French visa to join a relative or partner in France

French visa to join a relative or partner in France

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If you are moving to France to join a relative or spouse, you can apply for a French visa for family reunification.

You can apply for a French family reunification visa to join a relative or partner living in France, provided you fulfill certain permit conditions. These will depend on a number of factors, such as nationality, the type of French permit your relative has, and how long he or she has been living there.

If you are a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you are free to come to France without any visa. Read our guide for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals moving to France.

Relatives of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

If you have a relative who is a EU/EEA/Swiss citizen living in France, you are allowed to join them even if you are not from one of those countries yourself.

You can get a tourist visa valid for up to 90 days, free of charge, if you apply to the embassy/consulate with a marriage certificate (if applicable), proof of your spouse’s nationality and a travel itinerary.

Information for family reunification for relatives of EU/EEA/Swiss nations can be found in our guide for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals moving to France.

Relatives of non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals 

Spouses and minor children can apply to join family members who are not EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, living in France, under the following conditions:

  • The family member you are going to join must be living in France for at least one year and hold a valid residence permit.
  • Your relative must have adequate finances (an amount equal to the monthly minimum wage – EUR 1,445).
  • There must be enough room for you: French standards are 16sqm for a couple, and 9sqm per extra person.


Your relative must go in person to the offices of the Direction départementale des affaires sanitaires et sociales (DDASS), which is the local medical and social services department or the OFII office, to file an application. He or she may be asked for proof of financial stability and the accommodation may be inspected.

If the application is successful, you can join your relative but you will need to get a long-stay visa (see Expatica's guide to the French visa system) from the embassy/consulate in your home country, valid for one year, which then acts as a residence card. The visa is free of charge. You have to register with the local branch of the OFII (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration) within two months of arriving in France. If you are staying for longer than a year, then you need to apply for a residence card (carte de séjour); see The complete guide to the French visa system.

Special status for families of certain occupations

If your relative holds a residence permit marked 'skills and talents', 'employee on assignment', 'research scientist' or an EU Blue Card, your family is automatically granted a 'private family' and 'Family life' residence permit at the same time, for the duration of the spouse’s stay, allowing your family to work without a permit.

Families of those who have come to France to invest at least EUR 10 million and create at least 50 jobs are granted a 10-year residence permit for exceptional economic contribution.

Relatives of French nationals

You can join a family member living in France if you are:

  • married to a French national (the marriage must have been entered into the French Civil Register if you married abroad), and you’re still together.
  • the parent of a French minor child living in France and you have been contributing to his/her support and education for at least a year.
  • the foreign child of French nationals and are under 21 or dependent on your parents.
  • the dependent parent of an adult French national or spouse.


If you're from the EU/EEA, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino or Algeria, you can apply after you arrive in France; otherwise you’ll need to apply for a long-stay visa from the French embassy/consulate in your home country. You have to show a certified copy of your marriage certificate (the marriage must be registed with the French authorities) and proof of the French nationality of your spouse (e.g copy of a French ID card, birth certificate).

Relatives of asylum seekers

If your relative has been granted refugee status, you can be reunited in France if you are the spouse (married before the refugee status was granted) or a minor child (up to the age of 19).

Getting residency in the Netherlands: Dutch residence permits

When you arrive in France

On arrival in France, you have three months to contact the OFII, who will carry out a medical examination, issue you with a residence permit and may ask you to sign the Contrat d’Accueil et d’Intégration (CAI). This agreement, which aims to 'establish a relationship of trust and mutual obligation' between you and France itself, is valid for one year.

During this time, you are obliged to attend sessions (in your own language) on France’s political and administrative organisations and the values of French society (e.g. secularism, equality), and about everyday life in France. Your language skills will be assessed and you may be asked to take a language course leading to a Diploma of Introduction to French (DILF) or be given a certificate (AMDFL) to exempt you.

You don’t have to sign the CAI if you:

  • are an EU/EEA/Swiss national.
  • have been educated for at least three years in a French secondary educational institution outside of France.
  • are aged 16–18 years and are entitled to a residence permit because you were born in France to foreign parents, are living in France, and if France has been your main residence for at least five years since the age of 11.
  • are joining a relative who holds a certain type of work-related residence permit, for example, those marked ‘employee on assignment’, ‘skills and talents’ or a Blue Card (see Working in France: work permits and visas).


For more information:

  • DIRECCTE – this is the French language website for the French Labour Ministry Directions régionales des entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi. Go the main website and you can be redirected to the French region you need.
  • OFII -– this is the English language version of the website for the L'office Francais de l'immigration et de l'intégration, the French agency in charge of migration. There are offices all over France; look on the website for contact details of your nearest one.
  • France Diplomatie – this webpage is the English version of the website for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for more information on visas and migration to France.
  • ARS – this webpage is the French language website for the Agence Régionale de Santé and where you can find your local Direction départementale des affaires sanitaires et sociales (DDASS).
  • Service-Public – this website is for the French government's public services (in French). To find the contact details of your local mairie (town hall) see here, and for other local departments and public services, see here.


Read more:

 


Expatica

Note: the information in this article is for general information only and you should always seek advice from the French consulate if you have any queries about your particular circumstances.

Expatica

Have a question? Post your question on Expatica's Ask the Expert service to see if we can help.  

 

 

Updated: 2012, 2009.

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10 Comments To This Article

  • Donna posted:

    on 12th September 2016, 20:44:06 - Reply

    This is exactly my situation, except that I've been with my partner for 2 years. I would love to know more. Help!

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our forums or Ask the Expert service.]

  • Kate posted:

    on 28th March 2016, 07:21:03 - Reply

    Hi,
    My boyfriend is French and lives in France. I am an Australian citizen and I would like to live with him in France. Which visa can I get? We have been together for over 12 months and I have stayed with him for 3 months last year as this was the max time I could without a visa. I am over 30 so I can't apply for the working holiday visa. Is there a defacto equivalent visa which allows me to live and work in France without being married to my partner?

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Saulosi posted:

    on 23rd July 2015, 19:56:12 - Reply

    Me too l ask carte sejour through my baby and husband they just give me 3 months mention visiter for 3 times now without Job & its not easy to my husband to pay food and bills because its only him he works it makes me stress this my situation and it can be killed me easly because lam in deep thinking now Why only me ???? Even for give me this recepice it wasnt easy . I cant hold my stress now its too much.
  • Hank posted:

    on 15th May 2013, 06:50:43 - Reply

    MELUN PERFECTURE: What a terribly run office..a disgrace to France's immigration system....people are standing on line at 5am in the morning for a 9am start time. People stand online, outside and cannot get in before they run out of numbers but the people have waited for hours before the announcement. People are saying they are going in for drivers license but in fact go in for Carte de Sejour. I have been there twice last week and got turned away both times before getting inside. I am trying to get my sixth or a 10 years so next week, I will be on line at 6am. This cannot be right. Immigrants come here by choice and are treated like dirt by the people who work there. The inefficiencies of this office need to be looked at. There has to be a better way. Oh, one person will show up at 6am or earlier and at 8:45, some 10 to 15 will show up saying the one guy was holding a spot for them. Try to stop them and you have a confrontation which gets ugly. The inmates are running the asylum.....What a disgrace.
  • Nabanita posted:

    on 19th December 2011, 10:43:42 - Reply

    I have a question: I arrived in France in December 2010 and was holding a carte de séjour with Visteur status. I am the wife of a PhD student, and hence my stay here. Now I have started an MS programme at Grenoble Graduate School of Business, Grenoble, France. I went back to the Prefecture for my visa renewal. I explained my situation, gave then the relevant documents asking for a carte de séjour étudiant, but got one for a Visiteur again. Would any of you have any suggestions for me - how I can get a carte de séjour étudiant?
  • Lucio posted:

    on 22nd August 2011, 13:25:51 - Reply

    Most South-American citizens can come to France without a Visa and stay 3 months. Most North-Americans can come and stay 6 months. The rules are the same for all countries in the European Union.
  • Holly posted:

    on 13th May 2010, 12:22:13 - Reply

    do you think the law is still that after 10 years of renewed tittre de sejours, one has the right to a residency card as stated in the article? As i can't see anyone employing me here in France, and I'm not too sure what the advantage is to obtain a residency card over a carte de sejour, i suppose waiting 4 more years for the process to happen is not such a bad thing.
  • Holly posted:

    on 13th May 2010, 12:16:29 - Reply

    Just saw maryb211's reply. This is the information i was given as well.
  • Holly Poirier posted:

    on 13th May 2010, 12:14:25 - Reply

    According to my prefecture (Vaucluse), I only have the right to apply for a residency card after 5 renewals (i.e. - in my 6th year of having a renewable titre de sejour), not after just 3 years as mentioned in your article. Have the laws changed?
  • maryb211 posted:

    on 29th April 2009, 12:24:56 - Reply

    The article says "At the time of your third carte de séjour renewal you may apply for a 10 year carte de resident," but this is not the case. According to Article L314-8 of the "Code de l'entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d'asile" approved in 2007, you can request the resident card after a minimum of 5 consecutive years in France. More info here: http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do;jsessionid=DC294EBB14B2FC0B9214604AE0BD64B5.tpdjo09v_1?idArticle=LEGIARTI000006335105