long time residing illegally, the Prefecture might give extra scrutiny to your request and will need as much proof as possible of your relationship.
        However, to be on the safe side, I would strongly recommend you to see an immigration lawyer. Since you want to avoid rejection in your situation.
        If you are in Lyon, I can recommend you one that has dealt with this type of situation before. If you need her contact, please contact me here (I do not answer questions privately by email as it cannot benefit all): [email protected]

  • DOUBTFUL Situation

    My situation is I’m an Indian and my french wife never lived in France herself. She was born in Pondicherry India. She is not good at french as well. we are married for 4 years now and our kid is french. She has a valid French ID and passport. What are the options for us to settle down in France. And would I be able to work and live in France and other Schengen countries if I have the French spouse visa.

  • Elizabeth Russo

    Hello!

    So I have a weird situation that I’m not finding much answer on! My partner and I of 3 years (he is French, I am American) were separate for 15 months during the pandemic, and I was finally able to visit with the laissez passer in Feb – I was in france for 72 days.

    We are getting married, but ran into timing issues to finish the process while I was there since I had to get documents apostilled by FL state and it took forever, so while our documents are almost all approved, I have to come back to finish the process. I techinically only have 18 days left until the end of August to be in France and try and get all our signing and ceremony done, so we are cutting it SUPER close with that timeline, if I go back in July, as we want to get this done ASAP.

    Is there any way that I can extend my stay and legitimately be there longer than 90 days out of 180 if I am marrying a French citizen and we are currently actively in the process of it? I believe long stay visas are open again, so I was thinking of just applying for one before we get married to go for 4 months and once we are married, apply for the VLT-TS Vie Privée et Familiale to be able to extend my stay. Does that seem like a good option, or is it better to wait until we are married to apply for a long stay visa?

    Basically, I don’t want to marry my partner and then have to leave the country immedaitely, so I’m trying to find my best options!

    Thanks so much!

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Elizabeth,

      Yes, the administrative processive are often longer than expected, unfortunately.
      Your situation matches the section on the blog post Situation #2: You are going to marry your French partner / Option 1.
      There is no possibility to extend a Tourist Short Stay visa, even as a French citizen spouse.
      As I explain in the blog post, many people choose to stay anyhow and then request a regularisation, but this means that you will not have the legal right to stay for a few weeks or months until you meet all the requirements to request the regularization (also explained in the post)
      I understand it is difficult to have to go back after getting married, but from an administration point of view, the aim of your stay was tourism.
      Good luck with this process and all the best for your new life in France!

  • Flora Fields

    Hello,

    I have a question, I am American, and I came into France to live here in september 2019, with, with my French husband ( after we lived in the USA for years ). We are married and I came into France with a VLS-TS privé et familiale. In 2020 I have relied for an extension of my visa. They gave me one for a year, but not after making me sign the CIR contract at the OFII in Poitiers. As I don’t speak French so well and my husband was not able to come with me to Poitiers, I signed the CIR as I they said to me it had to be signed.
    But now the OFII wants me to follow a 400 hour cours of French lessons. They decided that my French is not good enough and I also have to do a medical test and a 4 day civil course.
    Can you tell me whether this is normal? I feel very unconfortable having to take the course in this covid 19 time. And a good friend of mine came to live here in France with her English husband at the same time as me, and she has got a carte de sejour in the meantime for 5 years ( after one of a year ) without any obligation at the OFII or without signing the CIR. Nothoing about French lessons or an appointment at the OFII was mentioned to her at all. Could you tell me why they make me do this?
    Thank you in advance, Flora

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Flora,
      Yes, the OFII requests are totally normal.
      People on a work visa or Visa Vie Privee et Familiale are invited to an “integration” course. The medical visit is also normal. Then, the French courses will depend on what the OFII officer decide and there is not much you can do about it.

      The best is to see it as an opportunity to improve your French to facilitate your integration in France. This is one of the aims of what OFII is for.
      It is important you attend all the appointments. You will be provided with attendance attestations that will be requested to validate your visa.

      I’m not sure what your friend’s situation is and under which status she is. She may have a different French level than yours, and also a different officer made the assessment. Comparing two situations like this is not possible and not recommended when it comes to your communication with the French administration (just a piece of advice).
      I hope this clarifies the situation for you.
      All the best,

  • Annon

    I am Tanzanian and my partner is a French national. We dated for 8 years before getting married this year. I work abroad for a humanitarian organisation (very good job) and do not intend to move to France just yet. I wouldn’t want to give up my good job. My husband and I will travel back and forth to be with each other during our holidays. After how long can I apply for French citizenship given that I will not be living in France full time?
    Thanks

  • Denise

    Hi there,

    Thank you for this article! Very informative.

    I am Canadian citizen, and my partner is French. We have been living together for a year and a half but in another country and due to COVID we were unable to get PACs as everything was closed where we were living (Myanmar). I was able to enter into France for 3 months (it has been 6 weeks that I have been here) where we are now planning on getting PACs and I was planning on applying for the Carte de Sejour, but now Im unsure if I am eligible since I have been reading that I need to have resided in France for 1 year with my partner, with some exceptions however, I cannot find any information on what those exceptions are. We have documentation that proves that we were living together before but not in France and we have currently signed a lease for an apartment here which has my name on it.

    I would also like to know, if I get married instead with my partner, would I be allowed to stay here past my 3 months? I know it says I need to have lived together for 6 months, but would our previous living of 1.5 years be valid for this, so I can then apply for the Carte de Sejour?

    Thank you in advance for your assistance. Im trying to avoid having to go to Canada to apply as there is also issues with being able to move around from province to province due to COVID.

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hi Denise,
      Indeed the French Prefecture will theoretically only taken into account the time you have lived in France. If you have proof that you have been living together overseas you can still add it to your file, but there is no certainty it will be taken into account.
      The marriage gives the right to get the residence permit (unless there is a doubt on the veracity of the marriage) whereas the pacs opens the possibility to request the residence permit. The marriage is always safer and some Prefecture are more open than others to grant a residence permit to people under a PACS.
      I have indeed heard that the Prefecture of Paris now asks for one year of community of living, but not all the Prefecture. To have more information, you should either contact your local Prefecture or contact an immigration lawyer locally.

      • Magali

        Hello,

        Thanks for all this information! I have one question you could maybe help me with.
        I am a French citizen and my husband is applying for a long stay visa in the states to come join me.
        Does he need to show any financial documents proving he can live here and support himself until he finds a job here?

        Thanks in advance for any info you might have!!

        • Mademoiselle Guiga

          Hello Magali,
          Thank you for your message.
          If he is applying for a Vie Privée et familiale long-stay visa, proof of income is usually not requested. But the consulate can always come back to you to ask for the additional documents they judge necessary.
          When you start creating your file on the France-Visas platform, they will give you the list of the required documents. First as a draft and once you submit the final France-visa application you will get the final list you will need to bring to the interview. I recommend you to bring all the documents you have (+2 copies each), even the ones not on the list.
          All the best,

  • Andrea

    Hello! Thank you so much for the article.

    I have a situation that maybe you can help me with.

    I came here to France on a long-stay visa from the United States in September 2019, and I have been here ever since. (Sept 2019-May 2021)

    I have to leave France this summer to return to the United States (for a year) to finish up my Bachelor’s degree in the United States. We weren’t able to get married like we intentionally planned (June 2020) due to Covid. So, instead, we are waiting until after I graduate in Aug 2022. I want to get married to him here in France, but I am not sure as to what options that I have for returning. Can I come back to France without going through the Visa process again? Can I come back to France and get married within the 90 days of being here on a tourist visa? We have all the documentation of me being here in France for the past almost two years. I even got my stamp at the prefecture to extend my long-stay visa. (I paid 250 euros and received a residency permit.)

    I am a bit anxious about what to do. I just need some answers so that I stop worrying about this situation. I don’t want to go back to the US in fear of never getting the chance to marry him without a headache.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Andrea,
      I understand your worries and why you had to postpone the wedding. This pandemics is really making everyone’s lives even more complicated.
      If you get married under the 90-days tourist visa, this is the situation I explained in the Option 1 in the article with the risks it represents. It will require a regularisation that is taken on a case by case basis from the Prefectures.
      If you have proofs of income, the safest might be to request a long-term visitor visa and then make a change of status to Vie Privee et Familiale two months before it expires.
      You will find more information on this post:
      https://expat-in-france.com/france-long-term-visa/
      I hope this helps and answer your question.
      All the best for your return home and your Bachelor’s degree!

      • Andrea

        Thank you for your reply. I have been on the LVS for about two years. If I came back on a regular 90 day tourist visa, couldn’t I stay in France after getting married? While the paperwork is processing, I would be able to stay in France, yes? I have all the proof that I need (including my fiancé’s family) to confirm my stay.

        I plan on working here in France after I get my Bachelor’s Degree because it pertains to Teaching English as a Second Language. The prefecture that I would be going to is in Blois. It’s not very busy like Paris. I paid €250 for a stamp there last year. Couldn’t the process then be just as easy? I want to do things the right way. If I did Option 1, would it be mandatory that I return to the United States if I plan on teaching here in France?

        Thanks for all of your help.

        • Mademoiselle Guiga

          Hello Andrea,
          The stamps is the tax corresponding to the residence permit you had. It is not because you pay the tax that the file is accepted. It is because your entered France with the visa matching the residence permit you requested once arrived in France.

          The basic rule is that the 90-day tourist visa cannot be transferred to a resident permit. However, there is some flexibility when requesting a Resident permit Vie Privee et Familiale. You must be aware that it is a regularisation request (demande de regularisation) and not a common request since you are requesting a permit that doesn’t match the visa you entered France with. The impact is that the decision to grant the permit in this context is done on a case-by-case basis and there is often more verification to make sure of the veracity of the relationship (they want to avoid sham marriages). So all the documents you have are good to keep and have with you when you go to the Prefecture.

          As I said in the post: “The recommended option will be to go back to your home country before your 90 days tourist visa expires to request a VLT-TS Vie Privée et Familiale at the French consulate to be able to come back to France with the relevant visa.”
          But if you can already prove 6 months of common life in France, this will avoid you the 3 months without a permit that I mention in option 1.
          You will find here the list of documents requested in this situation (official website in French):
          http://accueil-etrangers.gouv.fr/demande-de-titre-de-sejour/vous-etes-ressortissant-e-non-europeen-ne/vous-etes-ressortissant-e-de-pays-tiers-non-algerien-ne/vous-etes-en-france-vous-demandez/vous-etes-marie-e-avec-un-e/article/liste-des-pieces-a-fournir

          You should also take into consideration the delays to get a date at the Mairie. This is not a topic I will detail here, but I advise getting your French fiancée to contact the Mairie now (before you move back to the USA) to understand well the delays and the process to get married in France. The 2 spouses need to be present physically at the Mairie to request the marriage date and then there are set delays you need to wait to be able to get married.

    • Margarita

      Dear Madamemoiselle Giuga,

      I’m marrying my french boyfriend and I will have to appy for the long stay visa familiale, however he is working in Switzerland were we met. After marriage, and getting the long stay visa, can I used this visa to work in Switzerland or I will only be able to work in France? If france jobs are the only option, how soon can I apply for jobs in other counties of EU?

      Also, I’m not EU citizen

      • Mademoiselle Guiga

        Hello Margarita,
        The visa Vie Privée et Familiale authorises you to reside and work in France, not in Switzerland. France and Switzerland are two different countries, with their own immigration laws. The visa vie privée et familiale ONLY authorises you to travel as a tourist for 90 days in a period of 180 days in the Schengen zone. (FYI – French citizens also need a work permit to work in Switzerland – even as border workers)
        If you wish to reside and/or work in Switzerland (as a border worker for example), you will also need to request the relevant permit from the Swiss authorities.
        I hope this clarifies. All the best to you.

  • Ivy Jean Hedalgo Quiamjot

    Bonjour! I’m from Philippines. I’m a Filipina and my boyfriend is french and living in France. I’m so glad I found this article and it helps a lot. I have questions and I’m hoping for your response. First, We’re planning to apply for a student visa for french language course (short stay) And at the same time we’re planning to get married there if my student visa will be granted. Would that be possible? Because as far as I know there’s no specific visa for marrying in France. Do you think it’s easier to get a student visa than tourist visa?

    And most importantly, if ever I will be granted for a student visa and we will marry. Is it possible that I will be able to apply for a spouse visa without going back to the Philippines? And can you please tell me how to do it if it’s possible. I would appreciate your answer. Merci!

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Ivy,
      If you plan to study in France, you should request a student visa. It is important to request the visa matching the motive of your stay.
      As I explain in the article there is no marriage visa to France. The 90-days visa is usually never transformed into any other kind of visa, with an exception to the French spouse visa, but it remains at the Prefecture’s discretion. (see option 1 explained in this article)
      Yes, if you come to France with a student visa, you will be able to change of status to the Vie Privee et Familiale permit (French spouse visa) without returning home.
      Of course, if you meet the requirements explained in this article. The change of status should be done at the Prefecture within 2 months before expiration.

  • Dinara

    Hey there, thanks for such a useful information!

    Me ( Kazakh)with my boyfriend (French)living in China now, want to get married and apply for spouse visa for me, is it possible to marry in French embassy in China? And then request for this type of visa here? If yes, how long it takes? What doc need to provide? Or may be you can suggest us an other solution.

    Wish you a good day!

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Dinara,
      Yes, you can marry at the French Consulate and request your French visa from China as long as you still have a valid residence permit for China (the French consulate will request it).
      As I explain in this post, you need to contact the French Consulate and check the documents on the France-visa website as they may vary from one country to other. (all is explained in the post).
      All the best

  • Ugonna E

    Hi there,

    I am a Nigerian national and my fiance is a french national living in France with her family. We intend to get married in Nigeria later this year and while I do not intend to relocate to France permanently owing to my job commitments, i need to be able to travel to see my family without much hassles. What type of visa would be right for me?

    PS: We intend to have two homes in Nigeria and France

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Ugonna,
      If I understand well, you do not intend to reside in France and you will be coming for short stays only. In that case, you will need to request a short stay visa (90-days Schengen visa) or a long stay visitor visa. Find more information here: https://expat-in-france.com/france-long-term-visa/
      Unfortunately, there is no immigration procedure without ‘hassle’.

      If you have been married for a while, you can also consider requesting a French passport. This is a long and difficult process but once it is done, you will be “hassle-free”.
      All the best,

      • Toni

        Very informative article. Thank you.
        My situation is a bit different from all of the questions you have received.
        I am French and my husband is Australian. We are both retired but not 65 years old yet.
        We have a house in France and now would like to spend at least 1 year there every 15 months or so.
        My question is could my husband get a longer visa thsn judt one year?
        My husband was asked to do a french test and was asked to do 400 hrs of french. We don’t depend on the french government for anything. And he doesn’t want to work.
        Is there a way around not learning French and obtaining a residency visa.
        Thanks in advance
        Cheers
        Toni

        • Mademoiselle Guiga

          Hello Tony,
          Thank you for your comment, I’m happy you found it helpful.

          The initial long-stay visa is always one year.
          Then when requesting the Vie Privee et Familiale permit renewal, your spouse can be issued a two-year multiannual residence permit (sometimes 4 depending on the Prefecture), provided that:

          – Proof of attendance and seriousness of participation in the training prescribed by the State (OFII) within the framework of the Republican integration contract and that they have not rejected the essential values of French society and the Republic;
          – To continue to fulfil the conditions of the residence permit.

          So you understand how important this is to attend the courses provided by OFII. If OFII considers that your spouse needs French classes to facilitate his integration in France, he must take the classes or his permit will not be renewed.
          I hope this clarifies the situation.
          All the best to you and your spouse!

  • DonaldStpierre

    My situation is similar to some here but I came to France to get married to a French citizen from the US we got married 9 weeks ago and im on a passport but no Visa. Im currently scheduled ti leave France in a week but wish to wait till my wife’s paperwork comes in. Can I stay without penalty as we wish to return in the fall to stay for the winter.

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Donald,
      Congratulation on your marriage! You wouldn’t need to go back to the USA. My answer will be the same as I did to Phillip Brown further down in the comments.
      All the best to you,

  • Zeeshan Riaz

    Hi Hope your doing good. I have one question my wife is French Resident last 10 year but I am in Pakistan i visit my family 3 time in France on a visit visa now my question is next time if i go France on a visit visa can i go to prefecture for PR can i get PR on my children base they go to school since 2018.

    She living with her parent on her own house

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Zeeshan,
      I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you planning to stay in France the next time you visit? If you do not reside in France, you cannot have a residence permit.
      If you plan the reside, you will need to request a regroupement familial. You will find more information in this post: https://expat-in-france.com/france-family-reunion-visa/
      This is a very long process, so if this is your plan, I would start it as early as possible.
      All the best to you and your family,

  • Vidya Beeharry

    Hi there,

    I’m after some advice. I am a french national, although I reside in London (since the last 30 years) and have pre-settled status/Indefinite leave to remain. I have met someone who resides in France whose papers are not in order. We would like to get marrie, and as he cannot travel, I must submit all the required paperwork so that we get married in France.

    Do you know what the procedures would be after we get married? How easy/difficult would it be for him to move to the UK to live with me? He also has a 16 year old son who is currently in the first year of Bacc in France.

    Thanks,

    (Anon)

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Anon,
      Your question is about UK immigration law, not French immigration.
      You should look for advice from a UK immigration lawyer. You will need to figure out if the best course of action is to marry in France. Since the objective is to reside in the UK, it might be worth double-checking if marriage in the UK is possible.
      All the best,

  • Prakash

    Hello

    I am an Indian and I hold a valid residence card. I have a CDI contract and I earn 3000 gross. I have an apartment. I want to marry an Indian Girl, who is also trying for her Student Visa in France. Should I get married to her in France after she comes to France or should I marry her in India and ask for “regroupement familiale”? Which option is better in terms of time?

    Thanks

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Prakash,
      The Regroupement familial is the longest process there is. You will find more information in this post: https://expat-in-france.com/france-family-reunion-visa/
      So, if your girlfriend can get a student visa, it is better in terms of time. Then you can still marry in France. But be aware that the visa vie privée et familiale is only for the spouse of a French national citizen.
      All the best to both of you,

  • Samantha

    Hello,

    I am really struggling to find information online and would really appreciate some assistance!

    I am Jordanian and my partner is French-American (we are both girls which is illegal in my home country of Jordan). I recently had to move back to Jordan for familial reasons and she still resides in Dubai, where we originally met. We plan to move to France and get married in the near future but are struggling to find reliable information online in English. My questions are:
    1) As a non-French citizen, which visa do I apply for? Should I simply enter the country on a tourist visa?
    2) Do I need to disclose that we are headed to France for the purpose of marriage? (This is strongly shunned upon during the U.S. visa process, for example). Obviously, we are not trying to commit any type of visa fraud but we simply cannot get married as two girls in Jordan nor Dubai.
    3) Can we get married straight away? (in the U.S., a 90 day waiting period is strongly advised).
    4) Upon marriage, will I – as a Jordanian – be granted any sort of residency visa? Note: my partner has not lived in France for at least 10+ years; her father currently resides there. If yes, is it advisable to get a lawyer involved?
    5) We will get married in France whilst simultaneously processing my k1 visa for the United States – will this be a problem?

    Apologies for bombarding you with questions and highly appreciative of your assistance!

    Kind regards 🙂

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Samantha,
      My apologies for my late response. I have been very busy lately.
      Your questions are complex and should be part of consultation since they require research. I will give you some fast responses but if you want more detailed information, I can give you a quote for a consultation. It is a service I’m setting up at the moment. If you want to have more information, please contact me on this email: [email protected]
      1) If you go to France unmarried, the visa type will depend if you have other motives to go there (study, work or just visit. You will have the list of work visas here:
      https://expat-in-france.com/french-work-visa/
      If it is just a visit (or marry it will be the tourist-visitor visa).
      2) On the tourist visa application, you will need to tick the marriage option if there is one. Otherwise, if you marry in France without having ticked that option, this will trigger doubt on the truthfulness of the marriage, and the residence permit may be rejected.
      3) You should start the process straight away especially if you come on a 3-month tourist visa. There are delays in being able to marry in France.
      4) Upon marriage, you will be able to request the French spouse visa (vie privée et familiale) as explained in this blog post. If your future spouse has a valid French passport, it doesn’t matter if she hasn’t been residing there.
      5) Not for the French side.
      I hope this can help. All the best to both of you.

  • Jeet

    Hi,

    I am not in France and my GF is in France. She holds a work Visa. Can I go and marry her in France and get a Visa?

    Thanks

  • Swathi

    Hi, I’m on my student visa, I’m from India. Right now I hold work permit visa which helps me to find job. My husband is in India and now he wanna come to France. So, what type of visa would helps him out to join me as soon as possible.

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Swathi,
      Thank you for your comment.
      The French spouse visa (Vie Privée et Familiale) doesn’t apply here since neither of you is French.
      From what you told me of your situation, your husband would have to apply for his own work visa (you’ll find a list here: https://expat-in-france.com/french-work-visa/), or a visitor visa but it doesn’t authorise to work in France. Or he can also apply for a student in France.
      The French family reunion visa is very difficult to get since you have a student visa (you can see the blog post about it: https://expat-in-france.com/france-family-reunion-visa/
      I hope this information helps you.
      All the best to both of you.

  • Inam

    Hard work appreciated
    I have one question my wife is French national but I am in pakistan and i want to get a spouse visa
    Do my wife need her own appartment and job for my visa process
    She is a french national living with her parent

  • Julia

    Thank you for a detailed article!

    And does the spouse visa or residency permit authorize you to work in other EU countries? I am a Russian national and my husband is French (married in France)

    If not, what the options might be?

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Julia,
      Thank you for your comment and your nice feedback!
      Each EU country has independent immigration laws. Therefore, depending on the EU country where you are planning to relocate you should check the visa options the country offers.
      I believe many EU countries have a European citizen spouse visa. It is the case in France. For example, a non-EU citizen married to a Spanish person could request such permit in France.
      I hope this helps.

  • Phillip Brown

    Hello. Thank you for a great article. I have a different situation than all you have listed. My wife and I were married this summer in Los Angeles. We recently moved to France. I am currently on a tourist visa. We sent off our marriage license to be transcribed. Is it possible for me to stay here in France and get a visa from the USA embassy without having to go back the US?

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hello Phillip,
      Congratulations on your marriage!
      I guess you didn’t request the French spouse visa (visa Vie Privée et Familiale), due to the current covid situation and delays of the French consulates.
      This should have been the appropriate visa to request to come and live in France considering you are married to a French citizen.

      When someone doesn’t enter in France with the appropriate visa (whatever the reason), a request of regularisation at the Préfecture should be done (demande de régularisation) from your tourist visa to a Vie Privée et familiale residence permit. The list of documents to prepare is the same + any other documents the Prefecture may decide to request.
      You will not need to go back to the USA.

      The visa “Vie Privée et familiale” VISA is a right as long as there is no doubt on the legitimacy on the relationship.
      However, a regularization request approval is at the Prefecture’s discretion (since you didn’t enter to France with the correct visa). It shouldn’t be a problem for this status, but just for you to understand the difference and the impact of a regularisation request.
      You will be requested to pay an extra 200€ via fiscal stamp for the regularisation of your status (which represent an extra cost of 100 EUR to the French spouse visa of 99 EUROS but still cheaper than a return flight to the US) + the cost of the residence permit.
      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.

    • Mademoiselle Guiga

      Hi Lara,
      This is actually quite difficult to find comprehensive information online in English with official sources. I do hope this will help bi-national couples to find their ways in the French administration maze.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Have a good rest of the day.

    • Neil Batchelor

      Hi, thanks for the page. I guess everyone has a unique set of circumstances and I would really like to talk to someone about the best way to get a visa for my situation. Is this possible or can you recommend somebody please?
      Kind regards
      Neil

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