France Spouse Visa

Foreign nationals may immigrate to France on a long-stay visa for family members to join their spouses. The application process and supporting documents will vary depending on the applicant’s nationality and their spouse’s immigration status in France.

If you are looking for more information regarding how you can join your spouse in France and how to apply, or want to receive bespoke advice from a team of professional immigration lawyers, reach out to us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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    What is a French Spouse Visa?

    A long-stay family visa allows eligible family members of a French citizen, EEA/Swiss citizen or French resident to join them in France under the family reunion principles. Eligible family in this context refers to a spouse, children under 21 or older dependent relatives.

    When a foreign national spouse of a French citizen, EEA/Swiss citizen or French resident applies to immigrate to France via this family reunion route, it is commonly referred to as a Spouse Visa (although there is no official French visa called a Spouse Visa).

    A long-stay visa allows a foreign national to come and live in France for more than 90 days and up to one year, who can then apply for a residence permit.

    If, however, you are planning to come to France to visit your spouse for less than 90 days, you need to apply instead for a short-stay Schengen Visa for the purpose of visiting family.

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    Rights and Benefits of a French Spouse Visa

    A Spouse Visa allows the holder to come to France and stay with their partner for up to one year. On a Spouse Visa, you may take up salaried employment or carry out professional activities as a self-employed person in France.

    You will also have access to high-standard public infrastructure, such as education and healthcare.

    After one year, you will be eligible to apply for a multiyear residence permit, provided you fulfil the requirements. Eventually, you will be able to apply for a 10-year resident card or become a French citizen, depending on your circumstances and whether you meet the respective criteria.

    Man and woman's hands cupped together, holding sand, with wedding bands on top.

    Spouse of a French Citizen

    If you are married to a French citizen, how you will come and stay in France will depend on your nationality. If you are an EEA or Swiss citizen, you will not need a long-stay visa to travel to France since you enjoy freedom of movement and of establishment within the EU. You will be able to enter France by producing a valid identity card or passport at your port of entry.

    You may apply for an EU/EEA/Switzerland Citizen residence permit in France, although this is optional as you will be able to live, work and study in France anyway.

    If you are a third-country national married to a French citizen, whether or not you will need a long-stay visa to travel to France will depend on your nationality. If you are from a visa-exempt nation, you can enter the country without a long-stay visa and then apply for a residence permit within the stipulated time frame.

    However, if you are a visa-required country national, you will need to apply at the local French embassy/consulate in your country of residence for a long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS). Successful applicants will receive a VLS-TS marked ‘vie privée, vie familiale’ (i.e. ‘private and family life’), which will be valid for 12 months. You will have to validate this visa online on the General Directorate of Foreigners in France (DGEF) website after arriving in France.

    After staying in France for 12 months, you may be able to apply for a residence permit on the private and family life basis, provided you meet the eligibility requirements. You should apply for this residence permit two months before your VLS-TS expiry date.

    Spouses of French citizens may be eligible for a 10-year resident card after staying three years in the country and meeting the relevant conditions. They can also apply to become a citizen of France by declaration, provided they meet the relevant specific conditions.

    We can help you acquire a French spouse visa. Speak with our team today. Contact Us

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      Spouse of an EEA or Swiss Citizen

      If you are married to an EEA or Swiss citizen settled in France, how you will come and stay in France will depend on your nationality. If you are an EEA or Swiss national yourself as well, you will not need a long-stay visa to travel to, or live and work in, France.

      If you are a third-country national married to a French citizen and are from a visa-exempt country for France, you can travel to France without a long-stay visa. If you are a visa-required country national, you will have to apply for a long-stay visa to the French consular authorities in your country of residence.

      Upon arrival in France, third-country national spouses of EEA/Swiss citizens will have to apply for a residence permit marked as ‘Member of the family of a citizen of the Union/EEA/Switzerland’. You must submit this application at the local Prefecture of your place of residence in France within three months of your arrival.

      Such a residence permit is initially valid for five years, and renewable thereafter. You should apply for its renewal at your local Prefecture two months before its date of expiry.

      Spouse of a Third-Country National

      If you are the spouse of a third-country national who is residing in France continuously for at least 18 months (or 12 months if they are an Algerian national) and holds a residence permit for at least one year or a 10-year-long resident card or long-term EU resident card, you may be able to apply for a family visa to join them, provided that your spouse in France has:

      • Sufficient income or financial resources to cover both your expenses
      • Adequately sized accommodation to house both of you

      Your spouse in France will have to submit an application to the Direction Territoriale de l’Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII) in their place of residence. Their local Préfecture will assess whether the long-stay visa conditions are met.

      If the Prefecture accepts your visa application after reviewing the same, the consular authorities will issue a long-stay visa to you, which is valid for three months.

      You will have to travel to France and then apply for a residence permit after arriving in the country within three months.

      Spouse of a Talent Passport or ICT Residence Permit Holder

      If you are the spouse of a Talent Passport VLS-TS holder or an ICT VLS-TS holder, you can follow the simplified ‘accompanying family’ procedure in place for such visa holders’ family members.

      The spouses of Talent Passport or ICT residence permit holders can come to France with them without going through the family reunification procedure. If they are from visa-required countries, they will have to apply for a long-stay visa at their local French embassy or consulate.

      After arriving in France, they can apply for a multiyear ‘Talent Passport – Family’ or ‘Intra-company transfer – Family’ residence permit, as applicable.

      Spouse of a Person with Refugee Status, Subsidiary or Stateless Protection

      If your spouse has a refugee status in France or is a beneficiary of subsidiary protection or protection as a stateless person, you may join them in the country if:

      • You are 18 or over
      • You are linked by a marriage or civil union with them which predates their asylum application in France, or if such an union between you both has been celebrated for at least a year and the community of life has not ceased

      Under the family reunion principles, you will be able to join your spouse in France via this route as soon as they have obtained protection, without conditions of financial resources or accommodation.

      You will have to request a visa to enter France from the French diplomatic or consular authorities.

      After arriving in France, you will have to apply for your residence permit at the local Prefecture. However, if your marriage has taken place after your spouse submitted their asylum application in France, you will have to apply to the OFII for family reunion.

      Do keep in mind that family reunion may be refused if you do not comply with those essential principles that govern family life in France or if your presence would constitute a threat to public order and safety in the country.

      Our legal experts are experienced in French immigration law. Let us help with your spouse visa. Contact Us

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        How to Apply for Spouse Visa France

        Overview

        The French visa application is an online process and you will need to make the application from your country of residence.

        In some countries, the French consular authorities may commission third-party service providers or have an agreement with another European country’s embassy/consulate to handle the submission of visa application forms and required supporting documents.

        Please check if such an arrangement applies to your country of residence before you start applying for a French family member visa.

        Checking the Visa Wizard App

        Visit the official France-Visas site, and use the visa wizard tool to check whether you need a visa to travel to France and, if yes, then what supporting documents you will have to submit along with your visa application.

        The app helps you understand your visa requirements depending on your immigration situation and also informs you of the visa processing fees you may have to pay. It will also offer relevant information on the application process, depending on your country of residence.

        Applying Online For a French Visa

        Once you have determined that you need a visa and understood what supporting documents you would need to submit, start filling in the visa application form online. You will need to create a France-Visas account first, which will be required at each step of your application process.

        At this stage, you will need the following documents:

        • Your passport (or any other travel document if you do not have a passport)
        • Two recent photos in ISO/IEC format
        • Original supporting documents and copies thereof

        Booking Visa Appointment

        Next, you will have to book an appointment at your relevant visa centre. You should schedule your appointment on a date that is well ahead of your departure date so your local French embassy or consulate has sufficient time to review your application.

        For long-stay family reunification visas, it is advisable to submit your application three months to two weeks prior to your departure date. You should also check on the average appointment waiting time in your local French embassy or consulate.

        Submitting Visa Application

        After completing your online application, please submit the same to your local French embassy/consulate or visa application centre on your scheduled appointment date. You will need to bring all the required documents to your appointment.

        The officials at the visa appointment centre will review your application and collect the visa fee (if applicable) and your biometric data (i.e. facial image and ten fingerprints).

        They will keep your original passport (for the purpose of affixing your visa if your application is successful) and copies of your supporting documents.

        All visa applicants over 12 will have to submit their visa applications in person and provide their biometric data. People holding a biometric Schengen Visa issued in the past 59 months will not to provide their biometrics again.

        Tracking Visa Application

        You can track the progress of your application online using your France-Visas account.

        Once your application has been processed and a decision has been made, the visa centre will notify you when your passport is ready for collection. In some cases, they can also mail your passport to the contact address you have provided.

        Required Documents for a French Spouse Visa

        You are required to submit supporting documents along with your family visa application, and it is possible your local French embassy/consulate may ask for additional supporting documents depending on your circumstances.

        The standard supporting documents include:

        • Completed and signed long-stay visa application form
        • France-Visas receipt
        • Valid passport
        • Three recent passport photos, taken as per the French visa guidelines
        • Marriage certificate (for spouses of French citizens, the marriage must be listed on the French civil registry)
        • Immigration status document of the spouse settled in France, e.g. passport, resident card, any other eligible visa/residence permit etc.
        • Copy of the OFPRA letter or the CNDA decision informing the grant of protection, or residence permit showing the refugee status or subsidiary/stateless protection, where applicable
        • Proof of address of your spouse in France, e.g. utility bills dated within the last six months
        • If you are from a country that allows polygamy, then a declaration that you are not polygamous in France
        • Copies of older visas, if any
        • Criminal record certificate from your country of origin
        • Visa fee payment proof

        For bespoke guidance, enlist our specialist lawyers in the application of your French spouse visa. Contact Us

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          French Spouse Visa Processing Time and Cost

          For spouses of French citizens and EEA/Swiss nationals, the French immigration authorities aim to issue a visa as quickly as possible, under a fast-track procedure.

          It typically takes a maximum of four weeks to obtain a family visa via this accelerated procedure. In addition, spouses of French/EEA/Swiss nationals are not required to pay any visa fees.

          Spouses of Talent Passport or ICT residence permit holders can apply along with the main applicant and will have to pay a visa processing fee of €269, while the same will be €99 for spouses of people with refugee status or subsidiary or stateless protection in France.

          Please also note that French immigration authorities require all supporting documents to be in French originals as well as a set of photocopies. If your original documents are not in French, you will have to get certified translated copies of them, which will incur an additional cost.

          Appealing a Spouse Visa Rejection in France

          In case of a family visa refusal, you may lodge an appeal within 30 days before the Commission for Appeals against Visa Refusal Decisions (CRRV). This prior appeal is mandatory before any appeal to the administrative judge.

          Your appeal letter, which must be in French, will have to mention justifiable reasons as to why you should not have been refused a Family Visa.

          How Can Total Law Help?

          The Total Law team of sympathetic immigration lawyers have the required expertise and legal knowledge to help you immigrate to France to join your spouse, regardless of your personal circumstances or the complexity of your case. Several foreign nationals have benefited so far from our expert assistance with their French Spouse Visa applications and/or immigration advice.

          Whether you are looking for assistance with your Spouse Visa application, unsure of how to go through the process, need more advice on how to arrange for the necessary documents, seeking professional help or simply need overall advice regarding your immigration case, we are ready to help you.

          We can also help if you are getting a divorce and seeking to switch to another type of visa to continue staying in France, or if you are looking for professional legal help to appeal a Spouse Visa refusal decision.

          To know more about the services we provide and how our team of experienced lawyers can help you with your immigration case, call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    Yes. Same-sex spouses enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex couples as per the French immigration policies.

                    If you are residing in France on a Spouse Visa or resident card issued on the basis of private and family life, getting divorced means you will be allowed to stay in the country only till the expiry date of your current visa or resident card.

                    You can, however, switch to a different type of visa or residence permit before your current permission expires, e.g. a student or work visa/residence permit., to continue living in France.