An Overview of the Family Visas In France
As France is in the Schengen area, Canadian citizens do not require a visa in order to visit France for up to 3 months. However, if you are a Canadian citizen and wish to spend longer than this visiting family in France, you will likely need to acquire a Family visa. This is a long-stay visa and is valid for up to 1 year.
This visa will allow you to legally enter France. Once you arrive in France, you will then generally be required to obtain a residence permit from your local Prefecture.
The particular type of family visa for which you need to apply will depend on your specific situation. The main visa options are: family member of a French citizen, family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, family member of a ‘talent passport’ holder, and the Adoption visa. The details of each of these particular routes will be given in the next section of this article.
- An Overview of the Family Visas In France
- Types of Family Visas in France
- Eligibility Criteria Of The Family Visas
- How To Apply for a Family Visa in France
- What Documents Will I Require?
- Application Processing Time
- Cost Of Applying
- The Rights and Benefits of Family Visa Holders in France
- Extending or Renewing Family Visas in France
- How Total Law Can Help
- Frequently Asked Questions
France Family visa for a family member of a French citizen
If you are the close family member of a French national, you can apply for a Family visa in order to join them for up to a year. The eligible close family members are as follows:
- Children who are under 21 years old
- An older relative of either the French citizen or their spouse
- A parent or grandparent of either the French citizen or their spouse
If you are applying as the spouse of a French citizen, you may also be eligible for a 10-year residency card if you have been married to your spouse for at least 3 years at the start of your application. This has the benefit of allowing you to work in France in any profession for which you are qualified, meaning that it gives you more freedom than the usual French residence permit. The residence card can be extended once the 10 years have passed.
France Family Visa for a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen
This route differs from the above route in that the applicant must instead enter France under the Schengen short-stay visa. Once they arrive in France, they will then need to obtain a Carte de Séjour. This is done via the Prefecture, which is the local representative of the national government in the area in which you are based.
For the purposes of this route, the eligible family members of an EU/EEA/ Swiss citizen are as follows:
- Dependent child who is under 21 years old
- Dependent older family member of either the EU/EEA/Swiss citizen or their spouse
France Family Visa for a family member of a non- EU/EEA/Swiss citizen
As Canada is neither in the EU or the EEA, this is the Family visa type which will be the best fit for most Canadian citizens.
In the case of this type of application, the main eligibility criterion is that the family member you will be joining in France must be in a position to support you. Alternatively, you can demonstrate that you are in a position to financially support yourself.
France Family visa for family members of a ‘talent passport’ holder
This Family visa differs from the above examples in that it grants more rights to the holder. If you have a close family member who is in France on either a Talent Passport or a French EU Blue Card, you are entitled to apply for a residence permit with the label ‘private and family life’. This allows the holder to work in France, alongside legally residing there. This visa type is therefore often seen as offering a fast-track route to family reunion, and as involving a simpler family reunification procedure.
France Adoption visa
If you live in France and wish to adopt a non-French child, you can use this visa type in order to bring that child to France. Such cases are decided by the international Intercountry Adoption Mission.
If you adopt the child whilst living outside of France, the case will fall under a different route. Specifically, it will be categorized as the family reunion of a French foreign minor with their parent.
Eligibility Criteria Of The Family Visas
Whilst the specific eligibility criteria depend on the particular type of Family visa for which you are applying, there are some general eligibility criteria which apply across the different types of Family visa. These are as follows:
- The family member whom you are applying to visit or join should be themselves living in France, either permanently or temporarily
- They must be either a citizen of the EU, of the EEA, a French citizen, or a foreign citizen who is living legally in France
- In some cases, you will also be expected to prove that either you or the family member you are joining is able to financially support you
Note that, if you are yourself an EU citizen, you will not require a Family visa in order to join your family member in France. This is true even if your family member in France is not themselves an EU citizen.
How To Apply for a Family Visa in France
In order to apply for a French Family visa, you will need to complete a number of steps. These are as follows:
Firstly, you will need to fill in the long-stay visa application form and to gather the other necessary supporting documents. Next, you will need to book an appointment with your local French embassy or consulate. In Canada, you can find these services in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Vancouver, and Moncton and Halifax.
This interview will last for around 10 minutes.
A decision will then be made on your case. If you are granted a visa, you can then legally enter France.
Upon arriving in France, you will generally then need to obtain a residence permit.
What Documents Will I Require?
There are a number of supporting documents which you will require in order to apply for a French Family visa. The specific documents required will depend on the particular Family visa for which you are applying. However, you will generally need to provide a combination of the following documents:
- 2 passport photos, to the French specifications
- Valid passport
- Copies of old visas (if applicable)
- A copy of your criminal record
- Proof that you have paid your visa fee
- Proof of your spouse’s nationality (if applicable)
- Proof of your child’s nationality (if applicable)
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Your parent(s) birth certificate(s) (if applicable)
- Your child(ren)’s birth certificate(s) (if applicable)
- Proof of your family tie to the family member in question
You should make sure to gather the right documents for your specific situation. Contact Total Law today on +1 844 290 6312 to receive specific guidance on which documents will be necessary for your own application.
Application Processing Time
Generally, it will take 15 days for your long-stay visa application to be processed. However, this may be longer in certain circumstances, such as if there is a high volume of other applications currently being processed.
In order to minimize the length of time which your application takes, make sure to have all the necessary documents when you first submit your application.
Cost Of Applying
The fee for all French long-stay visas is €99.
The fee for a child who has been adopted by French citizens is €15.
If you are the family member of either a French citizen, an EU or EEA citizen, or a Swiss citizen, you will not have to pay an application fee.
The Rights and Benefits of Family Visa Holders in France
With a Family visa, you can legally live in France for the duration of your visa. You can also obtain a residence permit in order to extend your stay.
Whilst your visa is valid, it acts as the equivalent to a Schengen visa. This means that you can also travel to other countries in the Schengen Area and stay for up to 90 days.
All Family visas authorize you to reside in France for the duration of their validity. If you have the France Family visa for family members of a ‘talent passport’ holder, however, you are also authorized to work whilst in France.
Once you have been living legally and consistently in France for at least 5 years, you may be eligible to apply for a French residence card. This is valid for 10 years and allows you to work in any profession for which you are qualified. It can also be renewed once it expires. You will also be able to apply for French citizenship through naturalization.
Extending or Renewing Family Visas in France
In order to remain in France for longer than the duration of your visa, you must apply to your local Prefecture in France for a residence permit. You can also contact them to request a change of status.
Your local Prefecture will depend on where in France you are residing. They act as your local representative of the national government.
How Total Law Can Help
France is a country which has strong cultural and linguistic ties with Canada. As such, many Canadians have close family members residing in France. However, if you are a Canadian looking to visit or join a family member in France, you will likely need a Family visa.
At Total Law, we have considerable experience in providing legal advice on cases exactly like this. Our immigration experts provide a range of services, including working out which route is best for you and helping you with each stage of your application. Contact us today on +1 844 290 6312 to learn more about how we can help with your own immigration journey.
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If you are a French or an EU citizen, you will not require a visa in order to enter France, regardless of the length of your stay.
If you are Canadian, you do not need a visa to enter France for a stay of under 90 days. However, if you intend to stay for longer than that then you will need to obtain a French visa. If you are visiting or joining family, then the Family visa is likely your best option.
If you are from a country where a visa is necessary in order to enter France, you must make sure to have a valid visa when you first enter the country.
Once in France, you can extend the length of your stay by obtaining a residence permit. You can also contact your local Prefecture if you wish to change your status.
Yes, you can. For the duration of your Family visa’s validity, it acts as the equivalent of a Schengen visa, meaning that you can enter other countries in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days.
The French Family visa allows you to remain in France for longer than the usual 90 day period. As such, it allows you to spend a greater amount of time with your family member(s) in France. This also provides more opportunity to experience all of the benefits which France has to offer, including numerous areas of natural beauty and a vibrant culture.