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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am Austrian living in Canada. I plan to spend 10 months in France with my Canadian wife on my sabbatical, being hosted by a university there but being paid from my home institution in Canada. I have been spending many hours researching this in various places on the internet. I was relieved to see that my wife should not need a visa, based on EU directive 2004/38, but I want to double check a few things before we go ahead. For the moment, my wife has a visa appointment at the French consulate in Toronto. Unfortunately the consulate seems difficult to contact and generally unhelpful..., and no information on our situation on their web site. As for our plans, we would like to leave in early August, if possible, spending a few weeks in another EU country before entering France.

1) Based on official sites I found, like at justice.fr or service-public.fr (and information on this site), I need to have a 'statut' in order for my wife to join me. Can I claim to be a 'travailleur', even though I get paid from Canada and not from France? I can definitely get an invitation letter from the university in France saying that they will host me for the 10 months, as well as employment confirmation from Canada.

2) I'm also concerned about the housing requirement for a Carte de Sejour for my wife. Our current plan for the first 4 months is to stay at the apartment of a relative of a good friend of mine (we still need to find a place for afterwards). Would it be sufficient if we provide a letter from the relative saying they are hosting us for 4 months, a copy of their ID and an EDF bill in their name? (I'm not sure they want to legally declare us as tenants in their place, so I want to make sure this requirement won't give them any hassle!)

3) I'm unsure about what documents we need to get ready before we leave Canada. One advice I saw mentioned here is not to worry about translations/certifications until we go to a Prefecture for the CdS. Won't we have any problem with a Canadian marriage certificate? (I read about apostilles in another place, which is painful in Canada.)

Thank you in advance for any help/advice!
 

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It sounds like you'll be just fine as far as going to France for 10 months. Your wife will be eligible for a carte de séjour - details are kind of up to the local prefecture, but proof of employment by your Canadian university ought to do the trick (recent payslips, faculty i.d.) or that letter from a university here in France should be adequate, too. As far as housing is concerned, yes, get a letter from the people you're staying with, with their i.d. and edf bill. The other thing you'll need is proof of health coverage that is valid in France - travel insurance will probably do as long as it has repatriation in the event of serious injury or illness.

Not sure about the marriage certificate, but I'd try giving them an un-apostilled one first. You're only going to be in France for 10 months and they don't always ask for apostilled documents unless it's for something a bit more "permanent" - nationality, a renewable carte de séjour or something like that. Take it one step at a time and, truth be told, even if you're somehow unable to get your wife a carte de séjour, there's a reasonable chance she won't ever really need it for a less-than-one-year stay. Hang onto all documents (receipts or whatever) that you get from the prefecture so you can show "good faith" in trying to get it. But unless she was planning on trying to find a job or something, it probably won't be an issue.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for the quick and very helpful reply, Bev! That sounds great.

We do have very good health coverage for our whole stay through my work. I already have a confirmation letter.

I have some follow-up questions:

For 1), so even though I won't get paid from France I should have the right to 'establish' myself there? Can I feel safe in cancelling my wife's visa appointment and book flights for our trip?

When we enter Schengen (not through France) would they be concerned if we say that we want to stay for a few months? They may see it from our return tickets.

About our documents: that would be great if we don't need apostilles. But will they require recently issued ones (like 3 months, I read here at some point)? In that case we should request new marriage and birth certificates now.

Will my wife have any travel issues in case the Carte de Sejour takes longer than 90 days after our arrival in the EU (which is about 60 days after entering France)? For example, I have a conference in Asia in November and would like her to come with me. I heard there's the recepisse once you apply for CdS, but that such a document isn't always issued?
 

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Hi,

I went through the same thing you went through.

Talk to the university hosting you. They will have direct contact with the OFII office in the university's town and the OFII can offer guidance (in the end you'll be dealing with them).

Did you receive a conviction d'Accueil? If so, your wife can use that to gain a visa.

So what health insurance did you get? Is it something your university pays for or something you purchased yourself.
 

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For 1), so even though I won't get paid from France I should have the right to 'establish' myself there? Can I feel safe in cancelling my wife's visa appointment and book flights for our trip?
I think so. Actually, given that you are Austrian and your wife would be requesting a visa to join you in France, I have a feeling the French consulate wouldn't give her a visa in any event.

When we enter Schengen (not through France) would they be concerned if we say that we want to stay for a few months? They may see it from our return tickets.
OK - for the carte de séjour, your wife needs to apply within 3 months of her entry into Schengen (i.e. the date of the Schengen visa stamped in her passport). If you're planning on staying a few months elsewhere before going to France, that could pose problems. But entering European countries, you don't normally get the sort of grilling you get when you enter the US. The fact that the two of you are together and that you are entering on your Austrian passport should be sufficient.

About our documents: that would be great if we don't need apostilles. But will they require recently issued ones (like 3 months, I read here at some point)? In that case we should request new marriage and birth certificates now.
Technically, they can only require recent copies of your birth certificates if it's a matter related to marriage. But it's amazing the number of transactions here that ultimately do involve your marital status. Don't request any documents too far in advance because there is a very good chance they'll require them to be less than 3 months old. (The US Consulate in Paris has a very good information sheet on apostilles and how to get them from a distance.) But don't get anything apostilled until and unless the office you're dealing with requires it.

Will my wife have any travel issues in case the Carte de Sejour takes longer than 90 days after our arrival in the EU (which is about 60 days after entering France)? For example, I have a conference in Asia in November and would like her to come with me. I heard there's the recepisse once you apply for CdS, but that such a document isn't always issued?
As Raria says, you should probably talk to your university and see what they can advise you. The carte de séjour for the spouse of an EU national should take somewhat less than one for a person who has entered France on a long-stay visa. https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F19315 is the info on Service Public (in French) on the carte de séjour for family members of an EU national.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@Raria: it sounds like our situation is different. I believe my spouse won't need any visa (and therefore no need for convention d'accueil or OFII), only a carte de sejour. I didn't get any new health insurance; the insurance I have through my job covers foreign travel.

@Bev: thank you again! that's great you think I can cancel the visa appointment!!

Our plans are that we arrive in Europe in early August, then in France in early September. We can therefore go to the prefecture within a month of arriving in the Schengen zone.

Marriage certificate: isn't it time we order a new one now? It can take 15 business days + shipping time to Europe. Then we can have it ready for the prefecture in early September.

Birth certificate: actually, my wife doesn't currently have a birth certificate given that this is not standard in the country she was born in. We'll definitely try to get it, but we vaguely heard there is an attestation one can use in case it can't be obtained?

I'm not sure whether my host university can help me with the travel question. Do you know what the legal situation is on leaving France after more than 90 days in Schengen while waiting/applying for a Carte de Sejour (1st time), travelling with EU spouse? The page on service-public.fr I found did not address this situation. I do hope my wife won't be stuck in France for a few months (I heard it can take a while to receive a CdS).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@Raria: it sounds like our situation is somewhat different. I believe my spouse won't need any visa (and therefore no need for convention d'accueil or OFII), only a carte de sejour. I didn't get any new health insurance; the insurance I have through my job covers foreign travel.

@Bev: thank you again! that's great you think I can cancel the visa appointment!!

Our plans are that we arrive in Europe in early August, then in France in early September. We can therefore go to the prefecture within a month of arriving in the Schengen zone.

Marriage certificate: isn't it time we order a new one now? It can take 15 business days + shipping time to Europe. Then we can have it ready for the prefecture in early September.

Birth certificate: actually, my wife doesn't currently have a birth certificate given that this is not standard in the country she was born in. We'll definitely try to get it, but we vaguely heard there is an attestation one can use in case it can't be obtained?

I'm not sure whether my host university can help me with the travel question. Do you know what the legal situation is on leaving France after more than 90 days in Schengen while waiting/applying for a Carte de Sejour (1st time), travelling with EU spouse? The page on service-public dot fr I found did not address this situation. I do hope my wife won't be stuck in France for a few months (I heard it can take a while to receive a CdS).
 

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OK, this is the Europa.eu information on a non-EU spouse traveling within the EU Travel documents for non-EU family members - Your Europe
It might give you some ideas. But there is a difference between getting a carte de séjour when you're the family member of an EU national, and when you're getting your carte based on a visa. Depends a bit on your timing, but it's possible that your wife could simply re-enter France like a tourist on your return and get another Schengen stamp in her passport. They normally aren't too fussy about checking the dates.

Otherwise, I would see if the university can advise you. They often have experience with these sorts of matters, and sometimes even a bit of "pull" with the prefecture.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thank you, Bev! In the meantime I also heard in another place that travel should be OK, as long as we travel with a marriage certificate, which I will try to get authenticated at a Canadian Embassy in France before we get close to 90 days. I will also check with my university in France.

Any thoughts on my questions on birth and marriage certificates?

(And sorry for the double posting above.)
 
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