What to do ??

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What to do ??


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Old 7th February 2011, 10:06 AM
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Hello to all !

I'm new to this site, so please excuse me if I'm repeating a question that may already have been answered.

My situation is this. I am a US citizen and have been working for a French firm under a US contract in the US. I met the love of my life in France - we have been together for over two years now, seeing each other on holidays, business trips ( for me to France) etc.. in 2009/2010 she came to the US, twice on a 90 day tourist visa but really didn't see her future to be in the US - I agree as I would prefer to stay in France and not the US. I am divorced and my children are currently staying with their mother in the US.

Right now, I am in France, but my 90 days will be ending soon, as well, my contract with this firm will be ending soon as well, so we are limited on finances. We wish to marry and stay with in France - to start our project and have a normal life. In looking at the requirements, they seem to be very contradictory, fiancé visa, spouse visa, get married in France then return to the US to apply for a long stay visa, medical ins etc.. It all seems very confusing to me. My immediate concern is I would like to stay another 90 days in France. I wa suggested to take the TGV to London , then return to France for another 3 months - is that legal ? or is it best to return to the US, apply for the visa before the marriage or marry first under the 90 day tourist visa then return to the US to apply for the needed visa ?

Thanks much in advance.

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Old 7th February 2011, 11:42 AM
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Well, first of all, the plan to duck out to the UK won't work unless you can show that you are resident in the UK. To apply for any sort of visa you have to go back home (i.e. to the US). The main question is when and under what circumstances.

For you to get married in France will take a little bit of time - usually you should count on a good solid month. That's mainly to collect, translate and validate all the various documents you, as a foreigner, would need to marry in France. And, if you manage to get married in France on your current 90 day Schengen stay, you'll still have to go back to the US (to wherever in the US you are currently resident) to apply for your spousal visa. That's another round of paperwork - but if you have gotten married in France, you'll already have a livret de famille, which is usually the primary stumbling block for those doing things differently.

The primary advantage of going directly for the spouse visa is that, basically, they can't refuse you unless you're a threat to public order, some sort of fraud or refuse to learn French.

Obviously, your other option is to fly your fiancée over to the US, get married there and then apply for the spouse visa from that side (over your honeymoon?) but then you have the issue of getting a "certified" marriage certificate so you can get your livret de famille through your local consulate in the US. That can add a month or two easily to the visa process.

The most practical option is probably to return back to the US and apply for the fiancé visa, which allows you to move to France provided you get married within 3 or 6 months. For that one you will need to consult the website for the consulate of your area of residence - each consulate has their own variations to the process (get used to that, it's typically "French"). Usually, you'll need to provide all the usual i.d., job and job qualifications information, bank statements, etc. plus you'll need to have health insurance for the period of time until you'll actually get married in France. (You can probably get away with travel health insurance.) I don't think you're allowed to work until after you're actually married and have processed your change of status (but it's not a matter of getting a new visa). As the spouse of a French national, you're allowed to work right away, though finding a job may take a little while.

You and your fiancée should go to the local mairie (serving wherever it is she lives) and ask them for a list of what they will require you to have in order to marry there. That will at least give you an idea of what documents you'll need to collect when you go back to the US. And, you could always ask about booking a date in the mairie's "wedding hall" which will certainly help in your application for the fiancé visa.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 7th February 2011, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
Well, first of all, the plan to duck out to the UK won't work unless you can show that you are resident in the UK. To apply for any sort of visa you have to go back home (i.e. to the US). The main question is when and under what circumstances.

For you to get married in France will take a little bit of time - usually you should count on a good solid month. That's mainly to collect, translate and validate all the various documents you, as a foreigner, would need to marry in France. And, if you manage to get married in France on your current 90 day Schengen stay, you'll still have to go back to the US (to wherever in the US you are currently resident) to apply for your spousal visa. That's another round of paperwork - but if you have gotten married in France, you'll already have a livret de famille, which is usually the primary stumbling block for those doing things differently.

The primary advantage of going directly for the spouse visa is that, basically, they can't refuse you unless you're a threat to public order, some sort of fraud or refuse to learn French.

Obviously, your other option is to fly your fiancée over to the US, get married there and then apply for the spouse visa from that side (over your honeymoon?) but then you have the issue of getting a "certified" marriage certificate so you can get your livret de famille through your local consulate in the US. That can add a month or two easily to the visa process.

The most practical option is probably to return back to the US and apply for the fiancé visa, which allows you to move to France provided you get married within 3 or 6 months. For that one you will need to consult the website for the consulate of your area of residence - each consulate has their own variations to the process (get used to that, it's typically "French"). Usually, you'll need to provide all the usual i.d., job and job qualifications information, bank statements, etc. plus you'll need to have health insurance for the period of time until you'll actually get married in France. (You can probably get away with travel health insurance.) I don't think you're allowed to work until after you're actually married and have processed your change of status (but it's not a matter of getting a new visa). As the spouse of a French national, you're allowed to work right away, though finding a job may take a little while.

You and your fiancée should go to the local mairie (serving wherever it is she lives) and ask them for a list of what they will require you to have in order to marry there. That will at least give you an idea of what documents you'll need to collect when you go back to the US. And, you could always ask about booking a date in the mairie's "wedding hall" which will certainly help in your application for the fiancé visa.
Cheers,
Bev
Bev,

Thank you for your very quick and informative responce... In fact, I just found out today that I may be going back to the US for a week. So that should be OK for me to come back to France for another 3 months -- as well to give me time to collect the paper work needed for marriage in France.

Again, thank you and take care.

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Old 7th February 2011, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Dargoaf1 View Post
Bev,

Thank you for your very quick and informative responce... In fact, I just found out today that I may be going back to the US for a week. So that should be OK for me to come back to France for another 3 months -- as well to give me time to collect the paper work needed for marriage in France.

Again, thank you and take care.
If you are talking about visa-free 90-day stay in Schengen (which includes France), you have to stay away from Schengen for 90 days before you can return to start another stay of 90 days, so it's 90 days in, 90 days out. The only way you can return to France after a week in US is if you get a separate visa, such as work, study, fiancé etc.

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Old 7th February 2011, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Dargoaf1 View Post
Bev,

Thank you for your very quick and informative responce... In fact, I just found out today that I may be going back to the US for a week. So that should be OK for me to come back to France for another 3 months -- as well to give me time to collect the paper work needed for marriage in France.

Again, thank you and take care.
As Joppa says, the Schengen visa requirement is 90 days in any 180 day period, so yes you would have to stay out of Schengen for 90 days, not just a week. Practically speaking, you probably won't be denied entry - but should you need to provide evidence of when you arrived in France for any reason (possibly for the marriage?) someone might notice the short period of time between your last exit stamp and your last entry stamp and that will cause problems. There can be big differences between what the laws are and what you can or can't get away with in France.

Also, if you marry in France while on a 90 day Schengen visa, you WILL be expected to return to the US to apply for your spousal visa. And to apply for the spousal visa, you'll have to prove residence in the district served by the consulate you are applying through. This can be tricky if you've been de facto living in France.
Cheers,
Bev

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