Long stay visas non-EU applicants married to French resident non-French EU citizens

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Long stay visas non-EU applicants married to French resident non-French EU citizens


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Old 1st October 2009, 04:33 AM
gp1234
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Default Long stay visas non-EU applicants married to French resident non-French EU citizens

Update

It remains to be confirmed beyond any doubt, but according to the French Embassy in Bangkok...

All non-EU spouses of European Union origin, non-French people living in France, can no longer apply for a long-stay visa. Those married to French citizens can continue to do so without problem.

Those married to non-French EU citizens have to apply for a short-stay 3 month visa, and then follow this up on arrival in France by applying to the local prefecture for a carte de séjour.

The whole point of the long-stay visa combined with OFII formalities was to avoid the drawn-out application process through the prefecture, but it seems that the spouses of non-French EU citizens here in France are excluded.

Again, a caveat - I've asked the Bangkok Embassy to tell me where I can find confirmation of the new rules to that effect on the official websites, am waiting for their reply.

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Old 1st October 2009, 07:28 AM
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I can only say be VERY VERY careful about this. It sounds suspiciously like what I was told by the French consulate in Stuttgart just prior to my nearly 2 years of "clandestin hell" living as a sans papier. As it turned out, the consulate in Stuttgart had no idea what the rules were and had just made something up so as to do the least amount of work possible.

And, as with all administrative matters in France, your mileage may vary according to what your local prefecture feels are the "real rules." Don't be surprised if no one is inclined to give you their opinions in written form.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 1st October 2009, 10:32 AM
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My fear exactly - I'm only getting very vague and evasive one line replies from Bangkok so far, basically referring me to Légifrance for current legislation - they can't even pinpoint the alleged article in question.

I'm waiting on a response from the Préfecture, but I'll ring them tomorrow. And I'll call Bangkok too, I'm not letting this go. They really are b....y USELESS. How many fonctionnaires are there in France? Drives me mad.

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Old 1st October 2009, 02:04 PM
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I'm told that there is a law in France saying that any fonctionnaire that gives you information has to give you their name on request. I'd be sorely tempted to get names of those in Bangkok who are telling you this, then use those names liberally when you get to France and get told you should have done something other than what you did.

But if the consulate in Bangkok insists your wife doesn't need a long-stay visa, they won't process the paperwork for you. Having names of everyone you spoke with is about your only defense. (And no, they won't voluntarily give you this information and may get seriously squiffy when you ask for it.)
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 2nd October 2009, 05:49 AM
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The good news is that the entire exchange with Bangkok is by email, so there is a written record. The latest reply:

Quote:
En tant que conjointe de ressortissant de UE, je peux vous affirmer que c'est un visa de court séjour, qui permettra a votre femme des son arrivée en France de demander une carte de séjour à la prefecture. A mon niveau je ne sais pas pourquoi la procedure retenue n'est pas la meme que pour les conjoint de francais. Si vous voulez vous pouvez peut etre trouver des information sur ce site :
Ministre de l'immigration, de l'intgration, de l'identit nationale et du dveloppement solidaire
Par contre son droit a séjourner plus de trois mois est respecté car elle pourra obtenir une carte de séjour a la prefecture avec ce visa.

Cordialement
Service des visas
"As a EU citizen, I can confirm that a short stay visa will enable your wife to apply for a permis de séjour through the Prefecture, on arrival. At my level I do not know why the procedure involved isn't the same as that of spouses of French citizens. If you like, you can perhaps find further information on this site:
Ministre de l'immigration, de l'intgration, de l'identit nationale et du dveloppement solidaire
On the other hand, her right of stay beyond three months is respected because she can obtain a permis de séjour at the Prefecture with this visa."


Hmm.

Next stop, the Vaucluse prefecture.

This is a pretty important question; although would-be immigrants are far more likely to be getting married to French citizens, there is a significant minority of other EU citizens domiciled in France.


Last edited by gp1234; 2nd October 2009 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 2nd October 2009, 07:48 AM
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I'd say just go for it as you have it (obviously with copies of your e-mail, which should include the name of the fonctionnaire asserting this process). Even if the prefecture doesn't want to play it this way, you have the weight of the EU policy regarding the spouses of EU nationals. If you get any flak whatsoever, go straight to the EU ombudsman's office. Even just the threat of doing that should get things sorted out for you.

I looked into going through the EU ombudsman when I had my immigration woes, but at the time there was no relevant EU regulation I could base my claim on.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 2nd October 2009, 09:04 AM
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I'm not privvy to French law and procedure, but there is, as you know, a general EU rule regarding non-EU spouse/partner accompanying EU national in another EU country. In that case EU regulations precede local law, and EU nationals have absolute right to be accompanied by their spouse/partner. But in case of a national of a EU state, local law takes precedence and they can put up all sorts of obstacles in their way, such as having to jump through hoops and final decision being at the discretion of consular officers or immigration authorities.
In your particular case, though I again plead ignorance, the local consular officers may not be able to turn down your request for a spouse visa - as they could do if you were a French national - because you are excersing your EU treaty rights, and the titre de sejour procedure in France is a kind of formality to regularise your wife's stay in France. In case of UK, non-EU spouse/partner would simply be issued with an EEA Family Permit valid 5 years, renewable, with no further procedure needed after arrival.

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Old 3rd October 2009, 07:53 AM
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I suppose the French are probably within their rights. The bottom line is whether the spouse marrying an EU citizen is entitled to a long-stay permit, not how many hoops you have to jump through first. I suppose there are grounds to complain about discrimination under European law for unequal treatment, but who can be bothered with that if you end up with the permit anyway.

Good advice about the EU ombudsman Bev, I shall definitely bear that in mind.

The Bangkok embassy apologised for 'misleading me' into applying on my wife's behalf for a long-stay visa, claiming that they assumed I was French (all emails were in French). That's a bit weak though, as I filled in a long-stay spousal visa application specifically entitled pour conjoint(e) "d'un ressortissant de l'UE" (there was a separate one for long-stay visa applications for French nationals). I also included with extremely detailed information about my nationality and circumstances.

Anyway I shall get to the bottom of this eventually, it's very relevant for this forum as to how would-be spouses from outside the EU are going to be treated should they wish to marry the likes of a Brit domiciled in France.


Last edited by gp1234; 3rd October 2009 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 08:15 AM
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The problem has always been that the Consulate personnel report to a completely different ministry than do the folks at the prefecture where you ultimately have to register. And, given the universal principle that no ministry or department of government ever speaks to any other ministry or department of government, it's no wonder that most advice you're given by the Consulate is utter rubbish.

When I was trying to get a visa to go to France, I actually got my best advice from the door guard at the consulate in Stuttgart, who happened to be an American married to a French woman working at the Consulate. He told me that what I'd been told by the Consulate staff "didn't sound at all right" based on what he had experienced. Turns out, he was right!
Cheers,
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Old 3rd October 2009, 07:22 PM
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Hmm, I'm not so sure that the European Ombudsman can intervene. From their site it seems he only deals with European institutions, and in their documentation I find...

Quote:
The Ombudsman cannot investigate:

- complaints against national, regional or local authorities in the Member States, even when the complaints are about EU matters. Examples of such authorities are government departments, state agencies and local councils;
So perhaps one has to go through the national (French) ombudsman... which would rather seem to defeat the object

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