France Spouse Visa For UK Citizens

UK citizens with a French spouse will need a spouse visa to live with their partner in France. Obtaining a French spousal visa can be a complex process, however.

This is why it is advantageous to have an immigration lawyer assist in your application for your spouse’s visa in France. As the spouse of a French citizen, you have a right to live with your spouse, and a Total Law immigration lawyer can help. Just call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online to get started.

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    Eligibility & General Requirements Of France Spouse Visa

    Applying for a spouse visa in France is a very big step for any relationship between nationals of different countries. Securing a spouse visa will allow both partners to live together and enjoy a happy life together.

    If an individual’s partner has French nationality and the applicant has nationality outside of France, an application for a spouse visa will be required to join the French partner.

    A French spouse visa is one of the visas on the family route. It is intended for those who have a spouse who falls into one of the following categories:

    • The spouse is a French national
    • The spouse is an EU/EEA national
    • The spouse is a third-country national who is residing in France

    The type of visa that an applicant needs to apply for will depend on the individual’s circumstances.

    If an individual is considered to be eligible, they acquire a long-stay visa that is equivalent to a residence permit. This means that the non-French partner can live in the country with their French national spouse without having to apply for a separate permit.

    The guidance states that this dispenses with any obligation to apply for a unique residence permit. However, the holder of the spouse visa will need to be registered with the regional office of the OFII of the place of residence upon their arrival in the country.

    Requirements To Apply

    For an applicant to apply for a spouse visa, which is a type of long-stay visa, as it is for over 90 days, the applicant must have certain documentation prepared in advance of their appointment to apply.

    The documentation required includes the following:

    • A valid passport that has a minimum of two blank pages The expiration date of the passport must also be at least one year and three months from the application date
    • A long-stay/spousal visa application form with all relevant questions answered, filled in using capital letters, dated, and then signed by the applicant
    • A single recently taken passport-sized photo. This photo needs to have been taken within the last 6 months and should be 3.5 by 4.5 cm
    • A detailed travel itinerary. However, the ticket does not need to be purchased before the applicant obtains their visa
    • Proof of marriage
      • If the marriage is celebrated in France or any overseas French territories, then a copy of the marriage certificate for less than 3 months, the family book, and a copy are required
      • If the marriage is celebrated in another country, then a copy of the transcription of the marriage certificate for less than 3 months on the French civil status registries is required. Additionally, the family book and a copy are also required
    • Documents that prove the nationality of the French spouse, such as a French ID card or valid passport
    • A written letter from the spouse in France that is signed and dated describes the existence of the relationship before and after the marriage. The spouse must also express their desire for the foreign spouse to join them in France
    • Documents that prove the common life of the couple
      • If the couple has children together, then birth certificates are required
      • Any other copies of recent documentation about the relationship before marriage should also be required

    Any additional documentation may be required for the visa application, depending on the type of visa the applicant applies for as well as the purpose of the journey. A spouse visa is not renewable or extendable, and administration fees will not be refunded for this visa if the application is not successful.

    Applicants need to provide photocopies of all of the above original documents as well. The applicant may also wish for this to be done in return, as photocopies cannot be made at the French Embassy.

    Should the applicant decide to submit originals without giving photocopies, they need to be aware that these will not be returned to them once a decision has been made on the application.

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      How To Apply For The Spouse Visa In France

      Overview

      To apply for the France spouse visa, applicants have to submit a “Copie Intégrale de l’Acte de Mariage” which simply means ‘a copy of your full marriage certificate’. The visa requirements for the spouse visa state that applicants must justify their marital status, as well as the French nationality of the spouse, the community of living with the spouse, and the intent to maintain this in France.

      Requirements also state that for documents to be recognised, the marriage needs to have been celebrated by a French civil status officer or needs to have been transcribed in the French civil status registers.

      This application is to be completed online but will be processed through a visa application centre in the home country of the applicant, which can be done at a French Embassy or a local consulate. It should be noted that third parties often operate the visa and immigration services available in other countries.

      The first stage of the application process for this visa is for the online form to be completed.

      This can be completed and submitted online, but it can be done no sooner than three months before the applicant intends on travelling to and arriving in France. It is also possible to complete a hard copy of the application; if the applicant chooses to apply this way, they can print it and complete it by hand.

      As well as completing the application, the applicant also needs to provide important documentation for the application to be considered. These documents include the following:

      • A passport from the applicant’s home country. This must have been issued within the last ten years and needs to have a minimum of three months of validity remaining from the date on which the visa is due to expire. The passport also needs to have at least two blank pages available
      • Two passport-style photographs
      • A police check from the home country of the applicant shows they have no criminal history
      • Proof of payment for the application fee for the visa, which is €99
      • A marriage certificate from the French civil registry
      • Proof of the nationality of the spouse who is living in France. This could be shown in the form of an ID card or a passport

      After Applying

      An interview encompasses the second stage of the spouse visa application process. Once the application and additional documents have been submitted, the applicant will be informed of when and how they can book an appointment with their local visa processing centre. These appointments are booked online.

      During the interview process, the applicant should expect to be asked questions that will aid in the government’s decision on their application.

      Processing times for this visa will depend on which country the applicant is applying from. However, after the interview, if the applicant is successful, they will be granted a single-year residence permit, and a relevant sticker will be placed in their passport to enable them to travel to France.

      After this, upon arrival in the country, the applicant will have three months to validate their VL-TS with the Immigration and Citizenship Office in France.

      As a part of the validation process, the applicant will be required to complete an online validation form on the French government website. It is also possible to expect that the individual may undergo a medical examination. After the individual has been fully processed, a welcome meeting may also occur to welcome the individual into France.

      After the applicant’s first one-year period of residency in France, they can then apply to obtain a multi-year private and family life residence permit. This has a validity of two years and can be applied for as the spouse of a French citizen.

      However, after a total residency time in France of three years, the applicant will then be able to apply to get a ten-year residency card.

      Appealing A Spouse Visa Rejection In France

      Overview

      Should an applicant’s application be rejected, it is possible to appeal against a visa refusal. Those who wish to contest a decision to reject an application need to obligatorily appeal to the CRRV (Visa Refusal Appeal Committee) before they make a contentious appeal.

      Appeals that are made to this commission need to be made within two months of the applicant being notified of the decision.

      Should the refusal be implicit, the period will run in principle from the expiration of these two months only on the condition that the administration gives the individual acknowledgement of the outcome of the application, including indications of time limits and remedies.

      However, in other instances, no time limit could be set against the individual, and their appeal will be admissible even if there has been a period of two months since the decision was made.

      Where this is the case, it is also advised to ask the relevant consular authority for the reasons for the refusal by letter; this must be responded to within a month. Should this occur, the time limit for entering CRRV will not begin until a response is received from the consulate, or should there be no response, after the one-month period has elapsed.

      Referral to the commission is a prerequisite for filing a contentious appeal with an administrative court; however, a contentious appeal is only admissible if the commission has been seized within the relevant time limit.

      This also means that not seizing the commission within the time limit as aforementioned will deprive the applicant of any possibility of contesting the visa refusal before an administrative judiciary.

      A commission is made up of a member of the administrative jurisdiction as well as representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Social Affairs, and Internal Affairs. An appeal for this case should be drafted in French by the applicant or by an authorised individual or lawyer.

      Outcomes Of An Appeal

      When an appeal is conducted, the committee may come to one of two conclusions. These are:

      • A dismissal. The committee may dismiss the appeal; this may be pronounced by the president of the committee without convening if it is believed that the appeal is ill-founded or inadmissible. This would result in implicit rejection after two months
      • The committee may welcome an appeal and therefore recommend it to the relevant minister to grant the visa as has been requested. It is up to the minister to decide without obligation to follow any opinion that is given by the committee

      Extending Or Renewing A Spouse Visa In France

      The original visa, or VLS-TS visa, only lasts a year; once this is due to expire, a residence permit known as “Vie privée et familiale” is required to be able to remain in France.

      Within the first year in France and two months before the visa expiry date, applicants need to request a pluriannual residence permit at their local prefecture. This permit is valid for two years in France.

      Once this is submitted with a complete file, the applicant will obtain a receipt of this, which allows the applicant to remain in France for the dates indicated on the receipt; this can be four or six months.

      This document does not authorise applicants to work in France, however, yet the “Vie privée et familiale” does.

      To obtain a renewal of the visa, the process is simple.

      1. Make an appointment with the local prefecture. This can be done online.
      2. Gather the paperwork needed, including:
        • Two copies of the individual’s passport and the original
        • 2 copies of the visa, the original visa, and the validation certificate that was received upon entry to France
        • 2 copies of the individual’s Livret de Famaille and the original
        • A recent French marriage certificate
        • Proof of cohabitation, such as bank statements, utility bills, etc.
        • 3 recent photographs at EU specifications
        • A copy of the Contrat d’integation republicaine
        • The innovation letter contains the appointment time and date
        • Declaration de Communaute de Vie
      1. Attend the appointment with your spouse. Here, all documents should be submitted; the originals will need to be shown, and a temporary permit will be issued to you while you await your resident permit.
      2. After several months, applicants will get a letter that states the residency permit is ready. Before you can collect this, a renewal fee will need to be paid. After this, a receipt will be provided by email. You need to show this receipt when collecting the resident permit.

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        What Are The Rights Of A Spouse Visa Holder In France?

        There is some confusion regarding whether this visa for France allows the Spouse Visa holder to work.

        However, the Privee et Familiale visa enables the holder to work without having to request work authorization from DIRECCTE, otherwise known as the local division of the French Ministry of Labour.

        That being said, should the applicant have entered the country on a visitor visa, they will not be able to work in France.

        With this visa, the holder has the same rights in France as someone who has a temporary residence permit or multi-year permit for residence.

        Spouse Visa To French Citizenship Or Permanent Residency

        Obtaining French citizenship through marriage is possible. If the applicant has married a French citizen, they are considered eligible for citizenship if they satisfy the following criteria:

        • If the couple has been married for more than four years, they are eligible
        • If the couple lives abroad and the applicant’s spouse has been registered on the French register for citizenship abroad, they are eligible
        • If the couple gets married abroad, the wedding needs to be registered on the French civil register

        The period will be extended to five years should the applicant be unable to prove that they have continually lived in France for three years with the required legal documents.

        However, if the applicant obtains a VLS-TS spousal visa and has been living in France for three years, they will then be eligible for a ten-year residence card.

        Long-term visas and residencies enable work, study, and living in France.

        Eligibility for citizenship is unique to the situation of the individual and will, therefore, be assessed on an individual basis.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        Those who are the spouses of French nationals can apply to enter and live with their partner in France using the spouse visa. This visa is renewable and extendable, and it can lead to citizenship for those who are eligible.

        However, applying for this visa can be a complex process, and this is why it can be highly beneficial to seek the assistance of a legal advisor or immigration lawyer who can aid in the application for this visa. The process can take a while, and many documents are required for this process.

        Our Total Law immigration lawyers are experts at helping the partners of French nationals obtain their visas to join their spouses in France. Give us a call today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to get started on your journey towards your life in France with your partner.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  It can take anywhere from three weeks to three months for a spouse visa for France to be received. This depends on the French visa offices and consulates. However, applicants for this visa can follow the progress of their visa request on their account for France-Visas.